Back in December when I first met with Margaret to start brainstorming ideas for her custom mother-of-the-bride dress, I asked if the bride Mary would sit in on our consultation. I wanted to make sure that Margaret’s look would fit well into the wedding, and who better to ask than the bride!? I also knew that we’d all have a blast together sorting through images and looking at fabrics.
Mary had already bought the Circa dress from Elizabeth Dye’s 2012 collection. She really loved this wedding dress, but during the design consultation with her mother we had so much fun that Mary started brainstorming ideas for a custom jacket and/or accessories to dress up the store-bought dress. I was really excited to be able to work with the bride as well as her mother!
We started looking through images and we all really loved the La Dolche Vita ballet wrap by Stephanie Allin Couture. Many other inspirations for Mary’s look can be seen on on my Pinterest board “For Mary”.
Mary loved the idea of having a soft sheer jacket with a long train to wear during the ceremony. We also had the fun idea to add a handmade belt out of the fabric from her mother’s dress. The belt would have handmade silk dogwoods and these dogwoods could also be made into hair accessories. I came up with the sketch at the top of this post and sent it to her via her Design Proposal website. Mary loved it!!!
I made a mockup of Mary’s jacket out of a cheap sheer polyester in order to work out the pattern on Mary’s body over her wedding dress. Once the pattern was corrected, I would make the real jacket out of a beautiful soft silk organza.
During our first fitting, Mary tried on the “test jacket” over her real wedding dress and she decided against the wrap idea. Though she still loved the idea of a long sheer jacket, the wrap covered up the front of the dress too much for her. We decided to turn it into a shrug!
We discussed options for the accessories and I showed Mary several examples of flowers that I could make. We ultimately chose the dogwoods made from a layer of silk shantung sandwiched between two layers of silk organza with pearl button centers. I made them “snowflake style” by folding squares of fabric and cutting the edges into heart shapes. Then all I had to do was unfold, assemble, and add the round pearl buttons!
Kent Corley took some photos of Mary’s finished accessories! Below you can see the handmade flowers attached to bobby pins for the bride’s hair as well as the bridal belt featuring the handmade dogwoods. Notice that the belt is made from the same dark hammered silk as her mother’s ensemble. I love that the mother and daughter had something similar in their looks! You can also see the label, hand embroidered with the initials of the couple and the wedding date. I knew these accessories would really liven up Mary’s look and add something truly special to her wedding day.
I did not have Kent photograph the jacket since I did not make the dress, and because it was so sheer. How do you construct a sheer garment out of slippery fabrics? Use a backing of tissue paper!
When constructing Mary’s wedding jacket, I first drew my corrected pattern out onto some tissue paper. I included the stitch lines for my french seams and my seam allowance lines. (In a french seam the raw edges of the fabric are fully enclosed for a neat finish. Since this garment is sheer, it was imperative to have perfect seams. You can see them from the inside and the outside of the garment!)
I laid my fabric carefully onto the tissue paper and pinned the two together while flat.
Then I cut along my seam allowance line through the tissue and through the fabric.
I then treated the tissue paper/organza pattern pieces as if they were just fabric. I pinned my pieces together and stitched my seams all the way through all the layers, including the stable backing.
The stitching perforates the paper so it is easily torn away!
It makes a huge mess but it is worth it!
I carefully finished this jacket, including binding the edges in silk charmeuse, making sure it worked perfectly with the bride’s dress and her other accessories. I couldn’t wait for Mary to try it on!!
I visited her mother’s house for the Delivery and Final Fitting. Mary looked marvelous and was very happy with the final results! Here are some quick shots that I took that day.
I was thrilled that the garments and the happy clients were finally ready for the wedding!
Next post!!! I cannot wait to share with you the beautiful Sarah Der Photography of Mary’s wedding day! Mary and her mother Margaret were STUNNINGLY GORGEOUS at the wedding. You won’t want to miss it! Keep following along!!
Love it! Great job as always!
Wonderful work, Brooks Ann, and the bride looks gorgeous wearing it!
Your way of working is inspiring .