Archive for the ‘frock on the rock’ Category

A bride is bound to forget a thing or two on her wedding day which might account for the need to have a ‘something borrowed’.  My ‘something borrowed’ came from my sister.  My ‘something old’ was my vintage engagement ring and my ‘something new’ was a strand of pearls from my parents.  My ‘blue’?  The Jayne label in my gorgeous, custom gown. 

What an adventure this long distance dress has been!  Details were discussed via email and decisions were made in consultation with family and facebook friends.   Lara sourced amazing fabric options and provided lovely renderings of what my dress might look like.  With my husband’s help, I measured my post-baby body and crossed my fingers that I wouldn’t lose any more weight.  And then the sewing began.   The next step was to sit back (while moving from Gibraltar to Scotland by car, with a 3 month old) and wait for the dress to be brought to me by my parents who travelled from Victoria to Scotland to help me travel with my baby to the wedding location in Greece.  When I finally got to try my dress on, two weeks before the big day, I could tell by the perfect seams, hand beaded details and wonderfully fitted finished product that Lara had poured her heart into my dress. 

People asked if I had a back-up plan. They wondered if I had arranged for a seamstress in Athens in case the dress didn’t fit.  I stood by my choice to go custom (why would I give my money to a factory in a foreign country when I could have something made especially for me by a talented designer, heading up her own company?) and I maintained hope that all would go well.  And it did.  I couldn’t be happier with the result.  I didn’t want to take the dress off and I wore it until the last party goer left at 4am. 

And now, as I go through the photos with a cup of tea in hand, it re-occurs to me just how fortunate I am that the universe conspired to bring Lara back into my life and that I’ve been able to have a fashion fantasy come true! 

One very happy bride…


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This has been on the back burner for a few weeks… but it’s still simmering away… and since we are all just sitting on pins and needles waiting for the text saying that the baby has arrived it’s time to get ready for kicking this project up a notch… which makes this an excellent time to consider fabrics. Review the final sketch here.

The upper bodice is going to be made of silk chiffon which I am going to bead with pearl seed beads (which is another discussion altogether and will have a lot to do with what I can source…) The chiffon is sheer and drapes softly. It will also be used for the overskirt, at least two layers with the top layer beaded to reflect the beading on the bodice. I will be underlining the entire dress with silk dupion which provides a certain amount of structure while still being lightweight and comfortable. I contemplated a habotai or satin for the underlay but I feel it will be either too light or too hot, whereas the dupion will provide a soft structure for the chiffon to float over.

The real question is… what lace to use for the corset detailing… oh so many to choose from… I really LOVE  lace.

~Chantilly Lace beaded with pearls… I like the large rose pattern and the beading that has been done.

~ French Alencon lace beaded with pearls and sequins… a very pretty beading pattern and there is some cording on the lace which makes this a heavier textile but more detailed.

~ Vintage lace that can be beaded with pearls to match the sleeves… much lighter than the Alencon even after it is beaded. I love the vintage look of this… it is a softer, sweeter version and has reLove going for it (trying not to be biased… but I think I’m failing.. ;)

The other possibility is to do the upper bodice with the vintage lace as well. It is light and drapey and would work up nicely. Admittedly, I really love lace right now and vintage in particular… we’ll see what the bride thinks ;)

Thoughts? … please share, this is a group activity and I know the bride would love to hear other opinions and insight… and some distraction while she waits for baby!


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I am loving this whole sketch/message process… it allows for thoughts to be collected and ideas to be gathered. So here we are at sketch #4… which is sort of a combination of the previous 3. More details have been added and I am looking forward to adding all the little touches when it comes to sewing time. I am waiting on a CD from a lace supplier that is coming in the post… then the shopping fun can begin. Fabric shopping is the BEST! Especially when it involves silk and laces from Italy… sigh. So here we go… thoughts?

And here is a little refresher on the first three… in case you were wondering how this all progressed.

sketch #1 sketch#2


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In a situation where you can meet with the designer in person, the initial consultation takes about an hour. You discuss style and fabrics and sketches are made. The budget and the options available within that budget are determined and the deposit (usually half of the final cost) is arranged. With the amazing internet at our disposal, the long distance consultation becomes possible with images. So here is sketch number 3 for the lovely small town frock bride, Pauline. In this particular situation, the bride’s internet is on the unreliable side, as was mine all this morning… however, through the medium of fb I was sent a message with her thoughts on the two previous sketches…

I have kept the beading details and added some more beading on the hemline, this is more to present the option as we have not actually discussed hemline details at this point. I know that she wants a train and the ability to bustle it up for dancing ( I love a bustle ;)) I do like to add hand detailing as well, as this is a particular strong point for me and it makes the dress that much more special… but whether that’s beading or embroidery or a combination of the two is up to the bride… I also really love a clean line out of gorgeous fabric… hmm, I’m thinking it would be almost impossible for me to choose a dress! Luckily I get to make lots of them and I don’t actually have to choose…

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The early 1800’s were another period of classic revival… this is a theme that emerges over and over again. It’s hard to escape the fact that modern civilization is based on Greek philosophy and mythology. My impression is also that it is connected to our underlying love of beauty and peace. That and we all just really love to be draped in silk… or maybe that’s just me ;)

The accessories that go with this period are also very appealing. Opera gloves, fans, dancing slippers, strings of pears woven into curling up~dos… sigh.




