The Wedding Dress – The Concept

When my daughter first told me she wanted me to make her dress I was terrified that she was going to want some extravagant frufrufrillyglittery thing.  I forgot how not frufrufrillyglittery my daughter is.  Don’t get me wrong…she loves girly things like makeup and high heels. Ulta is her favorite store ever, but she’s never been one who has to be perfectly made up from head to toe every single day of her life.  She often walks out of the house in gawd-awful multicolored leggings and a t-shirt that comes nowhere near matching, mismatched socks, with her hair piled messily on top of her head.  She truly doesn’t care what other people think about her fashion sense.  That’s kind of what makes her, her and part of what makes her uniquely beautiful.  She’s definitely a “less is more” type of girl and that’s just fine.  Especially when it comes to picking out a wedding dress design.  She knew right from the start what she wanted;  simple and elegant, no beading, no crystals, nothing shiny and after some very minor tweaking we came up with a relatively simple concept that looks very similar to the picture below.

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What we envision

The main concept
A classic white strapless corseted bodice with a crochet overlay (the overlay is the pattern-less part), with a medium ballgown effect skirt in chiffon, a detachable train with crochet lace on the edge of the train.  Nothing shiny, glittery, ruffly or overthetop extravagant.  Simple, yet beautiful, just like her.

 

 

 

 

The bodice                                                                                                                                                   Let’s start at the bodice because…well…it is going to be the most difficult part of the dress.  No point pussyfooting around the edges of crazyland, might as well jump right on in!  Below is what the bodice overlay of her wedding dress is inspired by.

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The bodice inspiration and what we hope to copy

After much research, I finally found out with the help of some wonderful ladies from a facebook group on Irish Crochet that the technique used to make this bodice is called Bobbin Lace.  If you ever want to be truly amazed, not to mention have your dreams of taking over Craftworld with your craft skills completely smashed to smithereens, google videos on how to do Bobbin Lace.  You’ll soon realize you know absolutely nothing and do not deserve that allpowerfullqueenofthecraftroom crown.

Needless to say after viewing some of the videos on Bobbin Lace I realized there was no way I could ever reproduce this using that method.  I mean I could….but it would take me 10 years just to get up to the skill level needed to be at to complete this in the allotted 6 to 8 months that I have.  Not happening.

 

Many years ago, when I wasn’t blind as a bat and worked mostly with crochet thread, I tried my hand at Romanian Point Lace on a small doily.  It’s comprised of a long crocheted cord that is laid out in the desired pattern.  “Bridges” are used to connect the cords and give it structure and stability. I feel like it looks very much like Russian Bobbin Lace, but without all those crazy bobbins.  Here’s what a piece of clothing using Romanian Point Lace looks like. It is considerably easier to do than Russian Bobbin Lace.  I can easily do this…or at least I hope I can!  Must get new glasses!!!!

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Romanian Point Lace – not my work

 

The next question regarding the bodice was the length.  The inspirational picture is a full to the hip length, which I feel better defines a woman’s shape.  However, my daughter was indecisive about whether she wanted that shape or something with a natural waist beltline that would be less confining around the belly area.  During a recent visit to the bridal shop for her bridesmaids to try on dresses we asked if she could try on the two designs of bridal gowns.  One with this long bodice shape and one with a natural waist length.  She decided on the natural waist, which means there will need to be some adjustment on the shape of our inspired bodice.  We will shorten it by about 3-4 inches; basically removing everything below the heart shape.

Now as to how I am going to reproduce this bodice which has no pattern that I can find, and given the fact that I can’t draw to save my life, it pays to be good friends with an artist.  She is going to save me that particular torture.  I will post updates on the progress of the bodice as it is worked up.

The fabric for the actual


bodice will be Casa Collection Matte Satin in Snow White with a cotton flannel in white for the lining

The skirt                                                                                                                                                       

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Attached to the bodice will be a medium to full floor length skirt with a detachable train.  I knew I wanted to use satin for the lining of the skirt, but my daughter didn’t want a shiny satin so I spent a lot of time looking at many different types of satin, comparing color, texture, and overall weight.  I finally narrowed it down to 2; Casa Collection Crepe Back Satin in Snow White and Casa Collection Matte Satin in Snow White.  There was some deliberation between my daughter and I over the shine of the crepe back versus the weight of the matte satin.  The crepe back weighs a lot less than the matte but the crepe back is shiny which she did not want.  After I laid the chiffon over the crepe back and showed her that the shine would be nonexistent she agreed that it’d would be better to use the crepe back because of the difference in weight.  The chiffon is also Casa Collection Chiffon in Snow White.

