|The hem just perfectly skims the tips of her shoes in front, so as not to trip her while walking.|
|It's got just a tiny bit of a train in the back. Also, this is probably the best representation of the true colors of the outfit.|
I had sent the almost-finished corset to Elaine a couple weeks before the wedding so that she could try it on and play around with applique placement. She sent me some pictures that made me a tiny bit stressed about the fit, but at least it arrived safely! I got it back from her without incident and attached the applique to the front by hand, going with the most popular placement (Elaine agreed that she liked this best, too): straight up and down on the second panel. I was slightly sad that putting the applique on last meant that the stitches showed through on the inside, but there was really no other way to have a corset for her to try on without finishing the lining (and therefore the grommets) first. I also sewed up a modesty panel, which was pretty much just a rectangle made with the fashion fabric and lining and bound with the same cream binding. At the very last minute, I also hand-stitched a tiny blue heart on the inside for a "something blue." The fabrics for the corset and dress are obviously new, the lining fabric is old (yay stashbusting!), and the crowning touch on the whole outfit was her mother-in-law's gorgeous amethyst pendant that just happened to perfectly match the whole ensemble!
|You can just barely see the ribbon loop holding the back lacing on the modesty panel. |
I am so proud of how evenly the back lacing gap turned out!
In the days leading up to Saturday, I found myself having brief moments of panic here and there where I would find myself freaking out (quietly) about whether or not things would fit, whether Elaine would like the ketubah, and just hoping in general that she would feel like the dress was everything she'd ever dreamed of. I loved my wedding dress and it made me feel like a princess (gag, I know, so cliche, but it's true), and I so wanted my best friend to feel the same way! Thankfully, when I laced her up on the morning of the wedding, it looked beautiful and fit way better than I had thought it would when looking at the trial pictures. When Elaine's mother walked into the dressing room, she said that I would have to make her granddaughter's (Elaine's niece) wedding dress. Um. While I love that she trusts me that much, I'm not in any hurry to make another wedding dress! Thankfully, said granddaughter has at least a decade to go before even thinking about marriage.
|Right after the excitement of finding out that the dress fit, there was the excitement of the first look! I love how obviously happy they both are.|
The wedding day itself went very smoothly -- the ceremony was beautiful and there were lots of LOTR references throughout, the weather was just right and the food was plentiful and delicious. Nikki (the third member of our little high school best friends trio) and I didn't drop the chuppah or giggle too terribly much during our speeches. All the guests loved Elaine's dress and couldn't believe that I had made it (frankly, I was having trouble with that idea too!), and suggested that I go on Project Runway. Ha! All of you fellow sewasauruses know just how funny that compliment is.
|You can see my back as I hold the chuppah pole.|
|Okay, maybe I did giggle a lot during the speech-making.|
Pattern: Simplicity 5006 for the corset and skirt, but significantly modified to get the look Elaine wanted. I draped the lace overskirt myself, no pattern used.
Fabric: Six yards of eggplant-colored satin for the corset and top layer of the skirt, five yards of cream-colored satin for the underskirt and corset binding, two yards of gold lace, all from Joann's (see, you can make nice things from big box fabric stores!), one yard of cotton coutil from from Richard the Thread for the corset's strength layer, 0.75 yards of IKEA Cecilia cotton fabric for the corset's floating lining.
Notions: 3" wide elastic for the skirt, 5 yards of 1/4" ribbon for gathering the side seams on the skirt and lace overskirt, 6 yards of 3/4" cream ribbon for lacing the corset, gold floral Venice lace appliques for the corset, 9 yards of gold venice lace for the corset and skirt trim, size 0 brass grommets, heat-shrink tubing for tipping the bones, and a 14" antique brass busk and a few yards of spiral steel boning, both from Richard the Thread.
Techniques: Tipping steel bones with heat shrink tubing, making a corset with a floating lining layer, inserting a steel busk, deep breathing, and learning to identify cognitive distortions (the corset might spontaneously combust in transit! it might fall apart on the wedding day! Elaine might hate me and regret asking me to make her dress!)
Number of fittings: I measured Elaine back in January, made a muslin of the corset for her to try when she was here for the TORN Oscar party, had a skirt fitting in March so that I would know where to hem it, and that was pretty much it. Although she tried on the corset in Tucson, it wasn't really a fitting since the corset was all done except for the applique.
Hours: Over fifty, spread out over a few months.
Will I make it again? Can you hear my hysterical laughter? No, but really, I actually quite like the Simplicity 5006 pattern, and might one day make it myself for costume purposes. Not anytime soon, though.
Total cost: $180 in materials, not counting tools like the snips I got for cutting boning or the tungsten file for smoothing the edges. I also have enough purple satin and gold lace leftover that I *might* be able to squeeze out a fake-Laurel. Elaine paid me to make the dress, and considering that the original inspiration dress was about $800, I don't think I ended up saving her much money. But as she very graciously said to me, she would rather the money went to me than some other random person.
Final thoughts: The whole way back home after the wedding, I couldn't stop exclaiming over and over to Mr. Cation 1) how relieved I was that it fit, 2) how great it looked, and 3) how happy I was that Elaine was happy with it. Seriously, you guys, I was like a broken record, which probably wasn't very pleasant to listen to since we were stuck in some awful traffic and only just barely made it in time to catch our flight back to TCOCC to give Walnut his dinner. Anyway, let me just say it again: I am so incredibly pleased with how it all turned out! And now, theoretically, I shouldn't be scared of welt pockets, but we'll see how that actually pans out...
Besides Elaine's dress, I also made the LOTR-inspired ketubah, which turned out very nicely after about ten hours of work and $35 worth of materials.
I also had the pleasure of making the bridal bouquet:
|Nikki and I stole the bouquet to take fake prom pictures.|
It was suggested that I might as well have made the cake, but no, Studio Cake took care of that nicely:
|Books with cat toppers! Elaine and her husband have two cats, Cactus and Prickles (since, you know, Tucson), so this was just perfect.|
As for my own outfit...everyone kept asking if I had made that as well, but I explained that no, after making Elaine's outfit, I had no time or energy (or desire) to make my own. I ended up wearing a thrifted Frederick's corset and a thrifted chiffon skirt (originally part of my Bellatrix costume); throw in some Forever 21 jewelry and I had my bridesmaid outfit for less than $35! It seemed a little wrong to wear a cheap, ill-fitting plastic-boned corset made in China when I had made a "real" one with steel boning and custom fit, but then the bride's the important one!
|Congratulations, Elaine! Thanks for trusting me to make your dress!|