For so many years, I photographed weddings. I have seen a lot in my heyday – what I loved, what I hated, and what I never, ever wanted at my wedding. Not that I ever was thinking about getting married! In my mid twenties I accepted the fact that I was going to be a cardigan-sporting spinster and I was totally fine with that. Well, then my husband came around and that was the end of that.
I spent a long, long time thinking about the wedding. I wanted it to be thoughtful and family oriented. I didn’t want all of it to be trendy so that when I looked back I would be embarrassed about our choices. I always think about those wedding gowns with the big poofy sleeves! I am a fan of anything timeless so I thought it was important to stick to just that.
I took my sweet time doing research (as an good nerd would). Early on, I rented every classic wedding movies – Father of the Bride, Steel Magnolias etc. Or just grabbing movies that feature amazing wedding dresses – Funny Face, Sound of Music etc.
I went back into family archives and started looking at our parent’s wedding albums. It was so much fun! It got me thinking about why people getting married in the first place, and how they keep it going and make it last – through sickness and in health, until death due them part!
Everything I did was handmade or inspired by our family or favorite things – fishing, books, sunflowers, purple, piano etc. We had my mother and grandmother’s wedding dress on mannequins at the alter. Their veils were displayed in special cases on the mantle. I made the flowers for myself and the girls because I could not find anything by a florist that meant something to me. Boy was it a lot of work!!! It was worth it! We were married at Linden Place Mansion in Bristol. We took some photos at my library across the street. All of our vendors were local. What a day for US.
Here are a few pics –
Oh what a pain!!! I hate dresses!! And I especially hate wedding dresses. All that strapless nonsense, lace, itchy petticoats, and corsets!! I always hated the fact that brides needed friends to accompany her to use the toilet. ICK!
I spent an unhealthy amount of time looking at wedding dresses in movies, books and on Pinterest. I imagined my dress would look something like Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face. I narrowed down my searches to from the Internet but was never able to find them for purchase anywhere. I tried some local mom & pop wedding stores but all they had were dresses worth thousands and full of feathers, ruffles and other such nonsense I had no desire for.
I was honestly about to give up. I asked my best friend to meet me at David’s Bridal to look one last time. I told her if I didn’t find anything go would just go to Macy’s and get a cocktail dress in my favorite color, purple. We searched and searched and I gave up. On my way out I was dragging my fingertips along a rack of dresses that were not my size, and something caught my eye – A SHORT DRESS!! I knew it wouldn’t be my size, but still I took it off the rack. Well, miraculously it was my size and on sale. I cannot imagine why that dress was there. I tried it out and it FIT PERFECTLY!! I didn’t even need alterations. I just needed a jacket or something to cover my shoulders and a belt to make it pop. Well, well, well!!!
Here is a collage of the three dresses I fell in love with and then mine. I think my dress took an element from each one.
After much consideration, I have decided to repurpose my wedding dress.
I don’t plan on passing the dress on to a family member nor have I had any luck selling it.Tonight I went into the sewing room and took out the shears!!
I didn’t expect to salvage much fabric from this as I am sure the dress was made in China. I was right. It was made pretty poorly and the bulk was the support and boning underneath. I was also really surprised how easy it was so take apart. I thought there would be a lot more elbow grease required. I suppose that’s what I get for buying a dress from a place like David’s Bridal.
I jumped right in, not really knowing what to cut first. I cut the top most seam above the bust and then cut the waist. Because the dress had boning the top part was sewn into small parts, so I didn’t get much fabric from it!
I needed a break from this part so I cut the bottom half down the backside and removed the zipper, then separated the tulle and layers of fabric. I will save that part for another day.
In the meantime, I started to salvage some of the embroidered hearts and neatly(for me anyway) hand cut some pieces.
This was a learning experience. It is interesting to see how things are put together. Maybe someday I will tackle sewing my own clothes.
For now, I am still browsing Pinterest for some ideas. I am considering making a few pouches and maybe framing some of the lace. Mom saved a few pieces from my grandmother’s dress so maybe I can incorporate some of that into the project.
To be continued….
Labor of Love
It has been almost ONE year since I married Kevin. The wedding was very sentimental and included lots of items like mom & grandma’s wedding dresses.
(Mom and I at the wedding with the dresses on display)
After the wedding was over, I gave my mom the dresses back. We started a conversation about what to do with all the dresses. Hers is still in great shape but grandma’s really took a beating.
My mother and I were on Pinterest looking at ideas on how to transform dresses into keepsakes but never really talked about it after that.
Today I paid mom a visit after a long and frustrating day; quite frankly in a cranky mood. Of course she was in a great mood and happy to see me as always. But here is why –
Mom spent a lot of time taking apart grandma’s dress and making it into this lovely Christmas tree skirt. She was careful to use many of the details of the dress. The button and loop of the train now help secure the skirt sides together. The many loops and buttons are now flowers. The lace edges are from the veil. And if you look closely, she took the smallest of beads for extra detail.
This is the most wonderful item I have ever received. I cannot wait for Christmas!
There is one more item! A Christmas tree angel!
Tried to unbury myself from fabric. Didn’t get too far today except putting some of the fabric in a frame.
Thank GOODNESS for SMALL BUSINESS!! I found a small business one town over who has this sweet studio for creative folk like myself. They offer sewing classes and a space to work, full of sewing machines, cutting tables and even a Keurig machine. Seriously, is this heaven or what?! Big shout-out to Meraki Studio for being so great. Spent quite a few hours this morning sorting through fabric, ironing it, trimming, cutting, measuring and creating these pieces. Still have a long way to go, but I am happy with the progress!!
Next up – what to do with the flowers from my sash?!
Some pendants that need a chain. Boy they are heavy.
And finally, a small token for myself. A tiny jar filled with the smallest scraps of fabric, a beaded leaf and the buttons: