When at first you are proposed to, how long does it take for you to share the good news with your mother? And then how long after that do you start to think, "What type of dress will I wear?" Many times the way this scenario plays out is your mother will start to think about what she wore for her wedding and then she will want to show it to you. This can be uncomfortable, especially if she comes running down from the attic with a dud, or , let's be honest, your personal styles have never really matched up. We don't want to hurt Mom's feelings after all. But every once in a while there is a gem of a dress tucked away, waiting to be discovered; waiting to be given new life and cherished once again. This would be the case for my client Natalie.
Natalie had been shopping around for the perfect lace wedding dress but came up short until she laid eyes on her grandmothers gown. She instantly knew that this was to be her dress. As with many vintage styles the waist was TINY and some of the materials such as tulle had not aged well and had become brittle. There were a few holes and rust spots, and the dress overall had yellowed with time. This is when she brought the dress to me. Natalie knew she wanted an open back and layers in her finished wedding gown. She also knew that she wanted to change into a short dress for the reception. So we did some sketching and I took Grandmother's dress apart. I was able to lighten the lace by giving it a baking soda hand wash. I then laid the deconstructed, cleaned lace on the cut table to figure the layout. Luckily, there was plenty of lace fabric to work around any rust spots that were too stubborn to remove and I was still able to incorporate the original bodice pieces and sleeve style into the reception dress.
Natalie and Sam June 27, 2014
For Natalie's ceremony gown, I used the original lace from Grandmother's dress for the bodice cups and for the first two layers of the skirt. A separate complimentary cotton crochet lace was purchased and used for the third layer of the skirt. All of the skirt layers were trimmed with a silk chiffon bias ruffle. The underlay was sewn using a hemp/raw silk blend. The straps were embellished with flowers that I hand cut out of the lace pattern of the cotton crochet lace.
For the reception dress I used the original lace from Grandmother's dress for the main body, complimentary cotton crochet lace for the sides and the raglan sleeve, and vintage inspired cotton crochet lace trim for the hem in bohemian fashion. The back of the reception dress was actually the front bodice of Grandmother's original gown. It was too small for Natalie to button up so we decided to re-use the piece for the back adding laces. Then we used the original back piece as a boat neck front adding princess seams for shape and sizing.
I come from a line of tailoress women as far back as I can remember. My heritage is a creative one ~ full of busy minds and make it work attitudes. I believe that beauty is where you find it, that style is all in how you carry yourself and that class requires no bells or whistles.