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How to make a woodland fairy wedding gown – The story behind the dress

green fairy wedding dress

If you’re new here, I should begin by saying that I make dresses for my business, Threads of a Fairytale. My husband, Chris and I had the photoshoot in mind before I even started making the dress, so I knew exactly what I wanted to begin with, which is fairly unusual for me! So the dress originated as a vintage pure silk Indian tunic that more-or-less fitted me. It’s a gorgeous mottled moss green pure silk fabric with lovely metallic dots – called Mukesh work – which give a beautiful shimmer in the light. Then I went round my various stashes of fabric round the house, gathering bits and pieces that would blend well with the colour…..

making a woodland wedding dress

The green tunic I began with.

The arm-pits are usually the first place to get damaged, but these were fine, so I could keep the sleeves. There were a few stains down the front that needed cutting out, so that’s what I began with.

Fabric scraps to use for making the dress

I decided to keep the length the same as the original tunic at the front, but take it longer at the back, which I think gives it a more bridal feel as I had in mind to make a dress ideal for a woodland wedding or handfasting. So then I added in some patterned fabric at the sides to give the dress a fuller look at the

Mukesh work on Indian tunic

Close-up of the Mukesh work.

skirt. I knew this fabric wouldn’t show at the end, so I could use up some patterned cotton that I probably wouldn’t use otherwise.

Then I added the tattered details at the neckline and gave it a bit of a ruffle lifted collar at the sides and back. If you’re having a go at making a fairy dress like this, it’s a good idea to put in the details of the top half of the dress at this stage, because otherwise it gets too heavy and difficult to manoeuvre around the sewing machine once the skirt is done.

A donor Indian tunic – fabric for making the dress

So then it’s time to build up the skirt with metres and metres of fabric, layering and gathering as I went until I was happy with the overall look. With this dress there is a mix of pure slub silk, smooth silk, net, cotton and Indian stamped and embroidered cotton in various shades of green, gold and brown. Perfect for a handmade fairytale woodland wedding dress or if you’re off to a fairy ball and need a luxury fairy costume.

Making a woodland wedding dress

Lastly, I added some thin strands of silk which I used to decorate the front like ivy tendrils climbing up it. This also covered up a few tiny stains that barely noticed, but I’m happier with them covered. I added organza ribbon to lace up the back and pulls the dress in for a flattering

Making a handfasting dress

The dress taking shape

shape. And then hand-sewed on a few beads and a vintage pearl at the neckline.

The dress took eleven hours to make altogether. I always think it’s going to be quicker nearer the beginning, but I forget actually how long it takes to pin all the gathers in place and get it looking just right!

The finished dress – perfect for a handfasting dress

A woodland wedding dress

We did the photo-shoot at Merry Maidens stone circle in Cornwall as that seemed like a very fitting location for a dress perfect for a woodland wedding or handfasting. I found some ivy nearby and made a quick headdress and bracelet with it for some of the photos.

pagan handfasting gown

The dress is for sale in my Threads of a Fairytale Etsy shop, so head over there if you’re interested in purchasing it. If you’re thinking about making something similar for yourself, I hope this post has been useful and please comment below to tell me how you get on and if you’re planning on wearing it to a special occasion.

I also recorded a video showing how I created the dress, and if you like watching sewing videos like this, then please subscribe to my YouTube channel as I regularly share my process of making dresses from start to finish.

Art and Craft, Threads of a Fairytale,
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