Shell’s dress: a very meaningful fascinator

It’s been a while since I have posted about Shell’s wedding dress, but I always meant to tell you about her fascinator.

Shell’s fascinator was a combination of need and happy circumstances.

First the need:

  • Shell had always planned to make a fascinator to wear, but as the day approached we were all super busy and running out of time.

Then the happy circumstances:

  • Shell’s mother had sent lace motifs clipped from her own wedding dress, and satin from her Grandmother’s wedding dress, which we hoped to incorporate into Shell’s dress, but the dress was too far along by the time they arrived.
  • Emily of Ever So Scrumptious had a collection of kereru feathers from her backyard (yes, she got permission from DOC to keep them) that she offered to Shell for her fascinator.
  • Shell’s mother-in-law to be crocheted her a series of flowers for her fascinator and the bridesmaid’s fascinators.
  • And of course, we had the gorgeous embroidered buttons that Madame Ornata had worked.
  • And finally, I found a bluebird feather in my stash.  I’m not  exactly  sure how it got there.  I have a nasty suspicion that I found it tucked in a suitcase pocket, which means I collected it on a trip when I was 16 or so, and it went back and forth and back and forth and back and forth between Hawaii and the US, and then came to NZ.  Sorry DOC.  But I might be totally wrong.

As the day of the wedding approached and we all started panicking about finishing details I jokingly suggested to Shell that in order to use the bits from her mother and grandmother’s dress she should just stick one of the lace motifs on her head, pile the other stuff on top of it, and call it good.

At first we laughed and thought the lace motifs would be ridiculously big, and wouldn’t work.  And then I looked at them again, and said “try it on”.  And we pinned a lace motif on her head, and stuck feathers and flowers on it, and it looked amazing.

So we took the whole thing down, just as we had bobby-pinned it on her head, and I sewed it together.  And it looked  amazing.

The lace motif is the base.  We realised after we pinned the whole thing together that we had chosen a motif with age stains, but it was the only motif with that exact shape, so it stayed.

An embroidered button featuring a Missouri bluebird anchors the crocheted flower.

Two tall kereru tail feathers, and the one (possibly illicit) bluebird feather add angular dimensionality, while tiny kereru breast feathers and some ostrich tips from my stash, soften the whole look.

Finally I  used the satin from her mothers dress to make little scrunched flowers with burnt edges to tuck under the crocheted flower.

So there is Shell’s fascinator: a bit of her grandmother, a bit of her mother, a bit of her childhood home & old country, a bit of her new family, a bit of her new country, a bit of her friends and their talents, and even a tiny bit of me.

After the first ceremony in NZ Shell and Richard flew to the US to have a ceremony with her family there.  Due to potential problems with transporting kereru feathers out of NZ and back into the country, Shell left the fascinator here, but took materials (not feathers) to make another one to wear in the US.

For her second fascinator I made her another set of flowers from her mother’s dress.  These ones came out looking like dogwood, which are one of my favourite flowers.  After the flowers were done Shell told me that Missouri’s state flower is the dogwood.

 What a happy chance.


  1. This is beautiful! And the meaning behind all the pieces is just lovely. Such a perfect piece 😀

  2. Lynne says

    Bravo! I do like your dogwood flowers, too. Burning the edges makes them so much more effective – good idea!

    • Thank you! I wish that I’d been skilled enough to keep the burns from showing, but it was really necessary to keep them from fraying to nothing in no-time flat.

  3. I was very happy to contribute kereru feathers! Most of them came from a morning when I was woken up by the sound of a kereru kerfuffle outside, in their springtime mating season. When I went out to go to work, kereru feathers were all over the lawn. I collected as many as possible. Shell got married right at the end of kereru season, making it even more appropriate!

    • Gah! Now I can’t decide which joke to make! Do I go with the one about Angry Birds at Shell’s geek wedding? Or the one about fighting over a girl and her winning? Or the one about about violent lovemaking and wearing discarded lingerie on your head?

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