Thursday, May 31, 2007

Vintage Pattern heaven

Both of these beautiful finds are from A Vintage Wedding. The sleeves, the centre front seams... Absolutely loving it.

Oh and any pattern that is part house coat, part wedding-dress is fine by me.

Butterick 7488 - 1930s

Simplicity 2639 - 1930s

Ed: 22 July 2007 - A Vintage Wedding site seems to have died a death. I will update you as and when I find out what's happening! Having a panic because I thought I'd decided to get 7488 and now don't know what to do!

Monday, May 28, 2007

I'm just so darned trendy

Well, would you look at that? My colour theme options summed up in two gorgeous little dresses?

The gods must be with me on this one. Now, to decide... Is there any way in hell I'll ever convince the Boy of a coral pink and green theme... Then again, will I ever convince the Boy out of his morning suit, into a grey custom made suit and then into a patterned waistcoat and navy tie underneath??

Neither is an absolute given...

Lydia Dress

Lydia Dress, £30 Monsoon

Amy Embroidered Dress

Amy Dress £30 Monsoon

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Eye Candy Anthony

I've blogged about these lovely creations before, but it occurs to me that these dresses would work beautifully in a country setting. The cut, colour and fabrics are luxurious enough to not feel cheated, yet the cropped length will make sure you don't end up with dirt, grass stains and unmentionables dragging behind you and your trailing skirt.

Candy Anthony dresses

I also love the vintage/retro 1950s vibe which is just enough of a nod and not a full on costume.

Grab your petticoats and form an orderly queue...

Candy Anthony Dresses

Scuse the dots across the top of the picture: it was taken through the window of his boutique in the Oxo Tower!

Candy Anthony

While drafting this post, I discovered his recently updated website, now with better and more images. Go feast your eyes.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Excalibur ... Or Coastal Blues

Further to recent attempts at searching, I was directed to the new Coast online shop by the lovely Bridalwave.

It seems that once again, my style radar is tuned just below perceptible and I have jumped on the back of an ever-present zeitgeist.

Behold my intended wedding colours...

All in one easy to manage collection, Cote D'Azure.

Particularly loving the dress in the middle's colour, which is so much easier than taking my wedding party to the Ballroom on Threadneedle Street whose bathroom doors are painted just that shade.

Is it coincidence that that dress' name is 'Helena'.

I think not.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Spanish Civility

I have been on the prowl... What to wear if you want a bit of sex appeal and a bit of demure coverage in the same gown... The choice seems limited.

I came across Pronovias while flicking through a magazine last week and hotfooted to their site. Some of it is rather flamboyant Spanish frills, but the vast majority is beautifully crafted lace, silk, chiffon and tulle in a variety of cuts that ooze femininity without sacrificing on individuality and structure.

What do you make of these?

Style: Eire

Style: Epoca

Style: Escorpio

Style: Espiga

And my personal favourite, which prompted me to go exploring in the first instance:

Style: Spiga

As a guide, Spiga is £3,220 and is available from Harrods Bridal Salon and from Pronovia's UK Flagship store on New Bond Street. Funnily enough, it's also available in a bridal salon called Mirror Mirror.

It's fate, I tell you.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Blue Baby Bridesmaid

Sometimes the smallest detail inspires the design of a wedding. For Caroline and Rob, that detail was the pretty blue sash that circled the waist of the bride‘s Amsale gown. That shade of soft blue was echoed in the flowers, the wedding invitations, the maid of honor‘s gown, the flower girl‘s dress, and the wedding cake decorations. Cute but pale wedding palette here in Caroline & Robert's wedding - what do we think of the checked bridesmaid? Can't decide, but it does highlight a range of colours which is quite a useful tool. Love the wreath in her hair!

In Search of the Blue Bridesmaid

While surfing on The Knot last night, I was amazed by the lack of bridesmaids sporting the colourscheme I have in mind. The lavender/hyacinth/hydrangea blue was all over, but the strong, brilliant blue I thought? Not so much.

So I hopped on over to Watters to see their offerings. Amazingly, I had to scour. I know that they make up each dress in about 40 colours, but photos of any dress in my blue were harder to find than hen's teeth. This one is ok, but not particularly inspiring.

I resorted to Net A Porter. This rather dashing, shapely, elegant frock is in just the colour I love. As long as the day is sunny but not blindingly bright, these will clearly be blue and not potentially black dresses. God bless 3.1 Phillip Lim.

This gun metal blue colour is also a possible, as long as it went towards the grey and not the lavender end of the spectrum. I'm either going for blue and white ming vase or wedgwood porcelain. I'm torn which way yet, but watch this space...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Marks and Spencers goes Bridal

Autograph Occasions Long Silk Devoré Wedding DressWeddings on a budget that don't want to undermine a certain feeling of British class should look no further than Marks and Spencers new wedding range.

