Shout out to all of you faithful readers. Here is a sneak peek at the flower girl dress. I can't give away all of the goods before the bride's big day. I will say pressure can be productive, smocked that full bodice in four days! My shoulder is complaining but I just keep feeding it pills in hopes to make it hush. Onto the ring bearer's romper.
I had fun with these yesterday. Another "I can't show you." I do have pictures to share later though.
I also have some of this to do. If you want to see some gorgeous monograms to be inspired by, I suggest visiting Monogram Inc. Gorgeous work. (FYI, the designs are not for purchase only the items made using the monogram you choose.)
My front office continues to pile up with gifts. For some reason the bride checked "do not wrap" on one of her registries, hence the ugly brown boxes. What is up with that?
These little cards continue to flow in. I love reading the notes on some of them.
I had a few moments when I posted about the silk dupioni the other day, so did a quick stroll through blogland. Really more of a mad dash. As I dashed through a friend's blog roll I caught sight of a post title "Sewing With History". The title did the trick, it caught my eye. The post was about her mom bringing back some vintage buttons from visiting a relative. Farther into the post she talks about this little treasure she found tucked in with her husband's grandmother's sewing machine. A log of EVERY SINGLE time she or someone else used her machine. Everything from mending a pillowcase to helping her daughter make a party dress for a high school dance. How precious is that? Oh how I wish I had done that through the years. The story it would tell. Can we even talk about how pristine that 38 year old machine looks? Amazing.
FORTY THREE DAYS! Yes that is me hollering. Not enough hours in the day but the time will be found. After many fits and starts the flower girl dress and ring bearer rompers are pleated. It occurred to me while I was pleating the flower girl dress for the SECOND time, that I should share it with you.
Often times it is a challenge to choose fabric for a flower girl that matches the bridal party or the bride. I got around that by ordering fabric from the wedding dress designer. Fabric came off the same bolt as the bride's gown, so we know it matches. No, this is not the most economical choice but it a choice. Another advantage is, this is the most gorgeous piece of silk dupioni I have ever seen. The character of silk dupioni is the "slubs" that occur in the weaving of the fabric. Out of four yards of fabric I could count on one hand the number of slubs woven into the fabric. It is a delightful weight and as I said, the clearest dupioni ever. As I mentioned, I had to pleat the dress front twice, the first time was a hot mess!! So many creases and catches in the pleating it wasn't funny. It took me 30 minutes to get the needles out of the fabric and then to get the threads out of the 36 rows of pleating. I held my breath as I pressed it flat. Silk does not like to be unstitched and it really hates being unpleated. The smocking fairies were with me, no marks or holes. So I will share in a few pictures the process of pleating two layers of silk. I underlined the dupioni with silk organza to give the pleats more body. Silk can pleat into flattened out sharp little pleats that can be tough to smock. Underlining it with the organza was just the ticket. This can also be done with fusing German interfacing to the dupioni as well. Since I love silk organza so much, that is what I chose to use.
Gail Doane says that pleating two layers of silk together is a two person job and one person can't be a husband! Well I was pleating this at night so my usual co-pilots weren't available and I couldn't even utilize the forbidden husband, he was out of town. I had to go it alone. I almost never use a rod to roll my fabric on for pleating. In this case it was not only helpful but required to control the two fabrics. I DID NOT baste the fabrics together. Another tip I learned from Gail D. She is better at physics than I am. By basting the two fabrics together, you are asking them to behave as one as it goes through the rollers of the pleaters. An impossibility. No matter how hard you try to prevent it, the fabrics are going to travel through the rods at different "speeds." So I rolled them on two very long dowels, 48" The length allowed both ends to rest against the end pieces of the pleater. My pleater is in a case, so it sits up off the table by about 4". Because of the height difference, you don't see it in the picture but the far left end of the dowels are resting on a wireless speaker to keep the dowels at the same level all the way across. This helps keep the fabric a wee bit tamer and easier to control. I rolled the silk organza first, then rolled the dupioni second, placing it on top. I placed the dupioni on top to be able to see what what happening with the fabric that was going to show. If I got a crinkle in the organza it would not be as crucial. You want the fabric smooth and taught on those rods, as I pleated along I would re-tighten the fabrics on the rolls to keep it all smooth.
Another challenge to this process is that this will be a full smocked bodice which for her size is 18 full space rows. Another trick to pleating silk dupioni is half space rows to control the spring of the fabric as it comes off of those needles. So that makes 36 needles in the pleater. When you pleat that depth, sometimes certain sections of the pleater will pleat faster than others. To compensate for that sometimes you have to put a little bit, operative word "little bit" of tension on the area pleating faster to ensure that the fabrics are traveling through the pleater straight. (ignore the bad manicure, or lack thereof)
Another tip is also that the two fabrics will NOT end up at the same place through the pleater. If you cut two lengths 24" wide and feed them through the pleater, one is going to be longer. Again that physics thing. Because I am basically a lazy person instead of trying to guesstimate which one would come out longer/shorter or what ever I didn't cut the organza. My pattern called for a piece of dupioni 42" wide, I just used the whole width of 58" of organza. That way I knew without a doubt that my dupioni would be underlined all the way across without running the risk of the organza falling short by 3-4 inches. When I got to the point that the dupioni disappeared into the pleater I very methodically eyeballed the remaining organza and whacked it off.
If you have ever worked with silk you know it ravels like crazy. To insure you still have enough silk to sew into a dress you have to finish the edges. Due to the pleating challenges already presented I didn't want to serge the edges beforehand. The resulting thicker edge along the top would further effect my pleating. Instead I left the pleating threads really long so that I could flatten it out after pleating and then serge all sides. When serging, be careful not to cut your gathering threads.
Voila! My gathering threads have been drawn back up and my dress front is ready to go. Not a crease or crinkle to be seen. I am off to match threads and start smocking.
Family, friends, food and flowers. That was the theme of this past weekend. Baby daughter had back to back bridal showers on Saturday and Sunday. It was a wonderful time to spend with those we knew and a chance to meet so many friends and family of the groom's side. And oh good golly miss molly, were those Wedding Cake Martinis delightful!
Recipe for a great weekend,
Menu cards that echoed the wedding invitations,
a staggering array of gifts over the two days,
more yummy food than the law should allow, and yet another signature cocktail. These were called Yellow Bird,
Some wonderful treats,
A blushing bride,
Finally, add in two moms who couldn't be prouder of the young couple.
Mix all the ingredients together to yield a very grateful young lady, who doesn't often like being the center of attention, but was all smiles. Rumor even has it all of her thank-you notes are written. She does her momma proud.
You knew I had to break this one out eventually, FIFTY days and counting! Yikes!
"Southern Matriarch" that is what my oldest daughter has dubbed me from time to time. What she really said is "You have not lived until you have been raised by a Southern Belle with strong religious principles." Some kids have it tough.
This Southern Matriarch has been married for 37 years and mother of four great kids, three sons in law, one daughter in law and four of the most beautiful grand-babies on the planet. I believe in southern charm, manners and family connections. God has blessed my life.
My passions besides my family and faith are just about anything that involves a needle and thread. Have been sewing almost my whole life. I love heirloom sewing, smocking and hand embroidery. My #1 favorite project to do is a christening gown. There is no greater joy than to create something memorable for a baby's most important day.