Tuesday, January 17, 2012
"The Dress" - Tears! ...but it's just not me, Mom (part 3)
SO, now I have to cut the dress out! I started with the small pieces, the bodice. With basting stitches I outlined the bodice piece and then I cut around the bodice piece leaving enough fabric for the embroidery hoop. I traced the embroidery design on to tissue paper and then positioned it on to the bodice piece. I carefully basted around the designs with white thread and then tore the tissue away leaving the basting stitches as a guide for the embroidery.
I would send ideas, suggestions and choices to Sarah at each step. (She was away at college in Denton, Texas, which is about 1 ¾ hour drive away.) We had different ideas of how the finished design should look. I wanted to mainly use the Swarovski crystals, beads and pearls with very little embroidery but Sarah wanted more of my embroidery with very small embellishments. So after much discussion I chose to do satin stitches for the leaves and the larger balls (flowers?) and a simple outline stitch for the vines. This is the embroidery. Simple, elegant, classic. Just what Sarah wanted.
The next step was to pick the beads and crystals. Again, I sent Sarah some suggestions and she picked what she liked best. It was at this point that I was discussing “the dress” with a co-worker. As it turned out she and her mother like to do bead work. She suggested very teeny-tiny beads like she uses. Since they were so tiny, it would only add texture and sparkle without taking away from the embroidery. Perfect! She suggested an online store she used...in Alaska. This may not mean anything to anyone else but Sarah and I have very fond memories of a trip we took to Alaska with my late husband, Sarah's very dear father in 2007. I ordered the beads from Alaska and continued putting the embellishments on the bodice.
After I finished the embroidery on the bodice (note, the design in the photo is unfinished), I turned my attention to the skirt. I took each pattern piece with the extensions/wings and cut out one panel at a time.
I sewed each panel (right sides together) stopping at the line-marker on the pattern to determine where shortening or lengthening would be. Since the pattern I was using as a base called for an empire waist, (not straight across) I could not measure from the top to stop the seam. Since this was ALL trial and error I really had no way of knowing if this would work.
The Vogue pattern I was using as a base had a pattern for a small cap sleeve. Sarah liked that so I put in the sleeves and had several of the skirt panels for Sarah to see when she came home one weekend in late October. I have to admit the dress looked pretty good pieced together on the dress form so I felt pretty good about Sarah coming home from college to try it on. The sleeves looked great BUT when she put it on she could not move her arm. I could not imagine what I had done wrong but really did not have the time to re-do it. So Sarah and I went to see Maggie to see what I could possibly do. Maggie suggested trimming the armhole a bit and using bias tape made from the bridal satin and finish it off to make a sleeveless dress. We thought that might work. Sarah did not really want a strapless dress but she liked the way the dress looked without the sleeves. So, ok.
At this point, we had to go to the local bridal shop to pick up the bridesmaids dresses. As we walked through the store I could not help notice the way Sarah looked at the girls trying on the beautiful wedding dresses...finished, fitted wedding dress. At this point, I was ready to scrap the whole wacky notion of me, somehow, being able to make Sarah's dress. This would be her wedding day...it should be perfect. At my urging, Sarah tried on a few dresses. Her eyes would light up when she put them on. I talked her in to letting me buy her a dress. A beautiful, beaded dress that needed only a few tucks and would fit her perfectly. A lady came out of the back, pins in hand, to pin the dress for alterations.
Then it happened...tears! Again Sarah said it...”these dresses are beautiful, Mom, but it's just not me.” She said all of the dresses we looked at were "cookie-cutter" dresses and just not her.
So we thanked them for their time and went home to see if there was any way I could save “the dress.”
To be continued tomorrow...