The story behind the stitch – The wondrous techniques behind Kate Middleton’s amazing wedding dress

As their Royal Highnesses William and Kate celebrated their 8thwedding anniversary (the couple married on 29 April 2011), and with wedding season on its way, we thought we would look into the wonderful Embroidery Studio of the Royal School of Needlework.

Alongside Sarah Burton OBE, the prestigious designer and creative director of Alexander McQueen, the needle savvy embroiderers at the RSN created the bespoke lace on Kate’s wedding dress, veil and shoes, on that fateful day in 2011.

The bespoke lace which the team crafted is known as Carrickmacross which is a design of lace with origins in 19thcentury Irish heritage.

This particular lace uses an embroidery technique called Appliqué and the lace is worked by applying organdy fabric to a delicate net background and edging each motif with fine cord-like thread.

With Burton at the helm sourcing numerous lace motifs for her design, the RNS meticulously calculated how these motifs could be incorporated into each part of the dress, not an easy undertaking, when you consider each motif was no larger than a five pence piece.

Reflecting on their historical creation, a representative from the RSN states:

“One of the hallmarks of the RSN is that the embroiderers can work collectively on a project yet it will look like the work of one person. The team for this project comprised RSN Studio Stitchers, Tutors, Graduates and advanced students.“

Interestingly, for this particular royal commission, each embroiderer was required to wash their hands every 30 minutes to keep the lace and threads in immaculate condition.

The needles used, were renewed every three hours and only short lengths (no greater than 300mm) of thread were ever used.

Such astounding attention to detail has become an identifiable characteristic of the RSN, and for all of us who remember how stunning Kate looked on the day, it is this level of skill and craftsmanship, that make us onlookers, so very proud to be British.

For more details contact: [email protected] or call +44 (0) 20 3166 6940.

 

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