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  1. Sewing 1Today, I want to share with you a little insight on a day in my work life as a designer, dressmaker, accessories maker, and alterations master! I want to do this now, early in the year, because it's a reasonably quieter time for me, and I actually get to have a little bit of variety in my day! Such as the luxury of writing a blog for example! During the busy pre-wedding seasons, it is often all dominated by a rotation of meeting clients / alterations / accessories making / trips to the post office, but at this time of the year, I actually get to do other things like some 'thinking'!! So today, my blog will actually be about my day yesterday!

    8:55am: My work day always start after I drop my daughter to school. Thankfully, it's only a short trip to school and back home, and generally I am ready to start by 9am with cup of coffee. My first stop is always a look at my diary. Actually, this starts on the evening before, or first thing when I wake up.

    I genuinely cannot function without my paper diary. Sometimes I use Google calendar and other online calendars, but I find myself having to duplicate everything and write things down again, so for the good old fashioned me, a paper diary is an absolute essential! So on my diary yesterday was a reminder to work on my website, working on Lizzy's dress, and meeting with new client Poppy at 10am for a wedding dress alterations. 

    Between 9 and 10, as it's not worth me starting to work on Lizzy's intricate back detailed dress, I work on my website, while listening the news on TV (dominated by the Brexit debates at the moment). At the moment I am trying to populate my shop with some of the accessories that I sell on Etsy. It is a little bit of an experiment to see whether I do get sales direct, or whether Etsy is the best source of online sale for me.

    10:00am: Poppy arrives with her mum, carrying her gorgeous long train dress delicately decorated with laces. She needs the dress taking in and the hems shorten. With 8 layers of fabrics at the hem, the appointment takes over 1 hour. Thankfully mum and daughter are happily chatting away during the fitting, and Poppy's stilettos are not too painful to stand in! I always think that it's lovely when brides come in with their maid of honour, sister, mum, grandma, best friend, or anyone else who can give their views and keep them company in the process. Also, as sometimes some of the alterations affect the back, it's always helpful to have someone you trust give their opinion on what's going on at the back from close up. 

    After the pair leaves, I write down all the client details and alterations required in my work book and in a sheet which goes in with the dress. At the moment I have 4 wedding dresses upstairs, so it would be a bit of a disaster if I mixed them up! Between them leaving and lunch time, again I find that it's not worth me pulling Lizzy's dress out, so I keep on updating the website, and make myself some lunch. 

    12:00pm: Lunch is a good opportunity to catch up on more news on TV (which I stop when my clients are in, or when I need to concentrate on writing something), and to check social media, which I do both for personal and business reasons. For work, I post or share a few things on Pinterest, and check out some groups on Facebook. On other days I might add a photo on Instagram or a post my Facebook page, but I have found that in the last year or so, I have been less active on social media as a business.

    01:20pm: I finally pull out Lizzy's dress, which requires some delicate work on the lace and net part of the gorgeous back. I spend a couple of hours working on this, with the odd breaks on my phone or tablet. I find out that one of the queries I had on Etsy is not leading to an order as the colours that I have in stock do not match the dress. (Last week I had sent small samples of fabrics to this lady, so that she could compare the material I have with her dress colours.) This is a shame, but as this would have resulted in a custom order made to a specific size, it is practically non-refundable, so I much prefer the client to take this approach than purchase and then be disappointed.

    2:50pm: I find that when I'm working, whether I am doing some work on a computer or physically making or altering something, time does go really fast. It almost feels like working between 9am to 3pm is not enough to do everything that needs to be done. I normally stop at 3pm to have a general tidy up, since I work from home, and get ready to pick up my daughter back from school.

    3:30pm: We are back from the school run and my daughter always has something to eat when she's back. We have a little natter then, and I often have a little snack with her too. Children often don't want to talk about their day at school when questioned. So I have learned to not specifically ask. I find that sometimes she'll just tell me things without prompting and I can probe more into it, more naturally, than if I try to question. I try to use the snack time to also cover her reading or spelling homework from school. Even though she's only 5, I find that there is always homework to do, even 5-10minutes at a time!

