Wedding Dresses

Making a Wedding Dress

Welcome! I would love to take you on a journey, to give you a bit of an idea of how we go about making a wedding dress. I will tell you step-by-step what we do. The considerations we have and what decisions we must make at different stages. We LOVE what we do, and we would like to share with you what our passion is. Daniel from Fern Photography so kindly asked if he could be walked through the process. And he did so with his camera. We love the shots he has taken, telling the story of our beloved craft.

Drafting the Pattern 

We start by drafting a system of coordinates. Using the client’s measurements, we fill them in and then create our paper pattern pieces from that. This is really a way of us getting 3 dimensions down to 2. When you have a bespoke dress made, we take into consideration the client’s shape. Standard sizes will have the set size of bust waist and hip measurements as well as the height of those. Like the length of the back etc. for a standard dress, this will all be standard measurements. For a bespoke dress, we take the clients measurements and put that into the system of coordinates. This can allow for a long back. Or somebody with wider hips compared to her waist, and if the bigger hip measurement sits to the side or to the back of the client.

pattern makingcutting pattern

These are all questions that make a difference to how the dress will sit on the client.

We sketch up the style of the dress together with the client and their requirements and wishes for the dress. This sketch follows the dress in the whole process, and this is how I communicate to my staff who works on the dresses with me, and also how we communicate back and forward to the client.

Dress design

We then trace the pattern pieces off the system of coordinates. At all times we make sure we have smooth straight lines. We also double-check all the pieces to ensure that they are the same length and match up.

cutting patternpatter

Cutting the Fabric

We then take the pattern pieces and pin them onto cotton fabric. A plain fabric, where we add all the pattern pieces, we mark up the waistline, hip line, bust line and other important markings. We then cut out all the pieces and make a template dress. Then invite the client in to try this on. At this stage, we make sure that it fits. And that the neckline follows where the client wants it, we then mark up where all details are going to be added. Where are the lace and buttons are going, what size are they, do we have seams we would like to look at. Sometimes the lines of them can be changed a little to create the look of a slimmer waist, a bigger bust etc. It’s a very important step for us to see how the dress will come together.

pinning patternpattern cutting fabric cutting fabric

We now go back to the system of coordinates. We add the changes we have decided on together with the client. Slimmer waist, change the seams position, lower the neckline front and back. And lots of other things. We then trace new paper pattern pieces, place them on the fabric and cut out. One of the big challenges for us is to get wedding dresses opaque. We don’t always need to get them fully opaque, but it can be a real challenge getting those fine delicate fabrics so that you can’t see underwear. We very often will have 3 layers of fabric in the skirt part and 5 or more layers in the bodice part.

fabricsewingsewing making a wedding dress making a wedding dress

Final Touches

Once we have the general shape of the dress made up. We attach the pieces to the bodice. In this case, the hand-worked details are added to the pattern pieces. This is a silk tulle and this is ruched onto the bodice.

pinning fabric pinning tulle

We then pin on the beaded lace details. These are motifs cut out from lace fabrics and we add them to the bodice, we layer and layer till we are happy with the result. Then this is all attached by hand.

lace pinning lace sewing lace

As you can imagine, it is an absolute nightmare when we have to adjust the size after this is done. So that is why we are particular with the fittings before we add all the details. This is also why we ask you do not loose weight in the later part of the process. It creates an absolute nightmare for us. We will often have to redo the mesh as we can’t lift the lace off once it’s been hand-stitched on as it can easily leave little holes in the very fine silk mesh.

lace dress

Here you see all the embellishment being attached and we finish the bodice part of the dress. We add the buttons and loops to the back and then attach the bodice to the skirt which we previously finished.

We would then do the hem to the bride’s shoe height and the bustle so she can bustle up her dress for the reception. And then we have the finished dress.

We absolutely love what we do, making your wedding dress. And we hope you have enjoyed hearing a little about our work. Any questions or to see the dresses on, please let us know. We would love to welcome you to our shop for a private appointment.

finished lace wedding dress

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