A bride has revealed she made her wedding dress for free in just three weeks – after asking her bridal party to each sew a patch which then formed a part of the gown.
Becky Brotherhood, 43, from EastBourne, tied the knot with husband Lee Markham on Saturday 28th September 2019 wearing a dress made from material she was donated by friends, family and her massage clients.
The creative mum, who is a client of Hen Heaven, told how nothing was bought brand new – which made her dress feel ‘extra special.’
Speaking of the materials she used, Becky explained: ‘I’m a massage therapist and when telling clients about my dress plans, some gave me old lace and buttons of old grandmothers and mothers dresses that had been in the attic.’
‘They wanted me to breathe new life into them. ‘I feel truly honoured.’
Becky Brotherhood, 43, from EastBourne, made her wedding dress for free in just three weeks after asking her bridal party to each sew a patch. Pictured, with her son on her wedding day
The creative mother tied the knot with husband Lee Markham on Saturday 28th September 2019. Pictured, holding hands with her son
Husband Lee (pictured with his wife) knew Becky was secretly doing the dress and he even made a patch himself
She continued: ‘One client brought sparkly fabric all the way from Iran for me and some patches had to be sent away – even to Spain. Logistically not all could come to me. I was truly humbled by what I got back.’
‘I also raided my mum’s old jewellery box for old beads. The buttons I took off my sister’s wedding dress that I was tasked to alter years ago to fit her growing pregnant tummy.’
Becky says she was inspired to make her own dress as one of the many reasons she and Lee love each other is due to their pasts.
‘Standing in front of my soul mate at the age of 43, knowing that we both have rich histories and six children between us, it felt wrong to buy something new and off the shelf,’ explained Becky.
The massage therapist told clients about her dress plans – and they kindly gave her some old lace and buttons of old grandmothers and mothers dresses that had been in attics for years. Pictured, sewing the patches
Becky made the original pattern herself out of an old sheet she found in her attic that was left behind by the previous lady who lived at her house – so she helped too. Pictured, the dress coming together
‘It didn’t feel right and didn’t fit “us” as a couple. We both have scars and losses- physically and metaphorically, and I wanted that to be reflected and held in every part of my dress, bravely, unashamedly, and with love.’
Becky says she decided to ask guests to make patches to form the skirt of her dress as she wanted it to feel like ‘a tapestry’ of their lives.
‘I wanted it to feel new and different – almost tribal, a coming together of everyone’s love and blessings for us, to hold me with every stitch,’ she said.
‘I made a few patches myself. I sewed into it an old piece of Welsh slate from the quarry next to where I’d grown up, and also parents wedding rings so they could be with us on the day.
The creative bride admits the hand-sewn patches and the whole process means ‘the absolute world’ to her.
‘In the month leading up to the big day, our doors were thrown open to all every weekend – it was patch workshop galore,’ she explained.
Becky told how she threw her doors open to her bridal party every weekend in the lead up to the wedding and said it was ‘patch workshop galore.’ Pictured, the personal wedding dress
The material for Becky’s dress came from all over the world – with one client gifting her sparkly fabric all the way from Iran. Pictured, the pieces of material
The creative bride admits the patches and the whole process means ‘the absolute world’ to her. Pictured, showing the patches on the bottom of her dress
Becky stunned guests with the complete version of her dress on the day of her wedding to husband, Lee
Speaking of the process that went in to making the dress, Becky said: ‘It really felt like a hen night that lasted every weekend for a month.’ Pictured, on her wedding day
‘It really felt like a hen night that lasted every weekend for a month. Even seeing both my brother-in-laws glowing with pride at their efforts was a dream.
She added: ‘I watched the whole project snowball into something that I was truly proud of. I didn’t think for a second that it would bring everyone together the way it did.’
In the build up to the big day, Becky invited a host of her wedding guests round to partake in the innovative idea.
‘Initially everyone came feeling nervous and doubting their creativity, but a cuppa (and often a glass of wine) later and they were picking their fabrics, buttons and threads,’ she explained. ‘After a quick demo of my sewing machine they were away.’
‘My step-daughter Elray became an absolute whiz on the sewing machine too, and quite happily involved herself instructing people if they got stuck.’
Following her patch workshop, Becky’s innovative idea inspired 10-year-old girls to make their own prom dresses one day – and some asked for a sewing machine for Christmas. Pictured, on her wedding day with Lee
Becky told how she was delighted with the results and said the concept felt like she’d ‘drawn everyone together.’ Pictured, the finished result
‘Everyone was proud of their efforts. It’s inspired 10-year-old girls to make their own prom dresses one day, and some have even asked for a sewing machine for Christmas.’
And Becky says she ‘couldn’t be prouder’ of the finished result – as it achieved her dream gown.
‘It feels elegant and understated in cut, but full of love,’ she explained. ‘I’d made the original pattern myself out of an old sheet I found in my attic that was left behind by the previous lady who lived at my house too… so even she contributed.’
Comments from the guests who made the patches
Lee: ‘It’s classic Becky – a lunatic/genius concept, so many variables that could’ve derailed it, all set against a ridiculous timeline – and she just casually nailed it.’
‘What’s more, it’s elemental, magical – more than the sum of its parts – an invocation and a miraculous snapshot of the universe that is my wife. It’s impossibly perfect – just like Becky.’
Nadine: ‘Becky’s dress was so stunning and unique to the eye, but the real beauty was being in the idea and her thought of creating a dress that everyone close to her had been a part of – just perfect.’
Kalpi: .Here’s mine: Being part of an idea and not knowing what the end result would be was very exciting..
‘Being able to create our individual reflections of Becky & Lee was a heart warming experience & then to see the finished “idea”, well that was truly breathtaking! It really was an honour to be part of it all.’
Mirander: ‘The idea of making your own wedding dress…I could not see anyone other than Becky stepping up to this Monmouth task and nailing it. The words I choose to describe the dress is beautiful, stunning, magical and mesmerising…thank you for letting me be a part of your dress.’
Lauren: .Loved the idea of everyone contributing to the dress. Although these patches were individually personal it was made more beautiful to include momentos from Becky’s parents.’
‘I think the cheque book stubs were my favourite addition, because their names were written into the dress.’
‘I have always been interested in making stuff and am lucky enough to have an adjustable tailors dummy (bought for me for my 21st birthday by my mum and dad) as a working block.’
‘Once I’d proved the pattern, I cut all the backing fabric – an old soft white cotton sheet – ready to sew the patches on to before sewing them all together.’
‘It turned out OK. Even the registrars on the day were amazed at the love that had gone into it and it even got a registrars mention during the ceremony.’
Speaking of the project, Becky said ‘it felt like a hen night that lasted every weekend for a month.’ Pictured, the dress in progress
While Becky was gifted sparkly fabric all the way from Iran, she also had to send some patches away to Spain. Pictured, the sewn patches