Alt Handmade // Tulle Party Dress with Joy Laforme Silk

My friends, I’m off to party for the next couple weeks. Today I take off for Salt Lake City to attend Alt Summit for the first time. For those of you who don’t know, Alt Summit is a huge design blogger conference held each year. It’s going to be a weekend overflowing with new friends, inspirational lectures, on-trend fashion, networking with potential sponsors, and lots and lots of over-the-top parties! I’ve watched recaps of the conference for the past couple years, and always thought it looked incredible, so last year I decided that I would prepare myself to attend in 2013 and when tickets went on sale, I was ready (which was good, since they sold out in just a couple hours!)

After I bought my ticket, the two first things that came to mind were: “What do I want my business cards to look like?!” and “What am I going to wear?” They might seem like silly concerns, but both fashion and business cards are in the spotlight at Alt. Luckily, I’ve got both figured out in time to feel prepared and confident heading into what I’m sure will be a whirlwind weekend.

Alt Summit Tulle Dress- Joy Laforme Fabric- One Little Minute

I met Joy Laforme in an online Alt Summit class a couple months ago (ps all the classes are free this month, check them out!), and we got to talking. She mentioned she was a designer, hoping to get into fabric design. She already sells on Spoonflower, but was hoping for a more professional setup. I told her I was friends with a fabric designer who may be helpful. Over a couple emails, the idea emerged for me to create some sample garments using Joy Laforme fabric, that she could use in her portfolio. She sent over a few pattern samples, and I chose my favorite. Then I sketched a couple different dresses, and she chose her favorite. I was to make two dresses, one for me and one for Joy.

Even though the time was short, I thought it would be fun to create a dress to wear at Alt, both because I needed a completely unique party dress, and because I could tell everyone that Joy Laforme designed this gorgeous watercolor print! Win-Win.

Alt Summit Handmade - One Little Minute Blog - Pleated Detail

The dress we collaborated on is a whimsical, fancy, and girlish. I just love every detail. This material is the silk/cotton blend from Spoonflower. The silk adds an incredible drape and sheen, and the cottongives the fabric body and a nice weight. I’m totally smitten by it. I think the print just shines on this gorgeous fabric.

The bodice itself is very simple, with side darts at the bust, a deep scoop neck, and three-quarter length sleeves. Longer sleeves are so unusual on party dresses, and I think they are wonderful! The waistband has some pleating detail, and then the three-quarter circle skirt is overlaid with five layers of tulle to break up the print a little bit, and give it some texture and dimension.

Alt Handmade - One Little Minute Blog - Tulle Party Dress

To give the skirt it’s fullness, I tightly gathered strips of tulle and added them to the bottom of the lining, creating a little poof at the hemline. It’s just enough to fill out the drapes of the circle skirt. And it also makes me feel like a princess! I mean, tulle? On a grown-up party dress? The coolest.

Alt Handmade- One Little Minute Blog - Joy Laforme Party Dress

I had a blast designing and creating the pattern for this dress. First, I draped muslin on my dress form to create the correct silhouette, place the darts, and fit the sleeves. Next I traced my draped muslin pieces onto paper, corrected the lines, trued the corners, and double-checked measurements. Finally, I made a second muslin using my paper pattern, to ensure a great fit. I only had 3 yards of this wonderful fabric, and no room for error! Luckily, my precision paid off. The dress fits perfectly. And it is absolutely twirlable. Can you tell I like it?

Alt Summit Party Dress - One Little Minute Blog

After finishing, I had to complete the outfit with perfect shoes. I did a preliminary search online at my favorite department and shoe stores. Then, would you believe that I popped into Off Broadway Shoes for ten minutes on my way to meet friends for dinner last week and found them? Gorgeous grey suede heels with copper t-straps, on sale. Fate smiles upon the hard-working seamstress.

