Costume Diary: 1980s "Fergie" Wedding Gown (Butterick 4743)

For more photos of this costume go to the Fergie Wedding Gown page.

This dress was a special order from one of my previous customers. She wanted a wedding gown similar to that worn by Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, in the 1980s. This gown took 16 yards of satin and 3 yards of organza.

Resizing the Pattern
Making the Bodice and fixing the princess seam curves
Making the Sleeves
Making the Train

1980s Fergie Wedding Gown

Resizing the Pattern

Since I used a vintage pattern, it was not the correct size, and I had to resize it using the instructions from This turned out to be fairly straightforward.

Resizing a pattern Butterick 4743

Making the bodice and fixing the princess seam curves

There was a flaw in the pattern that I had to fix (unrelated to the resizing). The princess seams of the bodice did not lie flat. One side was puckered no matter how carefully I sewed it together:

how to fix princess seams puckered

In order to get the princess seams to lie flat, I had to redraw this portion of the pattern. Basically, the two sides of the curve should be closer to being a mirror image. Here's a photo of the original pattern curves:
How to fix princess seams

Here's the redrawn pattern piece on top of the old one:
How to make princess seams lie flat

And here's the new princess seam:
princess seam fix alteration

As you can see, the bodice looks nice and simple with smooth princess seams:
1980s Wedding Gown 1980s wedding gown

Making the Sleeves

I modified the sleeves (per the client's request) so that they closed with elastic at the elbows rather than having the pointy cuffs of the pattern. The interior of the sleeves are suppored by a massive stiff piece of fabric to hold the shape of the puff. Here's a photo of one sleeve with the support, and one without, so you can see the difference:

1980s Puffed Sleeves Wedding Gown

Making the Train

She wanted a train that was six feet long, so I added a couple of feet to the train pattern (which was easy since it was already a two part pattern piece). The train itself took three yards of satin and three yards of organza. It was pretty awkward to work with all that fabric when I was topstitching, but it turned out very pretty.

Cream Wedding Gown 1980s Long Train

1980s wedding gown organza train lining