Monday, July 16, 2012

Tailoring for the ladies

Well, it's happened - I'm sick in bed. And I need "a bit of distraction" as my mother would say. I've watched all of my Cranford DVD's; now it's time for some work.

So, it's time get on with the stuff I want to show you: winter tailoring.

I had a really interesting commission recently from a local, and long-time Lissom Yarn friend, Jay. She's been after a new coat since last spring, and me being a bit slow, only just finished it in June!

But I think it was definitely worth the wait. 

It started out as a "black or grey" coat last year, but once we got talking again this autumn, Jay decided she wanted something more exciting and chose red.

Her concept was an elegant, modern - style tailored coat, with a zipper and hood. Something she would enjoy for many winters to come: a Classic. Jay's style is pretty contemporary: she likes layers and neutrals and modern fabrics, and so the coat was to be a statement piece that she could wear everyday. 

We chose a wool/cashmere blend from Clegs, a beautiful heavy, napped coating, that was pretty much irresistible. We also went for a silk lining, to complete the luxurious combination, but this took a little longer. In the end, Jay chose a stunning printed silk fabric called "Coloured Scratches"from Tessuti.

Coat lining, "coloured scratches".

Finished coat with topstiched hood, and pockets, below.

The other interesting tailoring work I've had lately is for a series of Liberty Print work blouses.
A regular client, who has also been waiting patiently for me to finish wedding dresses, commissioned these unique work shirts. She provided me with six fabrics, each one different, and allowed me to design freely, using the textile print as the inspiration.

Red paisley print blouse with Peter Pan Collar, and 3/4 sleeves. 

Pink medallion a-symmetrical blouse with red trim,
and tie belt.

Paisley blouse with flat collar and self buttons.

Art-nouveax style medallion print blouse, with collar worn two ways, waist insert and enamel and brass vintage buttons.

Collar can be worn up, or folded down

There are still a few more to come in this series, so hopefully I can share them soon! 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Taking the Plunge in Autumn

The beautiful Brooke is our feature bride for this week, in her autumn-coloured wedding gown.

Brooke married her partner Andrew in early June near the Yarra Valley in a relaxed, modern ceremony and reception at a nearby (posh) pub.

Brooke came to me with ideas spanning bias-cut 1930’s long-line gowns, to lace and belted retro looks. She really liked the textural velvet/silk combination from the Deco period as well as perhaps a lace: texture was an important part of her vision. Brooke really wanted it to be tea-length (just above ankle), and have a long, flattering line that would allow her to dance, and eat, and party to her heart’s content.

As she was getting married in June, I was drawn to the warm golden/antique/apricot autumnal colour ways for Brooke, which also complimented her beautiful pale complexion and warm brunette hair. We  agreed that layers, and some kind of heavier fabric would be appropriate, necessary even for a June wedding in the hills.

I was also really getting into the silk/rayon velvet burn-out or Devore fabrics that seemed to pop up at the right at the end of summer this year. I found a couple of incredible options, including Renaissance-style gold and cream filagree patterns, cream-on-cream sworls of leaves, and my favourite, an Italian devore from Clegs that was a riot of amazing autumn tones and motifs.
Italian silk/rayon devore, from Clegs.
I presented this to Brooke as perhaps the most confronting, but also most exciting option, and she loved it. So that was put together with an elegant high-waisted dress in silk satin and georgette, with godets of the devore in hem of the skirt, to tie the design together and show some flashes of colour, for fun and dancing.

Wedding dress design for Brooke, © E.Stanistreet, 2012. All rights reserved.
The dress came together beautifully: The devore bodice was made in a princess line, that I extended into the sleeves to make the soft, layered shape Brooke wanted, and which also streamlined the design with fewer seams. I lined the bodice with a layer of georgette, then lining, to support the velvet without impacting on the beautiful transparency of the burn-out sections. This georgette sat a couple of centimetres below the velvet sleeve hems for extra dimension and textures.

Sleeve and bodice details

The skirt was made in panels of crepe-backed satin in “Antique”, or ivory. I inserted the velvet godets (triangles) into the ends of these panel seams, and over-layed the whole skirt in Antique georgette, cut in a circle and gathered at the back, to add volume and interest.

