Sunday, 21 August 2011

Full Circle

Well. Well well well.

Sometimes, when you're in the middle of something, you feel like it's never going to end. It's impossible to see the finish line from the centre of things. All you can see is horizon. And you can't imagine having everything done.

Last week was a bit like that. We thought we had come so far, and only had a tiny bit of work to do. Then.... as seems to have happened at most junctures... then, on the Saturday, we pressed all the edges of the lovely bodice we made the week before. And everything got a little bent out of shape.

The thing about delicate fabrics like dupion is that, put the steam droplets from an iron into them and they will fu-reeeeek out. Rather than the tough, shaped, paper-like consistency they previously displayed, they'll go all charmingly soft. Which is cool, unless you, like us, need a structure to keep your design in place. SIIIIIIGH.

So last Saturday, there may have been a small amount of tantrum. Even a few tears. And certainly a feeling of "let's just pack it in".

But no! We shall not fall at the last hurdle, we decided. What do you do when your top won't cooperate? You whack an inch off it at the neckline. So we did. And, thank the lord, it worked a bloomin' treat. And in fact, dare we say it, looked better.

Disaster averted, we pressed on (without actually pressing on the dress, to avoid similar results). An lo. She took form and was completed(eth).

Zip in, on it went and finally, there was the dress which had been shying away from us all along.

All that remained was the hem.

Don't mind the monkey, he's just helping me out a little. As an aside - a few years ago I got my first fancy hat (as possibly mentioned before, I have quite the thing for hats and fascinators).

However, being that it was from H&M said hat had been crushed in a pile of other hats in one of those big box things they're so fond of in H&M. So the veil was waaaayyyy out of whack. I solved this sartorial dilemma by pinning the veil down across Monkey's face so that it sorted itself into a more face-like shape. Voila!

My own dear sparkly heart had a similar problem - the lovely veil was flying up up and away and not draping dramatically as it should. So here it is being pulled out courtesy of helpful Monkey. Cheers mate.

Anyway, let us stop digressing and go back to the task at hand. With mum taking a well-deserved break in Spain, I had 10m of hem to tackle this weekend, between the lining and the skirt itself.

Check it out - that's a whole lotta hem laid out there.

So it began with pinning. More pinning. And just a little bit more pinning.

The skirt had to come up by an inch all the way round, so the plan was to overlock it to just below where the inch was and turn it up from that.

In this instance, the overlocker (NEHHHHRRRRRRRRR THUDTHUDTHUD NHREEEERRRRRRRR) has been quite the saviour. Trying to cut with a steady hand round ten metres is no mean feat - no matter how many pins you use. With the overlocker, it just gets whacked off as you go which saved a tremendous amount of time.

So round and round I went. I took the lining as a practice run. Slowly round it went, chopping off the excess and coming out all neat and pretty.

Happy that I had given myself quite enough training, I moved on to the skirt itself.

I thought I'd be quite terrified, so I put a bit of Sex and the City on in the background to keep my ears entertained. It was the first season where it's a bit rough and they still continually break the fourth wall.

But then, finally, it was done. And just in the nick of time - as you can see from this pic << the second 'looper' thread was mere seconds away from running out. That is NOT what you want to happen, trust me.

So now that it's all overlocked I guess you think I could relax. No. Because it's then back to pinning, pinning, pinning - all round the 10m again.

I managed to remember that my mum had told me to pin the lining the opposite way from the fabric. I managed to get it in a relatively straight line. I managed to even put the pins in the right direction (if you don't sew, you won't get that - but trust me, it makes a huuuuuge difference). And of course I had Carrie and Co to keep me going through all the pinning.

It was time to run it through the machine and hope for the best. Luckily, I managed not to randomly stick up the skirt, or sew and extra bits together, or catch the hem so that it was "all bumfly" in Mum terminology.

Thus - tada! tralala! Hemageddon had passed (we've been using -ageddon a lot as a suffix of late. Love it).

Actually, this pic is a cheat. It's the dress before hemming. But I only took pics of myself wearing it and - just in case, just in case of the slightest, most unlikely chance of C coming across this, I don't want to risk it.

So there we have it. Full Circle (it actually is, I laid it out on the bed like a big circle and it looked really funny).

I have to say, putting it on, that I'm so glad we did it.

