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  • Sketchbook catch up

    It's been far too long since my last blog post. As you may know, I have now left Manila and am back in Australia, living with my parents until James gets back in October. I haven't found a lot of time to work on the blog but I have been doing lots of painting, so I can show you that. The picture above is my sketch of the view from our balcony in Manila. It's a bit of a contrast to the small town I'm staying in now!

    I bought this sketchbook shortly before leaving Manila, and this picture of my scissors is the first thing I did in it. I like how the metal blades worked out.

    Immediately after arriving in Sydney, I turned around and went straight to Fiji with my mum and cousins. On the first morning, some horses appeared on the beach near us while mum and I were painting. I quickly discovered that I can't draw horses but the other side of the page looks nice.

    We found lots of lovely flowers to paint!

    Found some shells too (much prefer painting flowers).

    This was one of the pools at our resort in Fiji. I spent a lot of time sitting here, reading and painting.

    I read this funny Swedish book and relied on my giant scarf and sunscreen to protect me from the sun (I'm really not a beachy-tropical-holiday type person... but I still loved Fiji).

    Before we knew it, it was time to head home. Mum has been trying to teach me how to paint sky.

    The weather was a bit different when we got home! My parents live in the Snowy Mountains and August is the end of the ski season. This was the view from our house one cold foggy morning.

    Given that it has been pretty cold outside, I've mostly been painting things I find around the house.

    This is a tiny kiddie-sized chair that we now use for sitting and warming up by the heater.

    I got some new paints for my birthday and made a quick colour chart to try them out.

    Then I went to Sydney and found an apartment for us to buy! This isn't it, obviously. This is a cute little library nearby.

    When I got home from Sydney, the weather had warmed up and there were Spring flowers and blossoms all over the place. I picked some wattle to try painting.

    Not a painting, but still on the artsy theme - I found my old flower press from when I was little. I used to love collecting flowers to see what they would look like squished flat and dried out. I then lost interest at some point and these flowers have sat in between layers of paper for twenty years! I arranged them behind a frame as artwork for our new apartment.

  • Our Makati

    My mum suggested this project, and I thought it was a good idea: a hand drawn, hand painted map of our neighbourhood (Makati) with our favourite spots marked. I decided to do a bit of an informal Manila guide while I'm at it.

    Greenbelt

    Let's start at Greenbelt, because everyone starts there. It's a big shopping centre with beautiful gardens and lots of great places to eat.

    Simply Thai is good for... simple Thai food (funny that) and People's Palace is the place to go for fancy Thai food and cocktails. Mr Jones is a 50s style American diner. Cyma has nice Greek food, and Burger Bar serves up infinite combinations of deliciously messy burgers. Draft has a great menu (lots of different options, all good) and plenty of good beer to choose from.

    Cerveseria is the usual after work bar when it's not too hot outside, and Dillingers is where we head in the warmer months (they have really good air conditioning!). Sala has a lovely dinner menu and a great value brunch, and we like going to Motorino's for pizza, Nanbantei for Japanese and Gilak for anything mediterranean. 

    We do our bookshopping at Fully Booked, our groceries at Landmark (hating every minute of it) and get our dentist-ing done at GAOC dental. I forgot to put it on the map but I get my hair cut at Piandre.

    Glorietta

    Glorietta is right next to Greenbelt. I go here for sewing stuff - Fabric Warehouse for most fabrics, Carolina's for lace and trims, Buttons 'n' Wrap for notions. I often stop at Army Navy for some quick tacos for lunch, then maybe a detour to Uniqlo for fun.

    Ayala Triangle

    The biggest park in Makati and site of the original airport. They have an amazing Christmas Lights show during November & December, and a strip of restaurants and cafes. Our favourite is Poco Deli for the sausage and cheese platters and German beer.

