Abbey Ramirez-Bodley knew she wanted a vintage-style wedding gown for her Oct. 27 wedding, but she wasn’t able to find one she loved within her budget.
“I looked and looked and looked and the ones I liked were outrageously expensive,” the 22-year-old newlywed from Tulsa, Okla., told ABC News.
That’s when the creative bride came up with a much more personalized plan -- crocheting her own dress.
“I came across a girl that had kind of done the same thing and also had crocheted doilies, but I think it was short and didn’t have sleeves,” she recalled. “I showed the picture to my aunt and asked her if it was possible to do something like that. She taught me to crochet when I was four or five. We didn’t have a pattern. It was a lot of guesswork.”
Ramirez-Bodley and her aunt, Jennifer Wollard, ultimately spent eight months working on the gorgeous gown, making individual handmade crocheted doilies in their own time and then reuniting to piece them together, which proved much more difficult than expected.
“It’s all hand sewn and we started on the skirt,” the bride explained. “Then we went to the top, then we had to improvise the band to give it shape a little bit. By that point it was getting pretty heavy so we had to come up with a solution to stabilize it a little bit. [Wollard] used a see-through fabric to base it around the sleeves and straps to give it that base and sturdiness it needed.”
The hardest part about the entire homemade project was easily the sleeves.
“The sleeves were a nine-hour day,” said Ramirez-Bodley. “The bad thing about that was I had already crocheted all the doilies. But figuring out how to lay them around the armpit and getting the right length was hard. It was really hard. It was the longest stretch we sat down together and worked on it.”
But the ladies did finally finish, adding a “wavy boarder around the bottom” as a final effect.
How much did all that yarn ended up costing?
“I don’t think we spent more than $70 on yarn so that wasn’t too bad. I had a lot of coupons,” she said.
How much yarn was used to complete her bridal masterpiece?
“Two miles and 1,400 yards of yarn,” said Ramirez-Bodley. “The rolls we buy have how many yards it is, and I took how many yards we used and charted it into miles. Once you invest so much time in that, you want to know. I don’t want people to think this is something we just whipped up in no time. Without a pattern it was really difficult. We were just as amazed as everybody else.”
The dress was a surprise for a lot of her wedding guests who were mesmerized by its intricacy and attention to detail.
“Everybody loved it,” she said. “A few people kept my aunt tied up all night asking questions about it.”
Although her now husband had seen the dress while it was in the works, the final reveal on the big day in was still an overwhelming moment.
“When I told him I was going to do this he said he didn’t think it would work,” Ramirez-Bodley recalled. “He was amazed by the final piece of it. But anybody that knows me knows that I would choose this over a bought dress.”