Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The Pinspiration Behind the Dress

It's a fussy business all this wedding dress designing. So many options and ideas -how exactly is a bride to be supposed to narrow it down? I was wondering how my DD was ever going to choose her dress as, after trying on an endless variety, none of them were exactly what she wanted. She's a bit like dresses the way I am with fabric - indecisive. And then the remarkable happened. My other DD found a dress she thought would perfectly suit her..on Pinterest... and our bride to be fell instantly in love with it. Yes, it was 'the one'. And here it is:
Isn't it gorgeous? What I find so incredible is that the minute either of us set eyes on it, we just knew it was the one for her. It's just 'her' if you know what I mean. I couldn't think of a more perfect dress. And she agreed. Phew! So naturally I just assumed she would track down the Pinterest link and find the bridal shop wherever it was in this connected internationally tracked world and provide her measurements and have it made. I mean, why not?

China is why not.

After months of searching, google image tracking and endless web dead ends, it became clear that this image is stolen and is being used to proxy sell dresses for those horrible Chinese factory sweat shop sites.  And I'm sad about it. For one thing, it's a beautiful dress and I would like to acknowledge the bridal shop or label that produced it. For another thing, it has been a painstaking drama tracking down the exact same lace (more on that drama in another post). So much effort and wasted time. 
You'll find sweatshops all over eBay and google offering this dress. But of course, like all the dresses in their gallery, the images are stolen and being used to trick unsuspecting women into sales. There are currently 18 sites online using this exact image to sell a dress they don't have. I can only imagine what arrives in the post for people who buy it.

So with no possibility of buying this exact dress, it was decided that I would make a custom replica. I have had no desire to personally fashion a wedding dress design, I simply want to create the dress my DD wants. It's actually an easy dress to make with the most amount of work on creating an exact fit bodice (as the lace has zero stretch). This is usually overcome with appliqueing the lace motifs on a sheer stretch skin tone or transparent fabric. But for this look, that isn't possible. It will have to be all lace and all perfectly fitted. 

Something I heard in the bridal shops whilst I was viewing fittings was the amount of women who believed that the dresses they were trying on were extraordinarily complicated patterns. Actually, an intermediate seamstress or home sewing hobbyist with confidence in adjusting and fitting bodices would have no trouble making many of the garments. My thoughts on dress patterns are established from a career working in fashion design and industrial pattern making - all the master shapes being used are much like traditional quilting blocks - no one owns them and all design software has every pattern shape required to produce any of the dresses on display. The idea of custom patterns is really a marketing ploy. The patterns are based on very similar models that are tweaked and adjusted. The real expertise and expense comes from the quality of fabrics, laces and handling of them. 

So back to the dress. It's a beautiful bodice that falls into a full formal pleated skirt. It appears that the bodice and skirt have been made separately and joined in these images although it would be possible to create the whole dress in complete lengths rather than splitting the dress in the middle. Given that the lace is overlaid with lace at the seams, this isn't so important although that middle seam is a pet peeve for me and I would have simply had to double my work eliminating it! Luckily for me, this won't be necessary.
The pattern I started with was  Butterick Pattern B5731 which is a copy of Kate Middleton's famous dress. The base body has a lovely shape that can be used to suit numerous formal styles. I saw a copy of that dress in a bridal shop and I can tell you that this pattern is better than some of the versions out there for sale, so if you are after this style of dress, the pattern exists and there's no reason why you can't make it yourself. In fact Craftsy even have an online class on corset making which covers everything you need to know about creating the bodice, so don't be daunted. If you have the time and passion - you can.

In my previous post about constructing this pattern, I complained about the thin sheets it came printed on - a total nightmare to work with. But the pattern itself is just fine and the shape is lovely. In fact the pleated skirt is just what I want. We're even playing around with the idea of a V neck and will see how it looks in person when mocked up. 

We are also flirting with the idea of going all lace all over or changing the skirt to a fluffy one, and I'm open and ready to create anything. As soon as the mock up is completed, the actual details will be steered by the fabrics and their qualities - the stiffness, the fall, the contrast of lace against different textures. All those details will come into play. Personally, I'm entirely confident that the first original dress will triumph and steal and show.

We'll see..

12 comments:

  1. How exciting is that! And, what a beautiful dress it is. Have fun making this gem.

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  2. Good luck Esther. It's going to be wonderfull, I'am sure. It's a lovely dress nd your daughter will be looking like a queen.

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  3. You are a master at what you do, the dress will be beautiful. My MIL made her daughter's wedding dress and the bride maids.

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  4. Wow, Esther, you brave thing! The dress is out of this world and I am sure you will do a wonderful job :-) And it will treasured because of that,
    xx

    xx

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  5. Oh my! Beautiful dresses, and lucky you, I envy your ability to make something that gorgeous. All the best with this endeavor.

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  6. What a thoughtful and wonderful gift to your daughter!

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  7. Although I like the Princess's dress I love the bodice on the top photo - good luck with your dress making - you can do it!!

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  8. I love both of these dresses and I'm confident you will come up with a gorgeous dress.

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  9. How beautiful and sounds like fun for you to make. And to make a lasting wish of love and happiness for your daughter.

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  10. It's so pretty and so amazing you can make it!

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  11. I checked on your progress today and suddenly had a "Wow" moment. The dress is stunning and interesting in that it is very similar to my own dress that my mother made. Ohhh the memories. If you get a chance look up Vogue Pattern 2618 by Victor Costa in 1991. Mine has tucks across the front but otherwise is so very similar. The back is almost identical. I know your creation will be absolutely beautiful and most important is that you both will have beautiful memories.

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