Tuesday, 30 March 2010

An Olidie But Ooooo What a Goodie.

I love catching up with old clients and was thrilled when a few photos came winging their way (ok I asked) and arrived in my inbox this morning.
Allison was one of my much earlier clients and it was wonderful to see something I'd worked on so long ago.
I remember accompanying Allison and her Mum when they first went dress shopping for ideas and afterwards, how we sat in a little cafe in Clifton, Bristol busy sketching sleeves and bodices of gowns Allison had fallen in love with and of course, what had suited her.
I have to say, while looking at these pictures (and a very massive thank you for this Allison) how timeless she looks. The theatrical style gown still looks fabulous with it's gold embroidered lace and cream 2-ply Thai silk.
I'd also forgotton the tiny detail which Allison had asked me to embroider onto the back shoulder.
Allison said. "Hi Linda
Attached are the best photos of the dress. I don’t actually have any close up ones of the bumble bee that you embroidered onto the back. Would you like me to put it back on and have Mike take some shots? Go on, say yes!!!"
Heck, yes!!!!! Get that frock back on. I hope it brings back great memories as these photos have done for me this morning.
Allison, thanks a million. xxxx

False covered buttons finish the detail to the front of the gown.

A radient smile.

Gold lacing to the back of the gown ties in with the gold embroidery in the lace.

The full length view.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Another Busy Week.

With a Thursday deadline looming and a birthday photoshoot for my daughter on Saturday (with posh frock to finish) it's going to be a busy week.

I'm actually ahead of myself which is good news for me. However, anything non client related has to be done in my spare time. I simply do not have the time to encroach on customer daylight hours if it is something personal.

My fabric stash is amazing at the moment containing a mixture of various silk colours and an abundance of silk chiffon and spot tulles. Scrumptious.
Ellie's photoshoot on Saturday is with the photographer Sara Brierly from Xposure in Shipley. I met Sarah at a wedding fair and thought the photo shoot would be a marvelous experience and birthday gift for Ellie.
We've been asked to collect together poses and images to re create some awsome shots for Sarah and I have to say it's been fun doing it.
Ellie has asked for a black dress which we have taken inspiration from a Hillary Duff music video. You so have to watch this space for the outcome!

Friday, 26 March 2010

Reasons To Be Cheerful.

I've got a few snippets to share today all of which have me squealing with excitement.
First off lace. Yummy. I love the stuff. Elegant, timeless but on this occasion it aint got the zing if it don't have the bling!!
This stuff is simply gorgeous and I cannot wait for the go ahead to order in and get my scissors chomping in to it.

Depending on how the light catches it, the tiny seed pearls and iridescent bugle beads glisten with an opulent lustre. It oozes expensive taste and there's going to be lots of it. It's going to be one heck of a frock. Yummy, yummy, yummy!
Second off, a client collected her bridal jacket and scrunch knot-cravats today.

Having had a sudden panic wondering if her bridal gown may just show a little too much while the vicar would be standing over her, Sue decided to modestly cover up for the service and chose a gorgeous purple silk for her jacket as it was one of her favourite colours.

I've only met Sue once before, at her consultation a few weeks ago and today when she collected her completed order. I'm pleased to say she was thrilled saying it was exactly what she was after and how much she had enjoyed the whole dressmaking experience. She's promised me some photos which I will really look forward to seeing.

Finally, I have my copy of 'Sew' with a Special Occasion exclusive including a free pattern to create your own bridal garments. Ok, so I don't really need the free pattern but for any one who wishes to have a stab at making their own simple yet classic wedding gown I have to agree with two top tips.

1. Always work with the best fabrics you can possibly afford. Heck, if you're going to make your own you'll save a packet so defo invest in the best.

2. Making a wedding gown is the most involved and time consuming process so unless you can seriously invest the time, don't take on the project.

So, that's my news but on a very final note. Happy birthday to my big girl. 5 today!

Friday, 19 March 2010

This Month I'm Recommending...

Rob Booker of Rob Booker photography.

