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Wedding Dress – why choose bespoke over off the rack?

When it comes to weddings, choosing the rightt dress for you can be a long, tiring experience and not always have a happy ending. I invited Lindsey, a couture dress maker of an independent clothing company called Violet Flamingo, to tell you about her bespoke work. Lindsey studied design and manufacture at University, before working as an employee for an independent brand designer. After moving on from that job in 2011, she set up Violet Flamingo with an aim to make bespoke clothing. Lindsey demonstrates different angles of consideration when buying a bespoke wedding dress by choosing three diverse dresses to share what goes on behind the scenes. Over to you Lindsey…

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Lindsey James – Couture dress designer

In a sea of mass produced wedding dresses brides are more spoilt for choice than ever before. However, having a bespoke outfit made is a much more special and personal experience. Just imagine that every fold, sleeve or lace you can dream off can become your reality and will be made to fit you perfectly. I’ve always had a passion for making bespoke items as I love the idea of what I’m wearing as being truly unique.

My wedding dress clients have various reasons for choosing a bespoke service. They may have a unique figure and therefore struggle finding a good fit, have an idea in their mind for the ultimate wedding dress which simply cannot be shop bought or they may simply desire a versatile dress that can be used after the big day and other special occasions.

The real beauty of having a bespoke garment is that it will be made to the individual’s measurements and fit to perfection. My range of clients also include brides to be who wanted to save on their budget and so they bought a ready made dress, only to find it doesn’t fit very well. They then regret there choice and come to the studio looking for alterations and individual customizations. One thing I would always advise is to not buy any cheap replicas online. More often than not the dress will not look like the image shown on the website and most individuals are sorely disappointed by what arrives in the post.

Here are three of the brides that stick out in my mind –

Hannah Prince’s wedding dress

Hannah wanted a traditional wedding dress. This is not a usual request I deal with but at the same time is a service that is offered if that is what the customer wants.

So, why have a bespoke dress if you want traditional?

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Hannah first went to bridal shops. The first problem she faced was that, being slim, all the sample dresses were far too big on her. She literally looked like she was drowning in material and started to wonder if the right fitting dress even existed.

Hannah’s wedding was taking place in Gibraltar during Summer in 2015. So on top of the issues with size, there was also transportation and local climate to be taking into consideration.

Before our next meeting I narrowed down materials which I knew would travel well and wouldn’t need professional steaming upon arrival. With these choices this pushed us towards appropriate styles for these fabrics. Due to them being soft and flowing they were perfect to be used on designs inspired by the 1920’s, 1930’s and Grecian gowns (the last being a happy coincidence of being a perfect style for a warm climate). We were now getting to a point where we could bring together lots of ideas and through the process of sketching and re sketch (and plenty of input from Hannah) the result was a completely unique, personal design which was perfect for her petite frame.

Emma Underwood – wedding dress

Emma is an old friend of mine and had always wanted to get married in red. The day I received the message ‘it’s time to make my red dress’ I knew her partner had proposed! Emma was unsure about shape when it came to starting her wedding dress. I advised that she go and try on different styles to see which she preferred. The bridal studio Emma visited had lots of large dresses supported with underskirts. This didn’t really suit Emma, who always went for a classic style and most of her clothing features draping. I suggested she try slim cut wedding dresses and although Emma was not initially keen on the idea, after trying it on she liked it. We started looking at old Hollywood glamour and designers who are the best at this kind of cutting and draping.

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As Emma has a large bust she adores drape but needs the support underneath to feel completely comfortable. I created Emma’s dress all on a hidden steel boned corset, which is also a speciality of mine.

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Once we had this initial structure I then proceeded to literally build the drape gown onto this, it was a very lengthy process but ever fitting was worth it as she was over the moon with her final finished dress.

Gillian Eyre – wedding dress

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Gillian was very clear on the cut and style she was after. The jacket and dress were made so after the wedding she could wear them again. The main part of the brief was she wanted to wear her Dr Martens which featured beautiful rose embroidery. Ideally she was looking for a fabric that would have similar kinds of flowers on. I exceeded her expectations when I suggested we have the flowers replicated onto the garment. After photographing the boot and digitizing the image I could get the flowers embroidered onto the handmade garment.

After the wedding Gillian was able to wear the jacket, the detachable floral train was made to become an oversized scarf and the dress shortened so she is able to use each element of the wedding outfit again.

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Gillian’s dress was a new and different project I enjoyed creating this summer. It is a quintessential bespoke gown, she had very clear ideas of what she wanted but I pushed her ideas further to then include bespoke embroidery. This made it not only a truly unique dress but the material was also a complete one off, no one in the world will own these garments, which in my eyes is what choosing to have bespoke over ready-to-wear is all about.

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These are just three of my lovely brides. Each client has different reasons for her chosen piece. Personally, I absolutely love the challenge of making each bride happy on their big day. If you ever require a bespoke outfit, and it doesn’t have to be a wedding dress, please get in touch as Violet Flamingo might be the company for you.

Remember if you can imagine it, I can make it!

Images of other bespoke brides from Violet Flamingo –

Amanda Dodd

Over sized white trouser with hand embellished guipure lace and crystals, removable black sash belt, matching fascinator and embellished vest.

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Danielle Troy

Duchess satin swing dress in ivory and magenta

Janine Povey

swing dress in white taffeta and mint polka dot tulle, with a matching fly away veil.



Nelly Wood

Ivory satin pencil skirt and cropped swing jacket.

Rae Butterworth

Leopard print swing dress with detachable belt and bolero jacket.


Rebecca Griffiths

Ivory satin swing dress overlaid with tulle and hemmed with a beautiful beaded lace trim.


Credit : Ross Harvey wedding photography www.rossharvey.com

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