    Legaspi Village

    Our 'hood. The Curator is probably our favourite place in Manila, for coffee in the mornings and cocktails at night. Mondo has great sandwiches and juice and Swagat is our regular Indian restaurant... we have eaten a lot of delicious chicken korma at that place! Balcony and Plantation are both good pub-like options.

    Legaspi Market is our regular Sunday market, just at the end of our street. We go there every week for fruit, vegetables, bread and yummy pulled pork tacos.

    Salcedo Village

    We stayed here when we first arrived and didn't have a kitchen so we explored the restaurant options pretty thoroughly back then! Chocolate Fire is a chocolate shop owned by an Australian where they also have nice sandwiches and pastas and things. Apartment 1B has good breakfasts, and 'comfort food' for lunch and dinner. Bugsy's, Bowler and Rue Bourbon are all fun themed bars (1940s gangsters, London pub and New Orleans respectively). Wildflour, Toby's Estate and Hooch have all opened up recently - head to Wildflour for a great bakery breakfast, Toby's for Australian coffee and cafe food, and Hooch for drinks and Charlie Chaplin movies. Salcedo Markets on a Saturday has food, produce, plants and souvenirs.

    Burgos

    The area around Burgos St is sort of a red light district so it can be a bit overwhelming to newcomers but there are some fun places to go around here. A big favourite with our friends is El Chupacabra, usually just referred to as just 'tacoooooos!'. Street tacos with a bit of a Filipino twist, served in plastic baskets out on the street. It's great. We go to Howzat sports bar for trivia on the first Tuesday of each month.

    We also discovered two more great places in the area in the last week (after I finished the map) - Farfalla for lovely Italian food and handmade pasta, and Beers Paradise for a huge selection of beers, comfy armchairs and dead quiet 'atmosphere'. 

    I'm all finished with Manila now, I'm writing this from my friend's apartment in Sydney and will be going to Fiji next week with my mum and some cousins. Follow along on instagram!

  • 200th Post

    In my last post I reflected on my bridal business journey, now it's time to reflect on this blog. Funny that two milestones ended up so close together, huh? Would've been much more convenient if they actually coincided. Still, it's a good time to be looking back as I'm NINE DAYS away from leaving Manila and moving back to Australia. Scary! but good. As you'd expect I've got a lot to do before I go so just in case I don't get a chance to check in here much, why not entertain yourself with my archives?

    Start with my first post, if you're interested. You'll learn that this blog actually started out as an assignment for a uni subject (I got a really good mark!).

    I explain a bit More about my final year work here.

    I shared a few of my Journal pages from that year (also here: Never ending fences)

    A quick, silly filler post that still applies: How to Write a Dissertation in 4 easy steps.

    I shared lots of sixties inspiration that first year but this one is probably my favourite: Movie inspiration: Quadrophenia

    I'm glad I took the time to go to Paris with my Mum

    I'm also glad I got some photos of Gould's Bookshop in Newtown before Gould passed away... it's still pretty similar but it was a special kind of messy when Gould was running the place.

    At the end of 2010, I finally finished my degree and we had our Graduate Show

    Then I was selected to show at iD Dunedin Fashion Week!

    After that I spent the next two years not really sure what to do... I worked for a fashion designer, got a job at IKEA, and did a teaching degree. I just barely kept the blog going with occasional updates.

    This Duffel Coat Makeover was very popular, and my quick, badly-drawn-on-my-iPod post on How to Dress for Skiing in Japan was not so popular. Eh, I thought it was funny.

    Before we moved to Manila, I shared some of my favourite Sydney photos.

    I thought I'd share a lot more photos of the Philippines on the blog, but I've just never been as inspired by this city as I have by others. I took these photos when I first arrived in Manila.

    Let's compare my workrooms: Sydney and Manila

    About a year ago I re-launched Bell Street as a bridal business. I wrote in my last post about what a good decision that was for the business, but it was also a good refresher for the blog. It allowed me to indulge in all kinds of fun wedding content, including sharing photos of our wedding and how I made my own wedding dress.

