A Wine Red Custom Gown, Part A

Custom wedding gowns are truly something special! We love getting to dive deep into the creative process of design and construction as we shape and mold the dress to fit our client’s personality and vision. 

Over the last several months we had the pleasure of creating a custom wedding gown for Danelle! We are going to share this story in two parts. In this first part we will share behind the scenes of creation and in the second part we will share the actual wedding day! This was such a fun experience working with Danelle. She wanted a red wedding gown, but she didn’t want to tell her husband Andrew. She wanted to keep it a surprise for the wedding day! We loved keeping this little secret throughout the process. Danelle even talked about hanging a white wedding dress in her closet before the wedding to keep the surprise! 

The dressmaking process began with some imagery that inspired Danelle. From these images we began designing the dress to combine the different elements that were important to Danelle’s vision. It was solving a puzzle as we began to play with different bodice cuts, applique designs, layers, volume, color accents, and more. 

For this wedding gown we started with a ballroom silhouette petticoat made of three rows of gathered tulle, and a luxurious silk charmeuse lining. Danelle wanted to run down the aisle to Andrew,  so we put a slit in the petticoat to allow her to run without catching the skirt.

For the bodice, we sourced many different embroidered appliques to find the perfect shade of wine red – focusing on blue-reds, rather than orange-reds.  Then we worked with different colors of tulle for the outer skirt layer, to blend the colors together to create a richer tone. Working with tulle is like painting with watercolors – you can blend different colors together to arrive at new shades. 

The appliques on the bodice and skirt was the real puzzlework!  Our amazing Lynne Donaldson was tasked with arranging the appliques in an organic fashion.  She did a stunning, meticulous job.

To create an organic looking applique design she had to cut all of our individual appliques into smaller pieces so she could create appliques that were all subtly different. From each applique you’d have some connecting pieces, larger more decorative pieces, and then more medium sized extra pieces. It became complex as you worked your way to create a one of a kind applique from all of these little parts. And on top of that, we needed to lightly sew these onto the tulle to test if the weight of the parts would alter the flow of the skirt. And then when all was good to go we had to individually sew all the little pieces of the applique onto the skirt and bodice. Quite the task!

Our incredible JOA team put their heart into this gown. We were all hand sewing different sections of the applique together. Talk about teamwork! This dress became a collective endeavor as we all worked together to find the perfect design and to get all the pieces assembled. Teamwork really does make the dream work! Stay tuned for part B where we will share more about the day of the wedding and share some gorgeous photos!!

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