Smile : making

written by Rachel Lamb
9 ยท 28 ยท 11

The other day I received some photos from one of my recent brides, and they made me smile in a big way. They were just so her.

After I’d looked through them I remembered that I’d taken pictures of her wedding dress throughout the process and that I’d taken quite a few. So as there are many images relating to this wedding and I would like to show most of them, I thought I’d break it up into a few posts.
The shot above is of Tash, the bride and her new husband. I thought I’d put this one in first as, even though you can’t see any detail, it has such a faded, atmospheric, summery charm to it. I love that they are in a wheat field ๐Ÿ™‚
I thought it pleasant to show you a romantic and wedding-y picture before going back to the nitty-gritty reality shots about the process of making a bespoke bridal gown.
Ah, the glamour of calico, pen and pins. This is the under-layer toile of the dress – the basic shape made in calico.

This dress was a joint project and Tash had a lot of input into the dress. We kind of designed it as we went along. It started with an idea of shape and that it would be a strapless dress, but apart from that, it was more of a ‘mood’ than a concrete design to start.

Tash loved the gauzy look of tulle (fine net). The words: fairy, waft, dance, woodland, white witch, simple, textured, smooth, chilled-out were mentioned and discussed.


The look is very much of random textural pleating rather than a regular symmetry, the whole thing grew in an organic way.

One of the challenges about this type of work, and I imagine all creative commissioned work, is interpreting someones words; what do they actually mean? And is that meaning the same for me as it is for them? There is always a lot of checking and re-checking both verbal and practical in this type of work. Its also one of the areas I enjoy – I like finding out what makes people tick ๐Ÿ™‚

Wanting lots of softness and ‘waftiness’, we decided that chiffon and tulle would be a good combination. The chiffon in random pleats and an overlay of tulle for the gauzy effect.
Tash wanted a slightly duller look to the dress colour tone, rather than a straight ivory colour, so the under-layer is a few tones darker than the overlayers.
These pictures show the very beginning with the layers of chiffon pinned onto the under-dress while Tash is actually wearing it. They are then hand sewn.
Back to the stand and the back is formed and attached. This part takes some time to do.

Below we jump forward a bit and the tulle over layer has been added over the top. At this stage the dress is almost finished. I loved how the sharp sunlight shows the gauzy tulle. That ‘bunchiness’ of tulle around the base was something Tash liked the look of a lot…

…and the challenge was retaining the bunchy texture of the tulle while keeping much of the rest of the dress smoother, and so that she could walk in it.

Once this was established, I was standing and staring at the dress and having a think, which is something I do a lot during these processes, and I wondered what it would look like with a bit of extra trim added… just as an experiment:
This lace trim is called ‘eyelash’ trim ๐Ÿ™‚

As Tash didn’t want buttons, I covered the back zip seam with it as well…

…and tied it in a bow at the base of the zip, just because.
These trims stayed as part of the overall design.

Almost finished. Not the best shot, but the above image shows some of the gauzy moire effect of the tulle over the chiffon, and below a full length, almost finished bar the odd tweak, front.

On reflection, this dress was made in a similar way to how I might approach a brand new design. In other words, it was more of an idea than a concrete, sketched design. It was very much about the look of the tulle and a ‘feeling’ that was Tash’s vibe.
Next post I’ll show you the shots from the actual wedding.

Related Posts