Burda Magazine 2-2009-124: The Officiant Dress

Here’s the happy couple!!

Saturday night I officiated my friend’s wedding. It was beautiful! Her dress was amazing. Like, seriously, amazing.

Not only did I finish my dress on time, I had several people tell me how well the dress colors fit into her plum and grey wedding. Since there was a large NYC / PR / fashion contingency, I was asked a few times if I was a designer. Well, first they asked if I had a theater background and then when they found out I made my dress, they asked I was a designer. It’s so funny how it just doesn’t occur to people that you might sew for *fun*.

I went back to my celebrant dress (Burda 2-2009-124) last Friday night. I don’t know why I was so unhappy with it. I’m not sure if the style isn’t me or it just wasn’t what I wanted to be sewing, but the only thing I liked was the beautiful Carolina Herrera poly jacquard from Mood Fabrics (seemingly backordered / sold out since my August purchase) . I sewed a 40 on top grading to the largest size on the bottom. Fundamentally, I realize I just sewed a dress that was too big for me. I should have made a 38 grading to a 42.

After sleeping on it, I decided:

  • to peg the hem and taper the bottom for a very narrow pencil, while adding a slit for walking ease
  • to release one inch (total) on each side at my saddle bags to rid myself of drag lines across my thighs
  • take  in one inch from each side of the waist — hoping to eliminate some of the ‘block’ look I was getting.
  • taper the shoulders by taking out two inches at the neckline and blending into the original seam line at the shoulder.

Sigh. Yeah. I’ve been slacking off in the gym and my mental state reflected this as I was sewing. I just thought the original was boxy on me and I looked like a shiny present. This though, this is better. My shoes were ordered from Zappos days before the wedding. I wanted silver to dress up the outfit, and I took some flats with me too. I cannot wear four-inch heels for six hours 🙂 That being said, I bought them in a size 9 and by the end of the night they were a 9.5. I’m thinking of reselling them on eBay.

My friend Julia came as my date…

It’s so interesting to see the colors of the dress shifting depending on the lighting.


…and my mom flew in from Florida to watch me officiate.


And now, it’s all over! I’m so glad I stuck it out with the pattern and despite early reservations, the material was *perfect*. Gah. I’m so happy I got to pick it out in person at Mood when I was in NYC. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it.

The venue was the George Peabody Library here in Baltimore. My friend told me when she was my intern 12 years ago that she was getting married here. Over the years, I managed to stay on her running guest list. I never imagined I would be up front marrying her to the perfect man for her.

Here’s a photo of the library (image from Conde Nast Traveler)

I’m not in these, but here’s a Facebook sneak peak of the wedding photos from the very talented photographer. Does it sound dumb when I tell you I didn’t realize I’d be part of the posed photos? LOL! Seriously. It didn’t occur to me. The photographer even noticed my color coordination.

It was such an honor to be part of a gorgeous ceremony with two of my favorite people.


  1. Wow, I didn´t think much of the fabric at first, but made into this fabulous dress, it is stunning! Not only did you match the colour theme perfectly, these colours really look nice on you! Well done! I also love the shoes!

  2. You look wonderful! All the changes you made are perfect; that’s one thing about this pattern, I don’t like the one I made very much and I finally realized is because it is too big on me, this style needs to be fitted to look good. The colors in your dress coordinate perfectly with her color scheme. You did good!;-)

  3. Okay, WOW!!! The dress looks perfect on you! I was a little nervous for you earlier on but am so glad it all came together. You look beautiful and the fabric was totally the right choice.

  4. Well, it just goes to show that persistence wins in the end. You look fabulous, truly, you got it all done, and you survived with a beautiful smile on your face. You have my admiration for getting all this done on time. What an honor to be asked, and what a success to do it in such style.

  5. You look beautiful! The shoes are a perfect complement to your dress. Love the pic of you and your mom, and the venue is fabulous. I can see why the bride wanted her wedding there.

  6. Can I second that you looked beautiful! That your alterations were pitch perfect and that the shoes really enhanced the dress! I’m so glad that this worked out for you and that the wedding went off without a hitch…fantastic job! Oh and I’m so glad that you’re Mom was able to be there too!

  7. Just Beautiful! It is easy to see why you received so many compliments. The final version of your dress is a great fit, very flattering and gorgeous fabric.

