Friday, 11 March 2016

Wedding Dress

This beautiful Silk Wedding Dress has been made using a stunning cream twill weave Silk that has a droplet pattern woven into it, the pink silks are heavy Moroccan crepe for the decorative panels and piping; and Habiti for the lining. I have used a vintage style silhouette as this is extremely flattering, suits a wide age range and is very current this season. The ethos of the dress is to present a well-made garment that is comfortable, flexible and would be suitable to wear again as occasional wear and as separates.  The whole bespoke outfit would cost around £1,100-£1,200 depending on the size, this example is a size 12 and is £1,100.

Making the outfit

Here are the fabric selections for the dress and jacket, I fell in love with the cream silk, it has a bit of weight and has a really stunning water droplet raised pattern that looks a little like water droplets on glass that are in sprays.  The heavy Moroccan crepe is gorgeous, it is from Bennet Silks in Stockport and is one of my absolute favourite fabrics as it falls like cascading water and is very forgiving on the body, it also has the added bonus that it does not crease as much as many silks. The Habiti for the lining is nice and light weight but very smooth next to the skin.  

The pattern started life as a commercial pattern that I have changed quite substantially as it saves time to start from a basic shape and then change it.  So I have lengthened the skirt and added more fullness at the back, added piping at the top and waistline, added a petticoat, added a lining, added a button stand for behind the rulo loops at the centre back, replaced the zip for rulo loops and buttons, changed the way the hem is finished and tweaked the fit. 

The jacket is a pattern I made for a client a number of years ago that fits perfectly with this dress, it was originally inspired by my client who reminded me of Marilyn Monroe because she has a perfect hourglass figure.  Adding the jacket to a wedding dress was inspired by an original Christian Dior Wedding Dress that I saw at an auction room in Sherborne several years ago. The jacket itself has a fluted peplum that flares from the waist to enhance a slim waistline and goes perfectly with the 1950s style dress.

Here you can see the facing for the jacket pinned before sewing, the piping has already been attached to the facing and then this sewing line is used as a guide for sewing the facing on and keeping the piping nice and taught so the original stitching is not exposed when it is completed.  You can also see here the sew-in interfacing I have used. For silk it is always best to use a sew in interfacing, which you sew to each piece of the garment before assembling; the advantages are that there is no risk of the adhesive permeating and marking the silk, and that you can change the characteristics of the silk depending on the interfacing used, here I have used wool challis because it prevents creasing in the finished garment and keeps a soft fall to it too.  

This is the bustier before I hand caught the pleats. The Moroccan crepe used here proved a little problematic because it has rather more give than other fabrics and it has also been used on the bias, hence the hand catching to stop it from drooping and making the bustier pleats drop out.

The dress is almost completed, you can see that I have used a patterned lining, this was bought for another project and I liked it so much I bought plenty of extra for something else in the future, and here is the something else! You can also see all the extra details of the dress that I have added, such as the rulo loops, covered buttons and button stand.  All of the buttons were hand made by a wonderful company in Soho called DM Buttons, an old family firm that has been making buttons for over a century for Saville Row tailors.  DM Buttons are a superb company and I heartily recommend them to anyone who wants something special, you simply send them your fabric and a cheque for the buttons and postage and they come back a week or so later looking like these – I use them a lot as they are really great value for money too; check out their website at

Here you can see all the added detailing such as the piping at the top and waist, this dress is substantially longer than the original pattern  by around 20cm so it falls to mid to lower calf depending on how tall the wearer will be.

The back of the skirt I have made fuller than the front to echo the peplum of the jacket.  You can also see what a difference the rulo loops and buttons make to the back, it looks really beautiful in my humble opinion.

Buttons and rulo detail – Here you can see how fabulous the buttons are close up; you can also see in detail the droplet pattern in the cream silk.

This bustier looks rather fab and the contrasting colour is very pretty, the band that passes under the bust then forms the shoulder straps and is very aesthetically pleasing although it was not terribly straightforward to accomplish.

Jacket front view – The whole outfit together from the front, I have carried  the piping on to the jacket at the cuffs and around the collar and down the centre front, this is one of my standard finishing techniques, I love it as it help garments keep their shape and it makes a lovely contrast.

Jacket button detail – On the jacket I had made slightly larger buttons as there are only three, the dress has 21 x 14mm buttons and these are 19mm, also made by DM Buttons. All of the rulo loops on this outfit I have made using a rulo tool, the knack is to make the rulo as small as you can so they are nice a neat; I will do a tutorial on this at a later date.

Jacket collar detail – For the top collar I have used the Moroccan crepe again, it looks very effective to use a contrast for the top collar and takes some colour round the back that would otherwise be lacking, it also bring colour next to the face which is always good.

Back view with the jacket – You can see the effect here of the fluted peplum and how it makes the waist look very slim indeed, curves are to be celebrated in my opinion! The coloured collar breaks up the cream nicely so one is not washed out by such a pale shade.


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