Saturday, August 4, 2007

Trying to find a needle in a. . .

. . .Wedding dress! the bride
Yes, you read right, finding a needle in a wedding dress.
I sew for people. I mostly do alterations, repairs, replace zippers, and my favorite, altering prom dresses, but I have sewn two wedding dresses, no, three. I sewed a wedding dress each for two of my daughters, and one wedding dress I sewed in literally one day for a client who called on a Saturday evening and expected not only a wedding dress and a lace jacket, but a mother's dress and a bridesmaid dress by the next Friday!!! I told her she was crazy. But I finally agreed to do the wedding dress if she would find someone else for the bridesmaid and the mother, so the crazy person turned out to be me. But, I proved to myself that indeed, I could sew a wedding dress in one day. I worked from 6 AM until 8:30 PM without hardly a break. That was amazing to me. But I digress.

the bustle

I am remodeling a wedding dress for my daughter's favorite roommate, by shortening the sleeves, hem and fashioning a bustle. The bustle was a bit complicated since the dress has an over piece that drapes to the side and wants to flap open as I pull up the bustle. I ended up bustling it in four places and tacking the flappy piece down with hand stitches. Three of the bustles were made by attaching some tiny ribbons underneath that when tied to three more ribbons on the innermost lining, end up pulling the bustles under. The forth bustle is made with a ribbon loop the is brought up and attached to a satin covered button at the waist.
If you have ever looked inside a wedding dress, you will see that there are many, many, many layers. I accidentally didn't include an underlining when I made the ribbon loop. Realizing this, I got a large eyed needle, about 2" long, and was using this to reposition the ribbon to the other piece of underlining. I was shifting things around and the needle slipped off the ribbon and down into the "guts" of the dress. I had the dress positioned on the back of my lazy boy, being a good height surface to work on. Simple enough, I would just pick the dress up and shake it.
After shaking the dress and nothing coming out, I found myself taking the cushion off the lazy boy, turning it upside down, and finding lots of dust that caused me to get out the vacuum while I was there. But no needle. For Heaven's Sakes! This is a 2" needle we are talking about. Where could it have gone?
The inside of the first layer of the dress is a tulle, and I figured maybe it had gotten caught in that, but since there are many layers, and they are attached to each other in many places it is not just a matter of turning the dress inside out and looking more carefully. We got our giant flashlight that could blind someone across the street, if shined in their direction, and started silhouetting the dress to see if somehow it was caught somewhere within the dress.
So far I have found nothing. I mean, we are talking about yards and yards of fabric here. (When I made one of my daughter's dress, in order to cut it out, I got a key to the church and laid the fabric down on the Cultural Hall floor. It stretched from one side of the hall to the other, and that was just the satin. I added two more pieces to make up three layers, the satin, the lining and the underlining. Each piece measured 11 yards long.)

I began to envision that sweet bride putting on her wedding dress in the Temple and getting poked with a gigantic needle. I will not allow that to happen, I HAVE to find it, besides I need it to finish what I started. So frustrating. So after much looking and looking and looking, I hung the dress back on the hanger, and ate a sandwich. Then I sat down at the computer to blog about it, and give me a rest. I will continue to look for this thing and hope it shows up eventually.
Say a little prayer for me. . .
How hard is it to find a 2" needle? I guess as hard as it is to find a needle in a haystack. It eludes me.
I will keep you posted. . . grrrrrrrrrrr

I found that needle. I actually got another needle, and fixed what I needed to, then just for kicks, I purposely dropped the second needle into the "guts" of the dress to see what it looks like in the dress and if it could really stick in the tulle. . . Then I lost it for a second, yikes!, but that helped me find the other one. I jostled the dress, and shortly the second needle dropped out. Then as I was looking in the hem, I found the first needle. whew.before
Also on the sleeves, I had to shorten them because they fit her too tight, so she could not lift her arms to dance. I decided to keep most of the beading design, that I would cut a slit into them. This is a bit scary to cut into an expensive dress. In order to do this, first I cut the embroidery medallions with the beads out and saved them, then cut the slit. I had to take the sleeve off the dress, go inside the sleeve, which was three layers, and sew the hem from the inside, then I hand-stitched the medallion back on.
after with original medallion
Somewhere in the mix, I thought I had sewn both medallions on, but when she came for a fitting, one was missing. I spent a long time looking for this piece. How far can that go? It is about 15 feet from where it hung to the sewing machine. I never found it, so I made a new one on my embroidery machine, and faked the beads with what I had. I think it turned out rather nice for all that headache.

the one I made


Kay Dennison said...

Wow!!!!! You are so gifted to have accomplished that feat, Annie! I hope your daughter's friend appreciates how hard you worked on this!

I am seriously impressed at your talent!

Annieofbluegables said...

You are very kind, Kay. Thank you. I have sewn since I was 8, so nearly 50 years. I wish I could say I have played the piano that long. . .
I am glad I have one thing I can do sort of well. It is more like a hobby than a job. I love what I do.
Have a good weekend.

RisibleGirl said...

WOW am I impressed! Holy smokes, that looks just fabulous!

If you saw the way I sew, you'd shake your head. I do a lot of shortcuts (my M.O. for just about everything) and sometimes- I mean most times- it wasn't such a good idea to do the shortcut.

Annieofbluegables said...

yeah, well RG, If you saw the way I manage things that are simple for you. . .
. . .I guess we all have our strengths.

Sailor said...

Hi Annie,
Well, you know that I know you are a woman of many talents. Good pictures. You are getting to be as good of a story teller as you are a seamstress.

Annieofbluegables said...

xxxooo to you Sailor. <3


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