Friday, 25 November 2011

This week

On the practical side, this week has been spent:

pattern cutting,

altering toiles,

layering and sewing lace dress pieces and removing the beads from the seam allowances,

snapping needles on the beads in the seam allowances that escaped removal,

admiring the motifs. All while listening to (and occasionally getting slightly irritated by) Stephen Fry, but I think he'd understand.

Friday, 18 November 2011

A '70's inspired country wedding

I've wanted to show you this dress for ages, because I really enjoyed making it! It felt like a real  creative collaboration between myself and the bride Sarah's family - especially her mum, who deserves a medal for going over and above the call of duty in the crochet department!

I only have pictures of the later stages of the dress manufacture and the wedding, but the dress idea started from Sarah's mother's wedding dress which was from the 1970's and very of its time; it had quite a vintage hippy vibe to it, very free-flowing and made of cotton with embroidered areas, sleeves and flowery trim. I wish I had a picture to show you.

Anyway, Sarah wanted to emulate the feel of that dress but with a modern feel which was more 'her'.

This picture (above) of Sarah in an early fitting, shows her wearing the calico toile, which is perhaps closest in feel and look to her mother's dress, but without the embellishment. (That's my hand poking out from her back, I think I may have been hiding.)

During the early stages we discussed embellishment for the dress and Sarah spotted some crochet flowers on one of my existing dresses:

You can spot one of them at the base of one of the straps above and others behind and hanging off the corsage. I gave Sarah's mother the pattern for these flowers and she came up with these:

Aren't they great? So tiny and neat. I was impressed, and so was Sarah who decided to have a band of them around her dress under the bust line.

Here she is nearing the end of manufacture. The dress was made of a light silk satin backed crepe and several layers of silk Georgette, all in a lovely creamy, vanilla ice-cream colour. One of Sarah's main words for the original brief was 'comfort'.

So there's no boning, just lots of lovely fabric to relax and waft about in. The head-dress was her mother's original.

Back to the flowers, here they are on the actual dress. As the overall look was very matt, we decided to add some pearls to the centre of the crochet flowers, which helped hi-light them. And that frayed edge of Georgette above the flowers wasn't planned, we just liked the look of it during the fittings and decided to keep it that way.

That's me grovelling around with hem layers. You can see some of the multi layered feel of the dress as Sarah holds it during the fitting.

I'll show you the pictures of the wedding next time.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Short dress

Here's one of my recent brides getting married this summer in California.

Here she is in her final fitting. The dress was made from layers of silk organza over silk dupion, with button fastening and little bow details at the back.

The simplicity of the design speaks for itself I think, - an easy to wear knee (or just below) length dress with fabulous contrasting shoes.

I enjoy it when the shoes make a contrast to the dress. Perhaps I'll collate some other images of funky shoe contrast for future viewing...

Friday, 7 October 2011

Smile : wearing

Remember this wedding from my last post?

I wanted to show you some of the actual day and the dress being worn. As there were so many pictures, I thought I'd divide them up into separate posts.

Off to the woods...

Love these pictures of the bride Tash, having a waft :)

She looks great in that late summer sun with the seedheads behind her and the flowers in her hair. A really laid-back feel for a chilled-out wedding.

I'll show you a few more at a later date.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Smile : making

The other day I received some photos from one of my recent brides, and they made me smile in a big way. They were just so her.

After I'd looked through them I remembered that I'd taken pictures of her wedding dress throughout the process and that I'd taken quite a few. So as there are many images relating to this wedding and I would like to show most of them, I thought I'd break it up into a few posts.

The shot above is of Tash, the bride and her new husband. I thought I'd put this one in first as, even though you can't see any detail, it has such a faded, atmospheric, summery charm to it. I love that they are in a wheat field :)

I thought it pleasant to show you a romantic and wedding-y picture before going back to the nitty-gritty reality shots about the process of making a bespoke bridal gown.

Ah, the glamour of calico, pen and pins. This is the under-layer toile of the dress - the basic shape made in calico.

This dress was a joint project and Tash had a lot of input into the dress. We kind of designed it as we went along. It started with an idea of shape and that it would be a strapless dress, but apart from that, it was more of a 'mood' than a concrete design to start.

Tash loved the gauzy look of tulle (fine net). The words: fairy, waft, dance, woodland, white witch, simple, textured, smooth, chilled-out were mentioned and discussed.

The look is very much of random textural pleating rather than a regular symmetry, the whole thing grew in an organic way.

One of the challenges about this type of work, and I imagine all creative commissioned work, is interpreting someones words; what do they actually mean? And is that meaning the same for me as it is for them? There is always a lot of checking and re-checking both verbal and practical in this type of work. Its also one of the areas I enjoy - I like finding out what makes people tick :)

Wanting lots of softness and 'waftiness', we decided that chiffon and tulle would be a good combination. The chiffon in random pleats and an overlay of tulle for the gauzy effect.

Tash wanted a slightly duller look to the dress colour tone, rather than a straight ivory colour, so the under-layer is a few tones darker than the overlayers.

These pictures show the very beginning with the layers of chiffon pinned onto the under-dress while Tash is actually wearing it. They are then hand sewn.

Back to the stand and the back is formed and attached. This part takes some time to do.

Below we jump forward a bit and the tulle over layer has been added over the top. At this stage the dress is almost finished. I loved how the sharp sunlight shows the gauzy tulle. That 'bunchiness' of tulle around the base was something Tash liked the look of a lot...

...and the challenge was retaining the bunchy texture of the tulle while keeping much of the rest of the dress smoother, and so that she could walk in it.

