So I’m back tracking a little in this post. On the next post you will see the completed dress, which took two months to complete – mostly late into the night after working full time at my regular day job. Weekends became a blur as I began sewing when I got home from work on Fridays and got up for work on Mondays -after little cat naps. Normally I don’t sew on Sunday; however, in order to get this dress completed in time for the bridal photos, I had no choice.“The ox was in the mire!” In fact, at the time, it felt as though an entire herd of oxen were in the mire! Have you ever been so tired that when you lay down to go to sleep, you’re too exhausted to fall asleep? That’s how I felt from the time I started the dress, until about two weeks after the wedding!
Each bodice seam was covered with self-made bias strips of the Dupioni silk.This gives a corset type look, and defines the princess seams. It’s also easier to hide the boning underneath the seams in the lining. After sewing the bias strips to the seams, I used a fine, white pearl cotton to embroider a chicken stitch vine along each seam on the bodice. On the tip of each stitch, I attached a tiny white glass Japanese seed bead. To give the dress balance, and counter the effect of the self-made flowers on the left side of the skirt, I embroidered a bouquet of vines on the right side of the lower bodice. Each vine was a different type of embroidery stitch and various beads were used on each vine to help differentiate the vines as they were all sewn with various thicknesses of white pearl cotton.
I have to admit, I love to do beadwork! There’s something about it that’s calming to me, it’s therapy to my soul! My dad asked me once how I can stand to sit and sew one little bead on at a time, he said “that would drive me crazy!” Hundreds of beads were used on the bodice, but they were tiny - just enough to give it depth and dimension. Most were tiny white glass Japanese seed beads, but I also used different shapes, sizes and color variations of clear, white and opaque white Swarovski Austrian crystals on the vine embellishment. I love sewing each bead on one at a time. Bees wax is the secret to successful beading, or hand sewing of any kind. Not only does it strengthen the thread, but it also keeps the thread from getting tangled and in knots.
The last thing that was applied was the Dupioni silk over drape on the skirt with pick-ups. Then the skirt was attached to the bodice and the lining hand sewn in place to finish and complete the dress. I didn’t measure how long the tie was that laced up the back of the dress, but it was really long! That took awhile to sew, turn and press.
The veil was a waist length, double layer of white bridal illusion, gathered onto a metal comb with a double row of clear crystals on the top edge of the comb. The edges were finished with the same self-bias strips of Dupioni silk to tie it nicely into the dress. These were also embroidered and beaded to match the dress. I cut the veil out the morning of the bridal photos and hand sewed the crystal comb to the veil in the car on the way to the bridal shoot. What a relief it was to sew that final stitch! I have to tell you, even if you choose not to make a wedding dress; it is worth it to make your own veil.They are extremely easy to make and very inexpensive. The veil including the comb was less than $20! We found the crystal comb at a beauty supply store. It was nice quality and only $5.00. A comparable veil at a bridal store would have been at least $200 - $300 or more.
I’ve taken the time to explain all of the things that went into the dress before showing you the finished project. It’s fun to imagine what it all looked like before the pieces were cut, fit, sewn together, and finally completed.
Until now, I’ve never really thought about how many different types of tears there are, but must admit; there were many tears shed during the construction of this dress. Tears of inadequacy, tears of stress, tears of exhaustion, tears of fear that I wouldn’t get it done, tears of relief when it was finished, and finally tears of joy when I helped her put it on and lace it up the back for her bridal photos! The huge smile and little girl squeal when she looked in the mirror were priceless. I will share some of the pictures from the bridal photos in next week’s blog.
Until next time,