This is my dream dress - pure and simple. Ever since I first saw Beetlejuice when I was a wee little thing I've wanted to have Lydia's red wedding dress, so now, fifteen years later, I've gotten the chance to make it and I've never been happier with a costume!
I did a lot of research into 80's wedding dresses before & during work on this costume just because I wanted to make it absolutely perfect. One of the little factoids that popped up early on was that visible merrow seams on tulle and lace were really common, a lot like how old stockings will have a big seam down the back instead of just being made as a tube, so I did exactly that on the sleeves and, when viewed from the back, the sleeves have a pretty little line down them. I also left the zipper on the back pretty prominent instead of hiding it with extra taffeta since visible zippers were commonplace in formalwear from the mid to late 80's.
I drafted the pattern in just about a day and imported the swiss dot lace from my favorite little fabric shop in New York since I was down in Florida for the summer when I started work on this costume. The bodice is fully lined, the ruffles on the bodice are serged with a rolled pearl stitch for a little extra flounce and all of the ruffles, both bodice and skirt, are hand-gathered which took about four hours to do. The lining is a thin taffeta that I had intended to use for another costume, but it worked so well for this one and I had just enough that I used it here instead. The collar of the dress is secured with a vintage red button that my great grandmother was gracious enough to give me, and I later found out that it was actually from 1988, the year the movie was made, which sent my super-duper-accuracy-crazed heart aflutter! Underneath the dress is a hoop-skirt that I actually made in high school for the theatre department, but I removed two tiers of boning from it and sewed it up so that it was as short as Lydia's. The tulle that cinches the waist of the dress is actually a three-yard long piece of fabric that's not attached to the dress at all, but is instead tied into a bow and left as a trai .(I love it to death, despite the fact that a ton of people stepped on it when I premiered the costume~!) The tights were hand-dyed as well, and the only parts of the costume that I bought and didn't do any work to were the gloves and the shoes, the former bought from a bridal shop and the latter thrifted.
The wig was SO much fun to make, despite the initial regret of having to massacre a perfectly good butt-length wig, and I think it just may be my favorite part of the whole costume because it really is what identifies Lydia. Everything was teased to death, backcombed, hair-sprayed up in place, and then pinned in some places, and the bangs were chopped to fine points and secured with a couple of squeezes of clear silicone. The sides of the wig were razored, which in itself literally took three hours, to give the thin and scrappy look of Lydia's underbrush of hair. The veil was gathered, serged at the top, and then hand-sewn into the actual wig so that I didn't have to worry about it coming loose, and I'm happy to report that aside from having it get caught on a couple of things here and there there have yet to be any problems with it~!
I also made the bouquet after a ton of research into wedding bouquets, arranging, binding, and sealing the flower arrangement with ribbon. I added extra bunches of red ribbon into the bouquet itself a little later since Lydia's arrangement in the movie seems to have little tufts of ribbon peeking out from amongst the flowers.
As a side note, can I just say how insanely difficult it is to sew tulle to lace? It's impossible to see what you're doing, and I had a hell of a time with this dress since it's practically nothing but tulle and lace! Because of this, the entire costume took about 50+ hours to make and refine, but honestly I couldn't care less because I'm so happy with it and intend to wear it again and again~!
Anime Festival Orlando 11 - 2nd Place (Master Division)
Pratt Institute's COMD Department Halloween Costume Contest 2010 - Most Beautiful