Now that the outfit is done, I figured I could take some time to provide resources for any other would-be Eliza Doolittles!
I will note that I wasn’t able to make my dress exactly screen-accurate– I didn’t locate all of my reference images until I’d already done some of the work, and it wasn’t worth it to me to re-do things like the embroidery on the center skirt panel to get it exactly right. I did, however, try to reproduce the original as best I could under the circumstances. For what it’s worth, the dress has about 7,000 individually-applied sequins and rhinestones, so you’d better be up for a lot of handwork!
Here’s what I used to make the dress:
Bias-cut ivory gown (purchased)
4 yards ivory English net, 56″ wide
3 yards clear beaded teardrop fringe
At least 8 yards of 1/2″ wide ivory floral trim
4 yards 1 1/2″ wide scalloped ivory trim
5 yards 1″ wide ivory trim
2 yards each of 2.9cm and 3.2cm round floral trim to make round appliques.
1440 ss10 rhinestones, 1440 ss20 rhinestones, 288 ss30 rhinestones, 144 ss50 rhinestones, all in clear flatback (no AB, no hot-fix) (I had a ton left over, especially of the ss30 and ss50 sizes, but these quantities were pretty inexpensive from this seller so it’s better to have too many than too few!)
So, final notes and tips:
- Definitely use blunt-needle syringes as applicators for the sequins and rhinestones. Once they’re full of glue you can store them point-down with the needle tips in a mug with about an inch or water in the bottom, and they’ll stay usable almost indefinitely. The water keeps the glue from drying inside the needle section, though Gem-Tac does occasionally get clumpy so I can’t promise you won’t need to occasionally swear a little as you un-clog the needle by soaking it in hot water. I worked with two syringes at once so I’d be sure to have a working one at all times.
- Toothpicks (the blunt ends) were perfectly good tools for picking up sequins and the tiny rhinestones. I wouldn’t bother with Q-tips or the special wax sticks you can find online.
- If you can’t find perfect appliques, don’t be afraid to cut apart/combine other appliques to get the effect you’re going for. Particularly since this gown has so much sparkle on it, no one will be looking closely enough at the precise type of lace you’re using to see if it matches everywhere.
- While it might seem easier to do the embellishment on the overgown before attaching it to the undergown, I think that it’s necessary to have the whole thing hanging on a dress form before you finalize the placement of the swags and appliques. Otherwise you might end up placing something incorrectly and not finding out until it’s too late to fix.
- Don’t finalize any embellishments at the hem until you’ve tried on the mostly-embellished gown and ensured that the net hasn’t stretched out. Don’t store the dress on a hanger or dress form– keep it flat to avoid further stretching. It may also be a good idea to leave the bottom few inches relatively plain in case you need to hem it again later and don’t want to lose detail.
And of course, if anyone needs help with laying out embellishments or figuring out how best to drape the dress, feel free to comment on this post and I’ll try to respond! Good luck!