December 10, 2012
As we designed and made so many bits and pieces for our wedding I thought I’d share some of the stories behind the detail. I hope these posts will inspire, and encourage others to take the plunge and make their day as personal as possible. If you’d like me to design and make something for you, please just email me.
First up…the bridesmaids dresses
Where to start? Well I knew I wanted to make dresses that suited the wedding, so my thoughts were: English Country Garden, summery, fun, and natural. In addition to this I wanted the girls to feel really special when wearing them, so they needed to be high quality, feminine, soft and elegant.
My sister (one of my lovely bridesmaids) and I designed the bridesmaids’ dresses together. We decided to design the print as an English country garden story. When developing the design I created an ‘English Country Garden’ inspiration board to help focus my ideas for the print. Here’s my print inspiration board:
Top row left to right – Image 1: Preen skirt Image 2: Victorian vintage strawberry plant Image 3: Brambles via The Lane Bottom row left to right – Image 4: Cabinet of Natural Curiosities Book Cover Image 5: The Blue Carrot Image 6: Saipua Image 7: Antique Butterfly Botanical Print Papillons
Taking different natural elements of the English Country Garden idea we developed the print to include lots of detail including: flowers, fruits and insects. I loved the way the print developed, and the way that every time you looked at it you’d notice something different. Including the little bumblebees! We made sure we incorporated botanical elements such as the strawberry plant, but we balanced this with soft painterly effect flowers to make sure the print maintained a softness, like that of wild flowers.
In terms of the shape of the dress, because I knew I wanted something with a detailed pattern, I avoided anything too fussy, as the print itself was a big statement. I wanted the dresses to be vintage inspired but with a modern edge. In order that the dresses reflected the outdoor location of our wedding, I designed the shape of the dresses so that they could move in the wind, rather than be structured and stiff. In order to make the dresses really feminine, as well as fun I opted for heavy Crepe de Chine silk circle skirts for lots of movement and drape, with a structured ballerina bodice and scooped neckline to flatter all the girls shapes. I also ensured the dresses fell just below the knee to give the dress a romantic feel.
I collected a number of images that I felt were a good starting point for what I wanted the dresses to look like in terms of their shape and fit, and slowly whittled them down until I had an inspiration board I felt represented what I was trying to create. From here I drew a number of sketches of what I wanted the dresses to look like. Here’s my dress shape inspiration board:
Once we had designed the print for the dresses and determined the material they would be made from, we had the design printed onto the chosen fabric. Then working together with the ladies at Finiks, taking them through the drawings and inspiration board I had created, we developed the design of the dresses. The bridesmaids were then all measured and the dresses were made to fit each of them. Here are the finished results…
I love the way that the print and colours of the bridesmaids dresses work so well with my wedding dress (I’ll be doing a post with more information and pictures about my dress shortly). All of the posts on our wedding cn be seen here.
We wanted the English Garden idea to run throughout the attire, so we made pocket squares for the Groom and each of the ushers from the bridesmaids dress fabric. They really helped add to the sense of occasion, and worked really well with their blue suits.
I was thrilled with the results, completely original and so very personal. All the girls looked gorgeous.
We didn’t just use the print for the dresses and pocket squares, later we used the design to create some wedding stationery as well as paper flags to decorate the venue as well as various signs throughout the day, I will be sharing details of these here later.
I hope you enjoyed the post. It would be great to hear people’s comments, and know what you all think. I know that bespoke dresses and print design might seem a little daunting, but I’m happy to help and answer any questions you might have. Alternately if you love the idea, but don’t want to have to do it yourself, I offer a bespoke dress design and tailoring service, so just drop me an email at lucy[at]lucysaysido.8a
Photographs: Mark Tattersall