My second of three wedding dresses was for my Ornithologist Woodland Bride, an upcycled, vintage Gunne Sax dress.

"The look I was going for on our wedding day was a brew of boho/woodland/vintage/classic, or to steal some words from my bandmate, 'just the right amount of hippie'."

Veronica came to me with a dress she's had since she was a little girl, a dress that came from her great grandmothers boutique in Vernon. It had a high neckline, full billowy sleeves and was striped with a delicate lace. Initially this was going to be the dress we reworked for the wedding.

IMG_5177.JPG

As I got started on the project, it was evident we were going to need much more lace than the dress provided. The colour of lace was difficult to match, at a thrift shop I found what seemed to be the perfect lace that I would be able to tea dye to match. The lace took to the dye just as I'd hoped. The dress came together beautifully, off the shoulder, low back and perfect for this bride. That was, until we took the dress outside. Inside, the tea dyed lace complimented the existing lace wonderfully.

But as soon as it went outside, the sun/natural light reflection on the newly dyed lace made it look completely different, it looked pinkish, almost purple. What a nightmare.

IMG_5416.JPG

This was no longer the perfect dress for this bride, we needed to rethink our options. Being that this dress held sentimental value, we had to figure out a way of using it. Enter Anna, the maid of honour, who just so happens to be the same size as the bride. We decided to shorten the dress for Anna to wear on the special day.

Veronica, being the laid back, opposite of Bridezilla Bride she was, didn't let this get her down. She cruised Etsy and found another vintage gown for us to upcycle.

An old school Gunne Sax dress with a ruffle along the neckline, full bodied sleeves and a perfectly Veronica ankle length hemline. This dress had me excited. The scalloped lace was ideal for the style of dress we were going to create.

"Connor proposed at Sunset beach, a couple of days after I defended my thesis and a few days before I was leaving for Fernie for 2 months of fieldwork. We’d discussed getting married in the near future, but I wasn’t expecting him to propose during that narrow time window, so it was a pretty cool surprise! We were taking Osa (our dog) for a stroll on Sunset beach, just up the road from our house, and he asked if I wanted to see “Osa’s new trick.” He told me to turn away, and when I turned back, Osa was coming towards me with a little parcel tied to her collar and a ring inside!"

photograph by Jamie Perchie

photograph by Jamie Perchie

Connor and Veronica have known eachother since their first year of Biology at UVIC in 2008, they started dating in January 2009. These two were our first friends my partner and I made after moving back to Saltspring last fall. We instantly hit it off after realizing we had both been with our partners for 8+ years and we both had doodles. With lots in common, we became fast friends. Having Veronica living so close, I requested frequent fittings to keep the dress moving along as quickly and efficiently as possible. It seemed as though every time she would come for a fitting, she would leave with another piece of Qube to add to her closet.

"I am in the process of upgrading my wardrobe to everything Qube."

I love the idea of upcycling for many reasons, but primarily, it is an eco friendly choice that creates constraints that are fun to play in.

"My favourite part of my dress was definitely the moody scalloped lace ruffle over the arms and low on the back (with a lovely little dip). I loved everything about it, though, from the casual ankle-cut to the vintage lace and holes from trampling through the salal and oregon grape en route to the altar."

Photograph by Jamie Perchie

Photograph by Jamie Perchie

This was the first wedding dress I had made/altered that I got to witness walking down the aisle. We were in at a Wellness Retreat, Eaglenest Sanctuary on The Koksilah River, the weather was completely West Coast, bright, misty and gorgeous. The groom was escorted by his parents, followed by the best man and Ms Osa, who carried the wedding bands.

Photograph by Lisa McCulloch

Photograph by Lisa McCulloch

The bridesmaids meandered through the forest as the incredible Helmi Hess lead them with her ethereal vocals and autoharp.

Photograph by Lisa McCulloch

Photograph by Lisa McCulloch

Veronica followed with her parents on either side. Bohemian, woodland, vintage and classic. She was alluring, she was glowing, she exuded confidence. She was on her way to marrying her best friend and truest love, Doctor Silverthorn.

"I accessorized with some beautiful green sapphire earrings made by my momma, a sweet flower crown and whimsical bouquet (with some eagle and owl feathers found during various adventures) made by Adria at Little Bee Blooms, and a funky turquoise/leather choker I found at a thrift shop in Cobble Hill a few days before the big day (just for the evening)."

A beautiful day in the forest, alongside a river, the entire venue dripping with flowers and filled with heartfelt words, original songs, delicious (local) food, cold bevies (served out of a canoe cooler!) games, dancing and all the love.

Thank you for trusting me through the entire process and letting me be a part of your big day in more ways than one. It was an absolute pleasure and you are an absolute treasure.

"You made my dream dress come true, ya little wizard!"

