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A red lace wedding dress with a matching veil.

Dear readers, this time I'd love to tell you about one of my favourite designs and makes: the red lace wedding dress with the matching red veil. I made it during the pandemic, in between lockdowns the few times we were allowed to leave our homes and see a handful of other people. My lovely customer, Nellie, contacted me to ask if I'd like to make her wedding dress, she would get married at St Ann’s Church in Manchester in December. She wanted a mermaid silhouette possibly in red lace with "a bit of drama". Of course I said yes! mermaid, red lace, and drama in the same sentence, how could I resist?

This is the dress. The fabulous, epic, dramatic dress that I made for Nellie. This photograph of her walking down the aisle at St Ann’s Church is so breathtakingly beautiful, I could have not wished for a better picture! and by the way, if you click on it, it will link you to the photographer who masterly took it, her name is Helen Williams and she is a profesional wedding photographer.

Nellie chose a stunning red French guipure appliqué lace, the type of lace that you can (painstakingly and terribly time-consumingly) hand-cut into smaller flower-shaped appliqué motifs, and use it as decoration that you would then hand-stitch over the actual lace, so that is what I did to embellish the edges of the whole dress with, from the neckline to the edge of the sleeves to the whole hem and train, as well as even to the whole edge of the magnificent veil I made for her to match the dress. The veil, is made out of a lovely matte sheer illusion tulle and it has an oval shape a good 2.5 meters across the width and the length. The top part of this custom-designed veil works both as an over the face kind of veil, but also it can be arranged to sit over the dress, as a back cowl neck when placed backwards. Clever, innit!. Nellie loved the idea, luckily, and I absolutely love the outcome.

The following picture is a close-up of the actual lace motifs once they have been cut off the main piece of lace. This is when I was playing with the idea of a veil with lace appliqué, so the motifs have been arranged to create the edge of the veil. It is the fun part, but as they say, creating art is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration, and creating a few meters of this embellishment to go all around the edge of the veil, is a very laborious thing to do, your eyes and fingertips hurt after a whole day of doing that, but I do love creating and I would not want to do anything else.

The underlay of the dress was a very shiny red satin-backed crepe which actually created some contrast between the lace and the shine coming through the gaps. Lovely! Nellie has a beautiful figure and the dress fitted her like a glove, and we were both very excited to make this dress design a reality. The main part of the dress is very figure-hugging and has a built-in corset, so she didn't need to wear any shaping undergarments or anything like that, not that she needed them, but underwear is very important to help create the wanted shape under a special garment, and built-in corsets are even better because it saves you having to wear too many layers. The bottom part of the dress is flared and ends in a beautiful round train. I love the way the dress falls down from her backside, and how the lace material works so well both when it is fitted to her as well as when it is free falling straight to the floor, by its weight. Nellie, you probably developed muscles you didn't know you had, just by carrying the weight of this dress, but I bet it was all worth it! You must have felt like a queen in that dress, marrying the man of your dreams...!!

If you don't know how the process of getting a bespoke garment made works, prepare for a surprise: before making a bespoke garment and after the sketch has been drawn and the measurements of the customer have been taken, a "toile" (French word for a mock-up) is created in a type of cotton fabric called calico, which is manufactured with the only purpose to be used to test the fit of the garment. Choosing the weight of the calico to be as close as possible to the weight of the fabric it mimics, is important, to picture how the actual dress will also hang in relationship to the body of the wearer, as well as how it moves. The "toile" is fitted to the customer until is perfect, at which point, the actual dress in the real fabric can be started and get ready to try on. This is the point when some customers ask me: "Is the dress going to look as rough around the edges as the mock-up?" and I reply that no, the actual dress won't have heaps of loose threads falling from every angle, nor be full of tacks and chalk marks. It will be a "real" dress. but it is hard to imagine at this point, to be honest, to the untrained eye. This picture is Nellie in her calico mock-up at the very first stages.

A few more pictures of the dress in different angles, taken in my studio. I always take photographs of my designs on a mannequin before they get taken away. It is a sweet & sour moment for me seeing the dresses finished, looking beautiful, but I am also sad for letting them go.

Here there are some more pictures of the beautiful wedding at the stunning St Ann’s Church in Manchester.

Congratulations Nellie and husband! All the best, Silvia.

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