    I loved making the bright, mod bridesmaid dresses for Abra & George's Sixties Wedding and putting together quick guides on how to start thinking about what kind of wedding dress you want and the top 5 products you'll need if you go with a short wedding dress.

    I got into some meatier content with my Bridal Fabrics series and started a new series on classic wedding stories

    In the 'non-wedding stuff' category, I wrote about the time I drove an old broken-down car around Berlin, how to create your own opportunities to get dressed up and what I do on a typical day at Bell Street. I'm forever practicing my painting skills and was pretty pleased with my Sydney Pubs and Girls of the 60s posts. 

    It took me a long time (over four years!) to get to 200 posts, but I think I'm doing better with being consistent and creating quality content, and I've always got more to learn. Thanks so much for reading - especially if you've been with me this whole time! Apologies in advance if things get a bit quiet around here for the next few weeks, but you can always find me on instagram or twitter if you want to say hi!

  • One Year in (Bridal) Business

    Sometimes it's hard to pin down the exact date you started something, especially when it comes to starting a business. I started selling vintage on eBay in 2007, and added handmade and reconstructed items soon after. I started my Etsy store in 2008, selling handmade clothes from vintage fabrics. I had my first bridal customer in 2009. In 2010 I finished my degree and entered a business competition with my pretzel bags, which I started producing and selling in 2011. In 2012 I moved to Manila and started working for myself full time, producing daywear from handmade fabrics. I had big ideas for the label but hardly had any time to get anything done because I was always working on custom orders - mostly bridesmaid dresses.

    On July 23rd, 2013, I bought a new pink notebook and wrote on the first page:

    If you can't read my 'I just had an idea!' scrawl, it says "I'm going to stop producing daywear collections for Bell Street and focus entirely on BRIDAL".

    It felt so good to write that! I immediately felt relieved and spent the next few months filling that notebook with plans and ideas. I thought I'd spent the first year madly producing bridal samples, but luckily I've had quite alot of 'real' customers already so my time has been dedicated to their projects. 

    So, if I think of myself as having been in business for several years, it can get a bit depressing thinking about how many times I've changed direction and how little money I've made.

    But if I think of the bridal label as a new, separate business, it's encouraging to think of how many customers I've had this year and that I managed to not only break even, but double my (very small) investment! What's most encouraging is the solid feeling I've had from the start that THIS is what I want to do. It feels right.

    I still sometimes feel like I don't have a lot to show for it (notice the lack of pictures in this post?), but it's taken time for me to get used to the fact that custom bridal is a much slower process than whipping up a few skirts and listing them on Etsy in an afternoon. It can take months to finish a project, then more time waiting for the wedding to actually happen and for the photos to come back. That's ok. The fact that I've had steady work for a whole year and I'm still enjoying it is reason to celebrate. 

    This is an artistic representation of my celebratory dancing made using the Party Party app, which I am now addicted to.

  • Classic Wedding Stories: Robyn & Paul, 1981

    I've been wanting to start this feature for awhile. With the internet so full of modern wedding blogs, I thought it'd be nice to revisit some weddings that happened long before Pinterest came into our lives. The first classic wedding I'm going to feature is my own mum & dad's wedding in 1981. I've already mentioned their wedding in these posts about how I made my own wedding dress, which was partly inspired by my Mum's dress. Here's Mum to tell us more about their wedding.

    When did you get married?

    29th August, 1981 - exactly one month after Charles and Diana!

    Tell us about how you met and got engaged...

    We met as teachers at the same primary school on the 9th March 1981. As I was new to the school, the principal asked Paul to "take me under his wing and look after me!"  We were engaged 6 weeks later. Yes, we just knew we had found our soul mate. We began planning our wedding for the end of August, followed by a road trip to Tasmania for our honeymoon.

    What kind of wedding did you have?

    Our wedding was just what we wanted, a quiet ceremony performed at home, followed by a beautiful dinner of seafood and fabulous desserts at a nearby restaurant. We then all returned home for a few speeches and Black Forest cake.