Gathered georgette at back, and button details.
Skirt detail, showing georgette over panelled under-skirt.

The design is centred with a satin band insert under the bust, and covered satin buttons down the centre back.
Autumn-coloured wedding dress with satin-covered buttons.

All together, it’s such a simple-looking design, but the use of non-traditional fabric ties in to both the season, and Brooke’s individuality: the autumnal tones were a perfect compliment to her blue eyes and colouring, generally.

I think it’s a lovely example of how the overall context of “a wedding”, and all the trappings, like flowers, hair and make-up, and setting, allow you to get away with significant departures from the traditional bridal look.  It happily maintained enough of the bridal elements through the ivory silks and button details, as well as all of Brooke’s other styling choices.

Brooke's flowers were arranged by a local florist, and she kept her hair and make-up simple, classic and elegant.
I find a lot of my clients are very cautious when first considering non-traditional colours and textures, but remember: no one will mistake you for someone else. You are always clearly going to look like “the Bride” because you’re the one making an entrance and saying those special words up the front of the crowd, even if you’re not wearing white.

So here are some of the lovely shots from Brooke and Andrew’s big day, by Anna McCallum Photography
Thanks to them both for sharing their photos.



Special thanks to Brooke for being a great client, with an open mind and clear vision, it was delightful to make your dress!

Next week, wintery tailoring to warm you through the darkest months. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Lace and Layers

This week's feature is a bridal gown I made earlier in the year, for a friend, Rebecca, for her wedding to her partner Ruhsen. They were married in Edinburgh gardens, with a relaxed local reception afterwards. 

Rebecca is the designer behind Silver Addict, which sells beautiful sterling silver jewellery. She also hand-makes the awesome "Necktie Necklace", which have been a popular and unique fashion item in Lissom Yarn for several years now.

Rebecca wanted a relaxed, modern dress to suit her elegant style, but one with a hint of "vintage" about it. It had to suit an outdoor ceremony, and gastro-pub reception, so a full-length style was out of the question. 

I designed three quite distinct dresses for Bec: two of which were more of a waisted, 50's-inspired line, and the last of which was the most removed from her initial descriptions: a 1930's-inspired bias-cut design with French Guipure lace and georgette. I like to give my clients a design surprise where possible, and an option that they haven't considered. Very happily, Bec chose that last design!

Wedding Gown concept design, silk and georgette with guipure lace.
This dress features a raglan-sleeved bodice in georgette with open back and contrasting sleeve detail, and a high-waisted bias-cut skirt with lace overlay.

I have to say, I did slightly regret my suggestion, some way into the construction when I was doing french seams on bias georgette which intersected at acute angles: not fun. Like herding cats, or sewing smoke. Hard. But reeeeallly pretty in the end, thank heavens.

Georgette raglan bodice with pieced, guipure lace insert, and contrasting dark grey cuff on sleeve. 

The back was totally transparent, with an open keyhole design. Time for the stick-on bra to get a work-out.

I tied the skirt and bodice together visually, by adding the lace boarder to the seam line under the bust with hand-applique.

Guipure lace detail with grey pearl buttons.

The dress was made from silk crepe de chine, with the georgette overlay, both in "Platinum". The lace was a stunning lozenge-shaped guipure from France, in ivory, bought from Tessuti.
I textured the skirt by cutting out the lower third of the lace overlay, and piecing it together again in a staggered, layered method, like overlapping leaves, to create a more hand-crafted result, and to lend a more organic look to the bottom half of the dress. It also helped break up the block of lace and brought out the extremely beautiful textures and patterns within the lace.
There were a couple of fittings where I was almost in tears from cutting up this beautiful lace, but Bec's enthusiasm and trust were amazing, and she was supremely generous with her time and very excellent decision-making!

Guipure lace overlay, over silk crepe de chine and georgette skirt, cut and pieced by hand.

And here are the happy couple on their big day, with beautiful weather and everything!
Bec accessorised her dress with a sparkling textures, both in her blue-grey shoes and her beaded head-band.
Their photos are by My Wedding Photos.

Thanks to Bec for being a gorgeous, inspiring (and patient) client, and also to both of you for sharing your photos!