It's been a busy month workwise, but today I have some time to show you the stages of making a dress for one of my recent clients. This is a staggered journey through the process, I'm not organised enough to take photos of every stage, but hopefully this gives an idea of what happened in this particular case.
When she first came to see me, this bride - Jo, wasn't too keen on the whole 'dress' thing and didn't want to look 'too bridal'. Words such as 'comfortable', 'relaxed', 'I want to be able to enjoy myself', were discussed, together with 'I want to look like me' and 'elegant'. Hmmmm....
After showing me some pics of what she did and didn't like and sketches of a theme produced, we established that something soft looking and flowing would be good, and decided on a silk crepe and silk georgette combination.
Above was the initial sketch. Jo wanted to be able to see and feel movement within the fabric of her dress.
After a couple of calico toile fittings, I started on the actual making of the garment. This shot shows the draping of the bust section. It looks like the garment has sleeves (which I quite like incidentally) but this is not the case; I've just not trimmed the excess fabric off yet...
This process is quite fiddly and not something that can be rushed. I often unpin and reposition many times before the result is acceptable to me, and then it needs to be accepted by the wearer.
As you can see, the Georgette (the lighter weight, sheer fabric) lends itself very well to the movement and flowing quality that was mentioned. The crepe underlayer is also very floppy and works well because it's an opaque backing to the sheer Georgette top layer.
I used the whole width of the fabric for parts of the skirt section of the gown. I'm a believer in letting the fabric do the hard work and 'going with the flow' quite literally in this case. In my opinion, trying to force a fabric to behave differently to its nature doesn't always work.
A bit like humans...but that's another story...
Of course, that doesn't mean that interesting effects are not achievable by 'forcing' the fabric and manipulating it into something other, just not particularly in this case...
Here we skip a bit and she's actually wearing it! - I think this was at the penultimate fitting. Note that there are still pins in the garment - I'm constantly repositioning ruching and pleats. The shoulders are not finished off either, this is to check that they sit well and are not too loose or tight, and the zip is only tacked in for the same reason.
I love those flowers - the edges of them are raw, which adds to their charm I think.
You may have noticed that certain things are different from the original sketch? Namely, the ruching on the waist section is shorter and there are many more flowers positioned in different places. This often happens during fittings and is part of the design process. A sketch is a starting point and the actual garment is where the real designing happens.
Very soon I'll show you some pics of this bride at her wedding, where she really WORE her dress, rather than it wearing her!