Birthday dress!

Birthday dress

Birthday dress

Birthday dress

Birthday dress

Birthday dressdress: self-made // shoes: Seychelles // tights: F21

Everyone, meet Birthday Dress!

I’ve been so excited to share this and I pretty much ran right upstairs to take photos within three minutes of the last stitch. Did I mention it’s about 30 degrees outside? I had a severely runny nose by the end. Yikes.

Anyway, I can’t remember where exactly at the moment, but I saw this dress a few weeks ago (probably on Pinterest, actually) and decided right then and there that it was going to be birthday dress. I already knew I would use McCall 6646 and figured the black fabric wouldn’t be too hard to find, so I went to work looking up what types of beads to use.

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 5.14.53 PMPhoto from

I looked at Etsy, Joann’s, Fire Mountain Gems, and Sewfisticated and ended up cobbling together a nice selection of the necessary beads. If you look at the closeups you’ll see that there’s bugle beads outlining the curlicues and then inside them, it alternates one larger bead and three small seed beads. There seem to be three types of larger beads that are randomly alternating: pearls, montee rhinestones, and some sort of faceted bead. I had some pearls left over from a previous project and for some reason Sewfisticated sells 20g bags of 1/4″ bugle beads for $0.49 so those were easy. I decided to use bicone Swarovski knockoffs from Joann’s and then found these guys on Etsy.

The dress itself was pretty easy to put together but I got a little too excited and sort of jumped the gun and put the bottom half of the dress together before I actually bought the chiffon for the top bit, which meant that that was much more difficult to attach. Whoops. It worked out though! I just ended up making some bias tape out of the chiffon (SO much fun, guys) and reinforcing the heart-shaped neckline with it to conceal where the chiffon top attached.

Anyways, I’m incredibly relieved that I managed to get it done in time! My actual birthday was on Wednesday (27 – yikes!) but a super busy week means we’re doing celebrations tonight instead.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

37 thoughts on “Birthday dress!”

  1. Oh my goodness girl, this dress is STUNNING! I can’t believe you hand beaded it, too, the pattern is beautiful! Definitely worthy of a birthday celebration πŸ™‚

  2. GORGE. This was my favorite of all your WIPs from your previous post and I’m SO glad you made it up. I cannot get over that gorgeous beading, though I do not envy you making bias tape out of chiffon, godalmighty.

    1. Aww thanks! Yeah, the chiffon bias tape is not something I want to do again anytime soon. It turned out great but I’m still scarred.

  3. You definitely captured the Speaks Volumes Dress, and it looks lovely on you. The beadwork is perfect, and I hope you have a plan for how to protect it in the cleaning process. My only suggestion, and it is a tiny one, is that you need a hook to close the back above the zipper. Perhaps it simply came undone during the photo shoot.

    1. Thanks! And yes, I definitely need to do that! I was running low on time and being alone at home with no one to zip me properly didn’t help either. :/ In terms of cleaning I was planning to try Soak or some other type of bathtub soaking scenario. I’d love to hear suggestions if you have any!

  4. You are disgustingly talented. I mean that in the best way possible! I wish I had the patience to sew as well as you do!

  5. What a stunning dress-sewing is such a fabulous thing when you know how…see a dress you love, then make it for a fraction of the price…and it’s much more satisfying too. Your dress looks like a labour of love with all that beading and you look lovely in it! πŸ™‚

  6. First, happy birthday!! Wonderful dress. I saw it on instagram and loved it.

    I’m currently working on a project that involves beading – isn’t it amazing the variety, types and sizes of beads? And what’s up with the SS20, SS30, and so on? Technically, it stands for stone size, but it seems so arbitrary!

    1. Thanks! Ooh I’ve been stalking your beading progress on Instagram. Can’t wait to see it when it’s finished! And yes, I spent about two hours trying to figure out what size seed beads to buy because the sizing system made absolutely no sense. Luckily it worked out but I basically just ended up guessing.

  7. Wow! This dress is absolutely ah-mazing! You got me so inspired to make myself something pretty. It’s been a year since my last fancy garment sewing, so I think it’s about time to make something really pretty again. Happy Birthday!

    1. You should! I’ve been cranking out a lot basics lately so it was nice to switch it up and work on something more complicated and fancy!

  8. Happy birthday! I’m turning 25 at the end of April and I’m freaking out.

    I love this dress! How long did all the beading take you? You must have so much patience. That’s real couture, right there.

    1. Thanks! Yeah, at least you’re still “mid-twenties”. My very kind boyfriend pointed out that I’m now officially “late-twenties” which made me turn green.

      The beading took about two weeks, I think. Some of that was waiting for packages to arrive in the mail though. :]

  9. This dress is stunning!
    I was so looking forward to seeing all the beading come together!
    Did you mark it out first or thread trace or something?
    I hope you have/had the happiest of birthdays in your gorgeous dress!

  10. No wonder it took you about 2 weeks to sew the beads on! It does look like a lot of work although totally worth it : the result is astonishing. ‘sets a pretty high standard for your next birthday!

  11. This is absolutely beautiful/stunning! LOVE the color. SOOO much better than the original black. Thanks for the beautiful photography too!

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