Twigs

Try including a fragile little twig in your wedding, They offer the contrast of a solid line against the softer blooms included in a bouquet. consider painting them as a way to add some colour. Green twigs will be less fragile as they will bend before they break but sometimes only the dry ones will do as they are more delicate.

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Sticks used for decoration of the reception. Firstly was a marquee so there was no issue with the bride suspending an incredible stick chandelier. The second is in a restaurant so may require some sweet talking to your venue owner. Lastly twigs painted gold for some extra glamour. These would look wonderful used in a vase with lots of white and coral pink peonies, highlighted with foliage and their little yellow centres.

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Twigs wound into hair. Etsy has an incredible selection of jewlery made from cast silver or gold twigs if you would like to buy one but I think that with a little time and spray paint a crown of golden twigs could easily be made. If you use fresh green twigs they won’t be so brittle so will last well all day.

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Crepe paper beauties

My day has been improved by coming across the floral beauties of Artist/blogger Tiffanie Turner.

These incredible flowers are so inspiring. Imagine something like this decorating your reception or being carried by your flower girl.

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I love this photo because it shows the scale of these flowers.

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Her blog has some fantastic DIY flowers for anyone who wants to bring some of this loveliness into their celebration.

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Crepe paper floral headdresses

Basic crepe paper flowers

I discovered through reading her blog the source of the paper she uses. I have tried to make some flowers with the sad crepe paper from the newsagent and they were not what I hoped for. I think I am going to have to order some of this thick and stretchy paper if I want to make dynamic and curly petals like this.

Carte Fini – Italian crepe paper.

 

 

Cortana

Silk Tulle and mesh is a wonderful fabric, I was perhaps a little harsh on it when discussing veils but it can make amazing dresses. Spanish designer Cortana has taken a fine silk mesh and made it their signature. The mesh they use is a little heavier than a veil tulle but it still has all the wonderful drape and needs no edging.

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There is something a little grown up about this fabric. It has a soft matte finish and a sheer but not too sheer look. I Imagine these dresses would all be perfect for wedding in an intimate restaurant overlooking the sea. Ceremony on the deck and then wine and dinner inside, glowing with candles as a storm rolled in.

Delphine Manivet

When I first saw this dress I was enthralled. To be honest I am not entirely sure if I like it or not but I immediately bookmarked it for posting about so I am assuming I do. Designed by French designer Delphine Manivet it does seem to work perfectly with this modern and confidant New York bride. The rest of her wedding is wonderful, photos here.

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This dress was from a collection with a few other full skirts. In one photo you can catch a cheeky glimpse under the skirt and see a structured crinoline. This would have been light to wear and moved as she moved.

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Foundation techniques – Crinoline hem

To create a wonderful curl at the hem of a skirt a woven trim can be used, Sometimes called Crinoline braid or horse hair braid. Originally woven from horse hair this trim has been used as a stiffener throughout victorian fashion. Developed in Synthetic materials it was used for hats in the 20’s and kept the skirts wide in the 50’s. The flexibility comes from the way it is woven in a strip so is technically on the bias, this allows it to be shaped through curls and circle skirts.

The width and weight can be selected depending on the application. Here is an example from the house of adorn.

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Below shows the braid used to emphasise the curl in a ruffle.

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Here and the top image show a heavier version holding the shape in an amazing gown. Zac Posen uses this technique a lot.

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A more subtle example where the braid is used just to add some extra stiffness to a straighter hem. You can see a little line where the top edge of the braid is tacked inside the skirt. Without it this skirt would be falling closer to the legs and the fish tail would not be so exaggerated as it is.

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Here it is left visible as a contrast at the hem. Dior Haute Couture.

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A fine strip of crinoline can be used to give the same curl to the edge of a veil.

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Feminist Killjoy ruins wedding jokes.

This morning I found this ‘hilarious’ pair of socks on the feed of one of a large number of wedding sites I follow. It actually made me feel a little bit sad.

What we say, even in jest actually matters.  These socks say Men are hopeless commitment phobes ands marriage is the worst. They also more subtly bring up the worst stereotypes of women as being the one who really wants to get married and doing anything to get it then quickly regressing into a nagging unsexy housewife.

I know all this this because there was no lady equivalant sock.

Just like there is no lady equivalant of the ‘last chance to run’ sign. Great article here on Offbeat bride.

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I was going to give amazon the benefit of the doubt when I saw they had a ‘reluctant bride’ as well as a ‘reluctant groom’ cake topper but a quick scroll down showed the actual ratio of toppers following the theme of reluctant groom to bride is 6 to 1. A small selection below, google ‘funny cake topper’ if you need more proof.

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Silk v Nylon

A little discussion about tulle. The exact weaving technique is what defines tulle but the material it is made from makes it behave as if it was an unrelated fabric.

Silk tulle

Bought back into the spotlight by Katherine middleton and worn perfectly. Silk tulle is made of the same technique as nylon tulle but it looks and feels completly different. It has more drape and inertia than nylon and depending on the quality can look a little more opaque.

