All the makings of a memorable day
From the first visit to Story Book Brides, the benefits of choosing a custom-made gown are clear.
Kevin Wilkins and wife Janet have been in the business for 25 years so they really know their stuff.
Said Kevin: "We take detailed notes right at the beginning of the process and get to know brides' likes and dislikes and the look they want to achieve."
The choices may seem dazzling (and daunting) but brides are guided through the process.
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It's a hands on personal service with a meticulous attention to detail – something reflected in the elegance and quality of the finished product.
Kevin talked us through the process of creating the magical, elegant perfect dress.
After design approval and measuring, the next step is to produce a made-to-measure pattern unique to the bride.
Using individual measurements – bust, bust points, waist, hip, nape to waist and nape to floor – a pattern is made in the overall shape.
The completed pattern is cut it out of calico – a plain undyed cotton material which is then sewn together to create a 'toile' – a mock up of the finished garment.
The toile is fitted to the bride and then discussions take place about the fit and shape.
Tweaks and fine adjustments are made to the neckline, waist and length and at this stage anything can be changed – so customers are encouraged to be frank about alterations to the style as Kevin and Janet want to make sure they completely understand brides' vision of their finished gown and ensure the fit is perfect for her body.
Photos are taken of the bride in the toile and throughout the whole process.
The images are used in the brides' personal record of her fitting which is presented at the end of the process – hence the 'Story Book' in Story Book Brides.
The team go back to the original pattern and make adjustments where necessary.
A second or even third toile is then sewn together for the bride to try on and discuss.
By this stage Kevin and Janet will have sourced petticoats and additional extras that are required.
Decisions on fabric, lace and finishings will have been made – there is a wide selection to choose from.
Once happy with the toile shape and fit there is a final costing in the chosen fabrics, so brides are fully aware of budget and timings.
As all gowns are unique and not mass produced Kevin and Janet cost using the minimum of fabric to ensure you get the best possible price.
Putting the dress together is the next step – silks and lace are hand cut to the brides' unique pattern, the make up of the bodice with boning and inner canvas corsetry are placed and the fully lined gown is stitched.
Button back or lace up detail to the back of the gown (if that is the bride's preference) are hand covered and individually placed.
Detailed hems like scalloped lace (which can take up to seven hours of hand sewing and give a fabulous seamless look) are completed and Swarovski Elements Crystals (if brides take that option) are hand placed and fixed onto the finished gown.
Story Book Brides are highly skilled professionals with years of dress making experience.
Said Kevin: "We love giving brides the room to stretch their imagination and turn their dress dreams into reality.
"Brides deserve individual attention, the creation of a bespoke gown is part of a very special time in her life and we are proud to be a part of that process."