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The swirl of this skirt is so divine and would be amazing done in layers of chiffon. I love the slimness through the hipline but with room to dance and twirl. The thirties were heavily influenced by greek revival and this is most noticeable in the bias cut and full hemlines of the period. Pauline is tall and slim and can make this silhouette look amazing. Most of the gowns of the period were made from silk, this is pre-war and synthetic fibres were not yet available. It was also very luxurious to have so much yardage in a gown, keep in mind this is during the depression, and people escaped to the movies in order to forget their everyday problems.

I have done several sketches. This first one includes a corset. It still maintains an empire line, but does place more emphasis on the torso. I finished up this sketch and then revisited Pauline’s inspiration board and realized that I had gone off in a different direction than those photos suggest. However, in the interest of giving her several options and possibilities I’m posting this one while working on some ideas that have different influences. I won’t be able to do any final fittings myself and am unsure as to the availability of a seamstress. I have fit Pauline in to many dresses, but her body is going to be undergoing many changes post natal and I need to ship the dress in order to make sure it arrives safely and there is enough time to have any alterations done locally if need be. I do have a great deal of trust in her ability to do measurements and so I am confident that it can be as close to perfect as possible. I have fabric on order, and can begin working on the pattern once the design has been confirmed. I would like to ship it completed by July… and maybe we can sneak in a transcontinental muslin fitting after baby is born to insure the bust is fitting as it should, I can predict the ‘girls’ will be bigger, but not by how much ;) So without further delay and ramblings on my part…

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Planning a wedding is a lot of work.  Most of us have not put together a large event with so many details – great and small.  Fortunately, I’ve spent time planning large scale events so I’m not intimidated by the size of this project.  I am, however, considering the unique set of challenges presented by our wedding taking place in Greece.

I don’t speak Greek for, one thing. For two and three:  We are living in Gibraltar at the moment AND we’re building our house in Greece.  This house will serve as the reception venue.  To make long distance, bilingual planning a bit smoother, we’ve hired a wedding planner and the building of the house has become a family project to ensure it has a chance of being ready in time.  Needless to say, there’s a lot of work ahead!

You may be wondering what all this has to do with the designing of my wedding dress.  Well, I’m actually a very practical bride, at least in my own opinion.   When consulting with Lara, she asked me what I had in mind for a gown.   I started to take a closer look at all the factors…

It will be hot; the reception is outdoors and the terrain could be rough as the grounds of the property may not be fully landscaped; even if they are, the house is located on the sea with a rocky shoreline and steep walkways; the area is known to be windy.

I need to think about the culture of the wedding.  Being in a church means that shoulders should be covered and, as much as I love my body art, my tattoos are private.  I do not wish for them to be on full display.  Like every bride, I want to feel pretty but I also want to be able to sit and enjoy the huge dinner we’re planning.  And, of course, I’ll have a 4 months old baby to take care of which means there are some Mom Duties I’ll need to tend to.

Here’s what I’ve come up with for a storyboard of design details and requests I would like Lara to consider when she is working on the designs:

Some kind of sleeve – this will cover a tattoo on my arm and be best for our church wedding

A slim or a-line silhouette – I do love full skirts though and being tall, feel I can pull off some volume but I’m thinking of the wind

I’m open to a train and not opposed to something longer if it can be put up into a bustle.  Ladies, when else can we have such a thing?  Same goes for veils but accessories are something for another post

I’m very open to colour – That being said… something in white, ivory, champagne or blush would be preferred but since I’m also a fan of the reLove, I will consider just about anything.

Ditto the above for fabric

When in doubt, I prefer simple and elegant as opposed to bling and fuss

I’m not a designer and would prefer not to limit or interfere with Lara’s creativity in any way so all of the above guidelines are flexible.  Most brides may feel the need to be more ‘hands on’ and try to control what a designer creates but I think that negates the whole point of commissioning a design.  I’ve done my research, we’ve established a range for a budget and I know Lara’s style and impeccable skill – I feel very good about leaving this in her capable hands!

If you’re reading this blog, you’ve seen the illustrations Lara has posted for her monthly frocks and the thought of seeing one of those sketches for a dress of my very own actually keeps me awake at night like a kid before Christmas.  I seriously can’t wait!!!


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