OK, so I’ll have to admit, I can be headstrong.  I’ve been so insistent on making my dress myself, that I refused to even think about getting a dressmaker to help!   After three goes at building a bodice toile for my dress, and the same number of frustrated wollopings of fabric into the bin — too sad to blog about it — I called in the experts.

Isn’t it funny though, that as soon as you let your barriers down and ask for help, things seem to work out?  I’ve found two lovely ladies, one a patternmaker and one a dressmaker.  Julie and Karen worked together in a bridal store for twenty odd years, so they know what they’re doing, and they’re going to help me make The Dress in their homes as a kind of masterclass.  Instead of paying for dressmaking, I’m paying for guidance and learning new skills, which I much prefer.

Julie fit this final toile on me today (by the way, that skirt is just a placeholder bit of bemsilk, not the final pattern).  And I have bought such wondrous fabrics! Silk and organza and tulle…  but photos will have to wait until two weeks hence, when I promise to take photos of the cutting process.  It’s so nice to be excited about this again and I can’t wait to learn and share bridal construction techniques.

Dart class coming up tomorrow…



There’s only one problem with my wedding dress pattern, but it’s a deal breaker.  Pointy 50s boob darts might have been great in 1953 but now they say LOOK AT ME I’M WEARING VINTAGE.  All the modern patterns I can find have princess seams, which are fine in general but not for this particular dress-of-my-dreams.

I bought this pattern today from the ever-fabulous sandritocat, fingers crossed.

Oh, can’t resist: “Oh, Matthew!  Puffed Sleeves!!”

my wedding dress inspiration board…

My dress form — her name is Beuhla — stubbornly refuses to grow 6 foot tall and stretch in the torso,  hence the toile is a lot more squashed on her than it will be on me — see below.  The finished version will also be less hot pink than this too 🙂

Too sick to work this week.   Instead I gently played at dress-up for an hour or so at a time, using calico and some cheap pink tulle to figure out the basic structure of The Dress.

This first toile, with its cut out piece of calico for a bodice, is simply to get some idea of how I like the style of dress on me (answer : a lot!  hooray!).  It’s three pieces: a skirt, a bow, and a sweetheart bodice.  It uses a full circle skirt, which I am now reconsidering.  I think there’s too much fabric at the bottom: that once it’s layered in tulle it will be ridiculously large, and crazy-expensive too as I’d like it worked in silk dupioni with nice tulle.  I also have to learn how to construct a boned bodice.  (Any ideas, sewing mavens?)

It made me happy to start building my wedding dress.

Something that has been making me sad, however, is the Australian wedding ceremony.  We recently found out that our celebrant will be legally required to say that ‘marriage is between a man and a woman.’

I have very strong personal feelings about this meanness (I realise they will not be shared by everyone who reads this blog, but please bear with me, for I don’t often talk politics here).  Dan and I are currently looking at options like going through the legal rigmarole the day before the wedding.  In this way we can say what is in our hearts on our wedding day, not what is written in old man’s law, and hence avoid affirming unjust sentiments in front of dear friends and family.

This weekend, thousands of people marched in Melbourne for the right to do simple and joyous things like play with hot pink tulle and plan vows.  And for the so important legal privileges that Dan and I will enjoy because he is a man and I am a woman.  What’s more, my friend and photographer-to-be Jessie was there to commemorate the day for the over 65 (!!) couples who exchanged vows.  Do have a look at her beautiful photographs.  Some of them are just heartbreakingly lovely. Please go have a look.  If you’re not convinced that this is the right thing, ask yourself what you would lose, and what the world would gain, if a few more people were allowed to say in public,

‘I love you: I do.’

Wedding dress inspiration…

%20wedding_gown_flowers [via the Flirty Bride]

Golly, what wonderful responses to my wedding dress question!  Thank you for sharing your stories.  I love these ideas and I will try ‘taping’ a mini-me as well as asking for help at Clegs.  Love Clegs!

I must admit I’ve been feeling a little scared of the commitment to Making The Dress.  Now I’m not so sure that’s legitimate, but I still have reservations.  Will I be up to it?  Will I ruin expensive fabric in the process?  And will I just get plain sick of it by the time I can wear it?  Then again, it could be a lot of fun, and I would have a dress that’s really ‘me’.

kristy hinze[Kristy Hinze, via The Age]

Mum and I have made an appointment to go meet a dressmaker in my home town, Ballarat, this Saturday.  So I’ll go talk to her and try to get a feeling for how hard this will be.  Maybe I’ll make it, or maybe I’ll work with her: me embroidering, she cutting, etc.  Oh, and Mum bought this wonderful pattern on Ebay!  Isn’t it lovely?  I wonder if my bridesmaids would be interested in wearing the short version.




Saturdays than which few are more fun: those spent trying on wedding dresses.  I’m thinking about making the dress myself, but maybe that’s crazy…?  It’s a high pressure kind of project and I’d need a lot of space.   And time.  And to learn about corsetry and boning perhaps?

Did any of you sew your own wedding dress, or plan to?  I’d love to hear your stories, and of course to know what you think this one would look like, in ivory, with a circle skirt instead of a gathered one.  I’d like to wear a light and fun dress rather than a Designer Gown of Shimmering Status Symbolness.   I want it to be mine, if you can see what I’m trying to say here.  Ideas and advice much appreciated.

