Thursday, July 3, 2008


Photo by Ron Greystar/All Rights ReservedThe bodice is the focal point, the epicenter of your gown and reflects the heart of its overall style. Which bodice you choose will determine whether or not your gown has sleeves, a collar, high or low neckline, lace overlays, etc. Proper fit of the bodice is especially crucial and the place the most exact measurements need to be taken. Because a bodice is either darted or seamed, it typically has the most shaped and sculpted seams of any other piece on your gown. Also it is the center from which most other components are attached and take form—the place your gown finally goes from a flat to a three dimensional piece of fabric sculpture. While a bodice may look pretty straight-forward from the outside, like the skirt, it may have a complex inner life of linings, facings, and shaping materials we never see but sense by the way the bodice holds it’s shape. For instance, the bodice on a typical wedding gown needs an underling to give it that sculpted form in addition to becoming a strong foundation with which to attach lace, trim or embroidery. Also, an underlining can hide casements within the bodice for boning, a material used to hold that strapless bodice up. We’ll discuss the understructure of your bodice as well as skirt in more detail later. Until then realize most bodices whether draped or closely fitted to your body, frequently have some kind of foundation of reinforcement beneath. Here are a few bodice treatments to consider.

Ruched-Left:Treatment of horizontal gathers stretched across the bodice front and back.

Photo by ejones photography/All Rights Reserved
Strapless-Typically looks like the one pictured at left. Has no sleeves and is held up with boning inside the bodice.

Overlay-A spread of lightweight fabric or lace laid over top the bodice like the one pictured left.

photo by Ron Greystar

Draped-Pictured above, like the surplice, this treatment can be attached from the shoulders or neckline. Also supported by an under bodice.
Surplice-Pictured bottom left, two wraps of fabric criss-crossing over the bust line, usually attached and/or supported by an under bodice. Big 1930s glam look with Jean Harlow struttin’ across the screen in her white crepe satin..
Corset-Bodice or vest usually with visible boning running vertically up the front and back. Laces up through eyelets either in front or back. While I’ve seen a few that hint at modesty complete with miniature rosebuds and bows, typically the corset belongs to the venturesome bride. Yes, a bodice all done up like a corset does have that Moulin Rougesque look; makes busty and heavier brides look voluptuous, everyone else a Can-Can dancer.

All gowns by Amy-Jo Tatum

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