S. and I have recently returned from a weekend of wedding dress making with my mother. Amazing is truly the only word to describe it, in two and a half days (we were only up for three) Mum managed to get both our dresses to a state of almost completion, and they look gorgeous.
When we arrived on Thursday evening, the fabric was still in its paper wrappings from the store, the patterns hadn’t been opened and the sewing machine was still packed away. By Friday afternoon my parents’ lounge had been turned into sewing central, the cat had been unsuccessfully banished and floor was covered in pattern pieces. Mum started with S.’s dress first as that was theoretically the most straightforward. The top of S.’s dress is made up of gentle draped-looking gathering from the shoulders to the bust, while the skirt is a flowing a-line from the waist. It sounded so straightforward, it looked so straightfoward on the pattern, and it was – sort of. The gathering around the top of the dress turned out to be anything but straightforward, and though it may look organic and natural now, as though it is just casually draped, in reality what you see is several hours of careful pinning, sewing, re-pinning, re-sewing all of which is followed by invisible hand stitching. It took mum and I ages to get the folds sitting just right, but the result is beautiful. The skirt by comparison was easy!
After the bodice of S.’s dress was complete Mum moved on to my dress. My dress was cut out of a 6.5 metre length of indian red sari fabric, which proved a little challenging to work with. With S.’s fabric (a beautiful ivory silk chiffon) we were able to buy exactly the amount we needed since she was sensible enough to fall in love with the pattern first rather than the fabric. Seriously, if you going to have your wedding dress made for you that is absolutely the way to go. But, me being me, I had to do things the hard way. I had a vague idea of an A-line skirt and a fitted bodice when we happened to pop into an Indian fabric store on our way to get patterns. I already knew I didn’t want white for my dress and was kind of keen on red, but when I spotted this fabric I knew it was the one. We pulled the fabric out, draped it around me, and decided that yes, there was enough to do something with. So, with surprising little trepidation and a lot of overconfidence in my mother’s sewing ability, I bought the fabric. Part of the fabric is heavily embroidered we had planned to use this as the bodice, but it wasn’t until we got it home and pulled out the tape measure that we realised there wasn’t any way the embroidery was going to cover my whole torso. Talk about oops! Fortunately some creative pattern piece arranging made it all fit, so with an embroidered front and a plain back we got the dress put together with no more issues.
The dresses are truly a testament to Mum’s creative skills; they are gorgeous, and what’s more they are also very, very us. Mum managed to capture our individual styles well, and the dresses, although very different, complement each other beautifully.