Does anyone remember my recent blog post about helping a friend cut out her wedding outfit?
Someone I hold dear (let’s call her Amy, for the sake of argument) was getting married. She’d bought silver silk jersey and satin. We set to with silk pins and shears, and the cutting out went swimmingly.
But from then, she was on her own. I’ve never sewn a wedding dress, but that’s beside the point. Amy wanted to make this dress herself. It was her dress and her wedding. In particular, it was her vision. Could she pull it off?
Over the following weeks, I kept my mobile phone close to my side at all times. My fingers drummed on the table top as I waited for the urgent plea for help. I’d check for texts in the middle of the night. Where were the distraught messages and teary phone calls? They never came.
The next time I saw Amy’s outfit was on her wedding day. The silk jersey was accessorised by flowers she’d plucked from a florist that morning. A low bun sat at the base of her neck, hair pins eased into place by a loving best friend. A silver charm nestled against her clavicle. How could I ever have doubted this bride’s ability to sew a true vision of herself?
But this outfit wasn’t created through magic and hope alone. It was created using the Sewaholic Gabriola skirt and a top pattern I’m too excited to wait for a reference to but will provide.
The main message here is that Amy was clever enough to tick a few essential sewing boxes, despite the fact that she’s only been sewing for two years.
Amy’s Rules Of Sewing A Wedding Dress Without Having A Nervous Breakdown
Practice. Amy sewed each item twice before setting to on the wedding dress. By the time she began sewing the most important dress of her life, she knew the construction inside out.
Time. Lots of it. Amy started in plenty of time and gave herself achievable tasks on a weekly schedule. All she had to do was keep swimming, and she knew she could do that.
Quality. I strongly believe that spending the most Amy’s budget allowed went a long way towards easing the pain of this journey. Good fabric rewards you with good behaviour.
Simplicity. Nary a waist stay, boned bodice, sleeve head, flounce, or trailing veil in view. Amy kept her ambition focussed and simple and this allowed the execution to be far less challenging than trying to cram learn a load of couture techniques. I’m a firm believer in simple sewing executed to the highest possible standard.
Imagination. The sewing patterns Amy used were both aimed at day wear makes, but she had the imagination to transform these ‘normal’ patterns into something stunning.
Separates. A wedding dress doesn’t need to be a dress. Revolutionary! Now Amy owns two beautiful items that she’ll be able to wear again and again. (If I was Amy I’d love to wear one of these items to someone else’s wedding – the big circle of weddingness!)
Inspiration. Amy knew what she wanted to feel like on her big day. Not like a bride, but like a film star. And boy, did she pull it off. Keep that picture in your head, peeps, and colour it in.
As for myself? I broke all the rules and only allowed myself a weekend to sew something. Which meant I totally failed to create anything successful and dragged a shop-bought dress out of the wardrobe. Whilst licking my wounds, I took sanctuary in the details. Can’t beat vintage accessories for a wedding!
What are my final thoughts? I’ve found this to be a very grounding weekend. There are lots and lots of reasons to sew, but one of the most important reasons that I can’t help coming back to is … am I allowed to say love? The tug of thread. Needle piercing fabric. A mind that blanks and a heart that fills. A face that splits into a grin as someone looks up from their sewing, to gaze at the person they love. Memories tucked away into tissue paper.
It’s my privilege to have shared this journey and it’s my greater privilege that Amy has allowed me to share that journey here. And the next time I sit down to sew, I’ll remember a sunny day in the heart of England and I’ll send a silent kiss through the air to two people I love dearly.
Reader, my darling girl married him.