Hello! Well, it has been quite the journey since I last wrote—back and forth to Alabama, countless (well, actually about 20 or so) hours of stitching, and a weekend well spent sewing with lovely ladies from all over the country.
My mom and I went to Florence, Alabama to attend a weekend workshop with the incredibly talented folks behind Alabama Chanin. I have known of Natalie Chanin’s work for years and when I learned that they had a bridal line, I instantly knew that’s the direction I would go. It did not occur to me, immediately, that I would have an interest in actually making the dress with them—that happened over the course of a few weeks. So we drove down (12 hours!) and spent last Friday trying on samples, choosing a pattern and getting the pieces of the dress ready (which involved cutting the pattern, painting on the pattern, and pinning the two layered panels together). We had a very in depth sewing lesson which was priceless and we got to work.
Above you can see the pattern that the dress will be. It’s apparently a design that was found in multiple places around the world, at the same time, and is rumored to be magical (I mean I’ll take it!). I love that the detail of the stitching, the reverse applique and the beading transform organic jersey cotton into something rather spectacular.
My mom and I have 8 panels to sew and it’s relatively straight forward. The thing that takes the most time is that you have to tie off after each petal to allow the dress to stretch—if you did one continuous thread like you do in quilting, you’d bust the seams when you tried to put it on since there are no zippers. My goal is to do all of the stitching, then go back and cut, then bead, so that things are orderly and I don’t get ahead of myself beading the heck out of one panel and not finishing stitching another.
We have until the end of February to send the dress back to them—they, the women with much more experience dress making than me—are putting the garment together and adding trim, so there should be plenty of time to complete our work. And if not? We’ll send it back to them and they’ll finish. Win!
Over the weekend, I was surprised by how different the idea of making the dress felt from the reality of making the dress. You know what? It’s scary as heck—I’ve never done something like this before. I’ve never actually seen my dress (because it doesn’t exist yet!) on my body. What if I spill something on it? What if I’m unhappy with the result?
But then I think about how I didn’t really plan this on purpose. I never said “I Want to Make My Dress!” I just did it because it felt right and I knew that it would make me happy. I set out to have an experience with my mom, sew with other women, and participate in the dress. The diy aspect was sort of just a bonus. Plus, the dress is washable. And the design of it is forgiving and flattering and comfortable. And seriously, I am betting that once the thing is beaded up, it will be so sparkly and delicious that it would be a crime if I didn’t love it. So I am working on having faith and enjoying this process because really, it’s quite remarkable to get to do this.
To which I say, happy Friday! I have two panels stitched, so I’ll periodically give some updates on my progress.
P.S. Thanks for helping mom!