Wednesday, July 30, 2014

2nd life for the gown

In years past, a young bride held onto her wedding gown, carefully packing and preserving the white innocence for its next appearance - hoping her daughter someday would want to wear it for her own wedding. I've been doing bridal alterations and custom work for over 20 years, and only once did I have a bride come to me with her mother's gown. My own gown sits in its breathable garment bag, along with the new one I made for my daughter's 2008 wedding.

Those gowns are given new life when the bride becomes a mother, and chooses to showcase her precious new baby as she's christened, wearing a new gown reincarnated from the old. I wrote about being asked early this year to make one of these in this post, which led another young mother to contact me for her daughter's christening (it does seem to be mothers of little girls who share this vision - the Edwardian image of a boy in a gown appears a bit too passe for today). 

My client sent this photo of her gown, asking me to create a simple gown with just a bit of sparkle for her daughter's July baptism. She loved the images I'd shown on my earlier blog post, but was drawn to the unembellished satin underdress more than the beaded lace pinafores.

What I had to work with - embroidered and beaded satin
There was a lot of satin in the back skirt of the dress that I was able to use for most of the baby's gown. Carefully positioning the front skirt pattern piece on the gown skirt front allowed me to use the beaded embroidery as little tendrils cascading asymmetrically as on the original gown. I didn't have to use either the beaded bodice, or front overlay with the beading along the edge, or the lower train with its more heavily beaded design.
The rebirth, with a little tucking on the bonnet
Positioning the pleats on the front skirt proved to be a bigger challenge than I anticipated. I wanted the tendrils of embroidery to float over the skirt, without getting buried inside the pleats. I'd rather not say how many times those pleats were undone and refolded.
Although the bridal gown didn't have any buttons at the zipper, three had been added for the bustle. I harvested them for the closure at the back of the baby's dress.
Cutting the pattern pieces from the gown's satin and underlining as one allowed me to line the christening gown with the underlining fabric. It's always tough for me to make the first cut into a bridal gown - and I'm not at all certain I could do it to one of my own creations. What's left when I've cut out what's needed for the baby's dress isn't a pretty sight, with portions of the original gown intact and big empty spaces where the petticoat is all you can see. I urge the mothers to not look in the bag at their gowns for a while, but to enjoy the new version in their baby's dresses.

 An heirloom the family can treasure!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Machine Loyalty

A quick post today, to let you know that I'm alive and kicking. I have been sewing and have a couple of posts in draft mode, just waiting for photos. I'll get to them this week, I hope - no promises.

But I'm hanging around doing nothing (not really, but telling you I've been crazy busy gets old really fast...) This weekend ranks up there with the busiest

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My favorite custom project...

This morning, I was commissioned for the first custom project of the year - a christening gown to be made from the mother's wedding gown. Repurposing a gown that was such a large investment really appeals to my "green" side,

Friday, January 3, 2014

Christmas gifting from the stash and scrap bags!

In the last weeks before Christmas, I managed to sneak into the studio to whip up a couple of little gifts for the girls and guys in my family. Digging into the stash, I found two great wool plaids and made scarves for my two sons, son-in-law, brother-in-law and DH. Simple! Snip-and-tear to size, stabilizing straight stitch along each edge and pulled threads to fringe all around.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

What will 2014 bring?

I've been reading the many "top 5 of 2013" posts my fellow and most-often-read bloggers in the sewisphere have written, and felt a bit guilty that I haven't done one. I don't know that I could find 5 of anything that I'd want to list from the past year, because I also feel guilty about the extremely low number of posts I wrote. As I start out fresh for the new year, perhaps it's time for me to channel my usual resolution-listing into what I'd love most to see from my sewing and blogging.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Country Dressing, New England style

Now that I'm back from the Nashville ASDP conference, I want to post an update on the brocade and leather jacket. Finished in time to take to conference, and submitted to the members' fashion show for the board "Oh Sew Country" presentation that was requested

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Here I am in Nashville!

Well, I've arrived in Nashville for the ASDP conference! Our hotel is the Inn at Opryland, right across the street from the the Opryland Resort with its amazingly beautiful atriums and conservatory gardens, and walking distance from the Grand Old Opry! Can't post any pictures, because even though I brought my camera, first of all I didn't have it on the walk we took late this afternoon (which is becoming a bad habit with me), and two, I neglected to bring the cord to upload the photos anyway. So, I'll just have to post an update when I get back home next week. The Threads Challenge finalists will be judged Friday, with the results announced at the conclusion of the members' fashion show that night. Wish me luck - although it's such an honor just for my garment to be among the entries chosen as finalists.

More later - stay tuned -