Ivory silk wedding dress with purple butterfly embroidery for Karen

bride and maid of honour modern wedding dress sweetheart neckline ivory silkSimple modern wedding dress in ivory silk dupion with contrast purple silk detail. Hand embroidered butterflies in silk thread and lace appliqué complete the picture. Karen also had a bridesmaids dresses made bespoke, see here for more pictures.

Karen’s dress has a boned bodice with sweetheart neckline, trimmed in palest pink and silver floral lace and highlighted with hand sewn Swarovski crystals. The dress has asymmetric ruching and a split at the front to reveal a dramatic ‘Cadbury’ purple silk hand appliquéd with beaded black lace motifs. At the back the dress laces closed with purple ribbon above a long train embellished with hand embroidered butterflies. Each butterfly is finished with more crystals as they fly randomly among symmetrically placed silver and pink lace appliqué motifs.

lace up back detail on bespoke alternative wedding dress

Lacing the bride into her dress with dramatic purple ribbon lacing.

bespoke couture strapless modern silk dupion ivory and purple wedding dress

orginal design sketch by Felicity Westmacott for butterfly wedding dress with split and ruching

Original design sketch.

The placement of the the butterflies and lace appliqué was done at a fitting with the bride there to help. We cut out and coloured lots of butterfly designs and pinned them to the dress to decide a balanced but natural formation.

butterfly detail on wedding dress train with lace flowersThe train finished on the stand, the butterflies fly at random amongst the symmetrically placed lace motifs.

Each butterfly was hand sewn with traditional Japanese flat silk embroidery thread. Long and short satin stitches combine to give a smooth and soft texture to the wings. We used four shades of purple and lavender and two shades of ivory and cream. Each large butterfly took about 6 or 7 hours to complete, the smaller ones about 3 hours.

hand embroidery ivory lavender and purple butterfly

There were six types of butterfly on her dress, each with at least two of it’s kind present. I didn’t want any butterflies to feel lonely!

purple butterfly embroidery swarovski crystal hand embellishment

simple modern wedding dress with purple wrap stole

Karen also commissioned a simple purple silk stole to wear in some photos.

alternative tattoo bride with her dressmaker

The bride and her dressmaker.

Making Karen’s Dress

embroidery on wedding dress butterflies by hand outlineStage one of creating a butterfly. The outline is drawn onto the reverse of the fabric and then running stitch pushes the design through onto the front. With the fabric in a frame to keep it tight the colours are gradually filled in using a technique called long and short stain stitch.

work in the embroidery hoop silk butterfly detail

More colours are added and at the end the crystal body is sewn down the middle.

lace applique hand beaded lilac, silver and pink swarovski crystals

The lace motifs are also each sewn to the dress by hand. In palest pink and silver they provided somewhere for the butterflies to land.

corded lace detail with scalloped edge swarovksi crystal beading something blue

The lace at the neckline had a pretty scalloped edge to soften the line. Hundreds of Swarovski crystals highlighted the middle of each flower. On one side, I used a few pale blue crystals for a hidden ‘something blue’.

organza embroidered butterfly wings with bustle buttonThis was the only ‘single’ butterfly, larger than the others and in three dimensions. It is made with organza wings that flutter as Karen moved. The button just below was for her train to hook up onto for later in the day, the organza butterfly hovering just above.

train spread out and hooked up for dancing bustle buttontrain bustled up bride walking with bridesmaids

Here you can see Karen’s train spread out and hooked up for ease of walking. Her three stunning bridesmaids dresses were also created by me and can be seen in more detail in their own portfolio section.

cadbury purple silk dupion with black beaded lace applique embellishment skirt

Detail of the finished dress showing the black lace appliqué on the purple silk background.

bespoke dressmaker toile fitting practice run in cheap fabrics

Fitting pictures: Karen in her ‘toile’ (practice run).

 fitting picture bridal gown made to measure lace up back

Fitting pictures: Karen in the nearly finished dress, just the hem to do!

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Butterfly embroidered wedding dress for Karen

Simple modern wedding dress in ivory silk dupion with contrast purple silk detail. Hand embroidered butterflies in silk thread and lace appliqué complete the picture. Karen also had a bridesmaids dresses made bespoke, see here for more pictures.

Karen's dress has a boned bodice with sweetheart neckline, trimmed in palest pink and silver floral lace and highlighted with hand sewn Swarovski crystals. The dress has asymmetric ruching and a split at the front to reveal a dramatic 'Cadbury' purple silk hand appliquéd with beaded black lace motifs. At the back the dress laces closed with purple ribbon above a long train embellished with hand embroidered butterflies. Each butterfly is finished with more crystals as they fly randomly among symmetrically placed silver and pink lace appliqué motifs.

The placement of the the butterflies and lace appliqué was done at a fitting with the bride there to help. We cut out and coloured lots of butterfly designs and pinned them to the dress to decide a balanced but natural formation. The butterflies fly at random amongst the symmetrically placed lace motifs.

Karen's train is shown spread out and hooked up on a bustle button for ease of walking. Her three stunning bridesmaids dresses were also created by me and can be seen in more detail in their own portfolio section.

Karen also commissioned a simple purple silk stole to wear in some photos.

The last picture showsthe bride with her dressmaker.

Embroidery and Embellishment

Each butterfly was hand sewn with traditional Japanese flat silk embroidery thread. Long and short satin stitches combine to give a smooth and soft texture to the wings. We used four shades of purple and lavender and two shades of ivory and cream. Each large butterfly took about 6 or 7 hours to complete, the smaller ones about 3 hours.

There were six types of butterfly on her dress, each with at least two of it's kind present. I didn't want any butterflies to feel lonely!

Stage one of creating a butterfly means the outline drawn onto the reverse of the fabric and then running stitch pushes the design through onto the front. With the fabric in a frame to keep it tight the colours are gradually filled in using a technique called long and short satin stitch. More colours are added and at the end the crystal body is sewn down the middle. 

 There was the only 'single' butterfly, larger than the others and in three dimensions. It is made with organza wings that flutter as Karen moved. The button just below was for her train to hook up onto for later in the day, the organza butterfly hovering just above.

 The lace motifs are also each sewn to the dress by hand. In palest pink and silver they provided somewhere for the butterflies to land.

 The lace at the neckline had a pretty scalloped edge to soften the line. Hundreds of Swarovski crystals highlighted the middle of each flower. On one side, I used a few pale blue crystals for a hidden 'something blue'.

Making Karren's Dress

The design sketch, pictures from the toile fitting (practice run), and an intermediate fitting.

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emailme@felicitywestmacott.co.ukTEL 01737 773282TOUCHGet in
from design to completionbespoke wedding dressesFelicity Westmacott
Redhill, RH1 2HP16 Frenches Road• Visit the Studio •
Redhill, RH1 2HP16 Frenches Road• Visit the Studio •
emailme@felicitywestmacott.co.ukTEL 01737 773282TOUCHGet in