"Meet Me at the Alter|ations" will be a series dedicated to bridal alterations commissions completed by Syreeta C.
Today's bride is Kiyah!
Yup -- She's backkkk!!! We promised there would be more chapters to Kiyah's story and we're here to deliver. After posting about her custom bridal shower on a previous blog, we're working our way up to her wedding day.
After creating a custom look for her engagement photoshoot, Kiyah returned with more bridal requests. She was committed to being unique and adding her share of personal touches throughout all of her celebrations and that makes for the perfect Syreeta C | MUSE.
Kiyah purchased her original wedding gown at a boutique before beginning to consider how she wanted to make it more of her own. We fell into conversation about potential points of access. The top was already gorgeously embellished with lace and beading. It also had a sheer panel in the bodice. I'm not a fan of overwhelming a design, and in the same breath, I have an undying commitment to cohesion. Things need not always match or be expected, but I appreciate flow.
A few ideas came and went. The normal off-the-shoulder arm drape idea was nixed quickly and I didn't wish to disturb the beautiful bodice area much more. (If I remember correctly, we briefly discussed underlaying it with something and... ehh, nah.)
Then we worked our way down. The skirt! More specifically, the flare section that began at the knee. The talk shifted to adding sparkles around the back hem on top of the ruffles... or possibly making the entire bottom portion removable. My brain was clicking more but we still didn't have the lightbulb.
I liked both the detachable and sprakle ideas yet didn't want to sacrifice the overall look since the original ruffles were quite dense.
And those ruffles... while fun and flirty, Kiyah expressed concerns about the weight and heat retention of them. Her wedding was planned for a warmer month and she would get hot just over the course of the fitting. (The ruffles were also accompanied by layers and layers of petticoat tulle and lining to hold them out.) I'm not sure who tossed out the idea of chopping them off completely but... someone said it... (Spoiler alert: it happened!)
A few other things happened in the meantime, too.
The original wedding date was immediately rescheduled from 2020 to 2021 once the pandemic hit. My shop, along with many non-essential businesses, closed for a few months and orders were postponed.
I'd imagine both Kiyah and I had dreams about what to do with this gown in the meantime. Lol.
When we were finally able to reconvene, the wheels began turning. Decisions were made to remove the dense ruffles and all that came with them. Kiyah searched for inspiration on what she wished for her new bottom to be. I noticed there was a common theme of simple, soft mermaid flare + dramatic train. The wheels turned more and went a bit in a circle as we revisited the sparkle hem idea to jazz up the flare edit.
My suggestion became to add a unique lace applique detail to the back of the gown. After all... Brides are always seen from all directions -- not only walking down the aisle and at the alter, but photo angles as well. I sketched out a draft for what I meant and Kiyah loved it.
Back to cohesion! All lace is not created equal. There are times where you can blend them in a camouflaged way, but I quickly elected to have Kiyah reach out to the boutique to order matching lace appliques from the gown manufacturer. Concurrently, there was the task of sourcing coordinating textiles for the new bottom. That task... was not that straight forward.
It was a challenge to not only match color (the gown featured a few shades from ivory to champagne), but also texture and weight.
Not too white. Not too yellow. Not too heavy. Not to soft. Not too shiny. Not too hot. Not too... etc.
In the end, I used 2 fabrics to achieve the right blend: a crepe back satin turned to the wrong side under an organza. Breaking all the rules to bring the right tones together!
Bye bye to the old ruffles and hello to the new bottom. It was patterned and edited from an old lining piece.
The lace appliques arrived and were carefully hand-placed to ensure the best use was made of it. I remember Kiyah remarking that it didn't seem like they'd go that far... but luckily I like puzzles. Ha!
There was also attention on the bustle and still having then lace showcased well when hooked up.
This commission is a great example of refinement. It's an important part of the creative process. Ideas go in and out then you mold and build upon them until you get to the result.
Creative alterations are some of my favorite commissions. (Spoiler alert: I actually don’t have a favorite, but they’re a nice break from both custom and standard alterations.) In the end, she refined gown styles from ‘fun & flirty’ layers of tiered ruffles to something more elegant and unique.
Oh, did I mention we did standard alterations as well. Her gown also received a take-in and bust shaping!
Apparently it was all worthwhile, because even the wedding videographer knew that lace accent was a highlight and caught a great clip of it going down the aisle!