D H Bridal Designs: The Bridal Dress Design Process

The Way in Which to Get Great Design Ideas and Start a Collection of Dresses/Garments


Since my last blog post, in February which was a video and text on how to put in Prym eyelets, into fabric. I have been very busy and challenged – from this Jan to March, 3 month period, I have been working on my main work areas such as reinforcing and stabilizing project work, such as getting documents made up for my services which are 13 pages long on each of the channels, helping the potential customer make a wise choice and be informed. Such a piece of work takes time and is an essential building block for business. I still am working on my sewing courses and lessons, I hope to have them completed soon, this is also an essential. I try to do some marketing every day and I also work on other tasks in the businesses for example this blog post! This post is all about the design stage of dress making – my actual fave part of making! The design concept stage is exciting you start with blank pages in a sketch book and aim to fill them up with information and ideas with reference to a main inspired theme. You start off using life inspiration usually, for instance mine is a dress-making technique that I’ve wanted to grow in, so I have chosen the draping technique to learn and experiment with in my sketchbook, to help form ideas. I have also fused and combined this with a stunning and beautiful product which we can all buy and see today and that is contemporary jewellery, thus creating the mini collection called: The Exquisite Collection S/S 2021 – it really should encompass beauty and luxury.

More Detail:

The concept design stage starts with a theme and title, then a collection of researched and recorded media being in the form of pictures usually which i’ve taken myself so for example at a museum, a destination or location with unique culture and art, or of library scanned pictures taken from books in a certain time period for example and the culture and art that was back then. This is called primary research, then secondary research would be pictures others took for example from a magazine shoot or a website online it could also be from a film or music video which you draw your inspirational research from. So, you collect these objects or images and put your thoughts and ideas and findings down on paper, I like to make my pages look interesting as I go along but they could just be like an archive of ideas and information really – its upto the designer.

I start with prayerfully finding key words in text and thought-up key words, this helps me describe a feeling or theme for example the word: whimsical; I’d know then that the dresses need to be quite floaty in design, using probably specific materials. I usually remind myself of my brand key words so that all of my collections although different each season have the same essence and framework if you like. I then look at putting on paper; shapes and details taken from images I like and which inspire me. It goes from here to developing an idea or look in 2d design and then usually fusing one theme with another so bringing elements which usually are opposite together – this usually creates an interesting and pleasing aesthetic. I always try to keep the customer in mind and how they’d like to look and what they’d see as flattering too. I also look at designers which particularly inspire me and see what they do and how it works especially designers who like draping for instance like Madame Vionette for example who loved the bias cut – something I also enjoy. I study them and get ideas from their looks too, I also use objects or films or even music in mood boards at this stage too to help me keep a focus and main objective and feel. I usually finish up the design process with doing at least a few bits of draping or positioning ideas on a stand/mannequin so that could be a maquette such as a piece of textile cut and positioned a certain way on the mannequin or it could be a bias cut piece of fabric which I pin, fold, pleat, cut, allow to hang and fall and just basically manipulate, capturing on camera and then printing the results off to render in the sketchbook – usually at this stage I’ve found my “new looks”.

Below is an example video of a previous sketchbook I had finished after returning from Paris, and putting all my fresh new exciting ideas down from there:

Future Focus:

I find my first love in work is designing and making garments and this shows through my bridal wear business, however, I need to also balance my time between this love and the other loves such as tailoring work which usually takes me much less time to finish and gives me quite immediate income, I also teach in the evenings and weekends from home through my sewing courses, this is hard work and very demanding comparatively but also quite immediate good income. I even started-up a little gift shop online recently which makes a few sales here and there so far, which all spurred on from being in lock down with business closures and after designing and selling face masks…I am full of ideas at times which makes me very entrepreneurial, I like to solve problems and think on my feet. I’m very happy and content with the autonomy and sense of freedom you get with operating in business. Everything I do is basically risky and it takes a lot of faith and know how…I am fully responsible for my decision making and my ideas/plans. The business is not something I take lightly and if I’m honest I have actually avoided going into business for many many years of my life because of the responsibility and hardship of it all…! However, we all have a unique purpose and I very much believe I’m doing much of mine…! Business is not for everyone and it is wise to learn some tricks of the trade and shadow and assist others before you take that step yourself! As I’ve always said, I have a lot of life experience at my age and have shadowed and assisted quite closely with other business minds before hand – this is key.


Its been a long hard month or two with a big spanner thrown in the works, such as the virus but after much prayer and thought things have moved forwards for me. I have taken off the stabaliser wheels on my life and left what I liked and cared about (children’s work) for my first love in work, which is design and making in the clothing industry. Risky but rewarding it has been and it all paid off since finding also some wise help such as a mentor and business support membership programme – I don’t feel so alone or so stuck in my ways. I’m trying new things and getting to know my customers better, I want to keep on being a helpful service to people and something that is a solution to problems out there. Looking at new product lines to introduce and requiring staff now; business isn’t to be taken lightly nor is it to be mishandled because you must be a responsible person knowing that you are on the firing line whether it is a good or bad decision made. I know what I do has consequential ripple effects and I will need to have drawn on my life experiences and wisdom learnt, prayerfully all the way through. However, thankfully its something I naturally enjoy and seem to take to, after many years of avoidance..! It does run a bit, in my family and it also is a creative and risky way of life something I do enjoy! So, that’s all for now and hope to write again soon!

Business Details: –

If you would like to inquire/comment or feedback about anything D H Bridal Designs, Tailoring and Tutoring Services does please get in touch via the following details:

W: http://www.dhbridaldesigns.co.uk

E: dominique.haywood@yahoo.com

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