Wedding Corset (you know I’m not going to throw it)

the pattern:
This is Jenny’s wedding dress! (obvs)
Ok really this is just the corset pattern (obvs) which is a visible element of the dress (will be obvs when you see the pictures.)

the fabric:
The corset is linen flatlined to cotton-back satin for stability, the underskirt is a four-ply silk crepe, and the overlay that swoops up into a beautiful jewelry piece (created for the bride by another friend), is a changeable silk chiffon. All from F&S Fabrics.

the process:
Jenny and I live on opposite coasts.
How do you custom make a gown for a bride 2000 miles away?
Here’s how we did it:

  1. Gathering of ideas. This was in Ye olden days of pre-Pinterest yore, so Jenny made collages, on actual paper, with real handwritten notes, of colors and shapes and ideas and silhouettes. Nothing specific, just establishing a direction. She mailed them to me in a big exciting envelope. I still have some of those pages, they are cool.
  2. Sketches. After lots of slow thinking and staring, I did a bunch of sketches and emailed them off. I don’t remember if she liked three in particular, or if I just decided to do three, but I ended up bringing three mock-ups along for some…
  3. Travel. Ned had work in NYC. So convenient! I went along for a weekend with three mock-ups in my suitcase. We had a fitting in a little space under a huge window, surrounded by paints and brushes and a full length mirror. I brought the safety pins, she brought the champagne.
  4. Making the dress. I sent her the occasional progress photo but mostly just went for it.
  5. Final fitting. I mailed the dress to a friend, who called Jenny, into a large white space under a tiny window surrounded by sewing machines and racks of clothing to be altered, and a large full length mirror. The wardrobe department of a TV show is what I’m talking about. She fit the dress and mailed it back to me. Also paid me a nice compliment on the chiffon hem. I love that my  friend did this fitting for me, because she is awesome, and because it felt very full-circle for that one time when I did a fitting for a bride in LA who was having her dress made by another friend in NYC. We help each other. Like sister-code, for custom made. Yeah.
  6. Alterations. Back at home.
  7. Travel. To the wedding! I brought the finished dress, we had a final-final fitting, all of us jammed together in a tiny tiny bedroom, with the maid-of-honor making mental note of the closures in order to correctly dress the bride on the day of. I did some extremely minimal alterations right then and there, using a tiny travel sewing kit and the bed as a table. And then we all went out for iced coffee and manicures.

Then, this!

  

Yay! Just look at those guys. Yay.
You can just barely see in that last photo, the shoulder straps were actually double, one structural set going from center front to side back seam, the second set laid on top, extending into two long, free floating ribbons, each ending in a silk tassel with a few long, light, airy feathers.

Oh and this happened too:
Open your eyes, Liza Mae! You’re in a wedding album! Dang!

Sew it or Throw it:
Stow it. It’s a wedding dress pattern! I keep those!

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4 thoughts on “Wedding Corset (you know I’m not going to throw it)

  1. Such a cool story. I love the story of the reciprocal cross country seamstress sisterhood. It’s so beautiful and my favourite type of wedding dress – one that can be worn again.

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    1. You know, I’m almost surprised I haven’t been involved in more cross-country sister/brethrenhood type situations. Sometimes at work, we would take measurements for the LA based actors for shows being prepped in NYC, which I appreciate as a sort of a larger-scale, less personal but still nice, costume-house version of sister-code.

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  2. Yes – such a relief from traditional dresses. I love the melony colour scheme and the flowers and the feather and relaxed comfortable footwear. She looks like a strong Greek Goddess. I am fascinated with long distance collaboration – magical idea.

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