This silk devore wedding dress is only £125 and has the remarkable addition of a modest neckline and actual sleeves, so difficult to find in a sea of strapless full skirted frocks these days.




Autograph Ocassion Bridal Smooth Padded Multiway BraUnsurprisingly, they don't trip up on the lingerie, either. Corsets (from £40) or bra and french knicker sets start at £28.

I love the crochet trim detail that doesn't detrace from the smooth lines of the cups.

They even go so far as morning suits from £90 for the jacket to £149 for the jacket and trousers, though I'm not averse to the fine wool suit, souped up with a waistcoat and smart tie underneath.


Autograph Single Breasted Single Button Morning JacketCollezione Pure New Wool Single Breasted 2 Button Neutral Jacket

Country Accents - Martha Stewart has some ideas...

Baskets brimming with fruit imbue a reception with rustic charm. Martha filled Nantucket baskets in various sizes with warm-toned fruits: pears, apricots, and two kinds of apples. Small baskets laden with blond cherries are arranged at place settings for guests to take home; tiny bows are a graceful touch.





Flower filled window-boxes are perfect for a casual wedding. Created from inexpensive items available at gardening or home-supply stores, the displays are easy enough to assemble yourself. Start with slender wooden boxes, and paint them to match your wedding palette. Fill them with pots of attractive, low-growing plants or flowers so the arrangements won't impede conversation; we chose groups of sunny yellow daisies.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Midas touch and depleting bank account

Finding suitably delicate shoes suitable for bridal wear that aren't satin (who has satin shoes, anyway?!), frighteningly pointy, precariously high or more bejewelled than J-Lo at the Oscars is a Herculean feat.

These will pain the pennies slightly, I won't kid you. But they are up to the task and are utterly re-wearable.

Emma Hope has a way with leather and metallics in particular. They are always delicate, reliably sturdy and comfortable beyond all reason.

I say this in theory only: the National Theatre costume department swears by them, but my meagre finances have yet to stretch thus far. Yet.

Wedding dress from scratch: Stage One: The Pattern

image of V2892

Vogue 2892

image of V2849

Vogue 2849

How to choose your pattern:

I cannot stress enough the importance of trying on. I know that you have decided to make your dress and I hail the brilliance of the venture. But, despite what looks amazing on model 1 in Brides and model 8 in Martha Stewart Weddings, you are neither of those girls and you must try on all shapes and sizes in as many bridal shops as possible. Do be subtle about your intent to save your and the assistants' face, and if you can't take pictures, at least take someone with a working knowledge of a sewing pattern so that they can note the salient points of the one you choose. A bit strappy with a poofy skirt won't be enough to find the pattern for you!

With images of you or someone very like you in a dress as close as possible to what you know you look fabulous in, march thee to the internet and go to any of the following.

Vogue Patterns: This is the deluxe pattern company. The patterns can range from perfectly straightforward to very difficult, but they are marked as such to give you an idea. They also have a very helpful shape reference to give you an idea of whether it will suit your body shape. They go in cohoots with designers and have been known to sell dress patterns cut by Vera Wang and Badgley Mischka. The cuts are always beautiful and it is very difficult to go wrong with even the most simple of shapes. They patterns can be more complicated to read and work with, though, so discuss the skill level of your dressmaker to make sure that she is up to it.

They also have a great range of reissued vintage patterns from 1920s- 1960s, sized to modern measurements.

Butterick Patterns: Same company as Vogue, more simple cut and instructions. Good vintage patterns, some pretty wedding dress patterns, but often more traditional and unexceptional shapes.

McCall Patterns: Same company as Vogue, but the BHS of the pattern world. The patterns are very easy to work with, but I feel they often look it made up. They often come up a bit big too, so be prepared for a few fittings. Good childrens' bridesmaids patterns though.

Simplicity Patterns: Good range of patterns, as basic as McCall but just prettier and more elegant. Also look under New Look section, which is a separate book and used to stock the more youth-focused designs but has recently lost its way. Again, good children's patterns and some pretty dress patterns.

Another helpful hint is to take the photograph on the front of the pattern witha pinch of salt. To the uninitiated it can be very difficult to see beyond some of the heinous fabrics chosen or work out how the skirt would fall if you weren't standing with your legs crossed. If in doubt, look for the black and white line drawing to give you a clearer idea of where the seams go, how the dress fits and whether the big pouffy rose can be easily removed (usually, yes!).

Of the above two dresses: Not completely convinced by dropped waist on either models - would have to try on such styles and see if they suit me or just make my long torso look even longer. I do love the bodice on the top one and the pleat front skirt (and bow back) of the lower one. The top half of the pink number is far too strappy and low for my ample bosom though!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Thai Silk sewn in England: a winning combination

Simple elegance and beautiful fabrics combine in an enchanting mercifully meringue-free site at Caroline Parkes.

