skip to main content
Couture Bridalwear

Couture Bridalwear

Central Saint Martins
Taught by
Lara Ashley


This intermediate hand-sewing course is inspired by the work of 'Les Petite Mains'; the collective of seamstresses who stitch by hand from start to finish and with meticulous attention to detail, the garments and accessories of 'Les Ateliers Couture'. Suitable for anyone looking to perfect their hand sewing skills, by the end of this course students will have produced a series of hand stitched reference samples on silk; a finished wedding dress in half-scale to present and photograph it on. There will be a combination of machine and hand stitching on this course.

Week 1 

We will start with a day to get to know each other whilst making the miniature tailors dummies, visiting the college library and starting to make a variety of 'typically bridal-wear' hand stitched fabric flowers.

For the rest of the week we will explore decorative techniques such as embroidery on tulle; sequin, bead and appliqué lace; make samples of the different types of seams, hems and fastenings best used when working with silk.

Week 2 

Students will choose from a selection of wedding dress patterns that have been reduced down to half scale; deciding on which fabrics to use; checking the measurements of their tailors dummy against those of their pattern and making adjustments to the pattern where needed, before laying out and cutting in cloth.

Whilst learning how to follow a garment construction guide, students will work independently as they fit and stitch together the components of their dress. There will be demonstrations on how to create fullness with padding and layers of bridal tulle; how to attach 'Rigelene' and 'Crin' for shaping and extra support and how to 'bag out' linings. 


On the last day a backdrop will be set up so that photographs can be taken, of each finished half-scale wedding dress presented on half-scale tailors dummy.

Other topics covered:

  • How to keep a construction journal
  • Identify fabric with a burning test
  • Make and attach rouleau loops
  • Layer fabrics to create a particular tint of white
  • Dye with tea and coffee for a more vintage look
  • How to increase your quarter-scale pattern to full-size and vice versa

Level: Intermediate

Entry requirements: Confident hand-sewing skills

We recommend that students who have never stitched by hand before prepare themselves by also enrolling on Hand-Sewing for Couture and Bespoke Fashion

Please note:

  • Students will be expected to continue with their hand-stitching between lessons, so please allow time to do this.
  • We will not be making full-scale or corseted wedding dresses on this course
  • We will not be using sewing machines

As a note of interest: Throughout history, costume designers and couture designers have often worked with scaled down patterns to generate ideas and/or present their work. This course is taught in a standard UK size 12, reduced down to half-scale.

Please note: This course is for students aged 18 and older

Tutor Description

Lara Ashley has worked in the bridal industry for over 14 years, before moving into luxury and couture fashion. Over the years she has worked on many collections for LFW designer such as Julien Macdonald, Erdem and Preen. As well as establishing her own bridal and evening wear brand Audrey Ashley Couture, She Currently freelances as a senior Couturier and fitter for couture designer Ralph and Russo where she has been involved in their last 9 collections for Paris Couture Fashion week. 


Please bring to the first session: 

  • Notebook and pencil
  • Pair of small sharp scissors
  • Pair of medium size fabric sheers
  • Box of clean pins
  • Selection of household needles
  • Real white cotton
  • Thimble

Please note that all fabrics will be provided for you 

Available dates

If no dates are showing then please Enquire about this course and we will contact you when new dates are published.