Portfolio: Shell’s Wedding Dress

The Idea and Inspiration:

 Shell and I collaborated to design her wedding dress, taking inspiration Shell’s love of Lord of the Rings and the wedding site (Kaitoke Regional Park, where Rivendell was filmed for LotR), some elements of modern wedding dresses that we liked, the NZ native birds theme of the wedding, and my background as a historical seamstress.

All of these came together in a 21st century wedding dress for an elf queen that might have been designed by early 20th-century designer Elizabeth Hawes, in subtle bird colours, all using historical construction methods.

Inspiration Gallery

Elizabeth Hawes Dress, 1937 Kereru, the NZ Wood Pigeon The design sketch
Elie Saab dress, ca 2011   Jim Hjelm dress, ca 2007 Liancarlo dress, ca 2007

Fabric and Materials:

Dove-grey silk crepe chiffon trimmed with ice-blue silk taffeta.  Skirt lined in palest grey dotted swiss of unknown synthetic fibre makeup.  Bodice support of white linen with corded bust, boned with feather boning.  Self-fabric buttons with hand embroidery over a hidden zip.  Petticoat of sea-blue stretch cotton.

Dotted swiss, taffeta, crepe chiffon, stretch cotton

The Dress Diary:

The design

Picking the fabric

Draping the bodice, designing the skirt  

Tips & tricks for sewing with chiffon  

Cording the bust

The skirt lining

The bodice support and skirt

Draping the bodice



A winter-wear petticoat

Some very special finishing details

A zip and buttons  

A fascinator full of meaning

The dress on the big day

A day before dress-rehearsal


Photos on Sarah’s livejournal: By the Sea,  Moore Wilsons, Cuba St Princess, Preparations, Ceremony,  Happy Couple,  Bridesmaids,  Fairylights.

The finished dress:

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