DIY No-Sew Doily Wedding Dress

No-Sew Doily Wedding Dress

Well, hello again!

The last time I wrote a blog post was in December 2013. We are still living in Nashville, where I’m in my last year of Ophthalmology residency. Major life events since that last post include: raising a mini goldendoodle puppy who is now 2 years old, deciding to pursue further specialized training in Oculoplastic surgery, and learning that we’re expecting a baby girl in May 2016.

There were so many unique, handmade projects involved in our 2012 Mammoth Lakes wedding, and I had always meant to write about them… but here we are four wedding seasons later. For now I’ll write about my wedding gown, which I dreamed up around this time of year in 2012.

doily wedding dress front

via joielala | Taryn Kent & Shelby Clark

So if you’re searching for a wedding dress this year, here’s a unique idea: take a plain bridesmaid dress and glue a bunch of doilies to it. My dress turned out exactly how I’d envisioned it to be, and as a bonus it was super budget-friendly.

doily wedding dress back

via joielala | Taryn Kent & Shelby Clark

Read on for details on how I created this dress.

My dress inspiration came from this doily covered green dress.

Gia Canali Photography - Green Doily Wedding Dress

via Gia Canali Photography

The talented bride Jillian had not only sewn the dress but crocheted each doily by hand. What I loved about this dress was the uniqueness, contrast between the doilies and dress fabric, and structured lines of the dress.

My heart was set on a doily dress. But I had three major problems. First, I didn’t know how to crochet. Second, the last time I used a sewing machine was in 7th grade home-ec class where we made a pillow and a not-so-great-looking sweatshirt. Third, even if I knew how to crochet and sew, I didn’t have time for any of that.

Next came my favorite part of any project… dreaming up how to create it. Via google I learned about the existence of fabric glue and that inexpensive doilies were available online. I found a plain, strapless A-line bridesmaid’s dress at the David’s Bridal website (similar here). From there I had a solid plan. I would somehow glue doilies all over the plain dress.

My then-fiancé raised an eyebrow. I told him if it didn’t work, I’d buy a simple white dress. Even now, when I say, “oh I made my wedding dress… I glued a bunch of doilies to a plain dress,” people look at me like I’m crazy. Then they ask to see a photo of the dress.

Then came a bit of luck.

I went to a local David’s Bridal to look at wedding invitations and to figure out what size dress to order. The invitations are a story for another day. Unfortunately, I learned the plain bridesmaid dress was discontinued in stores. By some amazing fortune, there was exactly one dress left in my size and on sale for $79.99. The dress looked a little suspicious for being worn-once-and-returned but it was perfect for what I needed. It was champagne colored, and that is how the color of my dress was decided. I brought the dress home and showed it proudly to my fiancé, who raised an eyebrow and snapped a photo of me.

Over the next two months, I collected my dress-making supplies. Rummaging through a dollar bin by the Michael’s checkout, I found a few white doilies mixed amongst other odd colors and ordered a slew more doilies online. I also picked up my very first bottle of fabri-tac glue with a 40% off coupon at Michael’s.

At the end of March, I returned to the same David’s Bridal with my dress and met a wonderful lady in the alterations department, named Martha Sterr, who did not raise any eyebrows at me. She told me how she had once made a doily table runner and calmly measured me for dress alterations.

When I returned to pick up the fitted dress, Martha also sent me home with a cardboard dress form as a platform for my doily gluing endeavor. And by the way, bridesmaid alterations are MUCH more affordable than wedding dress alterations. The alterations were $100, and a garment bag for the dress was $10.

Over the next month, I carefully glued together my wedding dress in our apartment living room. So the dress wasn’t much of a surprise to my husband on our wedding day. Most of the way through the process, I ran out of doilies and glue and was easily able to find more.

Below is the full scoop on how to make this dress. In retrospect, I wish I had taken more, better quality photos of the process. You can also read more about our wedding at Style Me Pretty California.


  • Floor Lamp + Books (we had these at home)
  • Cardboard Dress Form (came with dress alterations)
  • Dress (David’s Bridal)
  • Doilies (A Treasure Nest – not available currently, similar here or here)
    • 1″, 2″, 3″ // qty: 3 (6-packs)
    • 2.5″ // qty: 20
    • 3″ // qty: 10
    • 6″ // qty: 11
    • 8″ // qty: 14
    • 12″ // qty: 7
  • Doilies (Michael’s)
    • 6″ // qty: 6
  • Scotch Tape (Amazon)
  • Beacon Fabri-tac Fabric Glue, (1.5) 8 oz bottles (Michael’s or Amazon)

DIY #nosew doily wedding dress tutorial | via

DIY no-sew doily wedding dress details | via

via joielala | Taryn Kent & Shelby Clark

Would you try to make your own wedding dress?

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