Shell by sea

The day before Shell’s wedding (and before the buttons were sewn on) we had a ‘trial run’ of the dress and a photoshoot by the sea.  Well, I say we, but it was supposed to be Sarah’s photoshoot, and my role was to carry the train, but I brought along my camera, just in case.

It wasn’t the best photoshoot conditions: very late in the day, rainy, overcast, grey and glaring.  So I used this as an excuse to play “my photography sucks, but LOOK, I have cool filters!  And border thingees!”

I may have gotten slightly carried away with that.  Ahem.

Check out Sarah’s photos from the shoot, and the grocery trip afterwards, and the princess conversation.

Shell got married! (And her dress looked gorgeous!)

Here is what you have all been waiting for: photos of Shell in her dress from her wedding!

These are my photos from the day.  It was definitely one of those times when I really wished I had a better camera – mine just doesn’t zoom well, won’t focus at different levels, and doesn’t play pretty tricks with the light, which really limits my fun.

It was an absolutely lovely day: the rain stopped just in time, everyone was happy, the site was gorgeous and Shell looked amazing: the perfect vision of elf queen meets modern bride, just as we had hoped.

And one with the bride and her dressmaker to finish it off:

There you go!  Would you be interested in a less ‘dress’, more ‘wedding story’ post with images from Sarah (in other words, images that are better than mine!)?

Shell’s dress: a zip and buttons

You’ve seen the extraordinary buttons for Shell’s dress already, but I haven’t really told you about how it fastens.

Extraordinary embroidered buttons

It closes with a zip under the false buttons.

Yes, that’s right, I caved and did the ultimate wedding dress cliché.  It’s a cliché for a reason though: buttons by themselves would have a hard time holding such a fitted strapless bodice, and would be a pain to fasten, so the zip is necessary, but brides love that buttons up the back look.

Zip and buttons with little loops to fasten

Since it isn’t a historical technique, a zip under buttons is not something I have ever had occasion to do before.

It also isn’t something that you can currently find any instructions or guides on how to do on the internet.

So I did a few trial runs, and guessed, and went for it.

It came out very well: when the dress is on and the buttons are fastened its almost impossible to tell there is a zip under them.  This was very important to Shell.  Initially she was almost as anti zip-under-buttons as I am!

The zip and buttons, with some un-embroidered stunt buttons to see how it worked

Even though I was pleased with the result, and Shell was pleased with the result, I want to work on my technique a little more.  Once I have got it absolutely perfect I’ll do a tutorial on how to do buttons over a zip on wedding and formal gowns.

The buttons end at the bottom of the bodice ruching, though the zip continues into the skirt

For now I shall distract you from the tiny imperfections in the fastenings by blinding your eyes with more of the glorious buttons:

From the top, a kereru, a tui, and a piwakawaka (fantail)

And if you need further distraction I shall wave the carrot of finished photos in front of you.  I’ll be posting wedding pics on Sunday!  Yay!


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Leimomi Oakes is the Dreamstress, a textile historian, seamstress, designer, speaker and museum professional. Leimomi is available for educational and entertaining presentations, textile and fashion advice, special commissions and events. Click to learn more

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