I had to create a "stunt" dress for a no-budget horror film. The real dress, which inspired this project, is a $1,000 wedding dress. In the film, the dress gets destroyed - and we didn't want to actually destroy the expensive dress, so we had to create a replica - cheap!
This is more of a tutorial on how to fake embroidery and beading - it can be used for anything - not necessarily clothing or a wedding gown.
It's fairly inexpensive to do, it just gets pricey for sheer quantity of materials used (such as glue), if you're doing a big project like this one.
I did the fake embroidery/beading on this dress in 4 days - probably about 80 hours worth of work (it was a rough 4 days). This dress had a fairly large train that had to be decorated.
Find your inspiration piece.
Get a sense of how your inspiration piece hangs (its color, shape, etc.) so you can duplicate it as best as you can.
Find or build a dress similar in shape.
I found mine at a thrift store for $10. Unfortunately, the fabric had a design on it, but it would work fine for the stunt dress.
The dress to be decorated is on the left and the inspiration dress is on the right in this photo.
Using needle and thread, string your seed beads.
When you have your strands long enough for what you need, glue them to your garment.
Study the embroidery and beading on your inspiration piece and begin to sketch, in pencil, your design onto the dress you're decorating.
Look at the detail of your inspiration piece (how the string is laid out, where the gold embroidery is in relation to the string, where the beads are placed, etc.).
Note the additional details of the inspiration piece - the use of jewels and sequins.
Begin to create your design over your pencil sketch.
Though, you may want to practice on a scrap of fabric first.
With clear glue, glue your string down in the shapes you want.
Work a little at a time, so the glue doesn't dry before you have a chance to shape the string and set it.
Using the gold glue, follow the lines you created with the string, dropping seed beads in the glue while it is still wet.
Again, do a little at a time.
For the smaller points, use a toothpick to help get the effect. Add sequins while the glue is still wet.
For the flowers, use the iridescent sparkly glue and, once it's dry, add details with your gold pen.
Using your gold pen, draw tiny stitch lines on the string.
Carefully work following the pencil design you sketched onto the fabric.
Pay special attention to the center line of the garment if it has a distinct central design like this one does.
Because of the importance of the center line of this piece, when you start on the bottom of the skirt, do the center design first - making sure it lines up with the work already done on the bodice.
Keeping the centers lined up, work on the bodice and the skirt alternately. (This method helped it look like I was making progress, mainly to myself since this is an absurdly large project to do in 4 days.)
Work work work.
Don't forget to eat.
Don't forget to sleep.
(I didn't really do either of those two things, but I think it's a good idea if you can.)
And take a break to take pictures of what you're doing - even though you're crazy busy.
Crying is okay, too. It's a big project.
Think you're done yet?
Ha! You still have to do the back of the dress.
Please make sure that the front is entirely dry before you turn it over to work on the back.
Cry, because you still have that big train to do.
But guess what!
When you're done with that, you still have the bolero to do. Ugh.
I don't have any good before or during picture of the bolero/shirt, since I was really down to the wire when I got to this step.
The bolero for the inspiration piece was lacy with gold in the fabric.
For the "stunt" bolero, I found a lacy shirt (vintage - very sorry about that - it saved my life not having to make one) for $2 at a yard sale. Using a gold pen, I carefully and lightly colored parts of the design gold to replicate the gold lace on the original.
I found a picture of the bolero that inspired the top of this stunt dress.
Unfortunately, I don't have a "before" picture of the shirt I altered. I was in a mad rush to get it done in time for the shoot.
Since the bell sleeves of the "stunt" bolero were not as full as the one we modeled it after, we made sure the sleeves of the stunt outfit got torn right away in the action of the film.
You've worked very hard and now have a pretty dress that can double for the expensive one!
Only one thing left to do...
Watch your creation get destroyed for the sake of making a movie.
More and more staining and tears.
Was it worth it?
However, no one who has watched the film has noticed when we switched from the expensive dress to the stunt dress (happens twice in the film), so at least it was effective.