    For the rest of the day, I'm on and off checking emails and social media, responding where needed. Sometimes I have clients who come after school or after work, but generally I tend to limit these.

    5:50pm: Time to make dinner, and for today, nothing else is planned. Except the occasional email and social media check!

    This was a really tiny little insight on one of the day in the life of a designer / maker / dressmaker in Nantwich! Today will probably be quite a different day and tomorrow will be different too. As with most jobs, no two days are the same. The best thing that I love about my job (other than the ability to work flexibly around my family life), is that I get to meet so many interesting people. I find that everyone has a story, no matter how ordinary they think their life is, they almost always have interesting bits to talk about. For me, it is always lovely to hear these stories - they make me appreciate the variety and richness of life, and let's face it, most people love a good love story!


    Sharon is the designer and maker for Blue Lily Magnolia dresses and accessories, and also does alterations for wedding dresses, other formal dresses and even everyday clothes. She is based in Stapeley in Nantwich. For a quick chat, call 07766766573.

  2. Wedding Dress Alterations

    If you've bought your dress from a wedding dress retailer, and even if it's been made to order, chances are that you might need some form of alterations before you're able to walk in it comfortably down the aisle. But, before you book yourself an appointment with a dressmaker, here are a few things you need to do, just to be sure:

    Firstly, buy your wedding shoes. Whether or not the hem of the dress needs taking up really depends on the height of your heels. Things get a little tricky if you are thinking of killer heels for part of the day and flat shoes (or removing your shoes altogether) in the evening. When you do remove the heels, your dress will drop to the floor and will need lifting up to walk and possibly to dance too. This may be a little price to pay for comfort, as fitting the hem to a flat shoe length is a no-go if you intend to wear heels when walking down the aisle and taking the official photos.

    Secondly, make a decision on your underwear. If your bust needs a bit of filling up with a push-up bra, or if your waistline needs a bit of re-shaping with shapewear, make sure you get these bad boys and try them on with your dress - the need for alterations on the bust or waist area may disappear completely. Or vice versa. Underwear shopping for your wedding dress is actually quite a challenging task, especially if you do want to wear a bra, and have a fairly low back or backless dress. Ideally you want to be able to wear the bra under the dress to make a decision, but most of us think that we can't bring a wedding dress into the underwear shop. Can you? Perhaps a call to the shop prior to your visit may help solve this dilemna.

    Thirdly, consider whether you are likely to fluctuate in size between now and the wedding date. If you are dieting for example, and think that you may lose more weight, it might be worth waiting a little bit longer before booking yourself in.

    If, after considering all three points above, you put on your beautiful dress and find it too long or gapey in some places, then it's time to give a call to your dressmaker. Many will need several weeks before being able to complete the work, especially if your wedding happens in the peak seasons (spring and summer), so allow yourself plenty of time. In doubt, especially regarding point 3 above, give them a ring in advance to ask for their lead times. Most will be able to tell you if and when they can accommodate you and when might be the best time to visit them.

    And for your visit, don't forget your underwear (especially bra if you are wearing one) and your shoes!


    Blue Lily Magnolia alterations: for wedding dresses, bridesmaids, and other formal occasion alterations for clients in the Nantwich and surrounding Cheshire areas.

  3. If you are getting married in 2018, 2019 and beyond, have you chosen your colours yet, or are you struggling to decide? Or are you curious what other brides have chosen, or what the industry is predicting? Read on to find out more about 2018 and be inspired!

    First off, let's start with the colour experts, Pantone.

    Pantone colour of the year 2018 ultra violetpantone colour of the year 2018 wedding

    Pantone's colour of the year for 2018 is Ultra Violet 18-3838. "Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own." Pantone's own words lend themselves seamlessly to the idea of a marriage, the union of two leading to the limitless possibilities for the future.

    And here, from Hanami Dream (which creates and collates wedding inspiration) and Perfect Wedding Guide (online guide for planners and brides), some examples of how this gorgeous colour can be integrated in your wedding:

    Hanami dream mood board ultra violet pantone 2018Perfect wedding guide ultra violet 2018

    pantone spring 2018-min

    But Pantone also has other predictions for 2018, and this is what the spring/summer range looks like, with loads of beautiful bright colours for the arrival of the blooms and warmer weather. According to Pantone, "The Spring 2018 palette encourages a sense of fun and playful release. With an air of complexity and distinctiveness, we find ourselves in a sanctuary of color that is ideal for some more unique and dramatic color mixing."

