Another lovely bride today; Fiona married her partner Emma on a very wet Melbourne day this spring.
Fiona asked me to make her dress when she found some beautiful silk taffeta from Tessuti. The very nice ladies there recommended me to her, thanks ladies.
Fiona was primarily concerned with fit: she had trouble finding clothes in the right shapes for her, and felt that her wedding day was a perfect opportunity to splash out on a custom made dress.
Fiona had a pretty good idea of which elements she wanted in her dress, and the fabric as well, so my job was mostly about resolving and harmonising these ideas into a successful design that flattered Fiona and made her feel great.
Her major design references were tailored dresses, some from the 1950's and 60's. A high waisted line, with pleats or gathering, a cross-over bodice and "interesting features" were ideas that we played with.
The context for Fiona's wedding dress was:
2. Public garden and indoor reception in an historical venue
3. 50's/60's style inspiration; elegant and no-fuss.
Because the fabric Fiona bought was so stiff, I was a bit concerned about getting the design right, in order to avoid that "I'm-in-a-crunchy-collum-of-taffeta" look. If the skirt was too slim-line, it would just crunch up all the time across her hips, and if it was too full, it would look like a marshmallow.
My first round of designs were about pushing Fiona's ideas a bit further, and perhaps presenting her with some new options. I also didn't like to just slap a wrap bodice on a straight skirt and call it "custom design".
I wanted to get some dynamic, vertical lines running through the design, and take advantage of the beautiful, porcelain-like silk, by layering or folding to create features that allow the light to penetrate the fabric.
|Wrap-front dress design with layered and folded skirt features.|
|Refined design for toile, with wrap front, and skirt drape.|
However, with the fitting of the toile, Fiona decided she wanted a more simple skirt, with box pleats or something similar, and a fuller skirt.
I re-worked the design, and we moved forward with a more vintage, tulip-style skirt, as shown below.
The bodice was based on a pleated and folded design, which wraps over the bust, into the princess panel lines. And I used a vintage belt buckle that finally came into it's own after sitting in my button box for about 10 years; see, hoarding has its merits.
I made the skirt with inverted pleats in the front, and a "gathered pleat" at the back. Whilst Fiona wanted the sharpness of box pleats, I wanted to continue the softness of the more natural bodice lines, into the skirt. I also wanted to work with, not against, the organic-ness of the fabric pattern, and so tried to "soften" the crispness that pleating usually lends to a silhouette, with little gathering sections. I kept the skirt slim down the side seams, and put all the fullness in the hem, to balance the bust, and at the pleat points front and back, to avoid the ballooning-hip tulip look.
To finish her outfit, Fiona had a friend make her beautiful fragile cardi/wrap, and she wore amazing green heels in "crocodile leather".
These are some of their quick snaps in between downpours.
Thanks to Fiona and Emma for sharing their lovely, rainy pics with us, and to Fiona for trusting me and going with all the "draping" and designing lingo. Congratulations ladies!
Next time: old-school, long-line wedding gowns: simplicity reins.