The Petal Dress

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Well, Spring has truly begun in the UK, and as soon as the  trees started to blossom, I was on a mission – it was time for the spring part of our seasonal collection ( following Autumn made with leaves, and the two winters; Polaris  with snowflakes and Desolation with lunaria). The sketch was done  months earlier, and I knew what I was after – a dress made with real petals – the oriental inspired look was added en route somewhere:-)

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 I wanted to use real petals – but ones that wouldn’t wither and die in a day or two. The answer was The Real Petal Confetti Company – I used their petals for my wedding, over 2 years ago, and the left overs are still going strong in my cupboard. The samples were ordered, and once delivered, I experimented with different adhesives to see which ones work best. PVA did the trick….

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 How much to order though? I ordered 13 pints first, and added 6 more later on…. since the dress itself was a simple cheap calico, the price of the petals was the major expense for the project – still,  comparing with historical gowns in silks etc, it came pretty cheap!

The foundation was created in calico –  I adapted my Victorian princess polonaise pattern to create the shape of the top part, and inserted my second zip ever!

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husbands do come in useful… 🙂 pinning the back here…

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mega zip!

 

And then the bottom part was created out of two roughly semi oval pieces…. Think a circle skirt but with a train – so it ends up as an oval… sort of…:-) the two parts of the dress were then stitched together

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 The easy part was done – now for the petals…. the first part of the dress was made during one of my usual Stitch and Bitch sessions with Julia from Sew Curvy.  The available dummy was too slender to fit  my frock, so I roughly padded the thing with spare paper and covered it with clingfilm to prevent the glue from sticking to it.

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smothered in clingfilm….

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and the first petals on!

At the end of the day, I had the top part all covered up….  roughly 7 hours of non stop work…

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the waist was left uncovered – I’d planned a sash there…

 

The following day it was the skirts part – a bit more tricky….

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after another  4 hours….

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 Then the dress was neatly packed into the car for the return trip home…

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 Home – what shall i do with the rest of the evening – well, surprise surprise, more petalling!  It was  mildly addictive – or maybe I was just a bit obsessive? Just… One…. more… petal…..!

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 Well, at that point I  ran out of petals  and time. so more petals were ordered and I had 2 week break to work on commissions etc.

   While waiting for the petals to arrive, I practiced make up and hair do….

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the first attempt….

 

We also sourced the location –  and at that point Paul from Mockford Photography joined the frenzy and suggested Japanese style gardens as an alternative to a cherry orchard ( they seem to be rather scarce near Bedford…). In the end we settled on the Peace Pagoda in Milton Keynes,  and after obtaining the monks permission to  shoot there, we named the day, trying for the day with the best forecast…

Paul was also pinning some interesting images onto our Pinterest board –  and something is telling me that we are going to revisit some of the images in a different attire, allowing for a greater freedom of movement…. so watch the space….

The dress was finished  the day before the shoot – and the glue dried nicely overnight. In the morning we packed our toys and drove to the Pagoda. The weather was nothing as forecast, steady cloud cover, but we did get a glimpse of sun towards the end.

The location was perfect – lovely Zen styled gardens, and an authentic Japanese cherry  tree – in full blossom! both Lucas and Paul took turns shooting and assisting, as both had very distinctive ideas of the resulting images they wanted to achieve. Me, I was just  trying not to get too cold and  to hold on the the eyelashes ( turned out I used rubbish glue….)

 

The video documenting the creation and showcase pictures is here – do have a look!

The results –  first, piccies by Pitcheresque Imagery

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 and some gems from Mockford Photography

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 Paul’s blog with more pictures is here

 and just to finish it , a few behind the scenes shots!

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Paul at work

 

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   So  it is all done – and   just to let you know, the petal are still holing strong a year on…..  though the frock did have a make over in November – have a look what it looks like in a halloween edition!

 Oh, and the summer edition is already  being planned…. expect corn dollies, poppies and cornflowers as inspiration 🙂

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19 thoughts on “The Petal Dress

  1. I think this is the most beautiful dress I’ve ever seen, and the photography is stunning too. It was definitely worth your hours of painstaking work.
    This is the first time a dress has made me cry since I was five!

  2. This is an incredible gown, so creative and inspirational! I am just starting out with dressmaking and I am blogging about my journey. I hope that I can make something as wonderful someday! Thanks for sharing.

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  7. I’m speechless only on very rare occasions, and this is one of them… Totally stunning and amazing! I love flowers, I’m a gardener, and I love dresses, I’m a sewer, but this is just beyond everything I have ever thought of. I can’t stop looking at the pictures, this dress is really a work of art.

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