Thursday, November 17, 2016

Wedding dress!

This post may get a bit long, in fact 'm fairly sure it may end up being more than one post!  It took ages for me to finally decide what I wanted to wear when I got married.  Mainly because what was most important to me was that I felt like me.  I went and tried loads of dresses on with my marvelous cousin Emma, and whilst it was great fun flouncing around in acres of satin and net, none of the dresses were right. I know some people have that 'moment' when they try on the perfect dress and fireworks burst over head, the orchestra plays and everything goes tra la, but I wasn't really expecting that to happen to me as I haven't known what I want to wear as a wedding dress since I was four!   There were several ones that I really liked and if I could not sew then I might have gone with one.  Over the years I have learnt what kind of dresses suit me and what styles I like;  I am a big fan of 1930's evening wear a la Vionnet, Schiaparelli and the Fred and Ginger movies. I love the simple lines and elegance of this period of fashion and I'm lucky that being fairly skinny and flat chested, I can wear bias cut without worrying about bulges (too much!).  From trying dresses on I also knew I wanted a cowl neck, as its very flattering to the less than amply endowed!  Bias cutting is not my favorite thing when drafting patterns, the additional dimension of the stretch across the bias means you pretty much chuck out the usual rules for pattern drafting... So I decided to save myself a lot of time and swearing and check to see if any of the pattern companies had something similar that I could adapt.  I was so lucky that Vogue had this pattern, V2965.  It had all the main points, slightly 1930's feel, cowl neck and bias cut; the low back would also be approved of by my future husband ;-)

My fabric choice was kind of made for me, in that bias cut really only works in fabric that drapes beautifully and preferably is a natural not man-made fabric. Natural fibres have more stretch and every time I've made a bias cut dress, the silk ones just work better than the man made fabric. I did think about having a patterned fabric but in the end I opted for a rich, strong colour (being as pale as I am, white or ivory really don't suit me - unless dragged from the grave is a look you find attractive!).  I found my material at the wonderful shop Borovicks on Berwick Sreet in Soho.  I was originally looking for a pale blue, but the assistant showed me the peacock silk in the sunlight of the shop front and I was sold!  There was also matching silk habotai for the lining and georgette for the detachable train.

I followed the pattern pretty closely, marking the silk with thread tacks rather than chalk or carbon paper, so there would be no danger of it leaving marks and spoiling the dress.  Vogue patterns have always been my favorite of the commercial brands as they always go together really well with no fudging to get marks and seams to match.  My main deviation was the embroidery I designed to cover the top of the detachable train.
Bias cut layout.
many, many thread tacks!

Because the dress has a slight 1930's feel I wanted the beaded cover for the top of the train to have an art deco feel to it.  The design is very geometric and was inspired by some architectural elements I found in one of my many art deco books.  I used my embroidery machine to embroider a template to follow, then hand beaded all the gorgeous beads onto it by hand,  They were a mixture of Swarovski crystals and silver lined teal Toho seed and bugle beads  (I bought them from the marvelous online bead shop I-beads) .  It took quite a long time to make but was definitely worth the effort.  I made the motif as a seperate entity to the actual train so that you can wear the dress with the motif and the train, or just with the motif by itself.
Embroidered template

The detachable train is a really lovely idea and I added some more beads over the chiffon for extra sparkle, cos you can never have too much sparkle! The pattern went together really easily with no problems matching up seams and markings. So thats it, the tale of my wedding dress. I'll finish with a couple more of PaulmWhite's wonderful photos.