Wedding Dress for Vanessa

Ivory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: fastening the buttons

Ivory silk dupion and lace dress with illusion bodice. Button back fastening and organza train the scalloped lace edging.

Official wedding pictures by Vincent Opoku of www.vopoku.com

Vanessa’s dress was truly a game of two halves, with a full, silk skirt to be supported from the waist with the delicate illusion bodice above. The tulle was dyed to match her skin tone and be as invisible as possible. Lace was then cut and hand sewn inside the neckline and low back shape with real ivory buttons and loops to fasten. The skirt was very full, over netting with box pleats into the top to ‘spring’ away from Vanessa’s body emphasising her tiny waist. More lace was hand appliquéd over the join from bodice to skirt and all down the skirt and on the train.

Ivory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: fastening the buttonsIvory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: fastening the buttonsIvory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: fastening the buttons

Ivory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: fastening the buttonsIvory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: skirt detailIvory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: and lace edged veil

Ivory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: and lace edged veilIvory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: and lace edged veilIvory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: and lace edged veil

Ivory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: beaded flower detail

Detail of hand beaded lace applique with pearls, diamante stones and sequins.

Ivory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: and lace edged veil

Ivory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: and lace edged veilIvory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: and lace edged veil

 

Details of lace applique to skirt and train with hand cut and sewn lace motifs and scalloped edging.

 

Ivory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: lace applique detailIvory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: train edge detailIvory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: train wrist loop with hidden something blue

Train wrist loop, with hidden something blue. All my dresses also come with a bustle button and hook-up for dancing in the evening.

Ivory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: and lace edged veil

Ivory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: off the shoulder effect strapsIvory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: throwing the bouquetIvory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: off the shoulder effect straps

Ivory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: off the shoulder effect strapsIvory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: and lace edged veil

Ivory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: finished dress on the stand, detail

Above: detail of the applique lace illusion bodice with hand beading.

Final fitting Pictures

making Vanessa's dress, second to last fitting, almost finished

Ivory silk dupion and lace dress with illusion bodice. Button back fastening and organza train the scalloped lace edging by Felicity Westmacott, final fitting pictureIvory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: final fitting pics, back

Ivory silk dupion and lace dress with illusion bodice. Button back fastening and organza train the scalloped lace edging by Felicity Westmacott, final fitting picture

above: train hooked up for dancing

Ivory silk dupion and lace dress with illusion bodice. Button back fastening and organza train the scalloped lace edging by Felicity Westmacott, final fitting picture

Making Vanessa’s dress

toile dress fitting: this is the ‘practice run’ in cheap fabrics to perfect fit and style. The shapes are always very basic at this stage, though we have pinned a little bit of lace on the front for Vanessa to see how the ‘blending’ will work.

making Vanessa's dress, toile (practice run) fitting, frontmaking Vanessa's dress, toile (practice run) fitting, front bodicemaking Vanessa's dress, toile (practice run) fitting, back

making Vanessa's dress, making the bust cups making Vanessa's dress, making the bust cups

The nylon tulle used for the illusion bodice, and the cotton jersey to cover the bust cups both had to be dyed to match Vanessa’s skin, to be as invisible as possible. Covering a curved shape smoothly with flat fabric is not the easiest thing to do!

making Vanessa's dress, prepping the illusion bodice for lace appliquemaking Vanessa's dress, prepping the illusion bodice for lace applique

The real tulle cut and sewn, cups and buttons attached and ready for lace applique to begin! The thin, white lines of thread are my top edge guides for the neckline and low back shapes and the waistline, where the skirt will attach.

making Vanessa's dress, lace applique pieces being cut from fabric

Cutting out lace shapes from the fabric

making Vanessa's dress, prepping the illusion bodice with stage one lace applique

making Vanessa's dress, prepping the illusion bodice with stage two lace applique

stages one and two of hand sewing the lace applique. Trying to fill the space and neckline edges as symmetrically as possible, with lace that didn’t have every shape as mirror images!

making Vanessa's dress, sewing the net skirt

Creating the net underskirt, to support the silk. Dealing with the shear volume of scratchy, stiff fabric, under the machine is a skill in itself!

making Vanessa's dress, the net skirt which supports the silkmaking Vanessa's dress, the net roll which supports the silk

The finished net skirt was three layers of graduated tiers of extra stiff net. I also added a rolled ring of het just below the waistline to support the pleats of the skirt and help them to ‘spring’ away from Vanessa’s body.

making Vanessa's dress, junctions of fabric on the underside of the train, many joining seams and hems

Detail of the underside of the train, where lined silk organza (bag lined with horsehair stiffening tape) meets machine hemmed organza (to be be hidden by lace applqiue) and graduated lining. Quite a complicated bit to get everything to meet and sit flat, while sewing the whole thing from the inside before turning through.

making Vanessa's dress, dealing with the shear bulk of the fabric while machine sewing

Sewing the skirt to the illusion bodice, another feat of shear volume management!

making Vanessa's dress, skirt being sewn to illusion bodice, lace held up and out of the way

The skirt newly sewn to the bodice, with the lace held up and out of the way.

making Vanessa's dress, skirt being sewn to illusion bodice, lace sewn down over the join

on the stand with the lace pinned down over the join ready to be hand sewn down.making Vanessa's dress, the train lace applique, before the organza is folded

Lace applique of scalloped edging and cut motifs to the organza section of the train, and blending into the dupion. Later this section is gently folded into 3D shapes and attached to the lining to keep the shapes from moving, as below.

making Vanessa's dress, train lace applique, after folding into shape

Finished Dress on the Stand

Ivory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: finished dress on the stand

Ivory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: finished dress on the stand, train spread out

Train spread out, and hooked up for dancing.

Ivory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: finished dress on the stand, train hooked up for dancing

Ivory silk and lace illusion bodice wedding dress by Felicity Westmacott: finished dress on the stand, detail

detail of the applique lace illusion bodice with hand beading.

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