Style Decision – Embellishment & Fastenings
Designers often use embellishment to create different and unique designs. The main types of embellishment are beading and embroidery and, as a result, the variety of designs is almost limitless. Designers also use different types of fastenings – usually buttons, lace up or zips – to fasten up the dress.
The first beading option is pearls. Pearls are often used to decorate belts, motifs on the dress or on the straps. They come in many different colours, but a warm ivory is the colour most frequently used in bridal wear.
Another type of beading used in bridal wear is crystals. Crystals are found on a large number of dresses and veils, and can either be clear or coloured. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and clarities.
As well as pearls and crystals, there are a number of other beads. They come in thousands of shapes, sizes and colours. Warm ivories, cream, clear or ‘Aurore Boreale’ (AB) beads are the ones most often found on bridal wear gowns.
Beads and gems that are found on bridal wear are not always sewn on. Diamantes or rhinestones are diamond-like beads that are usually glued on, rather than sewn on, and are found on a large number of bridal gowns, veils and other bridal gown accessories.
Sequins are not used as often on bridal wear in comparison to eveningwear. Sequins are sometimes used on an underskirt layer to create a subtle shimmer, or to decorate motifs or flowers on the dress.
There are other ways to embellish bridal wear gowns in addition to beading. Lace appliques are often found on satin or taffeta bridal gowns, as they stand out more than if they were placed on a full lace gown. Often in a flower or swirled design, these applique motifs are sewn onto the dress in areas such as the waistline or at the top of ruches or sections of gathered fabric. They can also be decorated with beads, crystals, diamantes or sequins.
Some wedding dresses have machine or hand embroidery sewn into the dress instead of beads or diamantes. These designs often follow flower or swirl patterns, and can use plain or sparkly thread.
Most bridal gowns have a ‘Lace Up Back’ to fasten up the dress. Lace Up Backs have an inverted triangular slit down the back seam of the dress, with loop holes sewn into each side of the seam. A fabric lace (long thin belt-like piece of fabric that matches the dress fabric) is then laced through each of the loop holes to pull the dress in and fasten up the back of the dress.
Buttons are also used to fasten up the back of a bridal gown. They can be either covered buttons or beaded buttons, and are sewn down one side of the back seam, with elasticated loop holes being sewn down the other side. Buttons are sometimes used as decoration to cover a zip in the back seam.
A zip is the final form of fastening found on a bridal gown. They are found either in the back seam or the side seam. The most common type of zip used is an invisible zip. However, normal zips can also be used and are usually put in with an extra fabric flap that folds over to cover the zip. Buttons can then be used to secure the fabric flap in place.
To see more dresses with a variety of embellishment and fastenings from a range of designers, click here.