Designing A Wedding Dress – Step 5 – I’ve changed my mind

I thought I knew what I wanted but I really don’t. For me, it’s very difficult to design for myself and after months of research, and building a gown that I thought I would like, I decided last week I didn’t like it. I’m back to square one.

Previously, I used this Burda pattern below, and I was going to make a bodice with ruching and a bubble skirt. After some time of building this silhouette, I felt that it didn’t suit me. After 100’s of sketching and researching for inspiration, I came up with another design. I won’t waste anyone’s time by posting the step by step, because I might change my mind again. So, I’m going to make it first.

I’m putting the button on pause for my gown, but I did come across this beautiful Naeem Khan dress that has a similar silhouette to the Burda pattern I had purchased, but will no longer be using. It’s nice inspiration to those who might like this. I would say to use the Naeem Khan dress as inspiration, and turn the gown into your own. You can use lace at the bodice and taffeta skirt, or beaded bodice and organza skirt. It’s your dress, so it should be personal to you. Until then, xo.

Burda Style Wedding Dress Pattern 7086

Burda Style Wedding Dress Pattern 7086


Naeem Khan as inspiration

Designing A Wedding Dress – Step Four

In step three, I cut out the dress that I had sewn in muslin from the Burda pattern. I really liked how it looked, but I hadn’t tried it on. I needed to make a pattern first, for what I had cut out.

I thought I knew what I was going to do with the back of my dress, but when I actually made it and put it on me, I hated it. The way it looked on the dress form looked so much better than when I put it on me.

I am going to show photos of the steps where I don’t like the way it turned out because I want to keep it real. So here goes:

This is bad. I really felt that the front and the back didn’t match and the back needed to change.


This is what NOT to do


…And this. I did not like this at all.

So…I made the straps to meet at center back, and the back bodice isn’t a cut out, but just lowered.

I added ruching to make it look more like what I was envisioning.


The front didn’t change too much from the 2nd pattern, and I love the front.


So now, it’s just a matter of adjusting the patterns, and making them right so that they sew right. I want the beaded trim to be a little bit wider, so I basically had to redo the front and back patterns.


I made the pattern and the bodice again, and it fit with slight adjustments. However,  this time I sewed in the ruching and did not like the way the ruching looked. SIGH.



My dress form is bigger than me, so the bodice doesn’t quite fit.

However, the plus side is that the ruching is the outer part and not the foundation. I can fix that without any pattern change. The fact is that the foundation, the bodice silhouette is how I want it to look, so the next step is to tweak the small changes on the patterns, and then the skirt! I will also have to weigh my options on how I want to do the beaded neckline and straps. Do I want to send it out to an embroiderer, or find a beaded lace that’s already in the market?

More to come….. xo

Designing A Wedding Dress – Step Three

Designing a wedding dress – step one, was essentially drawing up the sketch/idea of the gown. 

Designing a wedding dress – step two, was finding the basic pattern that I would change up and/or build on.

So….now we are at step three.

The pattern that I found was a Burda Style strapless gown, so I found my measurements in the bought pattern, cut out the dotted lines of the pattern, and cut the pattern out in muslin fabric. I sewed the shell of the dress (I did not cut or sew the lining), and this is what it looks like.

IMG_0415 IMG_0409

Once I sewed up the muslin, I asked my fiance to pin me in but he wasn’t too enthusiastic about that. I had no one else to help me, but he did a pretty good job pinning the the hem. I already have the shoes I’m going to wear with my wedding dress, which is a bonus, since I need to know how long to make the skirt.

Later on, I put the muslin onto my dress form. My dress form is actually much bigger in the bust area, but that’s okay. I had already fitted the muslin on me, and I know that it fits. I just need the dress form so that I can do a little shirring by hand, and to determine if the look I envisioned in my head looks good in real life. These are the photos after I added shirring, straps, and I cutout the back.


The writing says “Beading” because I’m thinking about beaded straps and neckline. The shirring was done from scraps of organza I had lying around.



I cut out the back, and added the straps. The inset (the part that I did not cut out) at the bottom of the bodice, should have shirring, then the part that sews to the skirt might be beaded. We shall see!

I have to say, I’m pretty happy. It looks like a hot mess right now but I can see it! It’s exciting to see it come together. I still have to re make the dress in the revised pattern in muslin (this will be the second fitting), but it’s coming along.



Holli Maxi Skirt


PA Jewelry 1

3D Printed cuff and necklace from my Dream of Songs collection

PS Holli Skirt 2

Photo credit: Princess Santiago

PA Holli Skirt 1
PA Hollis Skirt 3

I thought I’d interrupt my wedding dress design process and talk about this skirt I made. I took it out from my Dream of Songs capsule collection, because the print clashed with the other prints. It was like a throw up of prints. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love it though, so I wore it all around NYC today.

