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FROM VISION TO CREATION: 
BEHIND THE SCENES WITH ALISON MARY MILLINERY

Drawing of a bridal headpiece design
Drawing of a headpiece design
Drawing of a bridal headpiece design
Colour drawing of a headpiece design
Side view of a wedding headpiece
Photo of a bride wearing a headpiece and wedding dress

NATALIE
Initial sketches, final design, finished headpiece and beautiful Natalie on her wedding day.
PHOTO COURTESY OF - www.mr-and-mrs-wedding-photography.co.uk

Natalie wanted a headpiece that was 1950's inspired which would match in with her fifties style wedding dress. She requested a small headpiece, potentially with a birdcage veil and also a brooch that picked up her emerald green theme. I sketched a few ideas and Natalie settled on a small teardrop shape, embellished with small pearl beads and finished with a gorgeous vintage emerald green glass brooch she had found at a vintage fair. I made the veil detachable so it could be removed at any point. This headpiece suited Natalie beautifully and she looked stunning on her wedding day.

It can be a daunting experience buying a hat or headpiece especially for a wedding and even more so requesting a bespoke design. There is so much choice available now but sometimes its hard to find 'the perfect one'. So you think 'I'll ask someone to make it for me', but who and are they going to do what I ask?

I completely understand this issue simply because I have over twenty plus years of experience interpreting designs. I have worked for a long time as a professional theatrical milliner and costume prop maker which means I have also collaborated alongside countless very talented costume designers so I know the process well.

So my job first and foremost is to make you a hat or headpiece that will fit correctly, not pinch or be uncomfortable to wear. The hat or headpiece should compliment the dress or outfit you are wearing and it must also look incredible! So lots to think about but I will only ever make you something you are completely happy with. My years as a theatrical milliner have given me lots of experience in making pieces that give the 'wow' factor but are also really comfortable to wear.

When you contact me about a bespoke commission its very important that you trust and believe that I can achieve what you are asking of me. Of course it works both ways and one thing I won't ever do is to copy another person's design. Many designers are influenced by their peers work including myself but its not right or fair to copy someone's work exactly which to me is unethical.

Drawing of a wedding headpiece design
Drawing of a wedding headpiece design
Colour drawing of a wedding headpiece design
Side view of a bridal headpiece
Close up view of a bride and groom

AILSA
Initial sketches, final design, finished headpiece and stunning Ailsa on her wedding day

Ailsa had a very clear idea of what she wanted which was a large dramatic fabric flower with a birdcage veil. She also specified using rose gold in the centre. I found a beautiful diamante and pearl brooch to form the centrepiece. Gorgeous rose gold beads were wired using a matching wire and were attached around the brooch to create a stunning decoration in the middle of the flower. The petals were created from an ivory silk fabric, bonded together with a wire through the centre to give lots of shape to the oversized flower. A detachable veil was added to complete the look and Ailsa looked stunning!

Colour drawing of headpiece design
Colour drawing of a headpiece design
Colour drawing of headpiece design
Colour drawing of a headpiece design
Colour drawing of headpiece design
Colour drawing of a headpiece design
Colour drawing of headpiece design
Colour drawing of a headpiece design
Colour drawing of headpiece design

Designs for my Bridal Spring/Summer 2021 Collection

Image of a collage

Mood board inspirations for my Spring/ Summer 2021 Bridal Collection

Inspirations such as magazine clippings, colours, themes and knowing what kind of dress you might be wearing is all helpful. I begin my design process by talking to you to find out as much information as I can. I'll then spend some time doing rough sketches from which you can decide from what you like (or don't!) Once you have made your choice I can move onto a finished design and the most exciting bit which is actually making your dream headpiece or hat!

Sometimes I will create a mood board to help get a feel of what I need to design (see image above) This could consist of colours, shapes, textures, patterns, fabrics, in fact anything that will really help to pull ideas together. As you can see from the mood board I created to design my Bridal Spring/Summer 2021 Collection, there are various images from textured vases to light fittings and jewels.

Drawing of a wedding headpiece design
Drawing of a wedding headpiece design
Colour drawing of a wedding headpiece design
Close up view of a bridal headpiece

LAURA
Initial sketches, final design and beautiful Laura on her wedding day
PHOTO COURTESY OF - www.davidmuirphotography.co.uk

Laura had an extra special request for her headpiece. She had a tartan kilt which had belonged to her late grandmother and wanted this to somehow be incorporated into the design. I decided the best use of the fabric would be to create loops which formed the base of the headpiece and then adding in dramatic feathers which toned in. In the end Laura chose some peacock and coque feathers then sourced a stunning brooch to finish off the whole look. As you can see Laura looked absolutely stunning and I know it meant a great deal to her having a family heirloom as part of her headpiece.

Colour drawing of a wedding dress design
Close up view of bridal headpiece on mannequin head
Close up view of bridal headpiece on mannequin head
Close up view of bridal headpiece
Close up view of flower hairpin
Photo of a bride and bridesmaid
Close up photo of a bride on her wedding day

When I got married I knew that I wanted to design my own wedding dress and headpiece. My best friend Catherine is an extremely talented costume maker and she was always going to be my chosen maker to create my wedding dress. I also knew that I wanted something different and vintage inspired, probably a colour of some sort and just something really special. I spent some time researching 1940's long dresses and settled on this style for my dress. I had an idea of my headpiece almost instantly which was a teardrop shape covered in organza flowers. We were getting married in October so this was a perfect inspiration for an autumnal colour palette of golds, browns and teal. Catherine was my best woman and together we chose a vintage inspired teal dress for her to tone in with my headpiece. I then handmade her some matching teal hair clips which she wore in her forties styled hair.

 

I hand blocked a buckram base which was covered in my dress fabric and attached to a ribbon covered headband. I had found a beautiful vintage brooch which formed the centrepiece for the design. I then created organza flowers with sequin centres, teal embroidery thread and Swarovski crystal stones scattered over the headpiece. The headpiece was then finished with a gold veil which was detachable so it could be removed after the wedding ceremony but I loved wearing it so much I kept it on for the whole day and night. I also made matching organza flower pins that sat in the back of my hair to sweep it to one side. I felt amazing in my wedding dress and headpiece - its so important to choose the right style for you and not to try to be someone else! I just think of a wedding outfit as being a more glamourous version of yourself.

Rest assured, my only job is making something you will love, My many years of experience should help to put your mind at ease and if you are in any doubt then take a look at my testimonials on the Bespoke Designs, Real Brides, and Theatrical Millinery pages. I'm not phased by a challenge and will always do my very best to make you feel like a million dollars on your very special day.

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