Friday, November 11, 2011

My big project

Ever since I was in high school, I thought that I'd make my own wedding dress.  I learned to sew when I was about 13 or 14 years old. I was taught by a combination of people: my grandma Munson (although I later learned that my grandma Bethany was also an avid sewer), the mother of a lady at church whose name escapes me, and my home ec teacher, Mrs. Zaenker.  During high school I made a number of garments, but the most special were the formal dresses I made for proms and graduation.  Those projects were not easy but they were definitely satisfying, and they inspired me to make my own wedding dress.
Except that I did not make my own wedding dress.  Working full time and planning a wedding were far too time consuming to allow for creating a dress from scratch, and we were also on a tight budget.  While making your own dress certainly CAN be cheaper, there was no way it was going to be cheaper than the $20 dress I had found at Goodwill.  So, I let go of my big idea to make my wedding dress, and I'm not sorry.  I liked the dress I wore, and I didn't go insane trying to make a dress on top of everything else I was doing.  
Now you're wondering what all this has to do with the title, aren't you?  No, I'm not getting remarried.  But my brother in law is, and his fiancée asked me to make her dresses.  Yes, plural.  She wants one for the ceremony and another for the reception.  Oh, and I'm making the bridesmaids dresses, too.  This has become my other part time job.  I am going a little bit crazy!  The reason is that making these dresses is taking me to a new place in my sewing knowledge: enlarging patterns.  See, the bride is a curvy lady, and her curves can't be contained by the pattern; her measurements are zestier than its biggest size.  So I have to enlarge the pattern pieces accordingly.  This is all about math and getting just the right proportions, and math isn't necessarily my strong suit!  It's also a pattern that has  a lot of pieces to alter, which is daunting.  Here's a picture (and yes, it will be in red and one shouldered, just like in the picture):
She also wants it to have a different bottom than it does...more of a mermaid/fishtail type of thing.  That part is easy enough to change.  It's the zig-zaggy bodice that will need to be stretched out a bit...and not uniformly, because she's got a killer hour glass figure, so I can't just make it bigger across the board.  It is perplexing me greatly.  I found an excellent book at the library about sewing for plus sizes which addresses in detail the issue of pattern enlargement. So far I've made two muslin mockups, and neither has been quite right.  Back to the drawing board...
And then there is the wedding dress. That will also need adjusting.  It will be very beautiful on her, though.
Finally, the bridesmaids' dresses.  I insisted that--since there are 5 of them--it has to be an easy pattern, and we found a good one. At least, I hope it will be good.  It calls for stretchy fabric, so that will help make fitting less of a precision thing (since all the bridesmaids are also plus sizier than the pattern calls for).  
They will be purple dresses. I'm not sure which way they will all decide to wear the dress, but it has two long strips of fabric that can be wrapped and tied in various ways. Maybe they'll all do something different!  
Anyway, this project is seriously pushing me as a sewer into new territories, and I won't lie...it's not easy.  But it's also bringing out a level of determination and stubbornness that I reserve for the truly trying things in life.  (Remind me to tell you the story of the 18 mile walk for a breakfast sandwich sometime.)  
So, that's the biggest thing going on right now.  Ruby's napping, which means I'd better get down to work on it. 


3 comments:

  1. WOW! Major project is in good hands..so proud of you...
    XO G"ma

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  2. That is awesome! I had no idea you made clothes! :)

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  3. OK, so I'd definitely read this post before, but had clearly forgotten it by the time I read your FB post this morning, wherein I congratulated Andy! Apparently I already knew about it! ANYWAY, hope progress is trucking away, and you have amazed and astounded yourself with what you've learned and accomplished--that's certainly the way I felt making the cakes for Matt & Karen's wedding. I spent a good deal of the time saying (internally, of course), "They are going to KILL me. This is going to look like the birthday cake from Sleeping Beauty. I should just leave now..." And they came out AMAZINGLY. I'm CERTAIN the dresses will, too! And if you're still working on them, and need any assistance, I can be your assistant! :)

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