As many of you who follow me and my work know by now, I am an artist who primarily produces wearable art through various upcycling techniques. Occasionally, I decide to go back to the basics and create a piece from the ground up using paper patterns and various fabric and trim yardages. Producing a garment this way allows me the opportunity to apply my pattern making skills, learned construction techniques and sometimes gives me greater freedom of design than working with and altering an already finished garment. Such is the case with this wedding dress that I recently created.
One of my favourite parts of the design process, is shopping and hunting for fabrics, trims, embellishments and other supplies. Once I have selected and gathered together all the needed materials, the juices really start flowing and I can’t wait to get started and see the vision in my head come to life. I was very happy with my finds for this dress. It is elegant, romantic and has a lightness and ethereal quality to it.
I find doing beadwork and other couture embellishing very meditative and relaxing. It does require patience and commitment but the end results are so satisfying and add so much visual interest, texture and uniqueness to a finished piece. This dress has over 400 beads, pearls and crystals in total, which were each sewn onto the lace appliques work on the dress by hand. All of the prong set jewels were also hand sewn. I am also quickly becoming known for my fine attention to detail, such as beadwork and other hand worked techniques. I am proud of this growing distinction as it sets my work apart from others’.
The other investment time wise that went into this design was the cutting apart, placement and sewing of each lace applique on the bodice, skirt and train. It is more economical but more labour intensive to purchase a piece of lace where you can cut apart individual appliques rather than purchase ready to place and sew lace appliques. The train’s edge was formed by piecing together lace parts of various sizes to give the illusion of one large applique and then sewing it all down bit by bit. The beadwork was added to the train’s lacework after it was fully formed. As you have also probably gleaned by now, it is also a crazy amount of work to hand bead lace pieces rather than purchasing lace that have already been factory beaded and embellished but, again, can be more cost effective. You are also able to produce beaded pieces that are exactly what you envisioned rather than be at the mercy of what is offered to you ready made.
All in all, this dress turned out to be a good reminder of all the skills I possess and that when called upon, I can still put them to fruitful and satisfying use. Upcycling is still my true passion and calling but a good start with nothing design idea still has its place in my heart and portfolio.