Monday, November 21, 2011

The dress and chiming bells ...

I'm back with a beautiful thing.. the summation of a long story with the sweetest of endings. I hope you can hear wedding bells too!

Picture this: you're in line for a relatively dodgy restroom in an equally dodgy bar. Someone vaguely familiar approches you and asks you whether you'd be interested in making their wedding dress for them. You of course say 'YES..yay..' and dive into your mess of a bag for a business card worried you might end up forgetting all about this encounter because of those 5 extra gin and tonics.

For something that has started out in a restroom, this is a sweet story indeed!

This is the sketch for the dress. I sat down with the bride-to-be for what must have been a bit less than an hour (fast no?!) and we came up with this. A 1950s inspired dress with a bias cut semi transparent overskirt, a cinched waist, a double layer veil and the all important hand embroidered inserts. Hand embroidered quotes about love in Maltese, English and Latin.. isn't that the most romantic of thoughts!? I'm so happy the bride suggested this idea in time.. what a comparatively commonplace dress this would have turned out to be if we had opted for machine embroidered material. So here enters my go-to friend for everything romantic, swirly and well-executed: embroiderer extraordinaire Sarah of The Secret Rose fame! Contacting her at possibly the busiest time in her life to date (ie. mid-MA course/thesis) she performed awe-inspiring, embroidery acrobatics to finish her work in time for the wedding! I owe you a big Bravo!! and a wishful promise that next time round (hoping and secretly sure there'll be a next time round) it won't be this much hassle for you!

A number of visits to the textile shop and a batch of swatches later; on an ardent quest to find the best material to embroider on and the best backing for it, we settled for this lovely antique white, sturdy enough for our constructed shape and for the embroidery needle. Here are some teasers I simply couldn't help myself releasing mid way through the dress-making process. I had just put the embroidered pieces in and way so happy about the result!

Last Saturday afternoon we were cordially invited to the bride's home just minutes before she was to leave for the church, to take some final pictures of her in the dress. It was a lovely gesture on her and her family's part and it felt as if the whole household was in a 'happy buzz'.. following are some of the said pictures.

some nicely taken closeups by Sarah...

Just like her choice of shoes, the bride's choice of antique gold jewellery couldn't have complemented the dress more. yay!

Here's a commemorative photo of Sarah and myself with the bride-to-be (yes it was pretty chilly last Saturday! *please excuse the piling on of large scarves)

and even though I was half asked not to, I simply had to post this swiftly taken photo of the bride's mother in the lovely purple jacket and dress! I'm so happy we opted for purple in spite of all the lovely colours in the spectrum!

This is a parting gesture blogpost.. I've worked on this dress for such a long time I sometimes expect to find it hung behind me on my wardrobe. If you wish to read a slightly more chronological excerpt about this project I suggest you go to Sarah's blog! If on the other hand you're thinking about getting married and would love to do it in a special dress I suggest you get in touch.. there's little else that pleases one more than to see such a personalized project through. I intend to work with Sarah on customized embroidery pieces well into the future so from that end I can assure you quality standards and all that jazz.

Please come and find me in a restroom near you! :)or else it's .. the choice is yours!


  1. I loved the dress !! It was simply fairytale like !!

  2. Thanks! it's always particularly satisfying to have something so structural emanate the very (by tradition) opposite.. the fairy-like and a cetain lightness of touch! thanks for the thumbs up!

  3. i believe that a wedding dress should epitomise the bride's character and taste, that even if a guest does not know her so well, they can get an idea of who she is and what she is all about. I have known maria since I was 11 years old, and i can say that this dress did exactly that :) it was so beautiful.

  4. That's so very nice to hear! :) Sometimes in dressmaking you have to jump to conclusions since you do not necessarily know the client so well .. that's why consultations are really important .. but intuitiveness is key :) thanks again for the lovely comments .. i wish i could start it over again!

  5. Thank you! I have to admit that my embroidery work does not look the same on the back as it does on the front .... however, as I have done more stitching lately, it is looking better on the back. So, I guess all I have to suggest is be patient with yourself and practice! Good luck!!