I have been creating one of a kind designs for 18 years since I left NY, with hundreds of designs that I manufactured for bridal retailers before I moved to Ohio. Each one is a masterpiece. Thousands of them! Designing my daughter’s was a given. I didn’t anticipate the amount of emotion I would feel when designing for and with her. Emily had her inspiration photos and a very clear idea of what she wanted. I fully intended to sketch what she asked for and make it. I’ve made thousands of wedding gowns, including my own. It was just a matter of making Emily the gown she envisioned.
I sketched her dress. She was happy. I was happy. Until, later the same day, she asked me to sketch the dress I would have designed for her without her input. I didn’t think it was a good idea to impose my ideas and create doubt. I didn’t want her to doubt that I loved the sketch I had done by sketching something new. She insisted she loved her dress and my new sketch would not make her feel insecure.
As I started the sketch I could see a dress in my mind’s eye. It was a photograph of a Dior evening gown I had seen in a fashion history book 30 years ago. It collided with a photo Emily had seen on pinterest 2 or 3 yrs ago, but was not part of her inspiration. It included ideas from 2 years of us “what if-ing”.
After an hour or so, I showed Emily the sketch which was a combination of her inspiration, my 30 year old memory and a picture she saw on Pinterest. I assured her it would not hurt my feelings if she liked her original sketch better. She simply said, “Mom, that’s it!” This is her sketch.
Planning started immediately. I purchased the 40,000 Swarovski crystals, glass beads and pearls I estimated her dress would need. (I used most of them) I bought the French Alencon lace pattern Emily had chosen. 8 yards of silk satin organza was laid out and mapped for the hundred plus petals that would become her skirt. Thus began the PETAL Process.
Lace was cut up and trimmed. Each petal “block” had to be laid on the “map” for lace placement. Lace was pinned and then sewn to the silk. The petal block was stretched on a beading frame. Pearls, glass bugles, opaque tricuts, and two sizes of Swarovski crystals were individually placed and sewn on by yours truly. When I started the beading on the petals at the beginning of February 2017, my daughter voiced her concerns that I wouldn’t be able to finish in time, or that it would kill me. She insisted I get help. No need to worry. I planned my time well. I had 60 hours a week allotted to my business, the rest was time to make my daughter’s wedding dress. I didn’t want any one else to sew on her beads and crystals. (I was kind of a brat about it) I averaged five hours per petal.
Once beaded, each petal block had to be cut into petal shape then lined and finished with a backing of silk. I regret I didn’t take a photo of the stack of petals before I started pinning and sewing them to the dress. It was impressive.
My next blog will show the progress of the dress becoming a dress. Adding the petals and finding other special touches that would make this her dream dress.