**construction pics are mine, ones of the wedding, and the shot below shamelessly pinched from Elenor’s Facebook page. Shoot me. Ahem.**
A while back, I offered to make a wedding dress for the daughter of an old friend, Rose. We got to know each other on the daily walk to school, but eventually lost touch as the world moved on and marriages crumbled and reformed.
Her daughter, Ele [Elenor] popped up on good old Facebook in 2008 and we reconnected. She now has two bouncing little girls [Alia and Lyra, very bouncy, they’re budding champion gymnasts by all accounts] and is home-schooling them-I’m in awe of the amount of dedication and hard work this takes. Anyway, I offered to make her wedding dress when they got round to getting married, and in November last year she contacted me and tentatively asked if the offer still stood, as they had set the date for July 28th this year.
I rubbed my hands with glee, and we chatted for a while about what she might like, and about the timeline, her budget etc. I thought she’d want something funky or punky or quirky, she said ‘elegant with a twist’. I said it would need to be done and out of the house ideally by the end of May in time for my exam marking season. She sent me these pics of dresses she’d been looking at online.
We batted ideas back and forth for a bit, then I left her to think about it.
By new year, we made a date for me to join Ele, Rose and the chief bridesmaid to go looking at wedding dresses. I was very pleased to be asked along, and set off, all ready to take pics and make notes, and ask lots of pointed questions at every stage.
At the start of February, we all convened in the Jewellery Quarter, and had a whale of a time lugging all sorts of frocks back and forth to the dressing room for poor Ele to be wrestled in and out of. She was a trouper, and let us all indulge ourselves with all sorts of suggestions. She has a great, athletic figure, and many of the dresses looked amazing. We started to find out what she did and didn’t like- A line good, strapless bad etc.
The one that made her jaw drop was this stunner, found at a very posh shop after we’d revived ourselves with some lunch.
Very beautiful, very expensive. The usual thing happened…brains started to chug on ways to utterly blow the budget, but sense prevailed! If I could make a facsimile of this style, it had all the things she likes best- elaborate lace, full but not poofy skirt, low neckline BUT modestly filled in with ‘nude’ mesh, dramatic train and very lovely low back. We all loved the blush pink layers of tulle [or was it champagne? who knows]
Here are the catalogue shots I unearthed from the company website later
Oh blimey, all that tulle.
So, I had my notes, I had my images, time to find a pattern as close to the right shape as possible. I found a couple of contenders, one with the right general shape, wrong neckline, one with the right neckline, not so great shape.
Of course, the right pattern in the right size was elusive, but I tracked it down to the US, and they ordered it. Not cheap, and then postage…[and then it got hit with customs charges. Bum. Ah well.]
We talked petticoats, and she chose a black foofy one, which would save me a lot of palaver building one into the dress. I hunted out sources for the tulle, and the nude mesh, sought advice on handling all that tulle on The Sewing Place, and we went fabric shopping. We got the toile fabric from the market in Brum [I love extra wide curtain lining], and found the main dress fabric and lining at Barry’s warehouse. Ele had had fun [or not] making a duct tape dummy to help me with the construction, and I lugged it all to the station and home.
And so February came to an end.
Now you can wait for part 2!