The ever-lovely Paula has recommended my services to her delightful friend Clare, who is having trouble completing her bridal outfit. She’s fallen for, and indeed bought, a beautiful skirt from Charlie Brear, and now needs to essentially grow it into a dress.

The skirt fabric is textured and feminine, with an all over cut-out floral motif:

Charlie Brear skirt fabric swatchCharlie Brear fabric swatch

And the skirt silhouette is simple – full length and high waisted, with a soft volume to it:

Carlie Brear skirt, basic top designs over masking tape

Having printed this screen grab from internet, I drew up 3 very basic top options for her: a soft, drapey cami, a boned bodice, or a high front / low back combo.

The inspiration images for the completed look included backless and strappy dresses with a laid-back, boho vibe, so the cami option was a good starting point to take forward. Clare’s happy to go bra-less so we can add as much or as little coverage in the back as we fancy, but she’d like the security of something a little more structured and firm in the front. Therefore we’ll move away from the draping satin feel and aim for something soft but fitted, maybe with a view to using a lightly fused raw or textured silk.

In our first sitdownchat Clare and I ran through our various first ideas, talking over the styles she’d tried on and also the tear sheets and Pinterest pins we’d both collected. As we came to some conclusions about definite yesses and nos I made some rough sketches, and have subsequently tried to spin out each small idea into a few variations:

Initial design ideas
high apex front with princess seams and double straps
Initial design ideas
lower apex front with panels and single straps
Initial design ideas
high neck with darts
Initial design ideas
high neck with wider strap and boat neck

The next step will be talking Clare’s measurements and making the initial pattern. I think I’d like to make two toiles for the first fitting: one V neck version with princess seams, and the other with a high neckline and darts. From those two bases I think we could have a good jumping off point for all manner of variations, so we can do the real designing in the first fitting. It should be quick to make these up seeing as they’re all so small! So we might as well maximise the possibilities.

The wedding will be in September and I’ll be free from work on a little sabbatical from July, much to my delight! So for the time being this project will progress very slowly, if at all, but when the summer kicks in this’ll get the dedication it deserves.

I’ll blog about the progress here and will eventually be proud to feature Clare’s wedding photos in the autumn. In the meantime you can follow me on Pinterest to see some of the inspiration clippings for this and my other projects. You can also find me on Instagram @ sarahbarkerbridal.



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