Kate shows the way is falls straight down, looking lovely over the face. She also has a wide attachment around the whole front of her tiara. this holds the tulle open so its sheerness can be seen.  A narrow atachment lets the tulle fall straight and none of its transparency  can be seen. I personally think that the kate method is the only way to use silk tulle.

2 veils showing the fall of a silk tulle veil with a narrow base, lady Mary showing how seemingly silk tulle works best with tiaras.

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Nylon Tulle

Normally my fibre snobbery would prevail and I would prefer silk fabric over a synthetic but not when it comes to veils. The threads the fabric is made of are much finer and lighter than silk so the tulle has a lightness and can be incredibly sheer. It also has some stiffness which holds it more open and allows the sheer layers to all be seen. It is also quite inexpensive and available everywhere. I have also seen it in more shades than silk which is usually only white and ivory if you are lucky. Nylon tulles come in white, ivory, The poorly named ‘nude’,champagne and almost caramel (as well as almost all bright colours if you want a coloured veil, I should make a post about coloured veils, against a white dress they are brilliant)

A simple light circle from bhldn (look at the distance from her shoulders the veil is sitting compared to lady Mary), A 60’s bride showing what is possible when you embrace the pouff, A tiny little blusher in an almost invisible whisp of tulle.

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Queen Anne’s lace

Blooming all over the Bega valley right now is Queen Anne’s lace. A very romantic name for what is essentially weed carrots but either name a lovely white flower. The above photo shows Queen Anne’s lace flowering along the Wolumla-Candelo road.

I have found some lovely examples of brides using this flower in their celebrations. My favourite is the basket loaded with flowers that could easily be colected.

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It is interesting reading comments from people outside of Australia about not picking them from the wild. Luckily we live in Australia and they are an introduced species and technically a weed so are fair game as long as they are not in someones garden.

These photos show the flowers I cut over 24 hours ago, still looking lovely in a vase. They did droop a little on the way home but perked up as soon as they went into water. Perhaps a bucket to keep them wet the whole time would be advisable if you were collecting a large bunch.

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The spent flowers look just as lovely

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Foundation techniques – boning

In most formal dresses I make there is a need for boning. Boning had a bad name from when it was over and poorly used in the  classic off the shoulder 80’s bridesmaid dress. Here are the types of boning available as well as information on what they do and how I like to use them.

Starting from the subtle through to the serious

Woven plastic – This boning is made of strands of plastic wire woven together into a strip. It is the softest boning available and a wonderful way to keep lines smooth over the body and keep strapless tops from falling down. It is easy to use as you can sew straight through it between the plastic.

plastic – Spotlight/lincraft quality. This quality is great for a wear once only dress. It may have some issues but actually can be removed from its tubes and a fresh piece inserted if you want to wear the dress again.

Plastic – specialist online supplier quality. This boning is made of better quality plastic and also comes in more widths than the  basic quality mentioned. The wider boning is useful for areas where more strength is needed.

When boning is used for cinching in a waist it needs to be good quality. The closure also needs to be considered. A tighter dress will be impossible to close with buttons. If you dont want lacing in the back of the dress I would make a lacing closure inside, this can be pulled tight to fit the dress and then buttons or a zip closes the outer layer over the top. One bride I did this for I could foresee some trouble untying after the wedding champagne so  made sure they had some scissors and used a satin ribbon that could be easily cut and replaced.

 Inside a Valentino dress showing boning in the bodice. This dress also has a tape at the waist and under the bust.

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Some time the qualities are mixed and used where they are needed. Harder boning in the centre front and softer against the more flexible sides. Often boning will follow the seam lines and some time I like to use boning on an angle starting on the outside of the breast  going down to meet its twin at the centre front. good to support a fuller bust and flatten a tummy. The lining and boning and outer dress can be joined as one piece or some times the lining and boning is like a little corset, attached only to the dress around the neck line. Below boning used on an angle and the inside of a Christian dior dress showing a lining that closes with hooks and the outer layer of the dress closes over the top

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Spiral steel – This boning is usually used for corset making. Before using corset boning in a dress I would increase the amount of plastic boning and refine its position. If that wanst going to cut it then spiral steel is the next step. It is made from what looks like a spring of steel that has been flattened and is flexible both front to back and side to side. The curly endes are trimmed and capped with a little clip or rubber dipped so there is a nice smooth top.

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Solid Steel – I must admit i haven’t used this type of boning myself although I am working on a pattern that will use them so I can test how they work. This kind of boning is only  Flexible only front to back.

A boned corset in all its complicated and flossed glory.

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The bad reputation of boning I think comes from poor placement, Bones that are too long will dig in under arms and into hips.   Types where the stitching isn’t through the boning need to be secured in place so they dont move up and down inside their channel (this lovely hand stitching seen in corsetry is called flossing and is an art form as well as a technical necessity) Boning quality also matters, if it is a bit weak it will ‘crack’ at the waist when it is bent, This will mean a crease will form in the bone that doesn’t dissapear so will stay pushing into you Craching can also be avoided by using a bone on an angle around curvy areas instead of straight up and down them.