For all the extra stress, and the effort, and the worry, it is worth it to have *exactly* the dress you want. One no-one else can have. And one which means something. At this stage, I couldn't care less if everyone else hates it. I'm just glad to have it.

The only thing left, you may notice, is the belt. Having had yet more thoughts on this subject, we've decided to do a wee beady thing. That's all to come. But it's done. It's done!!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Pins, pins, and more pins.

To say we've had a busy weekend would be a bit of an under-exaggeration.

There were pins, so many pins. And so many attempts.

See, last week, I think we were quite pleased last week, thinking we'd got far ahead and today wouldn't be too bad.


In the end up, there was rather a lot to do, because nothing was *quite* right. There's that little bit, here and there. Half a centimeter here; quarter of an inch there. As little as it might seem, every piece makes a difference. Especially when you finally have the right underwear on, which I did thanks to some truly fabulous pieces from What Katie Did.

Everything went one step forward and two steps back, all weekend.

Anyway, we tried one bit. We cut out another bit. The front was wrong.

We fixed the front. The back was too small. We cut out new backs.

The sides were squinty. We cut out new fronts. The sides were still squinty. We repinned them. They were just about right.

We weren't sure. We cut out the new front in silk. We pinned it up.

It was definitely a bit of a slog.

Then, finally... it all came together. We tested out the top in the silk, fitting it perfectly - and then sewed the sides up to see how it would look. When that was done, we held the silk for the skirt around the bottom and, for the first time, we could see how it will actually look when it's finished.

Next week is deadline... we've figured out, however, that we have 10m of hem to sew. Yeah, really. That'll be something!

Also this week I've sorted out a couple of other things - in that, after a trail round Glasgow's vintage emporiums, I finally got my gloves. Trying quite a few stores, it was surprisingly difficult to get white or ivory gloves which weren't stained or ripped in some way. I was beginning to despair when I stopped by Retro in Kelvinbridge.

Downstairs was an accessory-lovers' dream; a huge, glass-fronted cabinet, with drawers stuffed full of gloves, scarves, ties, etc. Gloves were, obviously, the point so I tried not to get distracted by the other bits. There were three drawers with a selection of white, ivory and cream gloves in a huge range of styles and sizes. Heaven. I ended up buying a creamy ivory pair (which was not, as I feared, too creamy against the fabric) and a back-up red pair. Much love to Retro.

Anyway, I realised the only item which I might possibly need, but don't have (and am not yet sure I want) is a garter. I remember seeing my mum's garter when I was wee but I'm assuming that, like the dress itself, that's long gone. So I had a quick look tonight.

And indeed, while I'm not looking for anything big, and certainly don't want to spend too much cash on something so random, this lot are A-Mazing. Who knew such work could go into a small bit of elastic for round your leg?

Holy Matrimony, Batman!

This is just awesome. I'm not the biggest batman fan in the world, and while C does like, he's more of a superman/Clark Kent type. But still, respect must be paid. Check it out here.

Lacey McLaceington

This one is really pretty, I thought. My concern might be, how does it stay up properly with a tie at the back? I could be the bride who breaks something by tripping over her own garter. No
ta. But for prettiness, yes. Here it is.

"He had it coming."

This one actually made me laugh out loud, which was unfortunate as C was sitting right there. He asked what I was laughing at and then when I said I couldn't tell him, he went in a wee huff. Oops. Anyway.

The King

Hail to the king, baby.
There's something very appealing about getting some Elvis involved. The only thing is, it's a bit insulting to the groom to have another man's visage on your thigh.


I did a little search for cameo
garters because the engagement ring is a cameo. All in, they're a little too "bar girl" and for some reason cameo also seems to include feathers. Aside from the feather, I do like this one.


It's unlikely I'd be believed, but I honestly just came across this without searching. But.

Ruby. Slippers.


You'll notice there are two, this comes from what I think is an American thing where you have a "tossing" garter to throw to the bachelors in the group, and an "heirloom" garter to keep. I really just need the one, I don't think I'll be throwing it around. But with cost and P&P bringing this baby up to £40, I'm thinking I can find another quite happily.

There is, of course, the other option. To add it to the DIY pile. To be honest, I had a look for some guides; I'd seen this one on Rock'n'Roll Bride a while ago, and found this one which I think is a bit more my style. It's not complicated. But at this stage, it's like... really? Another thing to make? Probably not...

