1st Place

“Death kindly stopped for me”



Teresa Pilar Marchand

(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Mega props to my mom for helping me out with the photos last minute!

Outline the story …

The creation of this dress was inspired by the poem, "Because I could not stop for Death" by Emily Dickinson.

In the poem, a voice (perhaps the soul of Dickinson) is enchanted with death while slowly grasping that it is passing on from life. Accompanied by death personified, the soul travels though all the stages of earthly life and finally arrives at her own grave, realizing she is in the afterlife. To evoke part of the spirit of the poem, a ghostly love affair, the dress resembles both a wedding gown and a shroud.

I took literal inspiration from this line in the poem and made the dress all in sheer cotton lawn.
"The Dews drew quivering and Chill-
For only Gossamer, my Gown-"

This is a short poem, only 24 lines, but it takes place over centuries.
"Since then – 'tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day"
The poem has a pervading feeling of slowness, of a loss of time. Since 90% of this dress was handsewn, the unhurried, tarried feeling of the poem felt captured in my fingers and I feel, rests in the gown.

Outline the construction…

I'm really proud to say that this dress pushed my skills TO THE LIMIT and I now feel a better sewist! I challenged myself to embrace the slow process of getting a good fit and putting it together purposefully, beautifully Everything in this ensemble was done by hand, except for the long straight seams, so about 90%

I made the corded petticoat (with the yards of cord sewn in by hand), and two more petticoats, one with cartridge pleating and a shaped waistband and the other, just a simple gathered skirt.

The corset was a challenge! I was having trouble finding a pattern that I liked, so I thought draping a corset pattern would save time. In hindsight, that was no time saver! I've only made a couple of corsets and I was really out of my depth and lost in this whole process. I ended up making 7 mockups for the corset to arrive at something workable. The corset is single layer coutil and lightly boned.

For the dress, I modified a pattern from "Patterns of Fashion". The fit of the original bodice pattern was way off though, and it took much head scratching and MANY mockups to get a good fit. The dress is made from the sheerest cotton lawn I could find, with a lightly boned underbodice. The bottom edge of the bodice is finished off with double piping. The skirt has 1/8" cartridge pleating. The skirt flounces are hand eased over a tiny cord.




  1. Avatar KayB on March 11, 2021 at 6:33 pm

    Absolutely stunning! Well done!

  2. Avatar Martina Girardi on March 11, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    This looks so delicate and ethereal, also the way your hand pose fits so well with the whole image.

  3. Avatar Dia on March 11, 2021 at 9:02 pm

    This is so beautiful! It’s HARD to make a corset look breezy, and you’ve accomplished it brilliantly here. Absolutely stunning, and so impressive!

    • Avatar Elizabeth Phillips on March 12, 2021 at 11:26 pm

      This is GLORIOUS! You should be very proud!

  4. Avatar Franziska on March 11, 2021 at 9:11 pm

    Ohhhh your dress looks so light…as if it was made out of spiderweb and fresh air!

  5. Avatar Caroline Chwalisz on March 11, 2021 at 9:12 pm

    Wow! I love the 1840s! Your outfit is beautiful! I’m also impressed that you did most of it by hand. I know it takes quite a bit of time and lots of patience. You did a fantastic job!

    • Avatar Holz Lastname on June 7, 2021 at 2:27 pm

      I am drawn completely to this dress. It is ethereal ❤️ great job.

  6. Avatar Kylie ~ ePrintDesign on March 12, 2021 at 4:15 am

    This is STUNNINGLY beautiful!!

    • Avatar Charlotte on March 13, 2021 at 7:17 am

      I am missing the words to tell you just how amazing this is! Obviously, the dress itself is stunning, but I also love the inspiration you chose! Great great great work!

  7. Avatar Divya RV on March 12, 2021 at 6:52 am

    Love it Love it Love it. Absolutely beautiful. 🙂

  8. Avatar Jamie Lee on March 12, 2021 at 6:04 pm

    I Love it!!! I want it! I will have it!!! Just elegant!

