Saturday, 30 October 2010

Creating a Wedding Dress

I usually work on bespoke dresses where the bride has a very individual idea and then I design her dress specifically for her, instead of picking from a collection of set dresses. I now have quite a few designs I've been dying to create so it's time to release my own collection which should be ready early next year.    

This dress was a first sample trial run so I thought I would share the process of creating a wedding gown from start to finish.  I haven't included everything as we would be here forever!

We start with a basic block for the bodice to make the foundation of the dress and make a muslin toile to make sure the bodice design will work and fit correctly. We next cut out the foundation bodice in the silk once the pattern has been cut correctly.

Next the foundation bodice is made up and then boning is inserted where needed whilst checking the fit all round.

The next stage is to build the lining of the bodice, this is the inside of the dress pictured down to the hips and again it's checking the fit and how it lies with the foundation bodice. 

This dress has so many full circles for the base lining, the lining and the tulle skirt which is made up of metres and metres and metres of full circles, all layered and draped to create the full skirt. 

The best way to cut a full circle is with a tape measure and a pin, measuring the same distance all around to make a perfect circle.

The the base lining is attached in silk and I start to build up the layers of the skirt carefully hand stitching each piece in place and checking the fall all the way around. 
I always check the dress in the mirror as I'm working, it's something I picked up from art lessons at school and I think it gives you a new perspective so you can see if anythings not quite right. It's definitely needed after working on the same dress for 10 hours a day!

(please excuse my messy studio, I'm a hoarder!)

Then the bodice is draped onto the foundation in stages constantly adjusting the folds in this particular design until I've got then just in the right place and then hand stitching in place.  Then it's time for the finishing touches in the way of details, sashes, beading, etc. The total time amounts to over fifty hours but the finished piece is always worth it.

The most exciting part is being able to walk into my studio the morning after I've finished the dress to see the design I sketched weeks or months before in real life. xxx

Friday, 29 October 2010

New Dresses

Two new dresses to warm your cockles as Autumn sets in. 
Firstly florals in vintage Sanderson and green velvet and then something rosey red and warming.

Our red dress is available made to order and the Autumn florals is a one of a kind.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Dress Collars

Before the excitement of the fayre I set about making dress collars to wear with the little black dress or a simple tee. Here they are starting with the jewelled velvet cocktail collars, to monogrammed collars in ballet pink with your initials embroidered into them and lastly vintage cotton shirt style collars.
They all make that little black dress a tad more interesting and are mostly unique made from vintage dress fabrics.


Monday, 25 October 2010

Wedding Fayre

This Sunday Anna and I took part in our first wedding fayre at Charlton House hotel, Somerset. It started slowly and quietly, giving us a gentle start to whole experience of meeting the public. Once into the swing of meeting and greeting we just wanted to meet more brides to be and hear their ideas.

The house is just beautiful with huge antique crystal chandeliers, shabby textiles and polished wooden floors that make a stunning setting for any wedding.

We met a whole array of people and businesses from cake makers (ate way too many samples for my own good!) to suit hire men and just glorious florists with their subtle greens and blush pink roses. These ladies sure know how to make a display and are often featured in top wedding magazines The Gilded Lily.

We had a lovely day and it was good to take out my new dress for a test run.

Silk tulle ballerina length gown (working sample for new collection)
Antique brown tulle flower girl dress by Anna Vickery AVAILABLE NOW ON ETSY
Beaded Sequin tulle wedding gown in champagne (sample bespoke dress)

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Lace Cocktail Dress

A little black rose addition to the collection with gorgeous lace tulle overlay, inspired once again by 1950s cocktail dresses. Another one off made with vintage fabrics, ready for the party season! Lots of West Side Story style dancing nets are attached underneath the full circle skirt to add volume and the bodice is super boned for a tight fit. 

Wedding Dresses

A little look at some of our wedding dresses produced over the past six months. x

Thursday, 14 October 2010

LBD with a collar

A new little black cocktail dress in taffeta with a detachable collar. 
I really like the idea of interchangeable collars at the moment. This is probably thanks to Miu Miu, my box of vintage collars and the fact that I've sold the entire collection of collars i've previously made. About time I made some more! So I am now in the middle of making a small range to go with the all important little black dress. So far we have a ballet pink peter pan collar with stitching and centre bow tie. 

I did think about making 'days of the week' collars? Not with the days written on or anything like that, just a collection of seven interchangeable collars. I do like fun accessories, I'm not too much a of a jewellery fan unless it's a statement piece, so a collar works just fine. Need to try with a simple T-shirt next for everyday use. 

The dress again has a 50's inspired cut with a full skirt, nets and a fitted bodice. This is slightly different from the organic cotton dress as this has cutaway shoulders, a higher neckline and nets shaped to give an extra full bloom silhouette to the skirt.

Dress - black taffeta with cotton edging and cut away shoulders. Lined with nets attached.
Collar - ballet pink taffeta with ribbon stitching and satin bow tie

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Bags and big, big bows

I've made some bags today and the recurring theme is .... bows! 

Velvet Bow, Metallic Bow, Knotted Bow, Brocade Bow, Cotton Bow, Big Bow, Little Bow, Bow Bow Bow. Every type of bow for all big bow fans.


Monday, 11 October 2010

Little Black Guilt Free Dress

Our perfect little black, fair trade, organic super, super, good and mostly (we did use electricity) guilt free dress. And it doesn't look like a dish cloth! As you know, I do like to try and be as ethical as I can in my dress making. I don't want to simply jump on the 'ethical' band wagon and do everything organic. I've been experimenting with sourcing fair trade fabrics whilst maintaing reasonable prices and high quality.
This dress has been a wonderful success, the cotton is beautiful and ticks all the boxes. It's even sourced locally from Bishopston Trading Co. in Bristol!

Made with a fitted bodice and full 50's skirt and also includes a separate net underskirt and pockets!
This was a custom order but will be availbale in the shop soon. 

Friday, 8 October 2010

Olive Linen Border Dress

This fabric was a fantastic find with it's embroidered bow topped frames and a border screaming to be used in a dress. I love the way the olive tones down the pink prettiness in it's heavy weave linen.
I haven't added anything to the frames on this dress as it's nice to see through to the underskirt, but I have just enough fabric to make another dress with. What shall I put in the frames this time? I'll have to think on that. 

Pink Friday

I made my Blythe a gleaming pink and gold cocktail dress for this weeks Pink Friday. Will try to make a full size version with this super fabric!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Christopher King Design & Illustration

You might have noticed a new look slowly being introduced on these pages over the last few weeks. It's all thanks to my husband 'Christopher King' who's re-designed our logo and illustrated the lovely image above. He has written more about the making of this illustration over at his blog. It's a wonderful thing being married to an illustrator.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Polkadot Wiggle Dress

Inspired by those Mad Men curves for a suitably 50's summer wedding.  The dress created for a fabulous looking bridesmaid, is made in a crisp cotton with red silk piping and silk covered button detaing.

Navy Silk Dress

This happens to my favourite new silk, so beautiful, so chic in the navy and so wonderfully drapey for the cowl neckline. From Beckford silks a great silk printers and dyers based in Gloucestershire.