Rob was the photographer of Nadia and Nick's wedding back in September last year.
Leeds based he serves clients all over the UK.

Nadia said he made her feel at ease, hardly noticing he was there at all.

So, if you're in a quandry about which photographer to choose, he captured Nadia's wedding gown (obviously made by me) perfectly.

He's got my thumbs up and I'll recommend him every time.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy.

After the February edition of Perfect Wedding and the mention of Dresses at No. 9, things have been busy and I mean, busy. School holidays and the abandonment and migration South (albeit a temporary one) of my older children meant I had to continue to meet deadlines while trying to entertain a four-year-old (ok, nearly five) and a dog and I'm not sure which was worse! I guess these are the perils of working from home, when school shuts, I don't.
My fabric stash has increased tenfold with an array of silks and tulles which I simply cannot wait to get my teeth into. Telephone enquiries as far west as The Wirral, north as Newcastle-upon-Tyne and south as Swindon have been in abundance which is rather comforting considering the economic climate. (Or is that all over now?)
I've been invited to attend a wedding fair on Sunday 28th March at Horsforth Golf Club. Unfortunately I have a birthday party to attend. My daughter will be 5 so am unable to accept the kind offer. (not that I'd miss my super girls party for a wedding fair for a minute) However, the organiser, Lesley, has kindly offered to put out some flyers. I've added some info alongside my own, Jill Springall a wonderful florist and the lovely Sarah from Elizabeth Wells Lingerie York, who has donated a £5.00 off voucher. Sarah is currently putting together some tips on how to buy your perfect underwear. All of this is included in the flyer.
So, with another pending magazine feature on the cards, what is in store for me next she asks?
Vintage seems to be leading the way at present and I wonder if my time as a traditional wedding dress maker is up. I'm not complaining, not by a long shot, I have my mothers Hollywood Album and Film Review books dating back to as early as 1947 to keep me company on an evening.
I love the whole research thing, the authenticity of the era is simply captivating. Which reminds me. I need to do one of those pointy finger at fabric photo shots for the web page. But I suppose it's all in good fun!
Sarah at Elizabeth Wells Lingerie http://www.elizabethwells.co.uk/

Thursday, 4 March 2010

My Best Friends Wedding!

Louise and I have been friends since junior school, so that's some...well...fair few years.

I was working in Pronuptia at the time Louise and Rob decided to marry in the late 80's early 1990's, so of course the salon was going to be her first port of call.
Louise was agitated that 'The One' just wasn't out there after visiting many surrounding bridal shops, liking a little of this, a lot of that and the fabric of this one, so she eventually turned to me and said. "Will you make it for me?"

Louise was torn between two styles. The sleekness of a column shaped gown, but also adored the fullness of a skirt so we decided to incorporate both.
Using a beautiful embroidered tulle for the column and a 100% silk taffeta for the full skirt
we looked at several patterns but again, none of which were compatible. So, we used several.

Being a non sewer, Louise dearly wanted to help with the construction of her gown so would come around and help sew onto the lace a selection of clear and ivory sequins and beads. I added a beautiful fringe of teardrop pearls to the scallop neckline, waist and sleeves.
The full length sleeves had a deep, covered button closure as did the back and I added some tulle to the inside of the skirt for some added fullness. An internal belt was added to counteract the weight of the skirt to prevent 'drag-down' of the bodice and keep the waist sitting at the waist!
Because of the ornate work on her gown, I made Louise a full-length silk tulle veil which finished her look perfectly.
Louise and Rob were married in Clifton, Bristol with the suspension bridge the backdrop to many of their photographs.

There reception was held at what is now known as the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel.

Louise with her bridesmaids in burnt orange 100% silk dupion dresses.

To Bead or Not To Bead?