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The time is now.

This weekend just gone was a busy weekend. First off, we finished off the last bridesmaid dress. Well, kinda. There is a little bit of handsewing left over, after we've double-checked that it definitely fits just right. Because unpicking that shiz just ain't worth it.

Another good point was that my mum finished her dress all by herself and it looks fabulous. It's a beautiful, vibrant blue and she's even taken the time to add a beading pattern on the front, which looks mega-professional. Colour me impressed - also pretty excited as it looks even better than the bridesmaid ones. Which means that we can only be improving as we go along.

So having gone through every possible delay, we found ourselves at the precipice - with nothing left to do but The Dress.

Mum was in rather a panic as she didn't quite remember how much we'd already done. In fact, we had already cut out and fitted the lining, checked the length, and all that jazz. So it's mainly a case of just getting on with it.

Taking a deep breath, I smoothed out the silk on the table and started to cut... krruuuupt.
There's something very calming about that stage of the process, where you just relax and concentrate on cutting along the lines. It's quite soothing and helps you think about how all the sections will come together.

Every piece is now cut out and all that remains is to piece it all together nicely. We've given ourselves a two-week deadline. We shall see.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

So here's to the golden moon.

I think my Grandma had just about the best laugh in the world.

In conversation, you would often hear it bubbling out of her - or, more likely, bursting out. She had a knack for telling you half an hours' worth of troubles, then making a joke about it all and letting out a gale of laughter; or spinning out one of her favourite stories, chuckling through it, her voice cracking with excitement as she got to an important bit.

Of late, the laugh hadn't been making much of an appearance. Things had been hard to say the least. But the last time I saw her, there it was; not as big or brash as it once was, a shadow of that really. But still there.

There are stresses that people let themselves be pulled into when they're planning a wedding; something I've discussed before and which C and I both try pretty hard not to buy in to. What you try not to consider is the idea that the people you always imagined would share the day with you can suddenly be gone - which makes me all the more glad I haven't been wasting time worrying about what specific colour of red our roses might be.

We were - sadly - prepared for the idea that my own grandma would be unlikely to make it there on the day; as she hadn't been well for some time, and we didn't think she would have been strong enough. I did hope to at least be able to show her the finished outfit; clothes being something of a shared, passed-down obsession.

But not having Craig's gran there - the kind, wonderful, "very easy to become fond of" Toots - wasn't, to be honest, something either of us had even considered.

All of a sudden, though, we find ourselves having lost both of them, within a week of each other.

Even writing it down seems a bit too ridiculous; I mean, come on, universe. And yet, one Monday after another we had a fateful call, and one Friday after another we had to say goodbye.

What I keep remembering is what seems like a bit of a daft thing. When we were looking for a venue, there were quite a few reasons we chose ours; but one was how easily accessible it would be for the grannies. On the day, it will be hard not to think that neither of them are able to benefit from the wheelchair-ready ramp entrance to the venue.

Two such wonderful ladies. How I wish they could be there.

So here's to the golden moon
And here's to the silver sea
And mostly here's a toast
to you and me.

Friday, 24 June 2011


Three down now, thanks to mum's hard work on the handstitching. I have Louisa's home with me so that she can try it on and thought I'd upload a quick pic.

The tartan bit isn't the aforementioned wrap, by the way - just in case you thought because it's hanging down the middle it was a crazy nonsensical thin one. It's a sash for the middle.

The thing is, although this is a crap photo, I think it shows quite well the beautiful colour of her dress. I think it's my favourite of all the fabrics.

The only problem is, she's so teeny I could only ever hope to fit my arm in it, so borrowing is somewhat out of the question. I'll just have to get some more fabric for myself.

Anyway, today's my birthday. I was worried about how much we'd have still left to do by now, because the day before, June 23, marked the three-months-to-go stage.

Also, we're rather suddenly about to move flat, which was never really planned to be part of this year's stresses. So suddenly things are a little more up in the air.

What else is left? The flowers. Ah, the flowers. I think I've been saying "That's the one big thing which is left" for like two months. And I did almost sort it before. But finding the time is not really working right now.

So let's let it go again for a while. Birthday means presents and (with a certain amount of instruction, obviously) C presented me with this awesome Janine Basil hat.