    Do you remember any wedding trends that were around at the time?

    Fashion wise, 1981 was an interesting time. The informality of the 1970s was morphing into the more tailored corporate look that swept through the 80s, sometimes with disasterous results! Being married the same year as Princess Diana meant that I escaped the 'meringue' trend that was soon to dominate 80s wedding fashion!

    What did you wear?

    I made my own dress. Due to the informality of our wedding, I did not want a long dress. I wanted fullness in a circle soft georgette skirt, so the ballerina length was perfect. The full shape of the skirt was helped by a hail spot tulle petticoat. This fullness needed to be balanced with a more fitted bodice.

    Being a winter wedding, I needed sleeves too. To keep the top of the dress soft and bridal, I decided on haille spot tulle for the sleeves and yoke which met the georgette with a piped edge. A new trend appearing was the slightly blouses shape cinched with a belt. I loved the blousing and continued the romantic feel with a rouched belt highlighted by a soft fabric flower made from the hail spot and piped on the edge. I chose covered buttons to feature on the  back.

    Paul and I had a day in Sydney to buy my shoes. we arrived by train at Wynyard Station. A shoe shop on the station arcade had high strappy shoes without a platform sole..a new trend after the more clunky platform shoes of the 1970s! After many more shops, I eventually returned to buy the first pair of shoes I had seen in the morning. Pierre Fontaine... I still have them! My outfit was completed with a blue garter my mother made, and a pendant made from my nana's wedding ring... both were worn by Ali at her wedding 32 years later.

    What kind of flowers did you have?

    My aunt offered to make my bouquet and hair piece. I wanted pastel colours of hyacinths, frescias, baby carnations and a special addition of a cream wild orchid which grew on my parents' property. Dad made the trip to cut the orchids ready for the bouquet.

    Did you have any bridesmaids?

    I didn't have any bridesmaids as I wanted to keep things low-key, but my flower girl was was my god daughter, Jen. She wore a pale blue dress and a halo of flowers to match my bouquet. She gave all the female guests long pink carnations.

    Any advice for new brides?

    Advice....my family know that Fun is the Glue! (translation: having fun keeps people together - Ali) My advice when building a loving family, is to remember that love is the foundation, communication is the framework, hugs and kisses are the electricity and adventures are the soft furnishings...you think you can do without them...but you can't really!

    I'd love to make this into a regular feature but it all depends on how many people I find to interview! If you or anyone you know has been married for more than 20 years and would like to reminisce about their wedding, email me at ali.dibley@gmail.com.

  • Bridal Fabrics: Sheer

    Find the rest of the bridal fabrics series here.

    Today we're going to look at sheer fabrics. Wedding dresses often use different sheer fabrics as overlays, petticoats, or for extra coverage over the chest and shoulders. Some sheer fabrics can also be used for veils. I've enlisted the help of some lovely actresses to model some options for us.

    Tulle

    The classic bridal veil option, also great for petticoats and ballerina-style skirts. Audrey Hepburn models a soft, drapey tulle made for veils or for a romantic gathered skirt.

    Tulle can vary a lot in weight and stiffness. Julie Andrews is wearing a very structured, stiff tulle below.

    Not great for a veil, unless you're after a puffy birdcage style. It's used more for adding structure and fullness to big full skirts.

    Spotted Tulle

    One of my favourites, also known as Swiss Dot or Hailspot. Here we have Debbie Reynolds showing us how a larger spot can have a delightful confetti effect, but may obscure vision if used as a blusher veil (the kind that goes over the face).

    Better suited to fun spotty wedding dresses.

    Never fear, Sally Field has found a smaller scale spotted tulle that she can actually see through.

    This one is more of a stretchy fine net, so it drapes nicely and would work really well for fitted sheer sleeves or a bodice.

