Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Dress - Part B

In January this year, as morning sickness subsided and I began to feel slightly human again, we Emma, her sister Michelle and I hit Melbourne on a wedding shopping spree. First stop Clegs in Elizabeth Street. The ladies at Clegs know their stuff when it comes to bridal fabric. We presented our list of fabric and notions to a lovely staff member and she brought everything to us to paw and play with. Emma picked out her gorgeous lace and satin, and we left with a bag bulging with bridal white! We skipped over to Australia on Collins and picked out my matron of honour dress at Ripe Maternity and cruised about to get the navy fabric for the groom's frock coat (made by Michelle). We finished up with tasty yum cha for lunch. It was a super successful shopping trip with possibly the most easy going bride in the history of weddings!

The time came to actually get to work on the dress, I set aside times to work on it when Coen was at kinder so I could work without distraction during daylight hours. The bodice was quickly done and fitted. It was white! Super white! I was so worried about leaving grubby marks on the pristine fabric that I developed a routine of scrubbing in before doing any work on the dress. Scrubbing my hands (up to my elbows some days) and making sure my nails were super clean and snag free.

After fitting the bodice the time came to sew the skirt. I took my time, did everything slowly and carefully, very different from my usual slap dash rush jobs when making my own clothes!

I found myself thinking about my grandma, who was an amazing seamstress. When discussing her handiwork the family line is that her garments were so beautifully finished that you could wear them inside out. With this at the forefront of my mind I made every effort to make the inside of this dress something that I would be proud to show Grandma. I desperately wish that she were still with us so that I could show her my work and tell her how much she inspires me.

I couldn't believe it when I attached the skirt to the bodice. It was a dress. At that point I decided that the dress was at lock up stage. If both my arms fell off, someone would just have to put a zip in the back and Em would have had a wearable dress.

It took a little while to gather the courage to make the first cut in the beautiful lace. The lace over bodice was the most time consuming part of the dress. It has tiny button loops (I used trim with elastic loops to ensure they would be uniform in size and evenly spaced) down the front as well as on the sleeves and many of the seams are bound. While I understand and agree with the theory of binding the seams to reinforce a delicate fabric, the practice, especially hand sewing organza is fiddly! Luckily I get into a bit of a meditative state when hand sewing!

After another fitting to get the bodices matched up, there was more hand sewing to attach the lace to the dress. After a final fitting to place the zip, I took the whole dress to my mum's house to make use of her larger sewing table, invisible zipper foot and superior sewing skills! Mum put the zip in for me and I sewed the final panel into the back of the skirt. It was at this point that I started to grin like a bit of an idiot. It looked like a wedding dress. A really nice wedding dress!