I only became aware of this when my friend A asked me if I would alter her daughter's wedding dress. C was getting married in an Edwardian country house and was planning a vintage, English tea party, theme for her wedding. In keeping with this she had wanted a wedding dress with sleeves, but couldn't find anything suitable. Instead she had bought a sleeveless dress from Mori Lee, and had A Plan.
The sleeveless dress had a train and was made from a very pale ivory satin, with the top part of the bodice made of tulle, and lace covering the entire dress. The lace formed a separate overskirt and was edged with a scalloped lace trim, and there was beading around the neckline and armholes. The dress needed shortening, and as well as the usual fitting alterations C asked if I could shorten the train a little and use the spare lace to make sleeves.
|The original dress|
|Close-up of the bodice|
As the dress required few fitting alterations, I started with the shortening of the dress and train. This was made more complicated by the fact that the scalloped edge of the lace overskirt had to be unpicked all the way round, and then reapplied.
|The lace overskirt, and scalloped trim|
The satin skirt of the dress was slightly shorter than the lace at the front, which showed off the lace edge and also showed the shoes.
When C brought the dress for the first fitting, I asked her to bring the shoes she would be wearing with it. She had not found any wedding shoes that she liked, so instead had bought a pair of metallic leather evening shoes. They were lovely, but there was nothing to link them to the dress, so I suggested altering the beaded trim to include some beads the same shade as the shoes. C liked the idea, and felt that it also added to the vintage feel of the dress.
For the sleeves I bought some tulle which matched that on the dress bodice, and used this and the lace from the shortened train to make cap sleeves. The sleeves were shaped so that the lower edge was in line with the top of the satin part of the bodice. Finally, I removed the beading from the upper part of the armhole, and reapplied it around the edge of the cap sleeve instead.
|The completed sleeve|
C was delighted with the changes when she came to collect the dress, but felt that the bodice needed a bit more detail to catch the eye. She had bought some jewellery from a vintage fair, but none of the pieces gave quite the effect she wanted. Instead I made an oval 'brooch' using leftover scraps of satin and lace, along with pearls from my bead collection and a few more of the metallic taupe beads I'd added to the neckline beading. I attached this to the bodice, and the end result was just the finishing touch she had wanted.
|The completed bodice|
C has promised to send me some photos from her big day, so hopefully I will be able to post these soon.