FIND OUT MORE ABOUT LYCHGATE DESIGNER AND DRESSMAKER NICOLA CHETTLEBURGH
I founded Lychgate because of my life-long love for silk and exquisite laces. There was also my passionate interest in the design and creation of luxury clothes
My mother was an excellent dressmaker, as most women growing up in the '40s and '50s were. My grandfather worked for HM The Queen and every year he received a rather grand looking Christmas pudding. One year it had a gorgeous blue satin ribbon on top. My most prized possession was a doll made by my mother, whose skirt was that very ribbon
My mother was an epic soft-toy maker. My favourites were a large hen and an enormous Humpty Dumpty. My young son adored the yellow fluffy snake she made him. Everything had eyes stuck on with a well-known brand of fishy glue!
I grew up in the 1970s when dressmaking was still very popular. My older sister is close in age to me and my mother made us identical dresses. I can still remember a gorgeous patchwork dress with broderie anglaise insert. Oh the sheer joy of getting to wear it in two sizes!
Brownies was a big feature of our childhood. My mother extended her sewing talents to the brownie pack where she was Brown Owl. We made all sorts of handicraft items for fetes and Christmas fayres. In fact my mother was so proficient at sewing I can recall her being asked by my dressmaking teacher to come and help me and my class-mates. We were making a pattern the teacher just could not fathom out. I recall a mixture of enormous pride and excrutiating embarrassment
My mother's final foray into the world of dressmaking was to create a bridemaids dress. This was for my niece, who, aged 3, was my flower-girl. She made an exquisite replica of my own wedding dress but it's gorgeousness didn't last. My niece got hold of a mascara wand and it was soon down the front of the flower girl dress. Only artful pinning could save it, but not for long. My niece appeared during the speeches to get her gift wearing only her knickers!
When I left school I qualified as a solicitor. I was a partner in a legal practice for a long time but in the back of my mind there was always the desire to be creative. When I got married I was lucky enough to have a bespoke wedding dress made by a former seamstress for Norman Hartnell. I went to a luxury department store to buy some silk. The retail assistant asked if he could design awedding dress for me, which he did on a piece of A3 paper there and then. I wore that very bridal gown and felt like a princess on my wedding day! I still have it of course. It was made using the finest couture techniques and I often fillet it to learn how to do something. I set up Lychgate so other women and their children could look and feel as special as I did.
ABSOLUTELY, ADORABLY LYCHGATE
BESPOKE WEDDING DRESSES AND CHILDREN'S SPECIAL OCCASIONWEAR
Find out about Lychgate's Furry Companions
I introduced you to Miss Jess, our black cockerpoo who is the Lychgate workshop dog some time ago. When not in the park she keeps a stern eye on us to make sure we are producing the high quality children's clothes you know and love
Miss Jess loves sausages and her ball which she runs after at top speed. I love her floppy ears which feel like a piece of soft velvet in my hand. Sadly she doesn't always use them for what they are meant for - listening to me!
Introducing our new border terrier puppy Miss Mabel. Miss Mabel is so excited because she is going to be the face of our new brand 'Mabels Delights'. Watch this space for gorgeous dog coats to match your wedding dress for your own perfect pooch
Miss Mabel also loves sausages but her favourite thing is playing in the park with her friends. Although she is tiny her best friend is Stella who is ten times her size! They are the same colour and look so cute together