We are having a delightful time creating the dress of Challice’s dreams. We’ve tried to incorporate so much into this dress, both literally and symbolically. For years to come, she will look at the pictures and remember everything that made her special day so very special in the first place.
First, we are using what we have… and supplementing with the very least expensive things we can find while maintaining the looks she does want. This is how most of her life is likely to be. Making do, finding the best sales and carefully budgeting for every expenditure. This dress kind of personifies her future life, and shows how beautiful the results can truly be.
We started with a piece of shantung styled satin that I had. I purchased it for a special order of my Anastasia dress but never received payment. Technically, the fabric was free. It wasn’t purchased for this dress and the original Anastasia dress certainly covered the expense of the extra fabric.
We found, on the dollar table at Wal-mart, a lovely striped chiffon. The quality was incredible. There were occasional spots but I could tell they would be easily cut around and if necessary, washed. I took a large piece of this fabric and began embroidering with the specialty stitches on my sewing machine. This is the first time I’ve deliberately designed something to use those features! The white stripes were carefully stitched with ivory rayon thread and the result was astounding!
Laces came next. My heart wanted to go purchase tatted laces and expensive Venice laces. I love the richness of ‘authentic’ lace but that would kind of defeat the subtle design of the gown. Scrounging around I found white and ivory laces, and left over sheer ribbon. I went to work. Using white Venice styled cotton insertion lace with roses, I wove ivory sheer ribbon through it and chose to use that at the waistband and cuffs.
I found rayon Venice styled laces in my stash. One piece, that I used around the overskirt and sleeve flounces, was left over from a large batch of lace purchased from a manufacturer that changed their product line. I’d more than made my money from what I purchased. The sleeves were a lesson in patience and frugality. One piece has two carefully mended sections in order to have enough to do the sleeves. We literally found two SMALL pieces that we had to add to each end of one larger piece to make enough to work!
The other Venice styled lace is a thicker richer lace. I bought it when I thought I’d be starting a dress for her, and then decided not to use it. How fitting that I’d add it in anyway, using up what had been planned in order not to waste it. This lace MAKES the dress. It is what you see around the neckline and around the satin shantung underskirt.
Challice’s personal style is reflected in the pattern she chose. She wanted a “Molly” dress. Something that Molly Gibson from Wives and Daughter’s might wear. We bought the Sensibility pattern for the Romantic Era and went to town.
Somehow, this dress seems to span several periods. There is something almost medieval or renaissance about the dress though it wasn’t intended to be. There is the bodice style and length of the Romantic era with the sleeves that are almost Victorian in their style. The embroidery on the bodice and the laces make me think of Ante-bellum and Edwardian.
The end result? We have a dress that looks like a family heirloom… but no one could possibly guess how old by the styling. I like that.
I’m loving the creation of this dress… but it is almost finished. A few pearl buttons, the other sleeve, and hand sewing down the lining will complete my first family wedding dress. It’s a special time in our lives, and we intend to enjoy it to the fullest!