Embroidered Wedding Dress for Karen

Ivory silk wedding dress with embroidered butterflies: Bride with her maid of honour

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 slight 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.

Ivory silk wedding dress with embroidered butterflies Detail of lacing the dress closed

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

Ivory silk wedding dress with embroidered butterflies , kissing her new husband

Ivory silk wedding dress with embroidered butterflies : original design sketch

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.

Ivory silk wedding dress with embroidered butterflies , detail of embroidery on train

The train finished on the stand, the butterflies fly at random amongst the symmetrically placed lace motifs.

Close up of silk embroidered butterfly in purples with swarovski crystal

Each butterfly is hand sewn using Japanese silk threads. A single butterfly takes a whole day to create.

four embroidered butterfly details

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!

Ivory silk wedding dress with embroidered butterflies: the skirt blowing in the wind and a purple silk stole for the bride's shoulders

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

Ivory silk wedding dress with embroidered butterflies : the bride posing with her dressmaker

The bride and her dressmaker.

Making Karen’s Dress

embroidering the butterfly, stage one, outline and first colour

Stage 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.

embroidering the butterfly, stage two, more colours

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

silver and palest pink lace applique with Swarovski crystal highlights

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.

Ivory silk wedding dress with embroidered butterflies : Silver and palest pink scalloped lace detail on the neckline

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’.

Ivory silk wedding dress with embroidered butterflies : 3D Orangza butterfly next to bustle hook-up button

This 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.

Ivory silk wedding dress with embroidered butterflies : walking across the car park with her train hooked up

Here you can see Karen’s train 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.

Ivory silk wedding dress with embroidered butterflies : detail of the black lace applique on purple silk ground

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

Ivory silk wedding dress with embroidered butterflies: fitting picture in the practice run or 'toile'

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

Ivory silk wedding dress with embroidered butterflies : first fitting in the real fabrics

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

 

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