My Mom's motto in life was that one had to try before you could say that you could not do something.... The word "cannot" did not exist in her vocabulary and she always encouraged us to try again if our first attempt failed... I share this motto and it has landed me in challenging situations... Where quilting/sewing is concerned, I know no boundaries and will try my hand at anything, no matter what amount of patience it takes.... I will challenge and push myself until I get it right....
I made a wedding dress for a very special young lady with very definite ideas of what she wanted... But as you know, it is not always possible to find the exact fabrics needed to create the dream with.... This is the same reason why I started painting fabric for my quilts as I could not find commercially printed fabric which suited my style of quilts. We wanted a piece of lace with a curved edge at the bottom with a border pattern - a very tall order indeed. So, without thinking twice, I decided to make the lace myself...! I have never made lace before and I had no idea what it would entail... As I felt skilled enough to work with all the wash away stuff available for embroidery, I decided that it would actually be easy.... I started off by designing the lace panel on paper to scale. The design had a curved edge at the bottom which would form the back section of the dress. I joined strips of Avalon Plus with wash away thread to form a big enough piece for this panel and transferred the diagram onto the Avalon using a wash out marker. The bridal tulle was sandwiched between two layers of Avalon Plus to make it more sturdy and protect the tulle as it was very soft and delicate.... I tacked the 3 layers together the same as making a quilt sandwich. I then started embroidering the design by machine, numerous little satin stitch leaves with rayon thread, the 3 layers carefully secured in an embroidery hoop. I couched No 5 DMC perle thread with silver and gold metallic thread as stems between the leaves. I used commercially embroidered organza flowers on the border section. The entire piece was hand beaded, using numerous perle sequins, pearls and glass beads. The beading took almost 80 hours to complete..... I used the same technique to make lace sections to cover the shoulders with scalloped edges - this was stabilized with transparent organza to prevent strain on the delicate lace. Making this lace was rather daunting and I had no idea whether it would actually work.... I completed the beading 5 days prior to the wedding - only then could I wash all the Avalon Plus away.... What stressful experience it was to put this piece into the water not knowing whether all this effort would produce the desired lace....! Any way, the Angels smiled upon me as I took the lace from the zinc and spread it open onto old towels, just perfect.... I was so excited, relieved, grateful and needless to say, I slept like a baby that night! I succeeded in making this lace, the first time ever that I did something so spectacular.... The bottom line was, if I was not an experimental quilter, I would not have known how to tackle this challenge....
|Diagram for shoulder sections|
|Bodice section with completed lace section on shoulders. |
Bodice partially embroidered and beaded.
|Lace panel immediately after it was washed with untrimmed scalloped edge....|
|Bottom back section of completed dress...|