Monday, July 22, 2013

Mother of the Bride Dress

My daughter is not the only one who has to look beautiful at her wedding.  I have to look presentable, at least!  Of course, all eyes will be on her, but when the new in-laws are asking, "Who is the mother?", I want them to respond with "Ohhh!" not "Ewww!"  It's time to think about my own dress.

I.  Fabric:

This is a poly satin I bought at B&J Fabrics in New York.  Lindsey's colors changed slightly since I was looking for MOB fabric during PR Weekend in San Francisco.  I wanted either satin or silk shantung.  This particular satin won because of the color. 

II.  Pattern Options:

  1. BSM 09-09-138   I sewed this pattern for the wedding of a good friend's daughter last fall.  It's already traced and ready to go.  That's a major advantage when crunch time approaches and I have tons of things to do.
  2. BSM 07-12-139   I chose this dress for the collar treatment.  I think it will make up nicely in satin.
  3. BSM 02-13-140  I like the sleeves on this dress. They dress up an otherwise plain silhouette.  
  4. BPF SS-10-427  This is another dress I've already made so it's just waiting to be sewn.
I have so much respect and awe for the sewing mothers of brides I've encountered online!  Katherine at I Made This sewed a wedding dress for her daughter and although I've never met her in person, her blog posts will be helpful and inspiring.  Connie of Couturesmith and Annette of FabriCate & Mira are my proof that a mother can sew her daughter's wedding dress and live to tell about it.  Both are real life sewing buddies and have generously offered to hold my hand and help me through this adventure (if only through e-mails and phone calls since they live so far away from me).

In order for the bride and her mom to be well dressed,  careful planning and time management are mandatory. The wedding is in April 2014.  It sounds so far away now, but I know it will come sooner than I think. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Wedding Dress Adventure: First Draft

First Draft
Sewing my daughter's wedding gown is turning out to be a real "learn by doing" experience.

I finally got her into the first wedding dress muslin, or "first draft" as she calls it.  I think the most difficult part will be arranging to be in the same state for fittings!  This photo was taken in a hotel room in Charlotte, NC.  Since neither of us lives in Charlotte,  I had to stuff two muslins into an already crowded car and schlep them to North Carolina for the first fitting. Lesson number one:  Take advantage of every opportunity for fitting.

Luckily, the gown won't need lots of adjustment.  She wants a roomy fit so she can eat at the reception.  (Do brides actually have time to eat at a reception?)

The next step was making a muslin for the lace overlay.  I had to combine two different patterns to get an overlay that matched the silhouette of the gown.  The overlay will have long sleeves and jewel neckline.  The pattern I'm using for the overlay did not have the empire waist, so I drafted the bottom of the gown bodice onto the neckline and sleeves of the overlay.  That involved …gasp… moving a dart!  I went to my vast library of sewing books and found the help I needed in The Pattern Making Primer (Barnfield and Richard, 2012). I bought this book, not because I needed another pattern drafting book, but because I happened to be in a book buying mood on that particular day.  Lesson number two:  Buy all the sewing books you can.  You never know when a book you bought on a whim will be just what you need.

It should have been immediately apparent to me, but it wasn't until I began to think about actually sewing the first draft of the overlay that I realized I should be using cheap lace instead of cheap muslin! Well, duh!  The ubiquitous 40% off JoAnn coupon came in handy!  I bought nine yards of JoAnn's Casa Collection special occasion lace. Lesson number three:  Save those JoAnn coupons. 

World's worst lace?
I've loved sewing for over forty years and sewing that lace from JoAnn may have been the worst experience of my sewing life.  I think Jack Nicholson said it best in Terms of Endearment - "I'd rather stick needles in my eyes."  No, wait. Let me express that more positively.  Lesson number four:  I need to be very, very, very careful when selecting the real lace.  I ran to my bookshelf, tripping over the cats as I ran, and pulled out Susan Khalje's Bridal Couture and once my hands stopped shaking, I read the chapter on lace.  Knowledge is power.  I felt better after learning about different types of lace.

After drafting three bodice patterns and sewing that horrible challenging lace, I have something for DD to try on when she is here at the end of August. (see Lesson number one above)

While most of the family members were in the same place at the same time, DD and her cousins looked for the junior bridesmaid dress.  I was told, kindly but firmly, that I had no input in the selection of the girls' dresses.  Getting three different girls, under 13 to agree on the dress was an adventure in itself.  But it was fun and I enjoyed seeing them all dressed up.  I was glad my input was not required.  Lesson number five:  Enjoy the ride and don't sweat the small stuff.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Non-Sewing Post: A Few Pics from the Party

A recent finished outfit was for my youngest sister's 40th Birthday Masquarade Party.  Here are a few pics … just so you can see the outfit in action

Arriving with two of my nieces

Birthday Girl, Our big brother and his wife

Me shaking my groove thang

Birthday Girl and her family

Clockwise from top:  Birthday Girl, me, DD, oldest niece

I think BG wanted everyone to wear black so she would stand out in the crowd.

It was a great party and a wonderful opportunity for family and friends to get together.