I don't know who Brad is or what he might not understand.

Although he doesn't know it, Janine Basil's shop on Etsy is also where I got my headgear for the big day.

Here it is. Now, normally I'm not particularly big on the rhinestone thing but for some reason I did quite fall for this.

Janine was extremely accommodating - even adding a little birdcage veil for me, despite my poor explanation implying that I wanted a full bridal veil attached ("I'm not sure that will work", she very tactfully replied).

Sunday is back to work on the dressmaking, as I've got to recut part of Emma's dress and get going with that wrap making.

Birthday holiday over then! I hope Brad will understand.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Give 'em a hand.

One of the strangest things about getting married is that you find yourself worrying about things which, ordinarily, you probably wouldn't even consider. Even if you make the strongest of efforts not to turn into one of "those" brides. You know, those brides. I'd like to think I'm not doing too badly on that front... but I'm sure no-one would tell me to my face if I was.

So this week, imagine my alarm at the ridiculous amounts of time I spent pondering, wondering, looking a pictures of, and generally giving head space to, ivory gloves. I'm not even kidding. It must add up to several hours so far. Maybe in a way it's keeping my mind off other concerns of the moment - but I think a big part is down to wedding mania.

Wedding mania takes the most sensible of people, and convinces them that it really is important whether you wear a tie or a cravat. That there could be life-changing consequences to their choice of table decoration. I don't usually feel like this, to be fair, but I have found myself fixating on certain details - and this week, it was the gloves.

I have a dangerous feeling it won't abate until I actually buy a pair, but in order to try and break through this craziness, I've decided to share some of them here.

Why gloves, you might ask? We just do not wear enough gloves (or small hats) any more - and they are so much fun. I've got quite a few pairs - we're not talking the wooly variety. Time was a lady wasn't fully dressed without her gloves.

A certain style icon, Jackie Kennedy Onassis (pic), was THE glove-wearer. And they added a certain something to her finished, beautifully refined style.

Anyway, I love them, so here we are in ivory glove obsession.

The main reason I'm currently in a glove-sourcing frenzy is that the shop where I originally planned to buy them has, apparently, closed down. While I'll probably end up getting some from one of Glasgow's many vintage shops, I thought I'd have a quite look on Etsy one lunchtime and an obsession was born.

Who new, after all, the sheer variety
of white/ivory/ecru/'light cream' gloves were out there?

Some have pearls, some have beads, some have embroidery, some have cut-outs, some have lace, some buttons.

Some are plain, some scalloped, some with ribbed parts. Some leather, some cotton.

There are these delicate lace kid leather numbers, very pretty I'm sure you agree.

I'm not sure, however, whether they are a little too fussy.

Here's an alternative, then. Plain but delicate,
they look quite lovely - and would compliment the style of the dress.

The only thing is - and this is where wedding mania really kicks in - are they too white? The dress, after all, is ivory.

Whitey ivory clashy nightmare potential? Or is that just crazy talk? The problem is, without seeing them in real life, it's hard to know.

I honestly do not want to care, but I cannot help myself.

And so we come to these ones. In terms of colour they're obviously a lot more ivory (too ivory?).

They've also got some very beautiful bead detailing, little pearly-style beads which would go very well with the traditional string which will be worn on the day.

All of which is probably irrelevant as I'll now decide (after an incident with some wrongly-coloured bridesmaid shoes) that I cannot possibly order them online anyway, and take to the shops.

Phew. Mania abated. Now on to something which really matters.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Two down, four to go

Yup, really. We've reached, if not yet the halfway stage, kinda almost at that point.

Two dresses are totally down (although one still needs tried on, so let's not get too cocky). One's cut out in full, stitched together in part and not far off the finish line. One's been cut out and fitted in lining. Mine and mums are in roughly that stage as well.

The finish line might not be in sight, but it doesn't feel like an impossible dream either.

What's keeping us at the moment is what my friend Oonagh refers to as "life admin"; we've had a couple of wedding things to try and sort out, we're suddenly looking for a new flat (hopefully that hurdle has been leapt already) and we're looming close to a danger point in terms of jobs and what not. Plus, it's both C and I's birthdays in the next couple of weeks, so work may go out of the window on that account.

But at least we can feel, one piece at a time, stitch by stitch, that we're getting there.