Wowzers!!!! I'm entirely overwhelmed by the response to my last blog post in which I announced my recent engagement. At time of writing it received 99 comments and several emails!!! Y'all are some wonderfully sweet and supportive people, I'm soooooo thankful for all your congratulations, kind words and best wishes. Also, for those who asked, my ring was made by a very talented Brighton-based designer (who can be found at Brighton Craftaganza, BTW) called Rock Cakes, here's her Etsy store.
Aside from being so sweet, you are also highly talented dress designers!!!! My request for any images/links/ideas that may assist me in developing designs for my wedding and bridesmaid's dresses was not ignored!!!! I'm incredibly grateful to everyone for their ideas and links and I can honestly say they have been sooooooo useful. I've been sent so many ideas, images and links to wonderful things that, off the back of them, I could design 300 amazing dresses each of which would be amazing for my 'big day'. But of course, there can only be one wedding dress and one bridesmaid's dress (one hopes!). And similarly, as helpful as the dresses that I was drawn to are, equally useful were all the dresses that, although undeniably beautiful, I was able to identify as 'not me'. It's really helped me to narrow down my options from the infinite possibilities that making something from scratch rather buying it in a shop leaves you open to.
So where am I at right now? Well, currently I'm still not set on the final designs, but I can feel that now I am much closer and have almost definately ruled out some design elements in favour of others. But I've been really sweetly surprised by the number of commenters that said they were interested in following the development of my designing and making these dresses. Maybe because I've never really given too much thought to weddings and their aesthetics (which I why I turned to the lovely readers of my blog for assistance), but it astonished me how many people might genuinely want to see more than the final garment. So to honour that, I'm going to share selection of all the images, links and designs that you all have shared with me, before I get too far along with the design process. The wedding day itself will draw alarmingly close if I blog every single inspiration point you've sent me, so this is just an edited selection of images that resonated with me the most (in absolutely no particular order):
Now, although I stated in my last post that I wanted to be wearing a normal bra for the event, I could be enticed into M&S to research alternative under-garments to accommodate a neckline like this one, as suggested by Roisin. Showing some sexy shoulder, but without needing to continuously yank up an entirely strapless bodice, this type of thing could be just the ticket. I like the cheeky peek of black showing at the hem too.
Mommy En France directed my attentions to the retro Butterick B5032. Now I've seen this dress on Sew Retro and other sites, and thought it was nice, but I'm not sure I've seen a version made up with the back bustle addition. Actually, it's probably just a sash that ties round the waist and falls long at the back, but it's putting me in mind of bustles and back-business, which is no bad thing!
This Vivien of Holloway dress, which was also brought to my attention by Roisin (a keen eye for an awesome dress, that one). I really like the pleated/gathered section of the bodice as it goes into the midriff band. Oh, and those grown-on sleeves always catch my eye. BTW, as much as I love them, I have to remember that midriff bands look terrible on my frame as I have a super-high natural waistline which leaves very little space between my bustline and the smallest part of my waist.
Kate suggested making the most of 'the girls' with some kind of shelf bust detail. I like the idea of adding quite a raunchy element to the dress whilst maintaining decorum with a sleak, modest pencil skirt like the one on the left of this pattern Love those little delicate pleats instead of darts on the pencil skirt option too.
Lots of people sent me links to garments with lovely bateau and almost-bateau necklines, like this one pictured above from Madelaine. I think just a hint of collar bone at the front and plunging away to a scoop or deep V at the back is such a subtley sexy option.
Bella found this picture above in a blog post full of lots of beautiful vintage dresses. I really like the simple line of the top of the solid black under layer. My personal jury is still out on lace, I've never really worn it or worked with it, but do admit that it can look stunning. But then, Vicki Kate made the suggestion of black lace appliques on red, which could have an equally wonderful impact without getting too 'lacy'.
Damn!!! Now THAT'S an hourglass silhouette! No denying it. Colleen shared this dress with me, I also love the crazy-scaled bow detail. If you can't rock an enormous bow detail on your wedding day, when can you?! Also, I feel that skirt length is absolutely perfect on her.
This dress also shared by Colleen and sourced here, is truly wonderful. I'm particularly loving the wonderful scooped neckline and small grown-on sleeves. Also, I hadn't previously considered using a combination of different fabrics but in the same tone. That's really got me thinking...
Mrs C, who very got hella creative and whipped up this design page for me, has offered a response to a question that has been troubling me: how to make the bride's and bridesmaid's dresses similar but not too similar. My boss, who used to run an ethical bridal company, also gave me some top advice about this matter. I'm sure it's a topic I'll be coming back to again soon in the designing process. Also above, loving the emphasis on the smallest part of the figure.
Hanna shared this awesome image, which really hammered home to me just how much I want to get married in red. The sexy silhouette with cute-but-not-too-kitschy bow shoulder detail is a really clever combination in my mind, and has really got me thinking....
Lots of people, including Christina, lladybird and my home-girl Rehanon, have suggested touches of very-Zoe elements, like leopard print and tattoo imagery, specifially swallows and anchors. Whilst I'm heading for something more classic and less kitschy than my usual fare, I am not ruling out adding some such cheeky fun into the mix!
As I say, this is just a selection of the many wonderful suggestions passed on to me. And every single link and image (not just the ones pictured above) has been indispensible in leading me towards what I want to make, so again a huge thanks to everyone who commented and emailed.
Finally, very good luck and all the best to Margaret and Suzy who are also in the process of designing/making their own wedding dresses. Let's do this, chicas!!!!
I'll probably share one more selection if inspiration before I make my final choice after I've trawled through all the vintage pattern sites that some of you suggested, plus Etsy and so forth. But I promise this blog won't become a wedding-only affair until after the big day. See you soon xxx