I encourage you to go to visit this album of magical moments captured by Wendy Shepherd

Use password: loveandfolkonthekoke to enter

Sneak peek below:

IMG_5396.JPG

Inspired by the upcycled wedding dress and maid of honour dress, bridesmaid Angela bought her own Value Village treasure for me to rework

IMG_0797.JPG

I took it apart completely and managed to turn it into something beautiful

FullSizeRender 3.jpg

Three upcycled, reworked dresses, for 3 beautiful women, for one magnificent day.

I encourage you to go to visit this album of magical moments captured by Wendy Shepherd

Use password: loveandfolkonthekoke to enter

Sneak peek below:

Photograph by Wendy Shepherd  

Photograph by Wendy Shepherd

 

Posted
AuthorKristi Lee

2017 marks the year Qube breaks into the bridal scene. The first of three wedding dresses was for my Galiano Doula Bride, Emily. Emily got married on beautiful Galiano Island, British Columbia at the beginning of May.

"May 14th, 2016 — Thor took me to one of our favourite spots on Vancouver Island. We drove up a logging road, to a cut block looking over mountains, oceans and trees. I didn’t think anything of it; we had spent a lot of time here. The sun was shining, we had the place to ourselves. Thor got down on one knee and proposed! I was so happy and surprised. Of course I said yes! Thor knew me so well. It couldn’t have been a more perfect moment: just the two of us, in the middle of nowhere. We wanted to waste no time in planning the big day. We agreed we wanted it to be as casual and relaxed as possible, a reflection of us."

Emily and I had gone to school together and kept in contact through social media. When she asked if I was interested in making her wedding dress, I was ecstatic. One of a kind, custom pieces are quite easily my favourite things to work on.

"Kristi came to mind right away when I thought about my wedding dress. We met for coffee at Barb's Buns on Saltspring. Unable to find suitable pictures online, I pulled out a sketch I had drawn recently. She was confident that she could bring this image to life. She asked lots of questions about the fabric and design, questions I hadn’t yet thought about. We stepped outside, I took off my rain coat, and she took all my measurements."

I had only ever made one traditional wedding dress before. To be honest, I was a little nervous. The skirt that was drawn had a sleek, modern, clean and minimal train- unlike anything I had tried before. Being primarily self taught, I knew this would be a steep but incredibly rewarding learning curve; I could not wait to get started!

"The dress was really important to me. I was worried that I wouldn’t find something that truly represented me. I dreamt of being a bride, in a white dress, my dad walking me down an aisle. It also made me feel nervous. I wanted to feel like myself in that moment. Not like I was dressed in a costume for this special occasion. I had a pretty clear vision of what I saw myself wearing, but I couldn’t imagine finding anything that would come close to it in real life."

Being an island girl myself, I it was easy to empathize with Emily, to step into her mind and imagine how she would want to feel on her big day, beautiful yet comfortable. That is my main motivation by all things Qube, the better you feel, the better you look. When you're not comfortable, your focus is elsewhere.

"I felt so comfortable with her, with her experience and knowledge. It was clear I was in good hands."

Emily living between Galiano and Victoria for school and me being on Saltspring, made the process trickier. I went on a fabric run to Vancouver to source the fabric for her dress. I narrowed down my lace choices and sent her photos to make the ultimate decision. Once I had the fabric it was time to get started on the pattern. I always feel confident in bodice work and tailoring, it was the draping of the skirt that taught me a lot. Iteration. Reiteration. Trial. Error. Alteration. Improvement. Finalization. Success.

"Kristi invited me to her home for each fitting. It always felt so warm and inviting, and she made the whole process fun and easy. Seeing the dress come to life was amazing. Hard to believe something so beautiful, with all of its detail could come from such a simple sketch. She was always open to suggestions and changes, providing a picture of what it could look like if we did this or that. She took everything I said I wanted and added so much more."

After a few fittings we had it. That simple sketch had come to life and fit our bride like a glove. She was radiant.

"The wedding dress she made was more beautiful than I could have imagined."

Emily and Thor both grew up on Galiano, they planned an intimate wedding ceremony at Spanish Hills Dock followed by a reception at the Galiano Gun Club. Emily, a beautiful, seemingly delicate woman in school to be a Doula, is actually a badass hunter who knows her way around a gun. The venue choices were perfect.

"May 13th 2017 the big day was here. The sky was moody. Grey clouds, full of rain, filled the sky. The morning flew by, and 2:30pm came quickly. It was time to get into the dress. The dress was simple and elegant, it fit perfectly, and it was easy to put on. The detail of the high lace on my chest was such that I didn’t feel that I needed any accessories. I felt beautiful. The high emotions I had felt in the morning disappeared. I was calm and ready to be married. Everything felt just right. The sun came out, and blue sky began to break through the clouds. It couldn’t have been a more perfect time to get married."

There is no greater feeling as a designer and seamstress than the achievement of completion on a project of this magnitude. Thank you Emily for your trust and enthusiasm through this process and thank you for your words. It's brides like you that are making my designing and sewing dreams come true.