  9. Avatar Lorna on March 12, 2021 at 8:31 pm

    So many fantastic pieces…every one amazing. But if I had to pick only one…just one….that stays and stays in my head and took my breath away with the simplicity and beauty on first sight it’s this lovely, heart-swoopingly lovely, gown. Applause for the result and the hours of handsewing and persistent application. It’s stunning and a character in its own right….

  10. Avatar Maria Jones on March 12, 2021 at 9:51 pm

    Beautiful! This looks like it came straight from a museum

  11. Avatar Jackie Jacobs on March 13, 2021 at 3:32 am

    Ethereal elegance oozes through ever seam and stitch in this garment. The gathering and gauging if impeccable. I think you will not be in the intermediate category for long. Your skills are amazing.

  12. Avatar Morgan Traynor on March 13, 2021 at 3:50 am

    Beautiful gathering! I am absolutely in love with the shape/frame of the dress. The tiered skirt to waistline is so wonderfully complemented by your v shaped front bodice and the sleeves. Looking at this beautiful dress makes me want to make one for myself. Love it!

  13. Avatar Liudmila Mainzer on March 13, 2021 at 6:17 am

    Love the workmanship on this

  14. Avatar Sarah Helgeson on March 13, 2021 at 4:43 pm

    This is stunning, like fog just floating on timeless.

  15. Avatar Camille on March 14, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    these pleats ! it must have taken hours and hours ! so flowy and beautiful.

  16. Avatar Leiza Grissino on March 14, 2021 at 5:17 pm

    Perfection- love the choice of literature and how it is embodied in the gown.
    I hope you can do some history bounding or reenacting and get a chance to wear it.

  17. Avatar Lisa Muner on March 14, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    The double piping on the bodice bottom border is amazing! I love it beyond everything else! 😍 well done!

  18. Avatar Alice Markey on March 14, 2021 at 6:30 pm

    This made my jaw drop! Everything about it is absolutely stunning, and an amazing interpretation of the story as well. Your dedication and hard work are inspiring! Congratulations.

  19. Avatar Leora Wambach on March 15, 2021 at 3:54 am

    I just find this so inspiring. I wish I could wear it and look half so lovely. I’m just such a fan of it. <3

  20. Avatar teresa marchand on March 15, 2021 at 3:45 pm

    Thank you all for your many kind and supportive words, I cant tell you how much it means!
    I feel so encouraged and motivated to keep sewing.
    Again, many thanks!

  21. Avatar Xenofon on March 18, 2021 at 5:58 pm

    This outfit is so beautiful! So delicate and elegant.

  22. Avatar Laura Wemyss on March 21, 2021 at 1:25 pm

    The perfect embodiment of your poem. And your work is so lovely and so very well done!

  23. Avatar Laura Ingalls Gunn on March 22, 2021 at 12:01 am

    A gossamer gown of ethereal loveliness!

  24. Avatar Rebecca on March 25, 2021 at 11:33 pm

    how beautiful! the details are simple and sumptuous, and it fits you so well!

  25. Avatar Benigna on March 26, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    This is beautiful! It´s so elegant and ethereal and the pictures fit wonderfully into your description of the poem.

  26. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 26, 2021 at 7:02 pm

    Beautiful job! Your gathering and pleating and eye for detail make me want one of this for myself! 😀

  27. Avatar Stephanie Murison on March 27, 2021 at 2:09 pm

    Really, really beautiful! You created an amazing shape with the corset, and really captured the ephemeral, gossamer feel described in the poem! Amazing work!

  28. Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 29, 2021 at 10:58 am

    This is BEAUTIFUL! I feel I want to run through a wheat field in a summer sunset wearing this dress haha ^^ So light and ethereal.

  29. Avatar Annick on March 30, 2021 at 6:55 am

    What a fantastic creation. The shape you achieved is deceptively simple, just like the white cotton fabric, and the result is stunning. I love it.

  30. Avatar Kate on March 30, 2021 at 8:46 pm

    Very Beautiful! Great Job!

  31. Avatar Theodore Allegrini on April 5, 2021 at 12:55 am

    This is so Ethereal… and those undergarments!!! 😍

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