    Organza

    Moving away from tulle, let’s look at something else. Organza is a smooth, very sheer woven fabric. It can be quite shiny (less so if made from silk) and has a lot of body, as you can see by how it falls out wide from Charmian Carr's head here.

    It works well as a nice smooth sheer overlay, or you can use lots of layers on top of each other to create a beautiful bouncy, frothy full skirt.

    Chiffon

    Chiffon is softer than organza and much more opaque. Ali MacGraw can hardly see through it at all.

    Its lightweight, soft drapey nature lends itself well to dresses with lots of ruching, gathering or pleating, because you can use a lot of fabric without adding too much bulk. This example is slightly more textured than most chiffons - they vary, but most are quite smooth.

    Georgette

    Georgette is similar to chiffon, but much more lightweight and very delicate. It is less opaque, but still not completely see-through, as Judy Garland demonstrates below.

    Georgette is a sheer crepe, which means it is woven from higgledy piggledy creased yarns. This gives it a nice soft texture and matte look. It’s beautiful for delicate overlays and dreamy skirts with thousands of tiny folds and pleats. 

    Illusion net

    One last sheer fabric I didn’t have on hand to photograph. As the name suggests, illusion net is a very sheer stretch net that is usally matched to the wearer’s skin tone. It’s used a lot to support lace on low cut or backless dresses, and widely known for it’s use in figure skating costumes.

    This post is part three of a series on bridal fabrics. Find part one (satin) here and part two (lace) here.

  • 5 things I really like at the moment

    5 things I really like at the moment

    1. Australian Afternoon Tea

    A few years ago, Twinings ran a competition for local celebrities to create a uniquely 'Australian' blend of tea. Kevin Rudd's strong billy-tea inspired blend was the winner and it's now a permanent part of the range. People can be pretty harsh towards Rudd (which is perhaps why his name doesn't appear anywhere on the tea packaging), but he makes a delicious cup of tea. I brought a big box back from Perth.

    2. Christian Dior Lip Glow Color Revival Balm

    I bought this at the airport after realising that I'd left for Japan with NO LIP PRODUCTS of any kind. Manila has 4 airport terminals which all have a bizarre selection of shops, and I happened to be in the terminal that only had a duty free designer cosmetics store and a snack stand, so Dior it is. It's supposed to magically change colour to perfectly suit your lips but I'm pretty sure it's just a nice light pink. It feels lovely and fancy though.

    3. Brecillier's Cretacolour woodless watercolour pencils

    No wood... all colour! I just got these the other day and have been playing with them ever since (see illustration). They're so vibrant and work really differently to the other watercolour pencils I have. The woodless-ness means you can turn them sideways and shade larger areas, and you can mix the shavings with water to make paint!

    4. New business cards

    I finally ordered the business cards of my dreams! My old cards had my unmarried name, an old email address, an expired phone number and were designed for a bright casual daywear label. The brand and I have changed a lot since then so I was well overdue for some new business cards. Rounded corners. Thick white cardstock. HOLOGRAPHIC RAINBOW FOILING. I am so excited.

    5. Glitter headbands

    I think I've mentioned these before. My local fabric shop sells all sorts of fancy headbands for about $2 and I am obsessed with the glitter ones. Perfect for when it's too hot to do my hair properly, but I still want to be fancy.

  • June Update

    Heavy rain in Makati, Philippines

    The rainy season is starting in Manila. I love this season because it's not too hot and the sudden downpours add a bit of excitement to the day. When we're about to get a lot of rain, the sky goes very dark... until the rain starts falling and everything goes bright white from the sheer amount of water in the air. The picture below was taken during one of those moments. I've been doing a lot of beading lately! I love hand sewing because you can do it in front of the tv.

    Close up of pink beaded lace wedding dress

    Assortment of pink, pearl and crystal beads

    When I don't have 'proper work' to work on in front of the tv, I work on this patchwork quilt.