  8. Gorgeous dress! Your makeup is great, too. When I look at the back view, I do not think, “She has been slacking off at the gym.” I think, “I wish I had a butt.” I actually made a pencil skirt once, but the back view made me want to cry, and I never wore it.

  9. It was well-worth the effort – you look totally gorgeous! I love that fabric you chose, so perfect for the dress.

    Also WOOOOW at that library. Just… wow. I want to go there!

  10. My goodness girl, you almost outshone the bride! And there is nothing wrong with your figure, I wish I looked that good in a fitted dress. (BTW, I have a 36 year old son that would be very impressed by you. I know, he’d say, “Mom don’t match me up, I’ll do it myself!”)

  11. Dude, seriously you look amazing! What’s not to like. The dress fits great and it’s a nice style with the material. The fabric is the story of this dress so a fussy, complicated style wouldn’t have worked. You took this dress to a modern Mad (wo)Man place.

    P.s. That bridal dress is almost as pretty as the bride.

  12. The dress is beautiful, you look beautiful…I think that part of the “boxy” feeling you have is that you need to lower the neckline a bit…or loose the cap sleeves..the cap sleeves, the raglan cut and the high neck visually broaden you.. i would either cut the neck into a deeper “V” or would cut the sleeves off and create a cut away shoulder line. you have good strong arms. The sleeve hits juts above a broad/muscular part of your arm…the same way that you don’t want a jacket hem hitting you at the broadest part of your butt…this is making your arms/upper body look broad rather than muscular. I am broad shouldered and I find that raglan sleeves tend to make me look like a box as well. it isn’t a flaw with your body..but a flaw with the dress design. I think that the fix isn’t difficult.

  13. HELLO and knock it off !! your being to hard on your self.your cutting edge fashon fabric is ELECTRIFYING like MICHELLE OBAMA dress !!!And you look stunning !! my only suggestion is try steaming the seams/dress-it works wonders. no irons on that fab fabic !! laurali

  14. You look amazing and what an awesome variety of questions and compliments you received. I loved the fabric from the start and the finished product is fantastic.

  15. Just have to say you look so gorgeous! It was so fun watching the whole process, deliberations included. Job well done.

  16. The bride looks lovely & her dress looks like it’s gorgeous! I really like your dress too – it looks fantastic on you. It’s flashy, flattering & dignified all at the same time. Congrats on pulling it all off!

  17. Beautiful! Honestly, I think simple, clean lines and a good fit was the way to go for such a show-stoppping fabric – great call on that. You look terrific in this dress.

  18. You and your dress looked absolutely stunning!! Gorgeous fabric and such a great fit — think it shows off your “fitness” very nicely 🙂

  19. You looked stunning – I LOVE that fabric and the fit alterations you made to the dress meant it looked great on you! Your friend is beautiful – congratulations to them! And your shoes are GORGEOUS.

  20. That dress is lovely. You look fantastic. So glad it turned out and what a honor to officiate. Life is amazing isn’t it.

  21. Celie, I just found your blog and I love it – your clothes are beautiful! So I am looking at your archives and see your comment on scissor sharpening. (I did the same thing with half off coupon – bought another pair). BUT did you know Gingher will tune and sharpen your Gingher scissors for just $7.50, including postage to mail back to you? My shears were all out of whack and very dull. They came back like new!

  22. You should have said, “yes, I can design original dresses.” Having gone to a lot of shows lately in Fashion Week in NYC I’ve always been asked if I’m a designer, especially when I tell them I made my own dress and have a sewing blog. I don’t think it occurs to them that sewing can be a great hobby as well.

  23. This whole wedding looks spectacularly beautiful and you really fitted in with your stunning dress. The fiddling you had to do with the fit was well worth it and this will be a great cocktail dress to have in your closet for the future too. And the shoes are divine!

  24. Lovely couple! Your dress turned out beautifully!! It fits you like a glove! and you and your mommy look so sweet together!

  25. You made the comment about not be happy with something, but honestly, it’s a beautiful dress, and you look sensational in it.

  26. You look beautiful; the dress is beautiful all in all a successful garment. What an amazing venue, a fairy tale setting. Mazel tov on being a part of the Mood network. It sounds like an amazing opportunity.

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