A cheery post for you today: our Engagement BBQ.  Always classy, us!  We even bought the expensive sausages 😉

Above, Best Man Andrew, Dan (complete with ‘Dan’ sticker on forehead so that my friends and rellies from out of town wouldn’t be confused), and me.  Below, Dave with 8 week-old Katherine.  You may remember Katherine from when she was a bump, the recipient of the Hungry Caterpillar scrap quilt.  Katherine’s hobbies include sleeping and eating.

Many many more people were there, but not many photos were taken.  It just wasn’t a photo kind of day, if you see what I mean.  More about beer and charred sausages wrapped in white bread.  A very Oz engagement party.

Oh yes, but a few photos were taken of The Dress.  The super-amazing Kate from eviegreenpixie made this for me.  I asked her for a long green dress to match my green ring, with a pocket, a halter top, and a fitted waist.  I can’t imagine how the end result could have been more gorgeous.  Thank you Kate!  (Have a look at her Flickr set and her Etsy shop here).

That’s my Mum, BTW, bringer of sausage rolls, and blueberries and cream.  And my tomato plants on the side path.

I’ve been wearing The Dress  every time I get the chance and expect to have worn it to shreds before the end of summer.  At least there’s the days I have to go to work, so it can be washed 🙂

If the engagement party is anything to go by, I won’t have time to talk to anybody for more than a minute at the wedding but I’ll have a bloody good time anyway 😉  And that’s why we’re having another BBQ the next day.  So we can get at least a moment with everyone.

Wedding plans are steaming ahead.  Two weeks ago I met Georgie Stanton, whom I’ve booked to do flowers.  The reception venue is chosen and booked — the Queenscliff Hotel looks to me like it stepped out of a Henry James novel.  Hopefully not The Turn Of The Screw.  (We won’t be using the green decor they have in this photo!)  There’s a long  informal dining room which opens out into a sweet garden, complete with fountain.  I think if it’s hot in mid-Feb next year (and it seems likely) we can move in and out of the garden as we wish.  And the rooms have no TV or radio or anything to remind you that there’s a world outside the wedding.  For foodie Victorians, it was Mietta’s not so long ago…  although ownership has changed and it’s taken a while to find its feet again, it still has that air of indulgence and a great menu.  We still haven’t chosen a spot outside to get married, but that’s for this weekend.

It does feel strange to be doing all this booking of things a full year in advance, but we’re fast learning that weddings don’t work on the scale of anything else on earth.  Unless you’re Lucy Tartan, of course, and you have your wedding in your back yard with your chooks for attendants.  Which is a completely awesome idea.  We hope, cross fingers, that our wedding will just be a different, weekend-long kind of awesome, rather than a $50,000 epic tale.  This is supposed to be the national average spent on a wedding (I’ve also heard $40,000, which is still stupid).  A few months ago I wouldn’t have been able to imagine how someone could spend that much money on one day.  Now I see it’s very easy to do.   Can’t possibly say ‘I love you’ without that 3-tiered decorated white chocolate mud cake, please sign here… can’t commit to somebody for life without a Vera Wang dress… geesh.

OK, maybe that’s as much wedding as I can inflict on you today!

The quilt auction has five days to go and is currently favouring Nettie!   Please dig deep… it’s such a good cause, and you’ll get a quilt to show for it.

Well, by the time I got to it with my camera, one and half of these things were not like the others!  This tomato is called ‘Stupice’, and the variety is rightly famous for early ripening.  Yay!  First tomato!

Silverbeet – ol’ reliable.

Pak Choy, which I’ll have to harvest and eat soon because we’re due a week of 40C heat.

Purple King beans in flower, with guard puppy.

And paprika chillies.  I love the way they curl, don’t you?

Oops, I am a SLACK blogger.  I do realise that I’ve posted about very little sewing recently.  I’ve posted very little at all in fact.  The banner looks positively ridiculous up there with its careful hand quilting from a time when I sat for more than ten minutes at once.   It’s all weddings and gardens, gardens and weddings!

I’ll subject you to this, one more bunch of garden photos, before I tell you about recent adventures in sewing.  Yes, I have had some.  Please stay as patient as you have been with me!

Life is so busy.  Part of that is due to taking on paid work in my ‘break’ from the PhD, and part of it is the garden (it needs So Much Watering in the drought).  A bigger part of it, though, is running around trying to plan a wedding.  Because, fearless readers, Dan and I set a date — Feb 13, 2010.

Was this ever dumb!

We looked up the tide times in the little beach town where we want to get married, and booked a lovely old hotel for a Saturday when tides would be lowest at around 4pm.  The 13th.  And then, about three days later, realised we’d booked for the Valentine’s Day weekend.

Romantic?  Sure!  We’ll have guests stay overnight and have a BBQ breakfast with us on Valentine’s Day.  We’ll be all newly married and stomach-turningly self-absorbed in the little love-bubble of a wedding.  Our guests will be able to stroll around and go to the beach after the BBQ.  Delightful.  And yet this is also very, very unwise.  Because now we have to book a celebrant, a florist, and a photographer, by about five minutes ago.  EVERY woman with a sparkly ring on her finger wants to get married on the Valentine’s Day weekend.  Except me, but somehow I’ll be there too.  So I will be nuts for a little while with organisation, but I’ll try and keep you all posted.  In fact, I may well run ideas past you. Anybody seen a nice white dress recently?  Anybody got any ideas for bonboniere I can make myself?

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