Bridal bodice – buttons, lining and shopping!

Ok after that little lingerie diversion (and a day spent being filmed for BBC1!), we’re back on the wedding gown!

First up was a quick fitting of the shell with all the boning pieces inserted and the waist stay hooked. And I can breathe a sigh of relief, because it’s looking good. A tiny bit of horizontal pulls around the zipper (which can be fixed by laying off the ice cream a bit) and a bit of boning show-through at the centre front (which I’m going to hold off worrying about for now, but I may just shorten that boning piece so it stops below the bust).

So I can push on ahead, safe in the knowledge that there’s no major fitting issues…

First up – I sewed on all 13 original covered buttons along the right side’s zipper, matching up with the original satin loops I placed along the overlap during the zipper insertion step.

On the surface, these look like ordinary covered buttons, but look at the underside!

I’ve never seen buttons like this before in my life! Instead of a shank with a hole, there’s a mound of stuffed fabric to sew through! What a strange vintage detail! I’ve learned so much from taking the original gown apart…

Here are the buttons, closed through all their loops (partially to show my mom that it can be done, since I’m assuming she’ll be my chief dressing assistant on the morning…)

Then with the buttons sewed into place, I could attach the last boning channel, along the zipper’s tape (covering up the button stitching). Also, this photo has just reminded me that I forgot to tack down the seam allowances here after attaching the zipper…

I finished the assembly of the blue silk crepe lining (by machine), pressed and clipped all the seam allowances to the inside, then painstakingly pinned the lining to the shell at the neckline and armhole edges.

Then I started to fell-stitch the lining to the shell along the edges:

I got most of the fell stitching done before I lost my enthusiasm for the day, but it was all going rather faster than I thought. I ended up with some extra lining at the shoulder seams but I had thought I might so I only basted those seams so it’s not too bad to tuck the excess fabric under to fix it.

I forgot to take photos of them, but I also machine-stitched two wide buttonholes in the lining near the zipper opening for the waist stay to feed through. This would’ve been much easier to do before attaching the lining to the bodice, but I forgot about it until half my fell stitching was done!


I walk to work every day, both ways, and on my way, I pass by a fantastic vintage shop called This Shop Rocks on Brick Lane. The owner really knows his stuff and buys exquisite individual pieces rather than “vintage by the barrel” and has a fantastic eye for hats, bags, and jewellery in particular. Anyway, I’ve had my eye on two cream, vintage beaded clutches that have been in the window for a few weeks now, but the shop keeps weird hours so they’re normally closed when I walk past in the morning and evening. But they happened to be open on Friday night so I walked in and asked about this beauty in the window…

I was thinking in my mind that I’d pay up to £40 for it, so I was tickled when the owner took it out of the window for me and we saw the £26 price tag inside! And then I was ridiculously happy when it rang up as £13 at the till because of their “Everything is 50% sale!!” OMFG! (Seriously, if you are anywhere near Brick Lane, you have GOT to get down there while the sale is still on!)

The colour is a perfect match for my gown, the beading is 99.9% perfect (I’ve found one spot where exactly 3 beads have come off. That’s IT), and it’s big enough for my iPhone and makeup. This clutch has made me so happy I was doing the happy, giggly dance all evening!

On Saturday we drove down to Brighton to buy the suit James had his eye on since we were down with my mom last June. It’s from the Jump the Gun mod suit shop in the North Laines, and it is totally gorgeous. The only problem was that it didn’t go with the shoes he’d bought for the wedding, so he needed to get different ones. He ended up finding two perfect pairs!

Not one to be outdone, I was keeping my eyes open for wedding shoes of my own, and I fell in love with these adorable Red “Bow Belle” shoes from the Irregular Choice boutique shop in the North Laines. I mean, how adorable! Little red leather bows and an ankle strap! And they’re so comfortable, too! They’ll be my hidden little secret until I kick my feet up on the dancefloor.

So I was feeling pretty happy with myself and we were about to head to the car and back to London when- oh my god that is NOT what I think it is- holy crap it’s a United Nude OUTLET SHOP!

Now, Terra Plana/United Nude are a rather boutique brand of shoes so I never expected them to have an outlet shop in a million years, nor put it in Brighton. If you recall, they made those blue/green shoe boots that are quite possibly be my favourites ever. Complete strangers still stop me on the street to compliment me every single time I wear them, even now, two years later. And here was an entire shop full of their lovely and supremely comfortable and stylish shoes, at prices way WAY cheaper than I’ve ever seen them even in the depths of the January sales!

I feel I was rather restrained in only buying two pairs (okay, James bought one of them for me since I couldn’t decide!) of their “Elastic Pumps” (in Burgundy mix and Jazzmatazz (black & blue) for £50 each. BARGAIN.

And how could I possibly go to Brighton and not stop in at my (quite possibly) favourite fabric shop ever, Dittto?

Since I know I’m going to NYC soon I restrained myself massively, but I couldn’t resist buying more of that amaaaaazing stretch black denim (which you’ll remember from my designer jeans), which is now definitively labelled as ex-Prada (woo!) and some super soft, pale pink viscose jersey which I bought to overlay with that grey stretch lace I bought in Paris:

Seriously, though, I could’ve done some MAJOR damage there – they had more of that amazing ex-Armani wool jersey in a dark teal, and an ex-D&G mohair sweater knit that felt just as soft as the one I used to make my Brit chic sweater. And I was talking with the owner, who was saying they’re totally revamping their online shop soon with a new storage premises, too, so they’ll be able to take more photos and list a lot more of their stock online AND have a fully automated, streamlined ordering process, too. So that’s fantastic news for us UK garment sewers!!

(I was also a bit naughty and bought some more stuff from this week to come over in suitcases in September, which you can see in my online fabric gallery…)

Next up: finish fell-stitching the lining, then go around those same edges and prick stitch the lining to stop it from peeking out, and then…. GASP! start on the skirt.

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