I can do no better than quote from her site:

Caroline Parkes started designing wedding dresses 30 years ago whilst training with one of the last great British couturiers, Hardy Amies. Here she learnt how to recognize perfection in a dress and has never veered from aiming for the best in each gown created by herself or her staff.

Caroline set up her business 20 years ago in a spare room in her flat. Within one year she had a dress featured in Brides magazine and her exquisite and original dresses were soon in great demand. Since then her business has thrived and expanded, and is currently based in Wandsworth Town, where all the gowns are handmade by a talented and experienced staff.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The fabric stash increases....

Cabbages and Roses fabrics from £20 per metre

Anyone who reads my blog will know the dressmaking pile of "to-make" grows daily... I hope it goes without saying that the images I am storing here are merely inspirational for the creations that will flow from my mother's and my sewing machines when the Boy and I get around to getting wed.

I love the idea of introducing print to our wedding through the waistcoats and baby bridesmaids dresses, and perhaps through piping or something in the bouquets or venue decor. If the blue and white theme stands, these gorgeous swatches are just whetting my appetite for the gnarly country linens that are awaiting my delectation in boutiques across the capital.

At upwards of £20 a metre, they're not going to be cheap to mass produce the necessaries, but it will work out a damn sight cheaper than buying off-the-peg retail.

Just you wait, I've not even started looking at patterns properly yet. Hands-on wedding design? You betcha.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Pink and Green Wedding in the Garden

This beautiful pink and green garden wedding is detailed on the knot board here. All the details of print, pattern and decoration combine beautifully to create a welcoming and coordinated day. Congratulations!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Something Sweet and Blue

I don't know about you, but I have an ongoing struggle to not find blue food a little bit offputting.

The only thing offputting about these beautiful creations, though, is finding the strength of character to cut into them.

However, with a menu including white cake with raspberry preserves, almond cake with apricot preserves, orange zest cake filled with hazlenut truffle and banana cake with cream cheese filling, I think I might just summon the will from deep within me.

Form an orderly queue, behind the supremely talented Cakegirls.

To err is human, to give, divine...

Wedding lists are a tricky subject with me. While I understand that most couples these days have already filled their cupboards with duplicate homewares and may have even set up home to live in sin before the big day (*blush*) and so their wants are specific and personal, I still have a slight bugbear with invitations that contain 'requests' for gifts or directions to find a list of gifts. The implication, to me, is that you are invited on the basis that you bring or order a gift as detailed herein. It just grates with me.

The other issue that I have is that I don't want to own what most department stores offer. I don't want the latest plain white china set by Wedgwood, Nigella or Jamie. I want Andrew Tanner flock mugs, a few Blak and Blum candelabra and perhaps some pots for the garden. I bought myself an antique canteen of cutlery and I don't need another. I would like plush towels and maybe a few new bedding sets, but I would rather buy from an up-and-coming British designer than Debenhams. Having said that, Laura Ashley - does she count as up and coming?

My point is, it is a tricky subject. I think what we're going to do is set up a website to be detailed in the invitation which will have all the details about local hotels, driving and public transport directions, dress codes and the wedding registry details will be there.

And when I set up the registry, it will be somewhere that can access new work. New designers, unusual items and handmade beauty. And it won't be the highstreet.

Faves so far include wrapit, hiddenart, notonthehighstreet and imagini.

What are your thoughts on this potentially sticky subject?

The image at the top is from the delectable Paporganics which specialises in environmentally aware giftwrap. I'm personally loving their natural ribbons. The colour selection is just beautiful.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

More Garden Scenes

Courtesy of Really Rural Inspirations. All the products are made in Devon and you can select from 14 colourways. How lovely would the notice board be to direct guests around the venue (parking, reception, dinner) or just as a welcome sign?

Dovecote's probably a little excessive, but I couldn't help myself.

Bird themed wedding perhaps?

Monday, May 07, 2007

Some garden scenes...

Kandelini from Cox & Cox (an old faithful I'm sure to return to one or two times hence)

Flour and Fauna cake from Sylvia Weinstock

Good ol' Martha Stewart Weddings using vintage tea cans for centrepieces

Italian vineyard wedding... though something tells me South East England may not be quite up to the guaranteed weather this requires.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Welcome to the Countryside...

Readers of Gorgeously and Beholden will know about The Boy. The love of my days who stumbled into my life and slowly crept up on my soppiness two and a half years ago.

Talk has been turning to nuptials and in my wanderings on the internet, I was surprised to find an absence of information relevant to creating a countryside idyll of barns, bunting and cake stalls. Hotels upon hotels upon conference centres and castles. Not my (or my bank manager's) cup of tea.

The Boy, gorgeous geek that he is, promptly set up this website, which I am going to use to blog my investigations and experiences of making this vision a reality in South East England.

Wish me luck, hold your breath and send me links. I need all the help I can get!