Alt Summit Handmade - Tahari Heels - One Little Minute Blog

As I thought about and prepared for making this party dress, ideas started to form for all of the other parties and events happening at Alt Summit. Before I knew it, I had designed my whole (mostly new) wardrobe in my head! When I get a design idea, it’s pretty hard to shake until it’s made, so I decided to go ahead and handmake my Alt Summit wardrobe. And if I was making most of it, why not make it official and go 100% handmade? So I am. Every item of clothing I wear at Alt Summit (except my winter outerwear) will be something I cut and sewed myself. While the Stretch Yourself Series  was happening on the blog, I was busy behind the scenes “stretching myself” by sewing with silk, tulle, sequins, velvet, and lots and lots of knits! I’ll be sharing these handmade outfits, my Alt Summit Business cards, and a couple other fun things over the two weeks that I’m away. (After my weekend at Alt, I’ll be heading up to Seattle with my sisters and mom for a girls’ trip to celebrate my upcoming (ahem….thirtieth…ahem) birthday! Then, I’ll spend a few more days with family in Utah before coming home.)

If’ you’re curious about Alt Summit, and want to “live vicariously” as my good friend put it, follow along with me on instagram (@livefreemiranda)! I’m sure there will be lots of photo ops to share!


  1. Posted January 22, 2013 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    The dress is a-mazing! Well done.

    • Miranda
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 12:54 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Katie. It helps to start with fabulous fabric. I know you understand that:)

  2. Posted January 22, 2013 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    This dress is really breathtaking, and the tulle overlay on the skirt is just so brilliant! Thanks for sharing!

    • Miranda
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 12:53 am | Permalink

      Thank you! That’s my favorite part!

  3. brooke
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Oh man, love love love! The print. The design. The sleeves. The neckline. The shoes! Seriously, you’re starting out strong with this one :). Have a fun trip, can’t wait to read all about it!

    • Miranda
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 12:51 am | Permalink

      So happy you love it! I’ll be thinking of you as I insta the heck out of this weekend:)

  4. Holly
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Lovely dress!! Love the watercolor look 🙂 have fun at Alt-so jealous!

    • Miranda
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 12:51 am | Permalink

      Thank you Holly! I’m totally drawn to watercolor prints, too! I’m sure I will have fun, thank you!

  5. Posted January 22, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    what a happy, happy dress! LOVE the tulle on the outside! you are going to be the belle of the alt summit ball.

    • Miranda
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 12:50 am | Permalink

      You’re sweet, thank you! I love the tulle, too. It’s been a long time since this girl’s worn tulle:)

  6. Posted January 22, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    I am so, so, SO impressed! Not only with the dress(it’s magical), but with your commitment to going 100% handmade! I can’t wait to see photos!

    • Miranda
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 12:49 am | Permalink

      I had a lot of fun;) Now I just can’t wait to wear it all!

  7. Posted January 22, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Gorgeous dress! I LOVE it! What a fun collaboration!

    • Miranda
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 12:48 am | Permalink

      Thank you! Joy is really so amazing!

  8. Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Miranda! It turned out sooo amazing, I love the print, love the design. Totally gorgeous! I can’t to see all your other outfits, (you’re freaking crazy/amazing/unbelievable!) I seriously don’t know how you managed to fit all this in, AND preschedule all this for when you’re gone. ?!!?? xoxo

  9. Posted January 28, 2013 at 1:03 am | Permalink

    So nice to meet you at the Method Party! Your dress was AMAZING!

    • Miranda
      Posted January 29, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      It was so nice to meet you, too! You looked gorgeous and I love your site! ALT was just over the top cool:)

  10. Posted February 2, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    Great to meet you and see your tulle dress on the dancefloor at Alt! Loved the collabo with another designer and I didn’t realize all your clothing had been 100% handmade. Amazing!

    • Miranda
      Posted February 4, 2013 at 12:54 am | Permalink

      So fun to meet you, too! I loved your silk screened business cards! What a fun project.

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