Tag Archives: wedding gowns

Lace Wedding Gowns

Lace wedding gowns are still very much “on trend” this season and you may be wondering why the alterations on these gowns are so expensive.

When I think of lace, I think of the art of collage: lace is made to cut apart and stitch together in whatever pattern most flatters the body. That is why so many brides like it. Done right, it can flatter and slim the body in a way that no other fabric can.

Some lace dresses are cut out of lace yardage and they can be easy to alter, if they don’t have bead work. If they do, that is another story. But especially the dresses made of Chantilly lace and vintage dresses are made of whole yardage and are altered like any other gown.

Vintage Chantilly lace gown

 

The most expensive lace dresses have the lace pieced at the side seams, flowing into the skirt. The beading is then sewn on top of it. So when the dress is altered, we have to remove the beading and save it to be replaced. Then the lace must be CAREFULLY removed. I cannot stress this enough because most lace is stitched to netting or tulle which is very delicate. Removing the lace has to be done slowly with as little damage to the netting as possible. This is probably the most time consuming part of the alteration.

Lace Wedding Gown Alteration. Here the lace is unstitched awaiting fitting.0

Once the lace is removed, we can continue the alteration, whether it’s the side seams, darts, shoulders, or hem. After we check the fit, the seams have to be finished and the lace can be replaced. This is where the creativity ~ and the fun~ comes into play. Placing it so that it melds with the design of the gown and doesn’t look like it ‘s been altered is one of my favorite projects to do. I also do a lot of repairs on lace dresses. Lace is delicate so you can imagine how easy it is to snag or put a fingernail through!

 

Lace repair on antique wedding gown. Lace is pinned in place ready for stitching

When the lace is pinned in place, it can then be sewn, usually by hand, and the beading is replaced. This is very time consuming as well. But the finished product will look like absolute confection!

If you think you will need alterations on your wedding gown, you may want to remember that lace and beading add to the cost. If you are petite, plan to wear flats with your gown, are big busted, small busted or have uneven measurements, you WILL  need alterations!

Wedding Trends 2014

If you have recently gotten engaged, you may be wondering what the current wedding trends are. Fortunately for us here in Northern California, the weather is mild and that makes it a bit easier to shop for a Spring/Summer gown. I hate to think about trying on a strapless dress during blizzard temperatures.

Wedding gowns come in all shapes, sizes, and colors now. So no matter what your figure is like, you can find a dress that suits you. There are many guides in magazines and on-line about what silhouette and color is right for your body type and skin tone but honestly, you won’t really know what works for you until you try on some gowns. I always recommend that a bride makes an appointment with her nearest bridal salon as soon as the engagement is set. Try on the gown that you think you want and then try on several silhouettes to be absolutely certain you have the style you want. Once you order it, it’s yours; most bridal salons have a no return policy.

We’re still seeing strapless gowns, empire waists, ball gowns, Grecian looks but there are a few trends that are really popular this season.

The most obvious one is color. A bride can now get a dress in  champagne, pink, red, and even black! In fact, as I researched this article, I had a hard time finding white and ivory gowns. It’s a good thing because very few people look good in stark white and the ivory has to be just the right shade for your skin tone. Pink looks good on just about everyone and champagne and beige add lots of choices. As for red and black, well, first of all in some cultures, red is the preferred color for brides so I get that. And it might be fun for a Valentine’s Day  wedding. I understand how some women may want to wear a black gown but it would have to be a very formal wedding. And I question whether or not the bride would feel “bride-y” enough. And what about a veil? I haven’t seen any black veils … yet.

The most popular silhouette has got to be the fit-and-flare. “Fit-and-flare” is a term that encompasses anything from a mermaid shape to a more traditional A-line. We mostly think of the va-va-voom look, very close fitting through the bodice, hips and thighs, and flaring out at the bottom. And speaking of “va-va-voom”, old Hollywood glam is very popular this year. That fashion encompasses everything from the 30’s slinky to the Audrey Hepburn tailored look.

Another very popular trend is the “poofy” ball gown. The bodice is generally fitted to the natural waist and the skirt is over-the-top layers of tulle or organza. The trains on these dresses tend to be slight, what is called a “sweep”.  Pockets are also very popular in the huge skirts.