Once this was established, I was standing and staring at the dress and having a think, which is something I do a lot during these processes, and I wondered what it would look like with a bit of extra trim added... just as an experiment:

This lace trim is called 'eyelash' trim :)

As Tash didn't want buttons, I covered the back zip seam with it as well...

...and tied it in a bow at the base of the zip, just because.

These trims stayed as part of the overall design.

Almost finished. Not the best shot, but the above image shows some of the gauzy moire effect of the tulle over the chiffon, and below a full length, almost finished bar the odd tweak, front.

On reflection, this dress was made in a similar way to how I might approach a brand new design. In other words, it was more of an idea than a concrete, sketched design. It was very much about the look of the tulle and a 'feeling' that was Tash's vibe.

Next post I'll show you the shots from the actual wedding.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Purest Green

Outside I can see so many lovely shades of green, more faded yellowy-green as befits early Autumn than the fresher blue-greens of spring, soon to be gone for a season or turned to brown by a plough. Brown is good too of course, it is the colour of chocolate after all, but green is such a relaxing and invigorating colour I think.

Last week I had an inspiring appointment with a potential client. Afterwards I was left with the impression that this was someone who was definitely doing 'her thing' for her wedding day.

Mentioning no names, she will be wearing green, possibly carrying a bouquet that includes mint.

That really caught my imagination and I was left with an impression of a zingy green theme, of invigorating green.

I've made several green dresses for weddings in the past, and I'm often unhelpfully reminded that green for weddings is often thought to be unlucky. Just so you know - I don't think this. Anyway, it prompted me to do some (light) research into why this should be so.

I found this poem here:
Married in White, you have chosen right,
Married in Blue, your love will always be true,
Married in Pearl, you will live in a whirl,
Married in Brown, you will live in town,
Married in Red, you will wish yourself dead,
Married in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow,
Married in Green, ashamed to be seen,
Married in Pink, your spirit will sink,
Married in Grey, you will go far away,
Married in Black, you will wish yourself back.
So if you're into this sort of thing, then it looks like white and blue are the safest, and pearl - maybe - depending on what sort of 'whirl' it might be that you end up living in. Brown is good too, if you love towns.

After finding this ditty, I continued reading as you do, and noticed that it is also thought to be unlucky for the bride to make her own dress (check) and to hear a cockerel crow before the wedding (check), as well as marrying in May (check)...

Do any of you possess further information about these customs and/or superstitions? I'd be interested to know more about them if so.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Archive wedding

Here's Karen from a few years back, wearing a silk Duchesse Satin gown with a random pleated effect across the body and a contrasting velvet shawl.

Karen is very petite, so the skirt width was especially important and was made to fit her proportionally with a bespoke made underskirt. I particularly like the wide square neck of this dress.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Archive weddings

I don't know why I didn't think of this beforehand, but hey, I have now, and that's the main thing.

One of my 'issues' with blogging about my work is that it is mainly private, so although I'm often working on stuff a year before the event, it would be unthinkable to show it. Once the event is over it can take a while for pictures to come through, so often I'm very busy, but my hands are tied with visuals.

Until now.

I've made 100s of dresses and outfits over the years, so why not show them? Somehow, to me, the concept of blogging has always felt very much 'in the moment' rather than the past, but why I should think this way, I don't know, and I'm not now.

This is the wedding of Sabine. It was some years back now, but her picture has graced many of my adverts and publicity over the years (and no doubt will continue to do so), because I think she looks stunning in these pictures and the design kind of sums up my work 'look'.

The dress she is wearing is called Fleur. It is no longer in my collection, but a new version should appear sometime soon. This original version is a very slim A-line shape, but actually looks straight when she is walking down the stairs. People have often compared this image and 'look' to Audrey Hepburn, and there is something of the elfin about Sabine in this dress. I still love it and she looks so happy :)

Friday, 19 August 2011

Dear followers of this blog....

....thank you so much for your interest - I love the fact that I have recently generated a new follower too - whoever you are!

There is, however, a problem with the 'Followers' part of my blog - I can't see you. I used to be able to, but now you've disappeared, hence my not knowing who my new follower is.

I've looked on Blogger Help and it seems there are about 1000 other people with the same problem (not joking - its widespread), and no real answers from the 'help' section. So, loyal followers, I'm going to delete you and try and reinstall you - at some point soon. I'm dragging my feet about it in the hope that you will just magically appear without me having to do anything.

So if you find yourself having disappeared from anything related to this blog, please don't 'unfollow' me, I will be frantically trying to reinstate you, no doubt in a blaze of rage against technology that I don't really understand.

Thanks for your patience and I'll be back soon with more weddingy type malarky.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Some nonsense!

For your amusement and diversion while I plough through the summer weddings, trusty sewing machine smoking, back aching, fingers stabbed with pin pricks, eyeballs smarting and feeling like I could do with one of those chest magnifying glasses that my gran used to use! Its all glamour here people.

I hope to be able to show you some of these weddings soon :)

In the meantime...

Pippa's bum, if you're interested...which of course, I'm not.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Recent Wedding - Alice

Here is one of my stunning spring brides to show you.

Alice came to see me last year, and more or less knew exactly what she wanted - wow - easy!

The first 3 images are her dress on the stand when it was almost finished. As you can see it was a full length, all-over lace dress, fitted...

...with shoulder straps and a fishtail shape.

Alice provided the brooch (which was actually a buckle that we adapted), and the shrug was something that was added towards the end, when thoughts of chilly weather were discussed.


Here she is with her father, pre-wedding.

...and there she goes - wedded with her chap!