Bye bye, dress

Suzie Blackman
Wednesday, 8 September 2010
1 comment

Last night Zoe drove down for the final fitting and to take the wedding dress away, ready for the big day on Saturday. I finally got the dress into a wearable state on Monday evening when I finished stitching the lining to the zip tape. From then on it was a case of adding the embellishments, the things that turn a dress into a wedding gown.

Swarovski coated bicone beads in 'Crystal Aurora Borealis'

One of the most enjoyable parts of the whole project has been sewing the tiny, iridescent Swarovski crystal beads onto the bodice. I have always loved these, they remind me of a necklace my Granny had that I was fascinated by as a child. I got the beads and a beading needle from Beadworks. I used five beads in the centre of each of the large lace flowers and one in the centre of the small ones. They give definition to the lace add an extra special vintage sparkle.

Of course, I didn’t manage to bead the whole bodice during the remainder of Monday evening, the front is done but I’ll finish the back when I go up to Wales.

Another last-minute job that I couldn’t do without Zoe’s presence was cutting for the lace sleeve caps. I had to ensure that they fitted the curve of Zoe’s shoulder while allowing her freedom of movement. I’m a bit sad that I didn’t do this at an earlier fitting so they could be sewn into the garment seams, but it was a difficult thing to get right so probably best that they went on at the end.

I also have a little bow to make to go on the front, I’m pretty sure I can handle that :-)

The actual fitting was a dream, no adjustments needed. Having spent weeks focusing on the detail of the dress and only seeing it on a hanger, I was startled how amazing Zoe looked looked in it, it really does look like it was made for her and to my surprise, looks just like a ‘real’ wedding dress.

I’m not sure I have ever seen a better fitting dress, of any kind, on anyone. The fact that I have never made a bespoke dress before is testament to how much I learnt during my week at London College of Fashion. I now appreciate a comment our tutor made, that a perfect fit is the mark of an expensive garment, it automatically makes it appear luxurious, well made and bespoke.

When I told the tutor I was making a wedding dress she gave me two pieces of advice: For a wedding dress, fitting is more critical than any other type of garment, you should be working to a tolerance of no more than 4 mm; and whatever you do, don’t make it out of chiffon. I took both on board. I’m not sure what’s bad about chiffon, I wish she’d warned me about lace! I expect she assumed I wouldn’t be quite so ambitious. I have no regrets about it now, it was worth every stitch.

Handing the dress over to Zoe was a bit emotional. It has been occupying my thoughts for many weeks and taken over my life for about the last 10 days. I am very proud of what I have achieved and so excited about the big day!

The author

Suzie Blackman

The dyer, designer, photographer, creative technologist and maker-of-things behind It's a Stitch Up. She lives in East London in a home filled with colour, fluff and house plants.

One comment

  1. mooncalf says:

    Gulp. I’m excited for you!

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