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Marie-Thérèse Gown

Added May 13, 2010

by grosgrain

Harrisburg, Penn...






To see more visit Grosgrain

I had given this away on my blog in ’08. Yes, it was totally heartbreaking but it put my blog on the map so it was totally worth it! The original post had over 1000 comments. I was so overwhelmed!

Oh, where to begin? Well, let me start off by saying that this was by far the most ambitious dress I’ve ever sewn. After this, I have fewer qualms about sewing a wedding gown. With all the man hours I put into the gown itself, not withstanding the fabric, I would say this gown is worth $500….if my time was worth $15 an hour. You can do the math. Like I said…ambitious. At least I knew what I was getting into from the beginning.

I fell in love with the idea of doing a french 1700s piece after watching Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. Each candy pink and blue scene made my heart ache and it was all I could think of since. It feels good to finally get all that inspiration out in one big frilly burp.

I spared no expense with this costume. Homemade florets cover the under skirt and creep up along the bodice. I found the blue and black trim at my favorite niche fabric store. It was exactly what I was looking for. I paired it with the pink satin ribbon. A whole SEVEN YARDS worth!!!!

What took a chunk of my time was the smocking in the over skirt. You can see a more detailed image near the bottom. I stitched each and every one of the knots myself.

The satin ribbon was also used around the sleeves and tied off with a long flowing bow. As you can see I added a long lace material to the ends of the 3/4 length sleeves and around the neckline.

Sadly, the neatest part of this gown can’t even be seen. That is the historical underpinnings. Yes, I made one of those corsets that bulge out at the sides. I used ‘boning’ but if I had to do it again I’d use good old fashioned metal. The boning didn’t exactly cut it. The dress is a bit heavy but I had to keep fluffing the sides which shouldn’t have been necessary.

Please don’t be confused by the Marie Therese reference. I could have gone with Marie Antoinette but that is so cliche right? Marie Therese was her only daughter. When I watched the movie the little girl reminded me of Lily so I thought she would be more appropriate.

And YES! That is Lily’s real hair! (plus a few Photoshopped curls). I thought it would be harder to poof but you would be surprised what magical results simple hairspray can accomplish. We used Halloween white spray for the color. Lily was pretty good about the whole thing. Taking it out was another story.

Material Notes

Everything and the kitchen sink




Garment Type
Cotton, Blends

25 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • Dsc09595avatar_large

    Jul 13, 2010, 05.33 AMby Ralf Schmitz

    i love love love this (as i do love the film of ms coppola!)

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    May 30, 2010, 03.49 PMby elishafaerie

    Wow. Just wow. What can you say to that? It’s simply beautiful, and your little girl is a fantastic model for it, so adorable!

    That gown is one of those pieces that a journeyman sewer like myself feels both inspired and intimidated by. My ultimate sewing goal is to make a proper bustle gown with zouvre jacket and the lot! This little gown gets my hands itching to start that ‘one day’ project! (^_^)

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    May 19, 2010, 08.11 AMby fairyprincess

    Sheer brilliance!

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    May 17, 2010, 03.11 PMby Lisette O

    This is probably the most gorgeous dress I’ve ever seen and it is even more amazing that it is a child’s dress. I am in total awe.

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    May 16, 2010, 12.45 PMby hnolde

    the dress looks beautiful and your little girl must feel just like a princess wearing it!

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    May 14, 2010, 09.51 PMby princessash

    Wow that is so amazing! It looks so fantastic

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    May 14, 2010, 03.26 PMby littlecottondresses

    Outrageously inspiring! The whole thing looks like something out of a fairy tale… your girl, the dress, the scenery & photography…

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    May 14, 2010, 11.13 AMby tradsahm

    Beautiful!!!!!! Great pictures, too!!! I constantly dream of making something similar! But I have 3 GIRLS! I would still have to eat and sleep! :(

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    May 14, 2010, 09.26 AMby loyl8

    seriously amazing!!!! I’m in love :)

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    May 14, 2010, 09.24 AMby msgems

    WOWSERS!!! This is amazing and your daughter is really cute.

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    May 14, 2010, 05.04 AMby solsticefire

    Amazing! I love how the design is adult in feel, but the fabric and trim you choose make it fitting for someone her age!

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    May 14, 2010, 01.28 AMby melonhead

    WOW………….wow……that…..is so gorgeous! I’m speechless. Amazing job.

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    May 14, 2010, 12.56 AMby calicocouture

    I cannot believe you gave this away! It’s breathtaking. The fabrics and the details are gorgeous.

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    May 14, 2010, 12.40 AMby thecuriouskiwi

    Well I can definitely see how you could not be scared of tackling any project ever again after this amazing success. Your daughter is very lucky, even I am jealous that I don’t have a big girls version of this gown :) Just amazing, well done.

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    May 13, 2010, 09.51 PMby ana555

    i know what you mean about getting so inspired and finally getting your vision out your way. i love it!

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    May 13, 2010, 08.55 PMby Melanie O'Dwyer

    absolutley beautiful

  • Gardenofdecadence-avatar_large

    May 13, 2010, 07.24 PMby thewiltedmagnolia

    Amazing! If people only realized how much work we put into our creations!

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    May 13, 2010, 07.07 PMby seussian

    Oh my, that’s stunning! She looks like a princess. I feel sorry for her hair, other than that that’s amazing!! may God bless you, :)

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    May 13, 2010, 06.27 PMby michelle ><><><

    Amazing, i’ve always wanted to make a dress like this one, Great Job!

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    May 13, 2010, 05.11 PMby artnest

    I remember this so well…everyone in the world wanted this dress!!!

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    May 13, 2010, 04.52 PMby tamezdc

    Wow! That gown is a lot of work, but the end result is beautiful.

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    May 13, 2010, 04.00 PMby wzrdreams

    Amazing. Simply stunning.

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    May 13, 2010, 03.35 PMby rifka

    What memories your daughter will have of her youth! “Then there was the time I was Madame Royale of Versailles for an afternoon…”

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    May 13, 2010, 02.31 PMby wackyblonde

    Il est magnifique.

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    May 13, 2010, 02.18 PMby saranoemi

    omg, this came out beautifully! you should be very proud. and your daughter is just darling.

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