It’s a family affair.

Welcome back!

Most brides will look back at what their mum wore on their wedding day and have a good giggle at the fashion of the time – I know I did! But occasionally, a well looked-after wedding dress can have the honour of being worn by more than one generation.

A common theme seems to be that mum on her wedding day was quite a bit slimmer than the current bride wishing to wear the dress.  If you are someone that wishes to wear a family heirloom, or maybe a friend’s dress for sentimental reasons, and it just isn’t going to fit, then there are a few things that you need to do.

Firstly, you’ll need to plan early:  It may be that the dress can be adjusted to fit with the addition of extra fabric, a lace up back, or some other modification.  But this may need research into fabrics or trims at the time the dress was manufactured as things have changed over the years.

Secondly, you need to ask the right questions: Please, please, please find out what you are allowed to do to the dress!  I really do not want to start chopping about a dress only to find the owner would like it restored to its original state once you have worn it!

Dresses from 20-50 years ago were not constructed the same as many modern wedding dresses and I absolutely LOVE working on them.

There are some lovely stores that sell previously owned or vintage wedding dresses from all eras.  So, if you love the art of ‘up-cycling’ and dress customisation, this might be the right route to go down for you.

I really would love to know if you wore your Mum’s or a relative’s dress.  Maybe you can leave a comment with the story of your dress and perhaps share a picture?!

Love Nikki xx

 

To diet or not to diet… now that’s a question!

There’s a famous line from the film ‘Bride Wars’ when Kate Hudson character tries her designer wedding dress….

“You don’t alter Vera to fit you…you alter yourself to fit Vera”.

But the reality is that most wedding dresses – whether they are high street, ebay, off the peg or ready to wear – are adjusted at some point over their journey from the point of purchase to your wedding day.

It’s more common than you think to have a gown that is too small. Perhaps you bought a sample dress that you thought you would ‘slim’ into, or have had a operation that has left you unable to run your normal three marathons a year! Whatever the reason, it happens and more often than you realise.

So in my last blog I said that I would share the story of ‘finding’ three dress sizes.  The bride concerned had put-off her fittings till much closer to the wedding day than was advisable (and I could tell you more than one story about that, but this one first!).

This particular bride had purchased her dress a number of years before the wedding and in between she had started a family.  She had taken her dress home and had kept putting off her fitting.  Not such a great move because if a satisfactory alteration couldn’t have been done she had almost run out of time.  So the lesson here for all brides-to-be? Have a ‘plan b’ or be completely honest with the person adjusting your dress.

My bride and I met and the instant she uncovered the dress I could see that it was not going to fit! Well, it would have fitted someone but not the young lady standing in front of me! (Note to self: Consider an acting career as a side-line after my Oscar-winning cover-up of my complete meltdown, expertly replaced with a cool, calm, “Lets see what we can do”!).

So, we managed to get her in her dress.  To be fair, “in” might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it was obvious that it needed to grow by six inches (or she needed to shrink by this much – not really an option!).  By now we were just six weeks before the wedding and quite honestly she was happy with herself and her shape and size.

Anyone who has ever ‘let out’ a wedding dress before will know there’s not normally six inches of fabric to find inside.  So we had to make some drastic choices.  Luckily, I was only really concerned with the fit down to the waist and as it was a very full skirt, it meant that I had an idea……

Obtaining the same fabric was thankfully easy and so I set-to putting the extra fabric in.  The only way to really do this alteration was down the front or in the sides; so I decided on a combination of the two – scary stuff when you are chopping down the middle of someone’s wedding dress with weeks to go and a customer that has limited availability to get back to you!!

All’s well that ends well though as when she returned for her second fitting not only did it fit like a glove but she couldn’t even tell where it had been done!  Phew! It made for one very happy bride on her wedding day wearing her dream dress.  And for me…. a lovely bottle of vino and beautiful thank you card for me (along with this little tale to tell…)

Till tomorrow xx

 

Fail to plan and you plan to fail…

You could be forgiven for thinking that I am less than organised if you follow me on Facebook.  Making a dress the day before I wish to wear it, a costume for my kids the day they need to take it to school, or a friend that says “when you have time…. no rush” (you live and you learn… give me a deadline!).

But when it comes to YOUR wedding dress, believe me there is no moving the deadline and its important to plan even for the unexpected!

Give yourself time – it’s the greatest gift.  Plan any weight loss or surgery – you would be surprised how many girls have a breast reduction or enlargement before the day – before you book your dress fittings.  Depending on the agreement you have with the store, it will be more costly to keep going back for further adjustments closer to the wedding.

I was a bride that fell pregnant before the wedding day and rather than changing the date or the dress, I decided in my wisdom that I could do ANYTHING to a wedding dress to get it to fit.  It’s what I do right??  Now picture this….. two weeks before the big day, standing in front of the mirror with a piece of fabric from the middle of my dress, unpicked and a seven month bump hanging out the front! Not ideal!! To be honest, I could have made the adjustments to fit, but the with style of the dress it just would not have worked or done any justice to the dress (or me).  Luckily I’m in the know! So I got a new dress (appropriate for my shape at the time) and adjusted that to fit.  But you really don’t want to find yourself in a similar position and not know where to turn.

So, do a bit of research; find out if the store you have bought the dress from can accommodate last minute alterations if necessary.  If not, find a ‘Plan B’!! There are lots of us in the industry that work from home, but if you call me on the first day of August and ask for something to be done by the end of the month, you’re not likely to get the response you are looking for!

I’ve got a great story about a bride that kept putting off her fittings as she hadn’t quite got to the goal weight she had hoped……

Want to know how I found three dress sizes???  Check out tomorrow’s blog……..

 

 

Waaaaaaa it’s my first blog!!!

Good evening.  How exciting to be sharing with you over the coming weeks and months the inner-world of the wedding dress alterations business along with everything I know about planning outfits for THAT day!!!

Let me start by introducing myself.  My name is Nicola but better known by my friends and family as Nikki (the wedding dress lady).

I started in the Bridal industry over 20 years ago (wow that starts to make me sound old).  I’ve made, sold and adjusted wedding dresses, amongst other garments, within that career and been honoured to be involved in thousands of weddings.

I am privileged enough to have studied at the best schools in London, obtaining a first-class honours degree in fashion studies and an innovative pattern cutting post-graduate certificate from Central St Martins.  But my intuition for garment construction, or more importantly deconstruction and reconstruction, is a family gift learnt from my tailoress Nan, Mum and Aunt.

Every wedding dress is unique and each body that it fits around equally so. This makes my part in the wedding as the dress surgeon a rewarding challenge each and every day! I hope to open your eyes and hearts over the coming blog posts to the inner workings of the bridal gown and how perfection is only a stitch away.

Please visit my website at www.bridalalterationsmaidstone.co.uk