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Diary of a Wedding

27th October 2018

Aside from teaching, I am always working on private commissions, whether designing and making clothes or interior soft furnishings.

This year a large portion of my time was taken up preparing for my own daughters wedding.  Here is an idea of what was involved from conception to the big day.

The first meeting of Bride and Bridesmaids was in January when I took measurements and then did design drawings for each dress.  The Bridal gown was inspired from a picture on Pinterest.  A strapless foundation, over layed with spot tulle to the neck, then a full cape tier from the off-shoulder line, embroidered from the hem with tendrils of flowers.  the lower section, silk with silk georgette overlay (this being open at the front to reveal a glimpse of the silk)…..floaty and epherial!

The two adult bridesmaids were completely different in height and build, so had designs to suit them.  The taller, a retro Biba style full length dress with yoke, cross over at the front, slight blouson waist and full puff sleeves with deep cuffs fastened with lots of tiny buttons and loops.  The shorter petite bridesmaid an off the shoulder, boned bodice, 3/4 sleeve, full knee length skirt fifties style.

Then the two small girls …. a classic puff sleeve waisted dress with a lace overlay on the bodice.  Then fabric samples are chosen and ordered.

Next I plan in all the appointments throughout the year up to the wedding:

Toile fits (calico mock up of each dress) for the adult dresses and choose final fabrics from samples ordered

First fits with actual fabric for adult bridesmaids

First fitting for the Bride

Second fits for the adult bridesmaids

First fit for the little ones

Second fit for the Bride

Second fit or the little ones, final fit for adult bridesmaids

Final fit or the Bride

…..then make mine!

This all takes around 9 months with around 6 to 7 dates in the diary so you really do need to plan in advance.

The bridal dress needed a lot of thought and planning…the cape section was an eliptical circled I had to calculate the circumference to work out if a length embroidered lace we had seen would be enough to provide (once carefully cut out and hand sewn on) all the tendrils and border to cover the circular edge.  This part of the dress took a very long time, cutting out and hand sewing every embellishment probably took around 30 hours!  the dress itself had a silk lining, a canvas, boned foundation layer, then two further layers of silk and silk georgette.  The inner dress had to hold up on its own as the spot tulle would not be strong enough to support it from the shoulder.  We needed trim for around the neck and shoulder line and small buttons for the back neck. It was on a trip to London to find the fabric for my outfit that we found these.

Then my outfit would be last.  I chose to make a sleeveless floaty dress and chanel style jacket.

The wedding was to be in a country barn in late September.. so a deep forest green silk velvet was chosen for the bridesmaids with rose gold accessories and a lovely sparkly lace overlay for the small dresses.  All the fabrics would be pure silk…. you really do get what you pay for!  I found my fabric and trim in Joel & Son Fabrics, a lovely large floral silk and then a cream basket weave for the jacket with all the colours of the dress within the flecks. The rose gold buttons for the bridesmaid dress we found in Liberties.

There is only so much you can do before each fitting, especially when working with velvet…which crush marks very easily, at the same time you only get 3 opportunities to get it fitting perfectly.

I love the planning and whole process.  I did get time to make mine in the last month and felt exactly as I had hoped when the big day came.  Like Mother of the Bride, but with a bit of an edge!

We couldn’t control the weather…it rained all day.  However they all looked beautiful and just how I had imagined that first day in January!

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