I first met Gina when I was a guest at my best friends wedding (see above post.) She was after something Vintage herself, all those years ago, and was very specific on the style. A 1920's 'flapper' gown with lots of beads, sequins and fringing. "I want it to sparkle, and be very heavy," she said. A satin sash hugged her hips giving the illusion of the perfect dropped waistline so common of it's period.
Of course, back in those days internet access wasn't available as it is today and sourcing fabrics was time consuming and quite often unsuccesful.
However, I came across a wonderful corded lace at a local Indian fabric house, but without the beading, I knew I was about to undertake a massive task. Hand stitiching over 3,000 beads and sequins to the completed gown. To say it was time consuming was an understatement, especially the bead fringing which adorned the sleeves and hemline. Tear-drop pearls with tiny sead pearls as anchorage, clear sequins and rice-shaped beads took many hours, but each one was hand-stitched to the lace. Not a task I would undertake again.
Gina and her husband were married in Windsor with her attendants dressed in flowing chiffon and silk.
Of course, nowadays fabrics are much easier to source, but lace especially embelished can be costly.

So, when you find that perfect wedding gown with it's beads and sequins which sparkle and twinkle, even the gown which has embelished motifs, consider this. A gown worthy of it's cost has it's beads and sequins stitched to the lace. You won't find a hint of glue anywhere!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

The Wedding of Natalie.

One of my clients, Natalie, was considering the offshore purchasing route for her wedding gown when we first met,but with so many companies to choose from her dilema was. "Which one?"
Purchasing the most important gown she will ever likely to wear could have been stressful for her at the best of times and even more so when purchasing it without actually trying it on. So,
with many brides now opting for overseas companies to make their gowns on a custom make basis, I have to thank Natalie for placing her trust in me.
Choosing a good dressmaker takes skill. There’s more involved than running a finger through the phone directory, choosing a name, and calling to ask, “How much does it cost to have my Dream Gown made?” That’s like asking someone “How long is string?” So to have someone request I make their gown after never meeting is an especially huge honour.
Natalie said. "We were originally having a 'big' wedding but got so fed up with everyone saying we should do this and that and the costs getting bigger and bigger that we decided that we were loosing sight of what the wedding day was actually about so we went to the Registry Office and basically told them when we were off on holiday and asked what dates they had available that week.
The dress I had originally wanted for my 'big' wedding was very much a big occassion dress and unfortunately not suitable for the day we were planning so I had to rethink. I knew I wanted something that still looked like a wedding dress but that was a simple enough design to fit in with our basic wedding. I came across a picture of a bridesmaids dress similar to the dress you made me that I liked. It was 3/4 length and strapless with a fuller skirt and I knew that I suited that style of dress. We tweaked it here and there and hey ho my dress was born! Hurrah! And I loved it so much even though it was a million miles away from what I had picked to begin with. Everyone commented how beautiful it was and no-one could believe that it didn't cost hundreds and hundreds of pounds!"
Once I received the completed measurement form I was ready to make a start.
Natalie chose an ivory 100% silk dupion fabric. Samples were sent for her inspection along with a beautiful soft tulle. Natalie requested to use the tulle as a petticoat which 'peeped' out at the hemline of the gown.
She'd requested a corset or lace-up back closure for a minimal adjustment. Corset backs are not designed for excess dress size adjustments as the lace-up needs to remain in proportion with the back of the gown.
The turnover cuff on the bodice was to be hand beaded using seed pearls, small 'rice-shaped' beads and irridescent bugle beads. Natalie left me in complete control of the design.
Construction photographs were provided throughout the whole process as my aim was to allow Natalie to be in complete control over the design of her gown.

A radient smile.

Natalie and her husband said. "I do,"
at the Town House, Kirkcaldy, Fife and then on to a reception at TheBay Hotel, Kinghorn.

It was an absolut pleasure working for Natalie under what could have been for her, a very stressful time. However, I was delighted to have been able to make the whole process as simple and stress free as possible for her.

I was very sad when the gown was completed and sent off, as I am with all of my clients.
When I work with a client they become more than a name or a face, their dress is something I have worked on with love and attention to detail and then when it's finished, it's gone. Sometimes it's like losing a good friend. Silly really, but there it is.