from a hot mess to the perfect dress...follow the adventure as the old lady and I attempt to make my wedding dress.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hello, my name is Caroline Hubbard!

This is my first post as a married woman! The wedding finally happened on January 14th and it was amazing! I really couldn't have asked for anything to go better. And this is being said even though one of the girls had the wrong color dress (black not blue) and the trolley didn't show up to take the wedding party to the reception. To tell you the truth, when I first started planning everything I was pretty worried that I would be a Bridezilla and realized somewhere along the way that I can thank the many years of ballet performances for the relative amount of sanity I was able to maintain throughout. I realized that in many ways the entire wedding is, aside from the spiritual aspects, in many ways like a performance--if you maintain your composure no one will know whether or not anything went wrong. I'm happy to report that it worked! I didn't freak out when one bridesmaid had a black dress mostly because I was just happy she was there, but also because I knew that the color could be fixed with photoshop. We thought about putting her in another blue dress, but the styles would have been so different that it would have been more noticeable. As it was, I have only heard 2 people say they noticed the color difference.

Ok, so enough about that. On to the dress. This is the same sort of situation-- there were a few things that went "wrong" but I am still happy with the end result. The two snafus were definitely a part of the learning curve I experienced through the dress-making process:

1. The way that the bodice was attached to the skirt in the back caused a good amount of strain on the zipper because this is the intersection of 6 pattern pieces. Now, remember that each pattern piece consists of 1 layer of mid-weight cotton muslin, 1 layer of silk, and 1 layer of beaded lace. That means that this point in the zipper had 18 layers of fabric to join together at the lower back, which is already a natural stress point for a zipper because of how your body changes as you move (standing, sitting, kneeling, etc). This being said, I had a hard enough time getting it zipped as I was doing alterations so that by the wedding day it was a little unhappy with me. I put the dress on to take pictures 3.5 hours before the wedding and we weren't sure it would zip. Thankfully, with 3 sets of hands and a prayer to "the Big Guy" it zipped! I have never been so relieved, well at that point anyway. It must have been the whole performance history thing that told me I should take the dress off after pictures so that it would be pristine for the ceremony--you know, like the year I was a polichinelle (a ginger snap that came out from under Mother Ginger's hoop skirt)  in The Nutcracker. If we got anything on those costumes we knew that Miss Joann herself, the terrifyingly serious costumer that made me cry on more than one occasion, would personally hunt us down. Except that the polichinelle costume was spandex and would undoubtedly go back on with ease. Not so much in the case of the angry zipper. I seriously did not think it was going to zip. Mom was about 2 seconds from grabbing the upholstery thread and sewing that sucker shut when Grace Dixon (one of my bridesmaids and best friends) came to the rescue. I have never seen Grace more calm in a stressful situation! Grace got it zipped, an act that surely defied nature, and declared "OH MY GAH! CAROLINE I'M CLUTCH!! I NEVER THOUGHT I'D BE CLUTCH!" To explain, there have been a couple times when Grace and her boyfriend Josh needed a favor or something and, as a friend should, I came through. Josh now frequently reminds Grace how "clutch" I am. The urban dictionary defines it as:

Great, Essential, and Potent rolled into a single word. Clutch is also used to describe something that is done, not something that is.
Stealing your orange soda was so clutch.

Pulling the special move on Jenna was clutch.

Grace was definitely clutch. The moral of this story is, a wedding dress is not a ballet costume. Once you get that thing on, especially if there was any question about whether it would zip, DO NOT under ANY circumstances take it off! I don't care what you have to do--get a custom-made Snuggie to fit over it if you have to!

2. Remember when I decided that it would be too much trouble to sew the facing of the bodice to the inside of the corset? If you have no clue what the last sentence meant let me explain. Think of a strapless dress you own or have seen. You know how the inside of the bodice (top part of the dress) has the same fabric on  the inside that is several inches in length and is attached to the lining fabric? Let's pretend you do. That's the facing. It is intended to be a safeguard so that if the neckline starts rolling over there's not some bright pink lining fabric showing. Better? Ok. Well my original intention was to sandwich the bra part of the corset between the fashion fabric (the outside of the bodice) and the facing (silk). I tried it a few times and couldn't get it quite right, so I thought that it would be fine to sew on some snaps and snap the dress to the corset. That worked well enough...for a while. I bought some fashion tape (super sticky double sided tape) to tape it for insurance. Well we wound up putting some of the tape over one side of one of the snaps and I think it must have warped or stretched out the plastic because after the ceremony the snap would NOT work! And consequently, one side of the bodice was showing my corset most of the night. Now I know that my instincts were right and I should have sewn the facing to the inside of the corset. At least I know for the next dress I make!

I figure if those were the only things, we did pretty well.

I have been amazed by the reaction to the dress. Mom's friends Anne Kimzey, Kitty Sheehan, and Lynn and Sarah Coker hosted a "sip-n-see the dress" brunch in December where we set up the dress on a dress form and hung the veil in a bedroom so that everyone could see it in person. That was so much fun! It was really special for me to be able to personally see everyone's reaction to the finished product. Thanks for that!

Since then I've been thinking about possibly trying to do this full-time. Or at least trying to get into it slowly. The scary part, or one of many, is that there's not a safety net or guaranteed income. People say if you wait to have kids until you're "ready" you'll never have kids. It makes me wonder in starting a business is the same way. People have been asking Mom if I'm "in business yet" since the wedding, and I guess the short answer is yes. My ultimate dream is to make this happen, though I'm not positive that this is the time. I am continuing to look for a stable full-time job and I feel like when the time is right for this the demand will present itself and I'll know. Does anyone have any thoughts or advice? If anyone is in the market for a wedding, debutante, ball or any other gown definitely feel free to send them my way. I am already planning a design for Charlie's Aunt Connie's wedding in September and am very excited! I'll have to post the sketches and concept soon.

For now, I will post some of the amazing bridal portraits that my talented sister took of me in my dress. I hope you enjoy them! And thank you, Lizza.