To train or not to train, that is the question!  I’d love for my daughter’s dress to have an extravagant cathedral length train, but again I forgot how non-extravagant my daughter is.  She wants a very simple shallow one layer detachable train in chiffon, no longer than a foot or two past the length of the dress with a simple crocheted lace edge.  It will attach to the waistband with snaps and then the attachment will be covered with a bow.  When she is ready remove the train simply unsnap the bow from the train, unsnap the train from the dress, then snap the bow back onto the dress.

So there it is…the concept is complete.  I will be using McCall’s M7049 as the pattern for the base of the dress.

m7049_06 I have cut out the bodice pieces and will give it to my artist friend for her to trace out the area she has to draw the overlay pattern in.  I have already begun making the cording for the bodice.  In 2 weeks I have made approximately 90 feet of cording.  I am going to make 150 feet total.  I am completely guessing on the length there.  If it’s too much I’m sure I can find another use for it.  If it’s not enough, I can easily make more.  I will try to make a brief video on how to make the cording at a later date.

 

 

 

The fun has officially begun and I need to go shopping for a bottle of tequila!

The Wedding Dress – Day 1

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Every mother with a daughter dreams about her daughter’s wedding, probably just as much as said daughter does.  I think we all want that fairytale wedding for our daughters;  the whole horse drawn carriage pulling up to a venue festooned with candlelight.  The Cinderella type wedding complete with the feeling of romance so heavy in the air that you practically have to swim through it to get to your seat.  We want perfection for our daughter’s wedding, from the most beautiful wedding altar to the most beautiful and deliciously scrumptious wedding cake.  But there is one thing, above all, that we dream about most.  One thing that any girl above the age of 8 dreams about.  One thing that MUST be the most perfect thing about the day.  The dress!

There’s so much that goes into picking the perfect dress.  The color, fabric type, straps, strapless, lace, no lace, beading, no beading, train, no train, ball gown or A-line or mermaid, short or long, etc.  Some brides try on dozens of dresses before finding the right one.  Some brides spend many thousands of dollars on their perfect dress.  Some, only hundreds.  Some brides will spend many months visiting many different bridal shops searching for the one.  Some will find it on the first go around.  You could say it’s almost like finding the right guy to marry, possibly filled with lots of no-ways until that perfect one reveals itself.  It is the most gut wrenching and emotionally uncertain decision a bride will make for her wedding.  You will hem and haw about it and it will keep you up long into the early morning wondering if you picked the right dress.  Don’t let anyone fool you.  No matter what any bride tells you, every one 2nd guesses her dress choice up until that last final moment when she says “I do”.  If they tell you otherwise…they’re lying to you…or to themselves.

So….how do you make it more gut-wrenching and emotionally uncertain?  You find a dress that can’t be bought and you ask your mother to make it for you….from nothing but a picture.  No pressure right?

Ummmmmmm…yikes.

I think for those mothers with even a working knowledge of a sewing machine, the thought of making their daughter’s wedding dress has crossed their minds at least once.  For someone with more than a working knowledge, who calls herself a fiber artist, I admit that the thought has crossed my mind about a hundred times.  The fact that on what will be one of the most important and memorable days of her life, my little girl will be wearing something that I made with my own two hands, would totally complete my journey into the fiber/fabric world.  I am both honored that she thinks that highly of my skills and excited about the prospect.  However, as someone who has never made a wedding dress before, I would be totally and completely lying if I said I wasn’t absolutely, utterly terrified at the same time.  I mean like to the core terrified.  Like the thought of taking this on makes me feel like my heart is going to fall out of my chest and turn around and laugh at me for thinking that I could do this.  I fear that I will fail and ruin my daughter’s perfect day.    But I’m going to fight through my fear and do this for her because she is my little girl and I want her to have the dress of her dreams. She has faith in me to do this…that’s going to help fight my fear.

That and a bottle of Tequila.

I am kidding about the Tequila.

Maybe.