Without thinking, I slipped on my 3D Printed cuff and pendant that I designed for Dream of Songs (both made from metal), and met up with my talented photographer friend, Princess. At that moment, and very spontaneously, I asked her if she could take photos. She took these photos from my IPhone, and although I can’t say much for my modeling skills, I like the composition.

I don’t have a pattern for this. I made it up, actually. It’s basically, two long panels of 56″ wide cotton voile that I got from Spoonflower, and 2 rectangles (1″ wide) for the waistband. That’s it. I made a paper pattern, which is a big wide rectangle equaling 56″ wide and the length of my waist to the floor (I wanted dramatic and to wear wedges, but waist to ankle is probably better for walking)  and 2 small skinny rectangles that are 2″ wide (fold in half horizontally), so that I can add 1/2″ seam allowance and a 1″ extension for the  hook and eye. There’s a 5″ gap on the left side side seam at the waist,  because the skirt is sheer so I didn’t want to bother with a bulky zipper. I would have to wear a slip under it no matter what, so it didn’t really matter that there was a gap. I guess if I was ball-zy and decided to wear the skirt without a slip, then it still didn’t matter if there was a gap! I finished it with french seams and hand sewed the skirt hem and some of the waistband.

A maxi skirt is one of the easier patterns to make and sew and there are a lot of DIY’s online. I came across this blog, and although I didn’t exactly read the tutorials, I liked how it has a variety of maxi skirts.

Anyway, back to my wedding dress. I just received the pattern in the mail. Woo hoo!


Designing A Wedding Dress – Step Two

So how am I going to make this dream wedding dress? Good question.

In my previous post, I drew out several sketches until one night, I had a DREAM about a dress. I may have dreamt it  because I had spent countless hours searching for couture gowns of couturiers in the past. Regardless of why that dress popped in my head, I told myself that I had to make it.

In my “vision”, it wasn’t clear if the bodice had ruching, but the bubble skirt, beaded straps and neckline were clear. When I went to a bridal store to try on gowns, the darker colors like ivory, champagne, blush, looked better on me than stark white. Ruching also looked nice, and it’s a pretty flattering look on many women.

When I sketched the gown, I thought I’d ruche the bodice, and bead the straps. However, these are also two parts of the dress that seem to have technical issues, or it may not look right. Today, I thought of using thin satin ribbons to do a criss cross design on the bodice, which might look really nice, but it might also look messy, because the look of the gown will be split 1) beadwork on the neckline 2) criss cross of ribbon. These are two design elements that don’t necessarily merge when the person’s eye is looking at the gown. I think that the ribbons will have to remain symmetrical, so they should be “pleats” instead, or ribbon that run horizontally. Maybe ruching in a uniform manner might work after all. Anyway, we shall see.

As for the straps, since the back straps cross each other, the beading would rub against the other strap. I don’t know if that’s going to be something I like. I also thought of using sheer netting to do the beading on, but I’m not really a fan of that idea. I want both the straps and beading, so I will have to workout a compromise. These are questions that I will have to keep in mind when I make the muslin.

Before I make the muslin, I need a basic foundation pattern, and instead of starting from scratch, I searched for silhouettes that were close to this wedding dress of mine. I found this pattern – Burda Style 7086 – and decided to purchase this one. It has the sweetheart neckline, and the gathered skirt. I will need to cut out the original pattern in muslin first, then make tweaks from there. It might take awhile, but that’s the beauty of designing a dress.

Use this pattern…..

Burda Style Wedding Dress Pattern 7086


To make this dress…..My Wedding Dress Sketch

The pattern is on its way via UPS, so I can’t wait to get it and start on it!

More to come….xoxo



Designing A Wedding Dress – step one

I must be crazy.

Crazy to make a freakin’ wedding dress, let alone, MY wedding dress. Crazy because I love designing and the whole art of Haute Couture, so I’m willing to sit nights and create this dress.

The last time I made a wedding dress, it was for one of my closest friends, Clara. My gift to her. I had over 25 pieces of patterns, and assembling it was like doing a puzzle. Maybe that’s why I like puzzles. I admit that I like to sit in my studio and just design and construct. Now that it’s my turn, I am loving every moment of it, but I wish I had more time.

The frustrating part was trying to figure out exactly what I wanted. I didn’t know. I would picture these amazing gowns with ornate beading or ruffles, but it may not necessarily be for me. I like strong lines, and simplicity, but also with a twist.

One advice that I have always told bride-to-be’s before deciding on a custom dress is to try on dresses at wedding boutiques. Sometimes you will be surprised of what you end up liking. I listened to my own advice and stopped into a bridal gown store with my bridesmaids. I ended up really liking a gown that was rouched all the way down, and it had an immaculate train. It was simple that it was a column dress with some beading at the waist. The rest was in an organza fabric. I learned that I liked a champagne color, and that I liked a nice train. I also liked a less traditional look, and something a little more sleek.

I drew so many dresses, and I kept drawing. I looked to some of my favorite designers, such as Vionnet, and sketched bias cut gowns with drape in the back. I was a little tired of that look, only because I’ve designed gowns like this in the past, but I couldn’t seem to get away from it. I also looked to Christian Dior’s 50’s gowns, but it didn’t seem to be….me.

