How to Make Your Dress Poofy as Heck

There’s been a lot of talk on Weddingbee about “other” wedding dresses, meaning the dress you wear to your rehearsal dinner, shower, and/or bachelorette party. In fact, it was Weddingbee that introduced me to the concept of wearing a white dress to all wedding events (not that I needed to be introduced to the concept of wearing certain colors, but you get what I mean).

I’m so grateful to the bees who blazed the wearing-white-to-other-wedding-events trail before me. That was sarcastic actually. If I hadn’t decided I needed a new white dress for every event, I’d be a lot better off, I imagine. I want my money and naïveté back! And my closet space too. For those of you who haven’t considered the fact that you have to wear white to all wedding events because you’re the friggin’ bride I apologize for giving you the idea now.

I decided to make a dress to wear to my shower (possibly both showers) because it would be “cheaper” and I could “make it look however I wanted.” I seem to have forgotten that buying fabric is rarely cheaper than just buying a Forever 21 dress. I also seem to have forgotten that I suck at sewing, so it’s literally impossible for me to make it look however I want. But I did my best!


Personal pic

I promise you I’m not wearing opaque white tights. That’s my real leg color…

I wish I could provide you with a tutorial, but I actually used a pattern for the bodice (crazy, I know). It’s the dress pattern featured in the Burdastyle Sewing Handbook, if you’re curious. I also used Casey Brown’s circle skirt tutorial, and I sort of haphazardly attached the top to the bottom. You don’t want to see a close-up of the zipper area. Trust me. You’ll notice the skirt is really poofy too, sort of Mad Men-esque, to use an already overused phrase.


Image via The Gloss

I was going for a less costumey version of Betty Draper. As I always am…

When this show first came on the air, I stupidly thought her skirt was poofy because it had a lot of fabric, or maybe because the fabric was stiff and draped differently. Both are partly true, of course, but now that I’ve been reading sewing blogs a lot more, I realize she was most definitely wearing a crinoline! After all these years of failing to achieve maximum poofiness–exhibit A, my engagement pics dress–I finally discovered the secret to poofiness!

You’re probably familiar with crinolines if you’ve started looking at wedding dresses already because many of them require one. For those who don’t know, a crinoline is also sometimes referred to as a petticoat, pettiskirt, or slip. You can buy them inexpensively from various Etsy sellers, square dancing costume sites, and yes, wedding dress shops. Here’s more info on Wiki for those who love fashion history.


Image from My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding via Unreality Shout

Without the crinoline, or its cousin the hoop skirt, dresses like this wouldn’t exist! And that would be a tragedy.

I tried to make my crinoline using this tutorial from Sugardale, but I wanted to make an elastic waistband (I’m a beginner! Leave me alone!) and I also ended up buying the wrong fabric (I’m a beginner!), plus I ruffled my fabric way more than I was supposed to (I am a friggin BEGINNER, people!) so the tutorial didn’t end up applying to me very much. I ended up making more of a tutu…


Personal pic


Personal pic

This was the most difficult thing to photograph ever.

And even though it looks ridic by itself, it gets the job done under the skirt.


Personal pic

I purposely bought pink netting so it could peek out cutely, but I think it’s too light to really make a difference. Still, it happens to match perfectly with my favorite pair of shoes (bought for $9.99 back in 2004–best purchase ever) and my beloved bow belt.

Here’s a quick and dirty explanation of how I made the crinoline: I first decided how long I wanted the crinoline to be (based on the length of my skirt) then divided that number by 3–for 3 tiers–and accounted for seam allowance. The first tier is an elastic waistband attached to some lining fabric that I gathered against the elastic. It’s 7 inches wide, as all my tiers were (to make a ~21 inch long crinoline). The second tier is ruffled netting that’s 7 inches wide and several yards long. I think 12 yards? I kept adding more because my machine ruffled it too much, so it wasn’t long enough. The third tier is more ruffled netting, about 16-20 yards I believe. Again, it depends on how ruffly you make it—mine’s a tutu, remember? Then you attach all three tiers to each other and you’re done. I suggest using a real tutorial though.

And here it is in action:


Personal pic

I’m not sure why my calf muscle looks like it’s birthing another calf muscle. I’m not even athletic.

Stay tuned for yet another white dress I’ve procured for the wedding! Did you guys get caught up in buying other white dresses for wedding events?


Mrs. Unicycle

Chicago, IL
Wedding Date:
June 2012
Honeymoon Planning with the Minks
Gifting the Girls
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    Ronnie, Guest @ 7:57 am

    LOL I love your rundown. I’m a beginner also and completely understand!! Not only was it filled with personality but a fun read. This definitely is helpful though.

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