Helping Michelle with her Sailor Moon Wedding Dress!
Something I’ve been helping work on for the past few months but haven’t been able to show you yet is Michelle’s Sailor Moon inspired wedding dress! Michelle and Will had a beautiful, classy Sailor Moon Art Deco inspired wedding at the 1930’s-ish Oviatt Penthouse in downtown Los Angeles. It was very touching to hear their heartfelt vows and moving speeches about their relationship from friends and family. I was really honored to be one of Michelle’s bridesmaids. I was so impressed with how elegant their wedding turned out and how they were able to work in Sailor Moon elements without making the wedding look silly or costumey. She has wonderful taste! You can see way more photos and DIY details of Michelle and Will’s Moonlight Wedding here , on OffBeatBride and also the Instagram hashtag #michelleandwill .
How we made the dress…!
I’ve never helped someone make a wedding dress before even though I’ve made many complicated costumes. It certainly wasn’t as easy as I thought and I learned a lot in the process! I think Michelle’s dress turned out gorgeous, though. I’m very proud of the work Michelle, I and a bunch of her friends put into it. The process reminded me of Paradise Kiss manga with friends coming together to help bead and create one beautiful gown. All their wedding graphics, bridesmaids wands and invitations were made by Maid of Honor, Yume, Michelle’s scepter was made by Grant Imahara, makeup done by their friend Tess, their officiant was their friend Glenn, photos take by friend Shannon Cottrell, and most of the setup by Sheyne and friends… and many other things done for the wedding were by friends, too! I think it shows that their friends care about them a lot! (More about the construction below…)
The gorgeous Cutie Moon Rod scepter was made by Grant Imahara as a wedding gift for Michelle!
Michelle spent a lot of time trying on wedding dresses and looking at pictures and finally decided to make an custom embroidered lace bodice over a beaded tulle petal skirt inspired by this Dior Venus gown from the 50’s. She showed me some embroidered bodices she liked and I did some drawings inspired by those, but working Sailor Moon compacts and wands into the design. Michelle then vectored these and then my patient friend A.J. helped us digitize and split the designs and get them the right scale for my embroidery machine. My machine can only embroider designs up to a certain size so any very large design like a whole bodice has to be split up.
For the under bodice, we found a bridal bodice sewing pattern that was roughly what Michelle wanted and then made a test muslin. I took it in to fit her better and drew the new seamlines where Michelle wanted them and we constructed the under bodice. We made a separate similar muslin for the over bodice pieces (which would be the embroidered tulle.) The under bodice was interlined with coutil, self-lined and boned with spiral steel.
Then came the laborious process of machine embroidering the tulle, something I’d never done before. I sandwiched the tulle in-between two pieces of water soluble stabilizer and it luckily worked great! The real trick though came in trying to hook up a 8 part embroidery design for the front of the bodice. It was so difficult even using the line up guides! People think that machine embroidery is easy, but it can be quite frustrating and time consuming. I think one of the designs I had to re-hoop about 6 times before I was able to match it up with the previous designs reasonably well. Also the first time we did the design I got the scale wrong and then we had to redigitize the whole thing…! ( sorry, A.J.!!) After all the embroidery was done I covered some of the lineup “mistakes” with beads and added a bunch of beads all over to make it even prettier. I then carefully cut the embroidery and constructed it as an overlay on the already mostly constructed under bodice. The tulle pieces were sewn together with a tiny overlock stitch.
If you look below there is a Crescent Moon wand and moon compacts worked into the design.
The front has a Crisis Moon compact hidden at the center top.
Michelle and I put the bodice together with the skirt. The skirt was so fluffy that we both ended up getting stabbed with sharp moons and pins multiple times trying to attach it to the bodice, haha. Michelle then added even more beads to the bodice!
The skirt tulle petals were covered in elaborate beaded moon and star designs that Michelle came up with and she and her beloved friends slaved over for weeks. One of the larger petals took Michelle three whole days to bead. So the entire dress was complex and made from love!
Again, you can see way more photos and DIY details of Michelle and Will’s Moonlight Wedding here , on OffBeatBride and also on the Instagram hashtag #michelleandwill . Congratulations, Michelle and Will! It was wonderful!