Thursday, January 19, 2012

THE Dress (part 5)

Maggie said bring the dress over, we will see what we can do. I had not put the zipper in yet; I was afraid to. I had put in lots of zippers but the dress was so big at this point. So cumbersome and hard to work with. Maggie said she would put the zipper in, yea! Sarah put the dress on and Maggie took a look at it. In her sweet, calm, confident manner, she said there was nothing wrong. As Sarah turned to the mirror, Maggie pinched the back seam together and said she will move the zipper in just a little and...voila!

Maggie put the zipper in and we picked it up the next day. As Sarah stepped out of the dressing room, I held my breath. We were out of time. Pictures would have to be taken the next weekend or we would not have them in time for the wedding. I still had more bead work to finish and it had to go to the cleaners before the wedding. If it didn't fit-we were out of options.

Sarah faced the mirror as Maggie zipped it up. Perfect! Sarah and I looked at each other and could not quit smiling. We just kept saying. It's a's a real dress. It's a dress!

We got home and Sarah put the dress on again. She wanted to see what it looked like with the veil. If we had more time, I would have loved to make a veil but Sarah decided to borrow her sister's veil. Katy's veil was a traditional veil edged with beads and clear tear drop beads hanging from the edge. It fit with with the dress perfectly and provided her “something borrowed” for the wedding. I was standing behind her and she turned to face me. “Thanks Mom.” It was at this point, I saw the look. You know...the look of a bride who puts on the dress. The perfect one. It wasn't “the dress” anymore. It was THE dress.

That night I finished the bead work on the bodice. The beads from Alaska had, by this time, arrived and were perfect. As I sewed on these very small beads, I fought back tears. Not that I'm afraid to cry (I've cried buckets of tears the last three years) but I didn't want to get any spots on the beautiful satin. To anyone looking at the dress, they might not have noticed the tiny beads but Sarah and I knew they were there and each one reminded us of a very special trip to Alaska with Sarah's father who had passed away the year before.

My daughter, Katy, (yes the one who is about to have a baby) took Sarah's bridal portraits on Sunday, December 4. We had planned to go to Waco and take the pictures on the Baylor University campus but, wouldn't you know it, the weather had taken a very chilly turn. It was so cold and the wind was blowing so hard that Sarah said there was no way she could take pictures outside.

Well, as you now realize, time was growing short. I had to take the dress to the cleaners the next morning or there was no way we would get it back in time for the wedding. So, we improvised. I called the Associate Pastor of our church and we arranged to take the bridal portraits there. Katy took countless photos of Sarah in the beautiful sanctuary. But just as we were about to leave, Katy talked Sarah in to taking just a couple outside. It was still extremely cold. They stepped just outside the door and Katy snapped a few quick shots on a bench by the door. Then they stepped around the corner and Sarah twirled in her new wedding dress. You know the kind of twirl every little girl likes to do. This was no different. Sarah twirled and the smile on her face says it all. When I saw the picture, I saw my little six year old playing dress up again. Out of all of the photos taken that day, this was my favorite. My little girl was all grown up and I would soon see her marry her knight in shining armor. (Kevin Armor)

When we got the dress back from the cleaners, I put it on the dress form. Sarah wanted the folds of the skirt to stay in place. She wanted double folds on each panel. The wedding day would be a long day with lots of pictures with dancing. So, I took each panel, pinned it in to place and then lightly basted the folds from the underside. So, (hopefully) it would appear to just be draped in to place (with nobody seeing that it was actually stitched).

For the reception, we needed the dress to be just a little shorter so that Sarah would not trip on it and so it would not get stepped on. Maggie had showed us how to do a bustle in the back so Sarah got a beautiful vintage-looking brooch to cover the pins that we would need to pin the dress up. I sewed snaps on the underside of each skirt panel to raise the dress about 4” off the floor for dancing. We decided we would just have to pin the underskirt up, because we really did not have time for anything else. We were not sure this was all going to work so I said a little prayer and kept my fingers crossed.

On the inside of Sarah's dress, I put a small sapphire-colored heart with a photo charm of her father. Sarah and Kevin chose sapphire as the wedding color because it was her father's, Ed's, birthstone. Nobody else would see the heart and charm but we knew it was there. I sewed it on the inside of the dress in the middle of her back. I know that is where Ed's hand would have been. Offering love and support as she was waiting for the ceremony to begin. And at the reception, you can be sure that is where Ed's hand would be as he showed off his baby girl.

Tomorrow, the conclusion.

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