The ladies of the 50’s really did have style skills that have been almost lost to us now. One of these was their ability to wear polka dots. That perhaps isn’t entierly true as there are below some lovely modern brides re-interpreting the spot.


Large and small dots together. They look great in black and white but I wonder what colour they were?

50c70ef0845184617b1988fad982efdcA fine spot in a chiffon fishtail dress.


Another cascade of spots in chiffon. A little contrast added through a fine black lace trim on the hem. I would love to see the front, Is the strip around her shoulders a shawl or large collar?


A wonderful way to wear spots, A maxi skirt with a contrast top to break up the pattern.


 I love this spotty tulle over the contrast lining.


Incredibly stylish spots from Valentino. Perfectly matched shoes as well.


Foundation techniques – waist tape

The internal structure is critical to getting the fit right for a dress. The more formal and complex the outside the same will be true for the inside.

There is a vintage technique I commonly use for formal and wedding dresses and that is adding a waist tape.

the waist tape is a strip of rigid ribbon placed inside the gown at the narrowest point. I love using it for a few reasons. If the dress is tight it will be closed before the zip making it easier to pull the zip (or buttons) up. keeps the dress sitting well and not riding up. It can be raised to around the ribs giving more support for a strapless dress or larger bust.

I have added some images showing the inside of vintage gowns where a waist tape is visible. Before the 1900’s it was used to keep the bodice in place over a corset, gowns were usually made of a top and skirt and the gap between should never be visible. Later it was used to keep the waist of the dress close to the tiny wasp waist in fashion in the 40’s and 50’s.





The Sound of music wedding dress.

Please Indulge me a moment, I just want to fawn over and examine this lovely dress.

The gown is a simple a line with folds of train behind it. The skirt looks like it has seamed panels that allow the skirt ot be fuller towards the hem and I would love some more detailed photos that show what is going on at the back. The hem of the skirt is weighted with a corded piping. This weight would keep the hem falling evenly and its inertia allowing a more subtle movement.

sound of music wedding dress

sound of music wedding dress

The bodice is beautifully fitted over what was likely a naturally lovely waist The seam line detailed with piping under the bust creates the shape leaving the lines in the body to continue down to the skirt. This fine piping would have been quite fiddly to get right so shows the beauty in the tailoring.

That collar is fascinating. It is another design element used to lengthen the body. It has fine piping around the neck. The front panels are not on the straight grain but also not quite on the bias. The line flows from under the bust to up and around the neck and back down to the under bust with a little overlap. I wonder if it is sewn closed or if you could see some skin if you were in the right place.


The sleeves are bias cut. An elegant solution to the problem of a long fitted sleeve restricting movement. The buttons allow the sleeve to be even more fitted creating a long and elegant line. A tiny little v shape at the wrist extends the sleeve over the hand and stretches the line even further. Fine piping detail around the wrist repeats the piping at the neck. We live in a time of low fabric consumption, easy machine construction and false buttons over zips, this glimpse into sewing past warms my heart.


And that veil.

sound of music wedding dresssound of music wedding dress

Sadly the dress has now been altered so much that the refined shape is no longer visible. At the time no one realised the movie would be such a classic so the dress was just chucked back into the wardrobe department to be altered and re used.


Inspiring Ideas – The fall of a veil without one

Most brides still love the drama of the veil. The way it falls behind you, The exciting thrill of wearing something so unusual on what is really an unusual day. A style trend that I really like is to use the cascades of tulle but re invent them away from your head.

Below are some examples, historic and current where tulle is used as trains from the gown or as shawl and capes.

A 1920s dress with a tulle and satin train attached at the shouldersFlapper wedding dress with tulle cape

A 1940’s brocade wedding dress with a tulle train attached at the hips.1940 s wedding dress with tulle train

An Edwardian dress with a lace cape sewn into the back neckline of the dress. Lace cape edwardian wedding dress

This looks like a separate cape tied at the front with a contrast bow.tulle cape

A beaded tulle cape.


A tulle train attached to a simple modern wedding dress.997fa50499486bdf77d44346c67bf19c

Stunning Elie Saab embroidered tulle cape.