So anyway, the thought of wearing lace at a wedding hadn't crossed my mind as being not the thing to do, especially as there are so many beautiful lace creations around in the shops and lace having something of a renaissance in modern clothing design. I wanted to make something special to wear as it was to be a big family occaision and there's nothing like a bit of a do to set my needle a'quiver. I'd already bought a pattern, Simplicity 1606, which is a layered, lace overlay dress based on a vintage 1950s style. Taking my friend's comment on board, the challenge was to find a fabric combination to give enough twist to the traditional style as to be unmistakably not bridal.
And here it is. Deep coral lace with a burnt orange satin as the underlayer, shot through with an astonishing acid yellow grain. When the light hits the two together they absolutely flame! Impossible to photograph but a wonderful combination that makes every movement send sparks while you're wearing it.
The pattern is probably one of the most ambitious I've attempted yet. After giving myself a three week window to make it, plenty of time to knock up a dress in the light spring evenings (ha!), it soon became apparent that it was actually two dresses. Three including the lining. It has a strapless fitted bodice, boning front and back and boy those full circle skirt hems were a looooooong way to sew around!
The bodice actually came together like magic and the boning was more straightforward than I'd feared, especially with the help of some really good online tutorials from fellow sewists.
I ended up freestling the skirt section a bit as I hand sewed the lace layer over the satin along the zip at the back. I finished the back neckline with a gold button and ribbon loop.
In my head I'd seen the finished dress with either teal, blue or gold shoes, however my beloved tangerine suede heels were too perfect and the temptation to go matchy matchy was too great to resist! Even at the risk of looking like I'd been dip dyed bodily in a vat of orange.
I cooled the whole thing down with this cornflower blue, Louis Ferraud vintage jacket. This pure wool jacket has really good strong lines and good structure, a perfect foil for the sweetness of the lace. Also a welcome extra layer for an early May wedding in the chilly north of England. The jacket is actually one part of a fabulous skirt suit that I found in a charity shop a couple of years ago. A gold belt and bag were also vintage, both thrift finds, that finished the look. This Ear cuff felt like a more contemporary alternative to a fascinator or hair piece, the gold and blue feather cuff was from H&M.
I can see the dress being restyled down for warm summer days, with flat, strappy sandals and a faded denim jacket. Flaming gorgeous!