Photos by Mandela Shemilt

Posted
AuthorKristi Lee

I grew up in a family of five, a dad, a mom and two older brothers. In the last 15 years I cannot help but notice how quickly I am becoming my momma; dressing like, acting like, looking like and sounding like her. It all began when I noticed most of my favourite clothes to wear were kept in her closet. We would frequently show up wearing an undeniably similar outfit. Exhibit A,B and C:

The Qube items I've created in the past were all items that were missing in my closet, items I needed. This time I wanted to create something that would be missing in my Momma's closet. Something I might have borrowed if I were still living at home.

Saltspringers are practical people, but practical people don’t always want to look practical. My Mom is always taking my furry four legged little brother on hikes, so it had to be something warm, breathable and have pockets for treats. The cotton body breathes beautifully, while the long luon sleeves allow your arms to move freely. This was a perfect piece for my Momma to wear up the mountain then through town while feeling comfortable and looking cute. The little details are what make it, with a small recycled leather strap to draw in the waist for a little definition without constraint.

I will no longer be able to order this same fabric. This Cowled Tulip Top style is exclusive. Only 3 left in the shop.

Posted
AuthorKristi Lee

I met Amber in highschool, we started working at the same pizza shop nearly 6 years ago. This past August Amber messaged me looking for a dress to wear to her engagement photoshoot with Billie Woods .
I had a dress in mind: The First Date Dress, a lavender bustier bodice with a draped chiffon skirt. The colour and fit couldn't have been more perfect for Amber. This beauty couple is set to wed in the fall of 2015.

Almost 6 years later, on our favourite beach with our two dogs running around us, [Nick] dropped to one knee, and pulled out a ring. A ring he had had made specially for me, on the island where we first met, by the same jeweller that had made my own mother’s wedding band. The stone was green amber, my favourite, and perfect for obvious reasons!

We had about two weeks together after the proposal before Nick left for a job in Northern BC and we were out of touch for almost 4 months. We really wanted to do something to celebrate our engagement when he returned home, and a photo shoot seemed like the perfect idea. I had had the opportunity to work with the amazing photographer Billie Woods almost 10 years ago, and was thrilled that she agreed to do the shoot for us. Having that connection, and returning to Salt Spring Island, the place where Nick and I had our first date, was really special. The only thing that wasn’t perfect was my dress for the shoot. I had bought it from a local store, but while every other aspect of our day was bursting with meaning, this dress just wasn’t doing it for me. I had a moment of brilliance when I thought of Kristi Lee and Qube Clothing. With the shoot days away I figured there was no way it would work, but I sent her a message explaining my situation. Kristi went above and beyond for me, she invited me to her house the morning of the shoot to try on a dress she thought would work. It fit perfectly and looked stunning! The colours, the fabric, the fit – it was like wearing a piece of art. Not only was I thrilled with the dress itself, but Kristi and I had been friends and coworkers when Nick and I first started dating all of those years ago. Having her be there from the first moments of our relationship to making the dress that I wore to celebrate our engagement was so incredibly special for me.

Posted
AuthorKristi Lee

This summer I had the honour of making my friend (formally known as) Missy Caron’s wedding dress. I had never made a traditional wedding dress before but had always wanted to; this was the perfect opportunity, with the perfect bride.

"I loved every moment of my experience making my dress with Kristi. From designing the gown together to choosing the lace and chiffon to emailing new ideas back and forth all the way to the final fitting. The entire process was wonderful. I always had a clear idea of what I wanted my wedding dress to be in my mind so when Matt proposed, I started drawing and figuring out exactly what I wanted.

Kristi and I grew up on Salt Spring Island together and knew each other from preschool all the way to high school. I had seen on Facebook that she had made beautiful dresses and was starting an amazing looking business. So I emailed her and asked if she would like to make my wedding dress.

Kristi made exactly what I wanted and more. She found ways to make my dream dress even better than I imagined. Kristi cared about each and every little detail and that really showed on my wedding day. From the lace top, the exposed lace in the back, the dramatic sweetheart neckline, the hand sewn beads/sequins to the flowy chiffon train- it was simply stunning.

On top of having my dream, custom made wedding dress, Kristi also made me an incredible exit dress with some Qube flair, everyone loved it!"

I had so much fun making Missy's gown and decided to use the remaining lace in a surprise for the bride. Every bride needs some sassy 'exit dress'. I wanted to make something a little sexier, something for the groom. A delicate backless lace bodice with a structured cotton skirt and the lovebird's names embroidered along the hem.

I hope I get the opportunity to create another wedding gown, the whole process was so gratifying. The brainstorming, the fabric shopping, the drafting, the construction, the fittings, then the hand off. It was amazing feeling to watch one of my oldest childhood friends become a bride. Thank you Mrs Missy Byron for choosing me to make this special dress. xox

Photography by: Gillian Stevens

Posted
AuthorKristi Lee