The Ceilidh Dress – The Butterfly Idea

So despite all of the best intentions in trying to tailor our wedding to the notion of simplicity, simple this particular idea is not. But imagine you were trying to come up with a once-in-a-lifetime ‘statement’ dress, and imagine that you had this particular image stored in the back of your brain from a blog post that you read months ago. Would you be able to ignore it? Would you?

Would you?!

No, me neither. Google ‘Luly Yang butterfly dress’ for a gazillion more pictures and a lot of hysterical excitement.

Now just to make this clear: I have no pretensions of attempting a full-scale Luly Yang knockoff. But how about something inspired by? How about something along the lines of this (please excuse the rather cack-handed pattern transfer):

I’m imagining that as a silk dress with a colour-blocked bodice (half black, half red-into-black) attached to a circle underskirt (for twirl-ability when dancing) which shows at the bottom. The empire waistband is black velvet, and three petal/wing shaped silk panels (painted with the butterfly pattern and possibly cut on the bias) are attached into it, positioned asymmetrically round the body.

In order to actually be able to get into it, there is a zip at the side extending from the armhole to the bottom of the waistband.

Now I appreciate that it would take a long time to do and probably be pretty expensive to make once all of the silk paints etc. had been bought… but as a concept, what are your views? Is it amazing, or do you think that I would seriously regret it when looking through the photos in ten years’ time?! Would you possibly countenance it but with a different pattern?

I await your opinions!


18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Margaret
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 23:47:55

    Love the dress, think would go wider that what you have sketched as think the butterfly idea needs to be bigger, but I LOVE it. Imagine looking back on your wedding photos with your kids, grandkids, etc and thinking WOW, that was soo much fun and looked amazing! Go for it!


  2. Flix
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 00:28:16

    OMiGOSH iWANTiT! I so would. You so should. I have no experience of sewing and such, so I can’t comment on the creation concept, but if you reckon you could work it out, yes!


  3. Plottie
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 07:49:59

    Of all the dresses you have thought on, I like this one the best. When I saw the original I thought, ‘strapless+ceilidh=oops’ But I really like what you have done with the design. A simple style but with a definite WOW factor, and not so outrageous that you’ll hide the pictures in the future.

    Go for it, it’s lovely.


  4. Jenny
    Jan 16, 2011 @ 15:38:57

    Oh WOW yes. Definitely. Get started now though – presumably there are a number of new skills involved and you want time to screw up once or twice (silk painting, for example) :). The colour of the example you’ve put up is also gorgeous – and I think would probably suit you really well :). Though I’ve only met you twice, so what would I know?! Either way, it’s definitely got my vote 🙂 xxx


  5. Gemma
    Jan 18, 2011 @ 10:49:15

    Yummy! I think its gorgeous and will definately give you the ‘wow’ factor while being something you’ll still like in years to come.
    Must be the mathematician in me, but I read your description and thought ‘3 wings? Why not 4, since thats how many a butterfly has’


  6. Lucy
    Jan 18, 2011 @ 12:30:05

    Another mathematically inclined sewist? I shall stalk your blog when I have time 🙂

    I was thinking three (or possibly five) because I really like the asymmetrical look as a contrast to the relatively conventional basis of the dress.


  7. Margaret L
    Feb 03, 2011 @ 20:42:01

    WOW! Go for it. This is a once in a lifetime event and you need to stand out. This looks lovely. Looking forward to seeing the finished pics.


  8. Nykied
    Feb 22, 2011 @ 23:05:03

    That’s going to look great twirling around the dancefloor! Love it!


  9. Milli H
    Apr 11, 2011 @ 11:32:16

    Yes I agree with you, it is GORGEOUS….and I made it! It came out just the way I wanted it to. I made the length to just under the knee. You are correct, it was a little expensive to make….but oh so worth it. I’ll be wearing it to a wedding in the middle of April and I can’t wait!! So my opinion, if you have the time, make your own version, it will be FABULOUS!


  10. Lucy
    Apr 11, 2011 @ 12:23:28

    Fantastic, Milli H 🙂

    Do you have pictures which you could send a link to? I’m nosy!


  11. Milli H
    Apr 12, 2011 @ 21:02:08

    No pics yet but will make a plan and post a link in the next couple of days. Yes, I understand the “nosy” bit, I’m a little nosy too at times. Have you managed to start your dress yet?


  12. Milli H
    Apr 14, 2011 @ 00:13:47

    Here’s the picture…hope the link works!


  13. Flix
    Apr 14, 2011 @ 10:28:50

    I want that dress.


  14. Lucy
    Apr 21, 2011 @ 10:40:46

    Now that is cool!

    I’ve muslined the bodice, but have just been on holiday for a week so no further progress yet…


  15. Steve S
    May 18, 2011 @ 08:11:04

    I’ve thought about making a butterfly dress for my fiancée since I saw it in the window of the Luly Yang shop in Seattle. (Right, I can sew and she doesn’t.) Rather than trying to dye the butterfly pattern onto the fabric, my thought was to get an assortment of fabric colors, with solid black at the bottom, cut the other into the butterfly pattern, and sew them onto the black layer, overlapping slightly like roof shingles. I’ll use a less costly fabric, and if it comes out really good maybe I’ll make another with premium-cost materials.

    I once did a pattern with eagle wings, laurel branches, and other ancient Roman images, with cut pieces applied to a flat layer. Since I didn’t trust my artistic hand enough to cut the designs freehand, I went through a few tricks to get the design onto the cloth. I tried printing them onto paper and cutting the paper and fabric together, but that only worked for simple patterns. The trick that worked was to stiffen the cloth (with white glue diluted with water until it’s very runny, then dried on a flat waterproof surface) and run it directly through the printer. The feathers on the eagle wings looked really good that way. If I ever attempt the butterfly dress, I’ll do that again.


  16. vio
    Aug 07, 2011 @ 02:36:14

    where can i get that dress?


  17. Alina
    Jan 27, 2012 @ 21:36:07

    I just made this fabric at Spoon Flower. but I am too chicken to buy it. I have to buy at least one copy first before I can make it available for sale to the public.
    I know the original dress is done with big wings, so i made a fabric with as big a wings as a yard would hold, you know and trying to keep it the same size as the original. I figure it will take as least 2 panels to make a skirt, but would look better with maybe 6?


  18. Lucy
    Jan 28, 2012 @ 10:52:45

    It had occured to me that that would have been another way to do it, Alina, although in the end I suspect that I liked the personal creativity of the silk painting more. Then again, I was heading for a more “inspired by” than a true knock-off.

    I must find some pictures to post on here of how it turned out!


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