    Hand sewn hexagonal patchwork

    It's far from perfect, and a work in progress that I don't ever really want to finish. It's completely sewn by hand so it's a very slow process. Sometimes I forget to work on it for months or years on end, but I've been adding to it a lot lately. I'm not making it for any special purpose, it's just something to do with my hands and a way to use scraps of fabric. I started it when I was 15 after reading one of my favourite books, New Patches for Old by Christobel Mattingley (the main character made a quilt out of tiny hexagon shapes and I wanted to try it). That year I spent a lot of time in the car and in hospitals while my grandpa was sick, so it was a good thing to work on to pass the time. iPads hadn't been invented yet.

    Working on patchwork quilt

    Speaking of hand sewing, I've been teaching myself how to make ties. Custom ties are something several brides have asked for in the past, and I've always been too scared to say yes. Ties are much more complicated than they look, and so easy to get wrong, so I've always been hesitant to try because I'd hate to ruin someone's wedding with badly made ties! But I decided to get over my fears and have a go with some scrap fabric. It does take time and patience to get everything exactly right, but the result was pretty good, although the pattern I used was far too skinny for a wedding tie. I'll make my own pattern next time. 

    Skinny black and white polka dot tie

    I'm also working on a lovely simple short wedding dress at the moment. It's a bit of a rush order but I think it's going to be really nice. The smooth silk dupion is beautiful.

    Design development sketch of short simple wedding dress

    White silk dupion

    I took a quick last-minute trip to Perth last week to visit my mum & grandma. We didn't have a lot of time for getting out and exploring but we did find this pretty park across the road from the hospital.

    Eucalyptus tree with white trunk

    Going down the slippery dip

    While I was there I was looking through grandma's photo albums and found a few cute old photos. I love this one of mum and I feeding a little wallaby in Tasmania.

    feeding a wallaby in nineties fashion

    Apparently mum bought me that outfit when we arrived and realised that Tasmania in January is much colder than we thought it would be!

    A few links for you:

    I've been loving Maria's blog, Schorlemädchen. When I lived in Sydney I always loved going for walks around different neighbourhoods and looking at people's houses and gardens and little details around the place. Maria seems to like all the same things I do, but she takes beautiful film photos of it all along the way. I'm not ashamed to admit I sat down one rainy day with several cups of tea and looked through her entire archives.

    I'm really excited about this engagement announcement because YAY another Swedish royal wedding! Carl Philip is the youngest in the family and so it might be the last big wedding in Sweden for awhile. The Swedes do royal events so well, I can't wait to see which of their amazing tiaras the ladies will wear!

    I loved this post by Rock n Roll Bride called '12 Reasons Your Dog Needs to Be at Your Wedding'. It's full of cute photos and something a bit different to her usual style, but still totally in keeping with the brand.

    On that note, '7 interesting, innovative blog post ideas you haven't seen a million time before' is a good read. As much as there are some blog post formats that will always be popular, I really love seeing people do something different. 

  • Outfit illustrations for June

    Still keeping on with the outfit drawings. Different style this time, when I used to teach design workshops in high schools I would tell students to always be switching mediums to keep things fresh. It makes a difference to how you draw - for instance if I use a fineline pen (like my last lot of outfit drawings), I work slowly and try to get every detail. With a quill and runny black drawing ink, you have to work quickly and confidently.

    I also thought I'd do a bit of a still life sort of composition with the jewellery and stuff, rather than the collages I did last time - that took way too long! But I still like the idea of combining stylistic drawings with photos of the actual fabrics and accessories.

    I took some step-by-step photos of the illustration process:

    Weird thing: I've found that if you draw in normal lead pencil, then paint over it, the paint sort of 'traps' the lead underneath and it can't be erased. If I draw in coloured pencil, I can rub the lines out completely after painting.

    I usually use normal watercolour paint but I used watercolour pencils this time because they're quicker.

    I don't know if it's just my brand, but I find that watercolour pencils give a much more muted colour palette than watercolour paint.

