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The Making of a Bespoke Wedding Dress

Gemma Leakey designs and creates both exquisite collections as well as offering a unique bespoke wedding dress service. Here is the process of how she makes her bespoke wedding dresses from the drawn design to the finished garment.

The making of a Gemma Leakey Bespoke Wedding Dress:

1. Fabrics and Design

  • Fabrics are always the starting point to any of my designs, whether it is a collection dress or for a bespoke client. Knowing how the fabric performs, drapes, and handles are key to the design and silhouette that you ultimately want to achieve. For example, when choosing a silk georgette or chiffon, I know that the silhouette is going to be floaty, or if choosing a structured silk Mikado for example, I would be looking at designing a full skirt to use the volume and structure that this particular fabric provides. I often make samples of details with the fabrics first, so I know if it will hold that particular shape well, i.e. can it hold a fold or a pleat, or can it gather well, finely into a waistband for instance. I will then sketch the dress up in the desired fabric and shape before proceeding to the pattern stage.
The Florence gown as a sketch
Florence Gown
Florence Gown – Back

2 . Creating the Pattern

  • This process happens almost simultaneously with choosing the fabrics, as it is important to know the chosen fabric will work in the desired shape. in order to check the shape is going to work, we create a toile, which is a proto type or a mock-up of the dress in a natural cotton fabric called Calico. Once we have the desired look in the calico and are happy with how the dress fits on our fit model or bride if it is a bespoke wedding dress, we can then begin the cutting and making process.
Toile, made from calico for bespoke wedding dress.
Isabelle bridal gown design
Isabelle gown

3. Cutting the Fabric

  • Our collection pieces are made to set sizes, so we would use the correct size pattern based on the bride’s measurements. First of all, we will create a lay plan based on the width of the particular chosen fabric. A lay plan is positioning the pattern onto the fabric in the most efficient way to work out how much fabric will be needed in order to minimise the waste. As a sustainable brand, we are very passionate about minimising waste. Once working this out we can order the correct amount of fabrics and lay and cut out our patterns.

4. Sewing the Dress Together

Sienna Bridal Gown by Gemma Leakey
  • We always work out a sewing order first as this is the most efficient way of us making a gown. Knowing what type of seams are required and testing these on the chosen fabric first is also carried out before we start sewing, as well as testing the heat temperature required for pressing at each stage of the process. For example, with our lightweight chiffon or Georgette gowns, we use a French seam as these are the neatest way to finish a chiffon or georgette, and work for us as a higher end wedding dress brand.

5. Finishing

  • Once the main part of the wedding dress is sewn together we can apply the finishing details, whether it be covered buttons, an added trim, belt, as well as sewing in the garment labels needed. We would often leave the hem un-hemmed if the bride has chosen to have her gown altered by us as well.

6. Dress Fittings

Bespoke Bridal Gown
  • Once the bespoke dress has been made we then invite the bride in to have her first fitting, we ask that they bring along the correct underwear and heels that they will be wearing on their wedding day to ensure we get the correct length and fit required for any further alterations.

7. Final Fitting

  • When all alterations have been carried out, the bride will come for a final fitting with the aim of taking her bespoke dress away. We always ensure the bride is 100% happy with how it fits before she leaves us.
Bespoke Bridal Gown

Wedding Fair

If you would like to see some of Gemma Leakey’s Bridal gowns or chat to her about creating a bespoke dress. She will be attending our Wedding Fair on Saturday 25th March. We are hosting a Wedding Fair here at Beckford Silk which will include local suppliers. If you are looking for ideas for your special day then do come along and have see what is on offer.

Thank you to Gemma Leakey for sharing the process of how she creates her beautiful bespoke wedding gowns. If you would like to get in touch with her to find out more about her bespoke bridal wear service. Here are some links: Website, Instagram, Pinterest.

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