Oct 312011

This happened in my pre-blog period 3 years ago, but I thought it should be written up, however tardily.


The wedding was to be on March 1st in a country church followed by a reception in a marquee.  So, that ruled out 99% of traditional bridal fare, not that I was too keen on loosing my Saturday’s to traipsing round Berketex et al for a strapless silky looking frock.  It was time to think imaginatively, and as the groom was a Scot with a lovely red tartan there were all sorts of possibilities before us.

After a wander along the Kings Road we went to a vintage clothing fair in Chelsea Town Hall and found this amazing, flocked dress for £60.  It didn’t quite fit, needed underwear, a good clean and a lot of imagination.  We decided to get it anyway, fully expecting it to end up as next Christmas’ party frock of choice.

Over the next few weeks it became apparent that bridal fayre was too awful to contemplate, and there just wasn’t anything between cruise wear collections and prom dresses that could possibly be suitable, so we decided to go with plan A.

The next step was to buy good underwear, the right shoes (which nearly gave the groom a heart attack when he saw they were black!) and get the scissors out.  We decided to loose the top, and replace it with something a little more likely to keep the draughts out.  A trip to Joel and son produced some black flocked net with sturdy corded silk to mount it on.

The next find was a beautifully fitted black velvet McQueen jacket which was hugely reduced in Liberty’s sale.  From then on it was clear.  The dress should have a corset style bustier to match the shape of the Rigby and Peller one underneath, and the skirt should have a net petticoat of several layers to accentuate the waist in the jacket.

Bustier bodice front

Bustier bodice back

With the investment jacket

The happy couple

Sep 202011

The dress’ first outing

A year or so ago Fiona got in touch with me to see if there was any way her Mother’s wedding dress, which she used to play dress up in as a child, could be brought back to life for her big day.

As you can see, the dress was lovely; turn of the century Lyons silk handmade into a flattering but simple dress with daisy detailing at the bust, neck and cuffs as was popular at the time.

The only gamble going forward, was that Fiona now lives in Japan, and had no plans to come back to the UK before her Big Day!  Firstly, her Mum brought round the dress for me to look at, which by now was rather crumpled and had been through the washing machine on more than one occasion.  Next, we arranged a video call where Matt, her fiancé galantly wielded a tape measure to my instructions so I had a size to work to.

The following few weeks were sent exchanging emails of possible styles; pleated bodices, tulip skirts, strappy tops and even references to Baby in Dirty Dancing.

I then bit the bullet, so to speak, and deconstructed the dress, working out how its reincarnation could be achieved.  The first thing I did was turn the skirt upside-down and cut the former waistline away to allow Fi to walk.  This meant there was enough fabric at the waist to create the pleated tulip style we had spoken about, and that I could conserve the fabric in the now redundant sleeves to create a belt, rucheing on the bodice and facings.  The position of a provisional neckline/ back was tacked rather than cut to make sure it was in the right place. The dress was then tacked together, and mailed to Japan, so we could have a fitting, again on video via the internet!

Dress tacked together for fitting, front.

Dress tacked for fitting, back.

We made a few decisions during the fitting, less pleating but more daisies on the belt, a little more to be added for ease at the bust, and a new neckline was pinned on to match the line of underwear being worn.  The dress was then mailed back around the world for stitching, lining, and finishing.

Once finished, there was still the issue of the rather battered silk which had been through the washing machine once too often.  I took the completed garment (with belt) along to the Swiss Laundry who retextured the silk beautifully, leaving it silky soft, with the sheen restored.

So, content with the outcome the dress was packaged up with the hair accessories made from the silk offcuts (post here).  I had a nail biting couple of months before these wonderful shots of the ceremony on the beach came through.

With her parents


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Apr 302011
Origami fabric flowers

Origami fabric flower hairclips

I made these origami fabric flowers out of the silk offcuts from a wedding dress, using the leftover daisy trim to form their centres.  Here is a more about the dress they go with.

The flowers were inspired by this post.  Due to the style of the dress, I chose to use fewer petals for a looser, more relaxed feel.  This also led to the flowers being slightly convex so they sit against the head nicely, mounted on snap grips.

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Mar 072011

Annie wanted to get married in her Mother’s wedding dress, which had been lovingly made by her Grandmother. Unfortunately, there had been some water damage over the years, and the dress was looking somewhat dated, and did not quite fit.
After some nipping and tucking, a new hemline, daffodil yellow piping added to the neckline (to match the flowers) and remaking little pillbox hat, adding a veil too, the outfit was ready for its second life!

(Pics by Mark Griffiths. Groom’s bespoke suitby The Threadneedleman tailor).