The Fair Willow. That is what Amanda named her bridal gown. It's formed from her dreams of the perfect dress. Here's the story of a woman and her dress.
Amanda contacted me in the autumn of 2014 to inquire about an original gown for her May 2015 wedding. We chatted a bit about her expectations for a gown and the timeline.
I asked Amanda to describe her wedding day, how she saw herself, and how she was hoping the day would feel. She used words like "garden, country, lace, vintage, warm, intimate, heirloom, romance". I was starting to get the picture. I asked her to start a Pinterest page for her gown so we could both pin and comment on dresses she was drawn to. This wasn't a matter of "I like this dress, please make it with a modification" This was about me seeing the common attributes of dresses that drew Amanda's eye. In the first few of our 100+ e-mails back and forth, words such as "lace, silk, romance, and drape" appear repeatedly.
Additionally, I asked Amanda to find a few pieces of clothing from her existing wardrobe that fit her great and she feels fabulous wearing. This helped me to determine what type of style lines would suit Amanda on her big day.
Finally, since lace was an important factor in the look of the gown, and family ties were very important to the couple, I advised her to start to look for lace heirlooms that she might like to incorporate into her bridal look. Right away she said she had a tablecloth that her family believes was handmade between 1890 and 1910. It was handmade by her great-great-great-great grandmother using a combination of needlework techniques. She wanted to incorporate the piece, but not look like she was "walking down the aisle wearing a tablecloth" Understandable, but that is exactly what she would be doing in about 6 months!
I came up with two original designs for Amanda's consideration that incorporated the tablecloth without it being the entire gown.
Amanda loved the straps, train and overall shape of the first dress but loved the waist feature of the second. So I came up with another sketch:
She loved the third combination so I got started making the muslin. Amanda's homework was to find a lace for the overlay of the entire gown that she loved and that would compliment the heirloom lace nicely. we agreed to meet in 6 weeks. You don't have to wait that long though-- I'll be writing the next part of the story and post it next week :)
I'm Denise Meyer, apparel designer in State College, PA, saving the world one clothing problem at a time!