Julia-rose florist

How To Build A Floral Gown

In Floral Design, Floral Industry by Seamus9 Comments

Floral Designer Julia-Rose, event flowers specialist, describes how to build a floral gown in six steps as part of Fashion Week, Surfers Paradise Festival. Photo gallery of event and creative process below article.

floral gown

Floral gown


A few weeks ago I made a fresh floral gown for the QT Fashion Week and Awards. QT had created a night especially around this avant-garde gown called “A Sneak Peak at Fashion Week”.

Building the Floral Gown

It took 12 hours to build the floral gown in sections & layers to traditional patterns and techniques of floristry.

Once the build was over, I took a quiet 10 minutes aside. When I came back to have a look, seeing the piece through fresh eyes, I was taken aback.

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It was huge opulent and over the top! I was amazed it had all come from within me … wow! The build was now a blur and the piece in front of me was truly awesome!

But let’s rewind and start from the beginning.  It takes a lot of people to make one 12 hour build run so smoothly…

Step One: Find Welder

To start with I had a frame fabricated by a welder.

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Rod made the frame from sketches, images, rough specs and a very imaginative description of what the gown would finally be like.

I was so very excited to see it born; it was the skeleton to my piece.

He then attached chicken wire to the frame for me, with a bustle at the back, as I wanted to create a 1800’s-style gown.

Step Two: Design Corset

I spoke with fashion designer Madonna Bain to see if she could design a corset for my mannequin to wear at her unveiling, something earthy, green and simple with a natural movement throughout.

Step Three: Load In

My assistant, Christine, a photographer and I all headed off to the QT around 8pm on the Wednesday night (the unveiling was to be on Thursday). We loaded trolley after trolley of greenery and flowers and one loaded with wire, floral scissors, water vials and parafilm.

floral dress

Floral dress close up


Step Four: The Build

Setting up took us until 12.30am but the next day we rose early to start the build at 4:30 am. We took one of the QT trolleys and placed the frame and then we started building the “petticoat” – layers of base greenery, like conifer and native foliage.

Once the underlay of the petticoat was made (so the frame was basically covered) we then started to apply some top layers to the design, to give it movement, depth and some volume.

I set up a little make shift station in the bathroom sink (very glamourous indeed) to make the headpiece.

Step Five: Setting Up On Stage

Then got the word the stage was up and ready for us to take over!

We loaded all our its-and-bits up onto a trolley and headed down stairs. Four trips later we were ready to go.

The videographer had arrived and helped me to manipulate the mannequin’s body into the base then I climbed inside her skirt and her legs went on.

I applied another few layers of greenery as a top layer to the dress, this time greenery included things like asparagus to veil the design, Magnolia & berries to give depth and create feature focal areas to the design.

Next the lovely Madonna Bain, Eco Designer, arrived and put on the Corset.

The finished floral gown

The finished floral gown

Step Six: The Flowers!

Christine had been putting each flower into a water vial as I was applying the final layers of greenery to the build, so everything was prepped and ready to go.

The flowers went on as you would put them in a floral design, flowing as to draw the eye throughout the design, as well as blocking in colours to create focal areas in the design. Then green button chrysanthemums to highlight and fill, creating greater visual focus on our feature flowers.

Then her arms and headpiece went on, then the trail was built, made from our left over greenery massed and fluffed up with flowers laid in little water vials throughout.

What a mission! I hope you enjoy her as much as I enjoyed creating her.


The Team

Floral Designer: Julia Rose, Assistant: Christine Dillon, Photographers: Heath B, Kirrasun Photography, Amelia Jane Photographer, Videographer: Ziggy from Hot Chilli Productions, Makeup Artist: Michelle Timoton, Fashion Designers: Maddona Bain (corset), East of Grey (Julia-Rose), Venue: QT hotel, Metal Fabrications: Rod Wyatt, Chief tagger: Kim Parry, Organisers: QT Hotel & Surfers Paradise Festival

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Seamus is Tesselaar Flowers' digital marketing manager. He's a creative marketing geek, writer, musician & accidental flower lover. He helps small businesses with websites and web marketing. If you need any help regarding the Tesselaars website you can contact him on seamuse@tesselaars.com


  1. Wow what an absolutely stunning creation! You are a very talented lady and an inspiration I love seeing art come to life. You obviously love what you do

    1. Author

      Thank you Lynne for your kind words. It is wonderful as an Artist to have such positive feedback, especially when creating unique designs. I do Love what I do, who would not love working with flowers!!

  2. That is just amazing I would like to try it. Last year I went to Wearable Art in Wellington NZ and there was one simular, but your was much better. congratulations.

    1. Author

      Thank you Janet, that is very kind of you. I am actually looking at doing a “wearable” more versatile piece over the next few months. Something smaller that a model will be able to walk around in for a high fashion luncheon. Its very exciting I love creating and playing around with sketches until I come up with a design that I think will work best for the event. Good luck with your piece.

  3. Wow, what a magnificent design and creation. Thank you so much for sharing the design process! I would love to attempt something like this for the Carnival of Flowers especially with the new gallery space ‘Culture to Couture’. Stunning work!

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