Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Wedding Dress: A Love Affair

I'm getting married in nine months.  Nine.  Single digits.  Fewer than the fingers on my hands or toes on my feet.  Granted, it is still most of a year away, but it still seems that there is so little time.

First order of business is to make the dress. I'm that insane, I'm making my wedding gown.  And yes, I'm posting about it on the blog that my fiancĂ© reads.  It's OK.  He's already seen the pattern, and we're not terribly traditional or superstitious anyway.  If I can help it, I'll try not to let him see me in it until The Day, but knowing me I'm bound to get excited and try it on anyway.

Crafting my own wedding gown wasn't always a part of my Someday plans.  But it sort of just fell into place and ended up making so much sense.  Things do that.  My whole relationship with this dress, not yet even started, has been one crazy serendipitous moment after another.

My junior/senior year of college, I worked at a fabric store, which was one of the best retail experiences of my life.  One morning, I was putting away new patterns in those big filing cabinets, when what should my eyes behold but The One.  Like many girls, I had a general idea of what I wanted my wedding gown to look like, but suddenly there it was, all folded up in an envelope, staring back at me.  My eyes went wide, mouth suddenly dry, and I think I made some sort of unseemly noise.  I had to have it.

McCall's M4713.  Sadly out of print.
I got insanely lucky.  Not only did I get my employee discount, but McCall's patterns were on sale that week.  I think I acquired it for a grand total of $0.80 or something ridiculous like that.  I wasn't even dating anyone at the time, so it just got put away among the dozens of other patterns in my collection.

Some years later when M'Colleague and I started getting Serious, I busted it out to show him, and it was met with immediate approval.  

Other than that, I'd only ever shown the pattern to my mum and a sibling.  Two years ago my grandmother, one of my best friends, was losing a battle with cancer.  Knowing that she would not see it in person, I brought the pattern to the hospice one afternoon.  Before it was out of my purse, she described to me what she thought it would look like, and damn it if she didn't hit on every detail almost exactly.  Granted, this is the woman to whom I owe both my sense of style and passion for sewing, so it must not have been a far stretch for her to guess; it still floored me.  I wish I'd shown it to her sooner, but I'm so glad I got her blessing.

Nana-Lady styling Tiny-Me

Recently, my mum accompanied me on a weekend of flitting about from fabric shop to fabric shop to start buying the materials to make the dress.  There was a lot of really lovely fabric to choose from at each stop, but what we ended up buying was found back at the store that I'd worked at several years before, where I'd found the pattern.  Though I have a fierce loyalty to that store, it wasn't a conscious decision to buy there; it was just the right fabric.

Also, I lost the pattern.  When we started heading in the direction of moving house, I lost the envelope and its entire contents.  I looked everywhere (I swear!) but it was nowhere.  In a blind panic, I flew to my trusty Internet to find a new copy, knowing I'd have to pay out the ear for it since it is out of print.  Not so - I ended up finding it through Etsy, for less than $10.  And of course almost as soon as the replacement arrived, I uncover the "lost" pattern.  Yup.  At least I've got a backup and/or keepsake.

And now to the business of the thing.  I'm giving myself until August to complete the dress, leaving in a buffer of about 6 weeks before Wedding Crunch Time.  I've already got the hard part out of the way - cutting out the pattern pieces and sellotaped the edges to prevent tearing.  For the record, I despise cutting out patterns; it is too tedious.  Yeah, I still need to cut the fabric, but at least the paper portion is done.  If only I could cut (hah!) straight to the pinning and stitching...