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“Poofy” organza ball gown

The biggest trend this year will be lace. We started to see it last year but I think it will be even more popular this year. Brides like the romance and  the vintage look of it. But lace is a very personal preference so be sure to actually try on a lace gown before you order. It can be price-y, depending on the type of lace. A Chantilly or organza lace will be less expensive than a traditional Alencon and the more beading, the higher the cost. Also, lace will add to the alterations cost.  So if you are on a budget, you may want to go with a plainer lace or stay with satin or chiffon. A wedding gown is one of the most expensive garments a woman will ever buy so make sure you have plenty of time to choose just the right one and do make sure you have allowed enough time to get it altered properly. And no matter what design you choose, remember that they are all beautiful creations and you really can’t go wrong…kinda like the groom!

Wedding Gown Alterations: Beadwork

Wedding season is upon us and if you are one of the many brides who got engaged over the December holidays, you are (hopefully) looking for your wedding gown.

If you are like most brides, you will need some kind of alteration to the gown. Like all clothing, dresses come in basic sizes and then must be tailored to fit an individual body. Almost every gown needs at least a bustle; most need to be hemmed. Maybe you need the waist nipped in a bit or the darts adjusted. All of these are pretty standard alterations and add  to the cost of the gown.

If your dress has beadwork, that adds even more to the cost of the alterations. That’s because the beading has to be removed, either by breaking the beads or tying them off, before the seam can be sewn. Whiskeytown 019

On the dress shown, I had to remove the beads from around the seams and  tie them off so that I could reuse the beads. Yes, the dress came with the little package of extra beads but there are never enough to complete an alteration. If you are lucky enough to receive extra beads with the gowns ~ they don’t all come with them ~ there are just enough to do minor repairs.

 

After the new seams are sewn, I like to check the fit on the bride before replacing the beadwork.  I don’t want to have to re-do the alteration if the bride wants it “just a little tighter”.

Once the fit is approved by the bride, I replace the beads. The beads are all sewn on by hand, trying to copy the exact design. This dress’ beads were a pretty easy pattern to copy. Some can get pretty complicated and require more time to sew.

Here is the completed gown. I sewed the beads on by hand, copying the exact pattern of the beadwork.

Here is the completed gown. I sewed the beads on by hand, copying the exact pattern of the beadwork.

If you are a bride who likes “bling” on the dress, make sure your budget will allow for the cost of the dress and the alterations.

 

 

 

 

Ideas for Winter Weddings

A long-sleeved vintage gown is perfect for our winters here in Northern California

A long-sleeved vintage gown is perfect for a winter wedding here in Northern California

When most people think of wedding season, they think of Spring: April, May and of course, June. A new beginning, freshness, and spring colors all stimulate the bride’s imagination. Flower garden colors are the most traditional: greens and yellows, lavenders and pinks. Baby blues and silvery grays fill out the color palette for the latest trends.

Here are a few of the colors I worked with for the Spring 2013 Bridesmaids.

As I come up for air after finishing the July and August weddings, I realize that wedding season is truly year-round any more. I worked on just as many wedding gowns for September as I did for June, if not more. And while I only have a smattering of dress alterations for October and November, I have several for December, one of which is a complex custom design which will take many hours of fit and construction.

I’ve often wondered why more brides don’t opt for winter weddings in Northern California. It’s so hot here in the summer. Our mild winters are well-suited for even outdoor events and I love Fall and Winter colors: burgundy and emerald green, brown and sage, copper and deep yellow. Think of the possibilities! An outdoor wedding with the Fall leaves changing in the background. An indoor wedding with a snow theme. We are even close enough to snow so that the bride and groom could get pictures with a wintery background. And for the more formal weddings, black and white are still very much on trend and look great in the winter with silver or red accents.

As for the wedding gown, most gowns are really more comfortable in cooler weather. Steering away from the lightweight chiffon and crepe dresses, you would want to stick to the heavier satins and brocades. Even an organza over satin would work. And lace works for every season.

If you find a strapless gown that you love, think about having sleeves added. Pictured below is a gown with added lace sleeves for a July wedding. I’m adding long organza sleeves with satin and bead work on the edges of the pointed wrist to a strapless gown for the end of September. It will be finished next week and  I’ll post the pics after the wedding.  A professional alterationist will be able to add sleeves to just about any design.

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Lace sleeves and sash added to a crepe georgette Grecian style gown.

 

For a really dramatic look, how about a cape, maybe in red, for an Old English look? Or lace, instead of a veil! The possibilities are endless!

I will say, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are very popular for weddings. After all, most of us have the time off work and if it’s close to a weekend, it is a great time to get the family and friends together. If I had to choose between watching football and going to a wedding, guess which one I would choose?