A good month or so ago I received an email from the very lovely Diane, who as it so happens I went to school with (small world eh?!). She emailed me to say that she had in fact found Rock My Wedding and recognised that it was me behind it and that she had realised a few co-incidences… we were actually married on the same day last year, 24th of May and she has since been inspired to start her own bridal blog… Dainty Brides.
Now, as she told me about her wedding and all the personal touches she used to make it unique one thing jumped right out at me… Diane made her own wedding dress.
Seriously, any bride who makes her own dress deserves some serious respect in my eyes, let alone one as beautiful as the one I saw before me in her pictures. So I made Diane promise to share the details with us asap and as it happened we were already planning real brides week. Excellent! I hope any of you planning on taking on some of the bigger projects will find her story inspiring, and pop back later to see lots of beautiful details from her wedding day too… it’s a super pretty DIY fest 🙂
Dianes Dainty DIY story
I am sat in front of my computer screen writing this with my walking down the aisle music ‘Des’ree’ I’m kissing you’ in the background & straight away the emotions & memories of the big day come flooding back.
‘Romantic, loving & truly magical’ the words that for me sum up our day, but how do I start to describe in detail the most enchanting day where all my dreams & visions came true!
24th of May 2009, the weather was on its best behaviour, with the sun beaming through the curtains from early doors & the real smell of spring amongst us. It had rained heavily all week but it was Saturday afternoon that the tables turned with a red sky at night, shepherds delight evening, that made me smile so much as I then knew Sunday was going to be perfect !
I have always been more creative than academic and when we got engaged I knew there would be many highlights to the wedding that would certainly have my stamp on it design wise – one of those turned out to be my intricate couture wedding gown! I love researching and my university degree in fashion design gave me the sourcing tools I needed. I always find myself absorbing all that surrounds me in one way or another.
Looking back I am not quite sure how I achieved this. I designed, created & hand-beaded it all and it’s the biggest achievement to date. I felt like a real fairy princess that day and I like to think Ste thought so too. Yes, perhaps I should mention my gorgeous hubby Steve! It was Hamilton Island near the Great Barrier Reef while travelling Australia, that he proposed & it was then that the obsession with all things weddings began!
So back to the dress…… well I am quite petite and had always imagined myself in a bias cut flowing option to sit in with my mini frame but you only get married once & of course there was part of me that wanted that dramatic, flouncy gown!
It’s very hard to try & explain how I got to the final piece that I wore so proudly on our big day! Design is individual & I personally work best draping on the mannequin instead of sketching as this is how new ideas are born & fabric begins to suddenly take shape & meaning. Again I did my research, went to my local bridal stores, tried on several different gowns to see what shape flattered my petite figure best.I went with a fitted boned low waisted bodice that created a flattering silhouette with flouncing layers of delicate netting overlaying the satin underskirt. I also knew I wanted lace on the dress but it wasn’t until my Berwick street adventure that I came across French Chantilly lace! Stunning!
Anyone who makes clothes or has a creative fashion background will more than likely know about Berwick Street in London! Just off Oxford Street, this area has a wide range of fabric stores with such beautiful and unusual treats. You will find every type of fabric possible as well as trims and ribbons. I adore it and find my creative side on over drive every time I visit! I am a northern girl, so I booked the train and off I went for the fabrics for my dress, I was like a kid in a candy shop!
I will be honest I was a quite out of my depth with the whole ‘Making a wedding dress’ business. I have sewing experience, lots of it but nothing as detailed & constructive, as a wedding gown, but for some reason it didn’t phase me. I wanted to at least try and we all have to learn and start somewhere otherwise we would never know or do anything! How do we learn to write, or to ride a bike …. through practise, knowledge and belief that it can be achieved. Never give up! If I had a query, I asked the question and believe me, I needed to do my homework. I also bought myself a very informative book that helped me along the way. ‘Bridal Couture’ by Susan Khalje. Quite old fashioned wedding gowns in it, but the techniques to patterns and sewing are the same and a very worthwhile buy.
Did I take on a little too much? Maybe, but I was realistic and gave myself plenty of time and didn’t let it overwhelm me! It’s not easy at all and is very very time consuming. But even though I do always re-look and analyse every little detail of my dress & what I would of done differently, I felt like I sparkled in it on the day and that’s all that counts; (Oh and the grooms opinion of course!)
I will admit I must have had a few subconcious doubts about making it myself. As when I eventually did buy all my beautiful fabrics, including my Thai silk for the bodice & even more sublime French Chantilly lace, I made sure I had plenty for two attempts of the main bodice, after the toile’s I did of course. This was perhaps my safety net and cost me a little extra for doing that but it gave me a little less pressure to get it right first time using the stunning yet expensive fabrics! But you know what? I didn’t need the extra fabric and now have it wrapped away within soft tissue paper and a big satin bow ready to pass on to my daughter …..or my adorable niece if I have a boy.
Seriously ladies… can you believe Diane hand made that dress???
Love it, and it’s not the only personal touch she stamped on her day… pop back later in the week to check out the rest of the details and style and in the meantime, make sure you head over to Dainty Brides to check out Diane’s blog.