Thursday, 25 October 2012

Real Wedding: Glamorous Retro Bride

This is Sophie, who wanted an old fashioned type of glamour on her wedding day.

Late news item: the photos of Sophie's wedding were taken by Tapas Maiti and you can find more info about him and his service at

Isn't the picture above lovely? I think the tones of the stone and tiles complement her beautifully.

Sophie had specific ideas about what she wanted - a dress that could be worn again, and a kind of detachable train, both of which should be in colours rather than the usual ivory.

Marrying in the Cathedral, she wanted to make an impression and fill the space, yet not be encumbered with the train later on in the day.

We looked at various images of glamorous women from the 1950s and Sophie even took a picture of a china ornament that she owned, to get the feel of the slightly 'bouffed' train look that was required.

Sophie's dress is a dusty pink silk overlaid with an ivory and gold beaded lace. The challenge was finding the right dress and train colours to complement the lace. I have some close up images of the lace to show you next time - it's really pretty.

In the picture below, she has removed the train for dancing, which shows off the simple fishtail shape of the wedding gown underneath. And taken her hair down, I notice - so two looks in one!

I think the glamorous look was achieved - she looks splendid in my opinion :)

I'll post some more images of the dress and train in close-up during manufacture, next time.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Work in progress, continued

Remember this dress I showed a picture of at the toile stage?

Well it's slowly progressing! Above was the toile (prototype) made from calico. Yes, I pinned all those pieces on something that it's then necessary to take apart again.

Below is a picture of the real silk dress in progress.

Today I started beading those squares onto the main body of the dress. Phew!

I really enjoy this sort of day, working on something where I'm sitting still and doing a repetitive task like this can be very relaxing and leaves my mind free to wander.

But I think the idea of doing this sort of work does weird things to my brain: First thing in the morning, I optimistically think such things as 'Yes, I'm sure I'll have half the dress done by sunset'. The sun is not yet set, but it is fading, and I'm about 1ft up from the hem at the back... and I'm not hanging about!

It's important that I get the timings right, as this is a sample dress and needs to be priced correctly.

Whilst working on the above, I've also moved forward in the audio book that is Bleak House by Charles Dickens. I have to be in the right mood for this story as it seems to be as epic as the beading on the dress, so they're well matched today!

Progress all round! :o)

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Mother of the bride, groom and anyone else...

...if you aren't a mother of somebody, that's OK too.

I've recently been making a dress for a mother of the groom. I have made a few 'mums' over the years, but it's not something I do regularly.


Anyway, I thought I'd get my act together and take some pics of work in progress of this dress, and up to the finish.


This is a very simple shift dress, quite Audrey looking. I tend to make relatively simple dresses for bridal party people, because often they might not be the type of person that likes wearing matching dress, jacket, hat, bag and shoes etc. I get the idea from feedback that it can be quite tough to find an outfit if you don't feel like a typical bridal party mother (as dictated by the high street), or if you just want something easy.

Or perhaps the wedding or event is a small and/or quiet affair and a simpler dress is required? Whatever the reason, I like making dresses like this, and have lots of 'why don't I make more of these/make one for myself?' type of moments, when I'm making them.

In the past, when I have received an enquiry, I've often said I don't make anything (for sale) other than bridal gowns, but as you can see, I am shifting perspective on this.

The reason for saying the above, is/was purely practical: sourcing fabric for an outfit other than a wedding dress can be tricky. It can sometimes take days, weeks, months, and in one case, years, to find the right fabric.

These days, in most cases, I ask that the client, that's anyone other than 'the bride', supplies the fabric. So for example, the fabric for this dress I'm showing you was supplied by the client, and I supplied the trims, beads and linings, which we discussed when she originally came to talk about having something made.

Alternatively, the client could come and discuss ideas and we could decide what types of fabric might be best, before they then go off for a fabric finding day.  Sometimes I am able to supply the fabrics, but that is almost always a silk or silk blend.

The design often develops as I/we look at the fabric, talks about requirements, and generally get a feel for the event and personality of the client. Sometimes, the client comes along with a definite idea of what they would like, and that's OK too, as long as the fabric works with the design. So if you're not sure about the fabric, but are sure about the design, it's better to wait until we've discussed it, or to get a small sample of the fabric, just in case it might not be suitable.

This dress is going to be worn with black pashmina shawl, tiny black hair piece, black strappy shoes and pearl accessories. Easy.