This summer I was hired to create garments for two very different wedding parties. This group was something out of the ordinary for most bridal parties so of course I jumped on it.
I built the bride’s c. 1490s gown from scratch, including pattern drafting. There didn’t seem to be much out there on the web for info regarding internal construction, but my general knowledge of costume history and underpinnings allowed me to design a functional garment. The style is a bodice that stops at the under bust. Since this was a modern interpretation and for ease of wear, I did not build a separate corset but boned the bodice and used stiff interfacing to achieve the desired look. The outer gown is rayon velvet (one of the hardest fabrics to photograph!) with a false (half) underskirt in black suiting fabric.
My favourite part of this style of gown is the back. I love the look of the lacing and the back pleats, and how they are quite flattering on everyone.
The bride wore a separate chemise underneath made from cotton that is washable.
The front of the bodice has a faux centre panel with metal buttons and silver trim.
The sleeves are open on the outside seam and tacked with buttons. This design feature was inspired by Marguarite’s velvet gown in Ever After.
The sleeves are also laced on and are completely removable! The idea being that she could remove the sleeves and possibly her chemise at the reception to stay cool.
This was one of the first projects that I got to use my new rubber stamp.
For the tag I stamped my logo onto muslin using screen printing ink and hand painted special embellishments. I am a sucker for details and like including things like this that are just for the wearer.
In addition to the bridal gown, I also designed and constructed 5 bridesmaid dresses including the ‘junior bridesmaid’ who was the bride’s 11 year old daughter. For these dresses, I tried to compliment the bride’s gown, choose less fussy/easy care fabrics (especially as these gowns will go on to a life as rentals) while keeping with the historical look. The bodices are made from faux dupioni silk with built in sleeve puffs to negate the need for separate chemises. The skirts are a grey heathered suiting that hangs nicely and does not wrinkle easily. Each of the 4 main bridesmaids has a slightly different trim pattern at the centre front, and the junior bridesmaid’s trim is the same silver braid as her mother’s dress.
All are laced in the back, with a modesty panel so that they can be adjustable to different bodies in the future.
The general design of all of the gowns was relatively straightforward, but there were lots of pieces and steps to complete each one. I’ve wanted to explore this style era for awhile and was glad to have the chance to build gowns like these. I’m taking a break from multiples though!