I started sewing when I was in middle school – 50 years ago! One summer my friend’s mom offered to teach us both how to sew and I fell in love!! Since then I have learned how to embroider, design, pattern draft, weave – some while I was in college for fashion design, through reading or working it out myself or from some very talented people. I still love it today and am fortunate to be able to have a studio in my home. This is where I spend my days now. Quite Enjoyable!
I have been asked to make many things and about 10 years ago a friend and daughter asked me to make the daughter’s wedding gown using my friends mother’s wedding dress. Without seeing the old wedding dress I said yes. Kait wanted a white wedding dress. Kait was much taller than her grandmother so she was unable to wear the actual dress. Well, was I surprised when I saw the dress – it was from the 30’s and had not been preserved, just hung in a closet here in the northeast. Temperature change and time had done a number on it. It was quite yellowed and like paper – it ripped so easily! I did some reading to find out how to work with the fabric of the old dress and then met with Kait, mom and grandma to design the dress and tell them what could be done. Kait was on board but grandma was quite hesitant,and that put some pressure on me. Some of the dress was unusable due to having holes. Since Kait wanted a white dress and we were going to need quite a bit more fabric, I designed her dress with inserts of her grandma’s dress fabric. There was an insert in the bodice, a pleat in the left front of the skirt, and then the train was mostly grandma’s dress fabric. The first thing I needed to do was stabilize the fabric – I experimented and then found the right fusible web to strengthen it. Once that was done, I wondered what to do about the yellow color. Could not bleach it or apply any chemicals since that would just eat at the fabric. So I decided to machine embroider it completely with white thread; that really stabilized it some more and in most of her pictures, you can hardly tell. When the dress was completed, grandma wanted to come see. To say the least, I was nervous. She stood there for a bit and then started to shed a few tears; finally she hugged me and thanked me. Everybody was pleased! If you look at the picture carefully you can see a slight color change in the pleat area of the skirt on the right side of the picture, but it really was all about the love between grandma and granddaughter.
I have been asked to do this a couple of more times since then. I have become more confident about doing it as I have gained experience. One of the other dresses I did was for a bride that found a dress that still had the tags on it at a consignment store. She fell in love with the lace on the dress but the bodice was quite outdated. I took all the lace off the bodice and reconstructed it, and applied all the lace back on. It looked like a whole new dress!
My most recent was to take a grandma’s wedding dress from the 80’s and make it into a christening gown for her granddaughter. The dress was in very good shape but because the dress was Qiana (a man made knit) and the lace was probably a natural fiber, they aged different colors. The dress was slightly grayed and the lace was yellowed. There was a lot of fabric to work with and I was given free reign! Again I stabilized the fabric with a light fusible web and then started machine embroidering. I used 3 colors of thread, incorporating a
very light gray, slight creme color and then white, that worked to unite
the piece. She was a pretty baby!
I design, embroider, and sew many, many creations, these are the most enjoyable because they are made of love and from love!