    This spring colour prediction is intended for the fashion industry, but then it inevitably weaves its way into other industries as a source of inspiration. Wedding specialists end up creating their own mood boards based on how they've been inspired.

    Here are some examples from Bride Story for Business, the online wedding directory and marketplace, who have created three colour boards on the theme of Tropical Weddings for spring 2018. Plums and Berries are mostly warm red-based colours, with the 2018 colour of the year Ultra Violet added in. Birds of Paradise is an explosion of the bright, vibrant and dashing, taking inspiration from exotic birds. Blushing Sunset is a softer and more subtle palette for a more romantic feel, still pulling in a little bit of a purple violet shade.

    plums and berries wedding colour paletteBirds of paradise, tropical wedding palette, spring 2018Blushing sunset colour palette, spring 2018

    And next, are three more examples from Magnet Street (provider of personalised wedding stationery amongst other things) for the summer of 2018 - I have picked only 3 stories from their 8 colour themes for the season, so check out their page highlighted above to see the other 5 and also for the other forthcoming seasons. Shine is based on sage green, with bits of rose, ivory and gold. The Rosy colour palette is based on a mauve rose, with peach, burgundy and metallic grey. The Oasis theme is a brighter palette, with a cheery lime green, and smaller accents of neutrals.

    shine colour palette, Magnet Street colour prediction summer 2018 Rosy colour palette, wedding trend, summer 2018, Magnet Streetoasis colour palette, Magnet Street, summer 2018

    What about autumn / winter for 2018/2019? Does purple appear in? Are the colours more toned down?

    At custom stationery makers Shutterfly, the autumn colours are orange-based, with orange reds, caramels, gold, mango, peach, cream, orangey autumn leaves colours, and accents of purple (of course), yellow and teal.  

    brightcolourful wedding colours Shutterfly autumn 2018

    Winter colours at Shutterfly are cooler, with lots of purple (in line with Pantone's colour of the year), hints of blues, pinks and berries.

    winter 2018 colour trend, shutterfly, metallicswinter 2018 shutterfly bright

    At the Bridal Consultant (specialists in destination weddings), the winter 2018 colours are deep and rich, navy and marsala, olive and black, plum and grey.

    bridal consultant wedding colours for winter 2018

    Whether deeper, lighter, pinker, bluer, many of the colour mood boards shown above have a little purple influence. Ultra Violet may be colour of the year for Pantone, but, truth to be said, purple has always been a favourite for brides for many years. Ranging from lilac to deep aubergine, and for British couples, the famous Cadbury purple - purple turns up regularly as chosen wedding colours.

    Here's a little snapshot of real brides' wedding colours for 2018 and onwards. This word cloud was created out of responses from a Facebook post, and shows actual colour choices, as opposed to predicted colours. Purple is prominent (including Cadbury's, lilac, mauve, eggplant, royal, dark), as are many shades of blues (baby, aqua, electric, cobalt, navy, pastel, royal, sky, dusty) and shades of pink (baby, blush, dusty, fuschia, pastel, rose, vintage, watermelon, hot).

    wedding colours brides 2018 2019

    At the end of the day, whatever the colour predictions or colour trend, and no matter how much Pinterest and blogs can influence you, the colour theme for a wedding is very much a personal choice. And importantly, hopefully an agreed joint choice!

    Hope you enjoyed this blog, and do share with us your own wedding colours.


    With the exception of the Word Cloud, sources and Images from: Pantone, Hanami Dream, Bride Story for Business, Perfect Wedding Guide, Shutterfly, Bridal Consultant and Magnet Street. All links in the Blog text above. Do visit them for more images and inspiration on colour.

    Blue Lily Magnolia makes bespoke and unique accessories for special occasions, including for brides, bridesmaids, grooms and groomsmen. If you would like to create a one of a kind piece for your wedding in the colour of your choice, get in touch for a friendly discussion.