I had the honor of designing my friends Milena's wedding gown this fall, and I am excited to take you behind the scenes of the process of a wedding gown in less than 30 days. Yikes! One of the most beautiful moments of designing, is creating custom gowns that become part of my clients forever memories, such as wedding gowns. Usually, we have a few months to prepare for a wedding gown, but for this particular gown, we had only 30 days and with weekly fittings, we were able to keep on track.
Milena came by the design studio with one of the most special wedding guests; Willow. This beautiful German shorthaired pointer and her hiking partner scoped out my entire studio, made sure the place was safe, smelled the cats, gave me tons of sweet kisses and decided to leave me a nice little present on the carpet, while Milena and I were focused on discussing her vision for the wedding day & the gown. She and her (then) soon-to-be hubby Tiernan, had chosen Kerhonskon, NY for a destination wedding. Not only it was the most gorgeous countryside location I have seen, but I love that it has history, being Tiernan's childhood home.
After our first meeting, I whipped up some quick sketches on Procreate with three design options, keeping in mind the soon-to-be brides' vision for her big day. I sourced the finest fabrics of soft silk laces in ivory white, to accentuate Milena's perfect tan and brown hair as well as bring out the 'boho' countryside vibes in some floral elegant lace. From the three design styles, Milena went with the first design, a V-neckline dress with straps and an ultra low backside in an A-line style. Ugh, also my favorite.
On the first fitting, Milena wanted to remain more conservative on how low the neckline of the gown would fall, but of course, I was pushing for a little bit more cleavage. I won! The first fitting is usually unlined, unfinished hems, no closures, and some room left on the seam-lines for adjustments. Then, we alter the gown to perfectly accentuate the body, hence which is why it's called "custom" fitting. Side note, I love an all see through lace-wedding gown, is that too much for a bride? Because I'm loving the look of the first fitting, white in contrast black lingerie, but anywhoo- moving on! (Let me know in comments below).
A week after the first fitting, we got together to see how our alterations looked on Milena. I had taken out the scallop design of the trim around the fabric, and re-stitched it by hand around the neckline and backside, to make the entire design accentuate the backside, neck and shoulders. I can tell during the fittings, if my ladies are happy, on how they interact with the gown and can read it on their face right away. Milena could not stop playing with the gown and her smile was contagious.
On our third fitting, we completed the design by finalizing all of the alterations and finishes but not to forget, the adjustments of the veil also. The gown's first layer of lace is complimented with scallop trimming, horsehair trim throughout the hem for a perfect silhouette followed by multi layers of silk lining. The label of the gown, is custom made with Milena's wedding day of "7-7-19" and her name printed on it. I also stitched an "evil eye" bead, to symbolize something blue and & old but most importantly, in our Albanian tradition, something to keep bad luck away. It's the small details. that make a dress truly custom.
Finally, after a month long of endless sewing, the dress is finalized and the bride looks stunning but most importantly, she feels happy and that's only when my job is truly done. Everything fits her like a glove, she glided in to the dress, and never wanted to take it off. I was so happy to have her gown ready by our due date so I could focus on my own gown that I would wear at the wedding. Oops, I meant to say so she could focus on her wedding planning and not on the gown, and I guess it was nice to have a week left to finish my gown too. Haha! Okay maybe I'm the only one laughing at my own joke here, but what else is new.
I created a backless maxi gown in black sheer and gold/silver star patterns, with some ruffle back detail. I felt that it needed some more appealing effect, so minutes before the wedding I decided I needed to spice up the design and grabbed my overly heavy shears to cut an uneven slit as high as I could. Oh what a relief! That felt good and looked even better. Did I mention I had never tried on the dress the entire time I was making it? So let's be happy I had a dress to begin with, also
to my defense, I didn't have a mirror, and my friend was encouraging me to keep cutting higher, until I felt a cold breeze on my ribs, that's how high I went. Okay, that's another one of those moments that I laugh at my own jokes.
Off to NY for the wedding we go! Check out some of the pics below of the wedding festivities & leave me a comment, it makes me feel special.