    This is my beloved duck-shaped mini vacuum cleaner. My brother gave it to me for Christmas one year. They're called crumb-pets and designed to clean crumbs off a dinner table, but I use it to clean up those annoying bits of rubber left by an eraser. It's so useful! and cute.

    Applying ink, hipster-style with a feather. It's what works best! At this point I tend to ruin my drawings. That's ok, perfection makes me nervous.

    Adding glitter, because I just can't help myself.

    Small details with a fine felt tip pen.

  • Bridal Fabrics: Lace

    Find the rest of the Bridal Fabrics series here.

    Today we're going to talk about lace. There are hundreds of different types of lace, methods of production and visual styles. Doing a quick overview of all the styles seemed too overwhelming, so I'm just going to show you some samples and describe them so that you can become familiar with the terms used to talk about lace and the common features that pop up in bridal lace.

    The lace above is a flat lace - want to guess why? Yep, it's flat. Flat lace can also be referred to as chantilly lace. Depending on what it's made from, it can be very lightweight and wispy or a bit crisp. The example here is made from nylon, as many modern laces are, so it is very light. Cotton lace tends to have a bit more structure. 

    This is a scalloped lace (it has wavy edges). Many laces will only have scalloped edges down the two long sides of the fabric, with a different design in the middle, but this fabric is made of repeating rows of scallops. This means that you could use the fabric whole and get a very twenties kind of look, or carefully cut the rows out and use as borders or trims. See the long threads joining the rows? Sometimes when designers cut the rows apart, they leave those threads on and refer to it as eyelash lace.

    For bridal use, this lace is great when backed onto another fabric. It is delicate and pretty and the flat design is subtle. It could also be used as a skirt overlay as shown here, or maybe on its own at the top of a bodice. I'd hestitate to use too much of it on it's own as the large holes would make it prone to getting caught on things - so no long sleeves with this one.

    The fabric above is a corded lace, also known as Alencon lace. Can you see the thin cord stitched onto the lace in the close up? Corded lace is very popular for bridal as it provides a little bit of texture which makes the lace more visible in photos. The example is more of an embroidered net kind of lace - where they've taken a bit of tulle and added machine embroidery and cord to make it look like lace. This kind of technique allows you to have a larger pattern with beautiful motifs and lots of empty space between them. You'll notice this lace has a border pattern with separate motifs in the middle, rather than one even pattern.

    You can also get corded lace that looks as though the cord has been applied to pre-made flat lace. This usually has a smaller scale pattern.

    This is a beautiful example of Guipure lace (sometimes called Venetian lace). Guipure is a fairly heavy, structured lace that is all pattern with no netting in between. This creates a bold look that is perfect for a sixties style dress or any style where you want the lace to really be a feature of the dress. Guipure lace almost always features flowers and/or leaves, but you do see some geometric styles too.

    The example above is a relatively small scale pattern, most guipures tend to be larger scale. They also come in lots of bright colours.

    Broderie Anglaise is more associated with daywear than bridal, but I think it can be used for a very sweet fifties bridal look. The above example is actually a trim rather than a fabric, but broderie anglaise is available in many styles. The main difference between broderie anglaise and other laces is that it starts out as plain cotton fabric, then the holes are cut out and embroidered to create the lace pattern. You will also hear broderie anglaise referred to as eyelet fabric.

    I would have called this lace a broderie anglaise, but technically it's not - it's just a cotton lace that looks like broderie anglaise. It's a good example though of the different styles of casual cotton lace available. The other laces we've looked at have all had rather complex designs but this is a very simple all over repeat pattern. The daisies are great for a retro look!

    This is a knitted lace. Knitted laces can be made by hand, but most are machine made. The knitting allows the lace to stretch and drape nicely, and it's got a great seventies look. It's another all over repeat pattern with small holes so it would be perfect for a design with lace sleeves, or to just add a bit of texture to a design.

    This post is part two of a series on bridal fabrics. Find part one (satin) here and part three (sheers) here.