Back in the olden days, when we were still (relatively) young and (relatively) carefree, my good friend K was about to get married (coincidentally, to a man I had introduced her to), and we were having a conversation that went something like this:
K - I want him to wear a tux
Me - OK. And what will you wear?
K - It doesn't matter. I just want to see him in a tux.
Me - If he wears a tux, you have to wear a wedding dress. That's how it works.
K - Nooooooooooo.........
Me - Yesssssssssss...........
K - Nooooooooooo......... (have you figured out that K was/is simply not a dress-up sort of person?)
I was still sewing occasionally back then, so you can guess what happened next. Yup, I made a wedding dress. I must have had some balls back then! Either that, or I was just utterly clueless..... I suspect it was a combination of the two. Clueless and ballsy. Frightening.
Fast forward 20 years or so, during which very little sewing happened, and here I am now, at it again and sewing up a storm in a sometimes semi-obsessive manner. And I've been wanting to get my hands on that dress again....sort of. A part of me has been terrified of seeing what sins lurked within the seams of that dress, but morbid fascination won out, and finally K delivered the dress for my inspection.
I'm both delighted and horrified.
Back to the beginning. I started with some sketches. It's no surprise to me that K actually still HAS the sketches - she's a keep-all-mementos sort of person.
I remember searching for a pattern close to this, and not finding much....I know I bought a pattern that gave me something of a starting point; mostly I remember just draping and fitting on her...why does the thought of doing something like this nowadays seem so far beyond me??? I tell ya, the ballsy cluelessness of youth....
The good news: It fit her and flattered her, and she was the quintessential radiantly beautiful bride!
(yes, that's me hugging the groom - in a RTW dress)
And, by request, one fuzzy pic showing me way back when... I now remember that Kim had her hair done (beautifully!) at a local shop, and she talked me into having them "do" my hair too. Her hair = perfect. Mine? An uber-curly disaster. Oh well. Her hairs were the important ones! ;D
I must admit, the dress really does look pretty well constructed. On the outside.
Here's the real treasure in this dress. The lace is pina, or pineapple fiber, from the Phillippines. K's aunt had a wedding dress made from this lace, which she gave to K. All I remember about the original dress is yards and yards of gathered skirt! I used nearly all of it in this dress (some got used in K's daughter's christening gown...which I also have and will blog about). The cloth is something that needs to be seen and fondled - it's one of the most amazing fabrics I've ever had the pleasure to work with. Shimmery, fine, stable, delicate looking but tough as iron - an absolute delight to sew!
Apparently I thought that 20 pearl buttons with loops were a better idea than a zipper:
I even added squares of ribbon as backing for each button! Note that the bodice is fully lined. :)
All in all, not so bad for someone who really was in way over her head.
Right. OK. But...... Are you ready for this? Wait for it.....
|Those seams!!!! OMG those SEAMS!!!!!|
Silk Charmeuse. NO seam finishing. Nothing. Nada.
Slowly fraying and shredding away.
And check out the shoddy hemming on the right.
At least I used a triple seaming technique on the armholes. Not pretty, but I guess you could call it sturdy.
I suppose I could say I was pressed for time? Considering all of those buttons, carefully lined up and backed, handmade ribbon roses, etc., I don't think that excuse will fly. Honestly, I knew better. I swear finished seams were drilled into me by my darling Mumsy when I was a wee one, learning to sew. Maybe I was going through a rebellion? But on a WEDDING DRESS?
The dress is in my hands for the moment, and I'll have to see what I can do to save and preserve those seams. K's daughter is an artist who, to my knowledge, has never been seen in a dress-up dress like this in her entire life (she wore a simple cotton print frock to her H.S. prom), so who knows if this dress will ever be worn again? But I think I owe it to the sewing and seaming goddesses of the universe to do SOMETHING about those seams....
And I hereby make a promise...out loud...to me and everyone who reads this, that I will never commit such a sewing sin again!
How about you? Have you had a chance to inspect something you made from eons past? And what was your reaction when you saw it? What is your best (or worst!) unfinished seam story? (please make me feel better!!!) ;-D