Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I'm Coming Out Of Retirement, Wedding Gown Retirement That Is!

I've designed and made more wedding gowns than I can count! Working with brides was such a wonderful experience. Many have asked me how I could deal with so many brides. As it turns out, the brides were great, the bridesmaids were a different story. I had one bridesmaid who was especially difficult. At one point I said, "your title in this wedding is bridesmaid, and the emphasis is on maid and not bride." The bride later told me who grateful she was that I spoke up. 

I loved being a part of such a special day. More often than not, I would at least see them down the aisle. What a joy it was to spread out their train, open the doors and see them take that first step toward a new future. After twelve years, I realized that I either needed to expand my business, or close my door. At the time, my husband really needed me to take over his responsibility in our family business, so the decision was easy. 

My niece is getting married in October. Now the truth of the matter is that she is really not my niece, a family member, but really quite removed. She's the granddaughter to my husband's brother-in-law's sister. How's that for a brain teaser?!! She's held a special place in my heart since she was just a little girl. When she was 8 years old, she told me that she wanted to one day live in my house. I think we are kindred spirits. She like me has a deep respect for family heirlooms and antiques in general. 

When she told me that she was getting married, I could not have been more excited than if she were my own daughter. She wasn't sure about her dress, but she did want me to create it.

A few weeks ago, we visited to a small bridal shop in a quaint little town outside of Chicago. My husband had taken me the week before to visit a few antique stores. While we were there I just happened to look through the window of a bridal shop and saw a gown that I thought my niece might like. As it turned out, she did not like the dress, but we found a style that was amazing on her. 

The back is so pretty. 

She doesn't want a train, and no beaded details, just sleek and sophisticated. She would also like the dress to be a non-traditional color, maybe a deep blue. She has a set of antique jewelry pieces that belonged to her grandmother who sadly passed away a few years ago. She would really like to wear the pieces and they will look especially rich against a darker color.

I'll be getting started on the gown next week. I'm so excited to be doing this for her. I feel so honored in so many ways. And this time, you'll get to take the creating a gown journey with me :)      

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  1. Wow, that is a lovely dress. We just got back from a family wedding in D.C. It was lovely so I know how you feel about seeing brides off.

    Theresa in Tucson

  2. What a joy to sew a wedding gown. I hope to sew gowns for my three nieces some day. I sewed gowns for many years as a business and my wish is that your niece maintains a stable size so the sewing is truly joyful for you!

    1. She's an avid biker rider, so her size never changes. Not only is she easy to love, she's easy to deal with in every way :)

  3. I can "hear" your excitement in your written "voice." Enjoy!!!

  4. Stunning! And it is on the bias. How fortuitous. Best wishes.

  5. Oh Rhonda, How exciting for you and us to be allowed to follow the making of this dress.
    Can't wait. It will be stunningly beautiful, as will the Bride.

  6. Oh, I made a dress almost exactly like that (no separate section at the bottom), and I hope that you have the nonsnagging workspace for it. It's all in the cutting. One of those designs that the bride truly wears (not the other way around). If you have the body and the nerve, it's 'scrape your jaw off the floor' amazing.

    I ended up buying a piece of 1/4" plywood (4'by8'), sanded and painted it and duct taped the edges. Painters tape to help secure the fabric selvages to grain it up. You know, all the work is in the prep. Took a day to sew. Took a week to get ready.
    And that bias is a little forgiving of five extra pounds. Fat OR muscle.

    All the best!

  7. How exciting! I'm glad you are sharing this adventure with us.

  8. I imagine you'll make a fantastic job of it - how exciting for her

  9. She looks fabulous in that dress, it's very Vionnet. I think it will look stunning in blue, and whilst (as your other comments have said) it will be a beast to cut it will be a joy to sew. I know you're going to enjoy this 😃

  10. so lovely! looking forward to the creation :). i can just picture the color and the special jewelry!

  11. I'm glad you have this opportunity to revisit a passion. It's hard having to give up one's own interest's to take on responsibilities for your husband. I have had to do the same -still hate it! Looking forward to your story on the progress of this dress.