Monday, March 12, 2012

A New Dress from a Wedding Dress

Wow, is that your wedding dress!?
My eldest is at that delightful age where she thinks anything is possible. If I tell her that something isn't, she asks why and then asks why about that answer too. I'm sure this sounds familiar to most parents of a child under the age of five. However, my daughter seems to have that extra little bit of determination when it comes to thinking up things for us to do, and then making sure we do them. She likes to carry out ideas immediately or a big wave of disappointment flows over her. She looks at me with a hopeful spark in her eye and says "Maybe, we can........" or "I know, why don't we ..........." Excuses don't work as she always remembers my exact answer long after I've forgotten. I have to be very careful to get my story straight if we can't do something, right from the start!

"I don't know where she gets that from" I say to my husband with a slightly (entirely) sarcastic voice. It's like holding up a mirror to myself, although when I was younger, I thought that the mirror I was going to be holding up to myself was going to be a little more rounded than square.

Of course when my daughter has a brilliant idea, I can see lots of reasons as to why we can't do it. But when I have an idea myself, I can't see any reason as to why we can't do it.

Last year I had a wedding to attend, where I was giving a reading. For the last couple of years at all the weddings I have attended I have worn maternity tops or dresses (not just for the fun of it I might add as no one would wear maternity clothes just for the fun of it, right?). So I wanted to wear something new. I thought about going shopping and finding a fabulous dress and then remembered what luck I usually have when trying to find an adult dress that doesn't have to be taken up or in, in several places. 

I looked through my wardrobe to search for something that I could perhaps wear again and then I spotted the black bag that held my wedding dress. Excitement took over me as I tried it on to see if it still fit (yes it did, perfect) and then my mind started to wander. 'I don't wear my wedding dress anymore', 'I am never going to need to wear it again' and although I am very sentimental, 'I definitely am not delusional enough to think that my daughter will want to wear it one day'. If she is as independent and determined as she is now, she will want to do her own thing, and good on her! So 'why not turn it into something else that I can use now' ....... a new dress to wear to a new wedding perhaps?

So the idea was all clear in my head. ' ...... turn wedding dress into new dress'. It couldn't have been simplier. I could visualise what I wanted straight away. Now came the hard part. Take the idea to my mum who could actually sew, and convince her to make it happen for me.

I had to tread with caution. I couldn't go in saying, "Mum, I've had this really great idea, and guess what you are going to make it happen for me'. A little confronting. So I had to ease her into it. And so I started saying "Maybe we could ........" and "I know what we could do......."

At first I think my mum looked at me as if I was completely mad, and then when the shock wore off, she said very firmly, "Okay, but you're making the first cut into your dress".

And we were off! I had managed to get my mum onto the sewing run-way, which was the most important thing (she was the pilot after all). Mum wanted to be prepared and did some pattern research, but decided that she was going to have to do it without a pattern and sew solo. She decided this from her experienced judgement, not because I was helpfully telling her we didn't need a pattern, because we could just 'cut here', 'pull here' 'gather here' and 'tie some sort of bow here'.

Mum did a fantastic job at sewing solo (she even made the first cut into the dress herself). The journey was smooth flying, although there were many alterations along the way because we wanted it to fit nicely, which is hard without a pattern. And we both landed safely. Me with a smart new dress to carry off the run-way and mum with the realisation that I think she can do anything (selfishly for me).

I even landed with extra baggage that I didn't board with. My mum had the idea to create a matching clutch purse out of the dress material. The pattern she used, was the Shell Purse, by Nicole Mallalieu DesignYou Sew Girl. And yes, this is something that I can pass onto my daughter!

A more detailed account from the sewer's perspective of our wedding dress transformation can be viewed on my mum's blog Threading My Way. 

Little Ladybird