After sketch after sketch, I realized that it didn’t really matter what I wore, no one is going to say that I look terrible that day. I was going to look great, no matter what, simply because I was marrying my man that day. I said to myself “Okay, what really inspires me?” This lead me back to my days in Paris, when I was introduced to the world of Haute Couture. I was lucky to have attended some of the shows, and I really wish that there were smart phones back then to take photos. I didn’t bring a camera, so now, all I have are memories.  I decided to make this my inspiration – the art of Haute Couture.

I don’t really plan to hand sew my entire dress. I’m not THAT crazy. I did, however, research back to when the first couture designer emerged. I believe the first couturier was Rose Bertin, the woman who made Marie Antoinette’s dresses. From there, it evolved into a beautiful art, until the present.  I sketched numerous designs, with bits and pieces from what I gathered, but then a few days ago, I had a dream. It was a dream about a gown that carried the design principles of Cristobel Balenciaga  and Charles James. I sat on it for a little bit, but I think I am ready to begin the basic foundation of this gown.

Today, I want to share some of my many sketches, that lead up to the gouache sketch, which is the gown I’m going to make. I also drew a pencil sketch because the gouache illustration is stylized, so it might be difficult to see the design elements.

The bodice is rouched, with beaded trim. It criss crosses in the back, which I personally love. I love back detail, and I feel this is a new approach to the back details that I’ve designed in the past. It’s actually an inspiration from a Charles James evening gown that I saw. The skirt is a bubble skirt, so it gathers in the waist, and it bubbles at the hem. The skirt is inspired by Cristobel Balenciaga’s design principles. Since these two Couturiers are absolute geniuses, I don’t know if I can pull it off exactly as what I am visualizing it, but if I do, you bet that I’ll be jumping off the walls. The fabric, I am thinking of right now is silk taffeta. I think it’s going to be the best weight and drape for this dress. I need to visit an embroiderer/beader in the garment district, to find out the cost of beading the straps as well as the edge of the bodice. I am really excited about this.

Anyhoo, enough of the writing. So here’s some of the many sketches that I drew. I made a million more, but it’s way too many. My inspiration board is on my Pinterest , which is a great tool, by the way, for anyone who wants to put together a board:

Sketch 2 Sketch 3 Sketch 4


I love this design below as well. It is strapless, with a curved hem in the front, the sides are opened, but the back part of the skirt overlaps the front. That way, my underwear will not show. The back has a train, but the hem is squared, not curved. It has no beading on it, so I envisioned gold lace at the bottom of the cathedral veil. I decided to not go with this gown, but if I have time, it would make a great reception dress, without the train and veil. Sketch One

This. Yes, this, is my wedding dress. As I said in my wordy pararaph, the gouache is stylized, so that’s why I made a pencil sketch. The straps and trim of the neckline is beaded. The bodice is rouched, and the skirt is a bubble skirt. I think it’s going to be a champagne colored silk taffeta:

My Wedding Dress Sketch

More to come….promise.


Dream of Songs








L_004853It’s been awhile! I have been working on a capsule collection the past few months, and the look book is finally ready! If you’re interested, you can view it here

It took a lot of patience, because I wanted to make all of the first patterns and samples myself. The only pattern and sample that I did not make is the jacket. 

Although it took several months to create each piece, it was worth it. I’ve had over 20 years of experience in the fashion industry and it was still very challenging to learn every bit of the process. Designing a collection doesn’t just take design knowledge, I had to understand the business and numbers along the way. Although I’ve gained experience in design and production while working, I only really learned when I created this collection. I had this A-HA moment once the collection was finished, and I worked up the margins. I realized then why start up costs are high, and why minimums had to be met to keep costs low.  I had to limit the number of pieces to sell and increase wholesale cost in order to not lose money. Cost of goods are too high, so my margins are actually too low. What I knew in the end of it all is that I became super skilled with making and creating, which I do not regret. Craftsmanship is important to me, and I think it will be useful for me no matter what. 

My recommendation to myself going forward is to start very small, and to concentrate on a few items. For this collection, I incorporated both clothing of different silhouettes, and  jewelry. I grew obsessed with 3D printing, so all of my jewelry are just that – 3D printed from brass or steel (one accessory is nylon). I love the thought of 3D printing, so I am continuing with this. 

I don’t believe in giving up a passion, so in the meantime, I’m still passing out my look book, sending them to stores and people in the fashion industry. You just never know until you try. Plus I worked so hard on this, and am humbled and blessed by the group of people who came together to help me put this look book together. They deserve the credit, so I will spread the word. 

I can also use this as a portfolio, which I intend to do. It is perfect for interviews and meetings. I can also write about some of the pieces that I made here in my Patterned After blog! So all was gained and I look forward to many more  adventures with Dream of Songs. 

Until next time. 

xoxo M