Archive for September, 2011


The new Sara Goff

Life is funny sometimes.

A couple years ago, my husband’s brother Brian introduced us to his friend Sara, whose daughter’s name was pronounced just like our daughter’s name. We all had a little chuckle about the coincidence. Sara and Ava and Sarah and Eva. After they’d left, my husband leaned over and grinned, “Wouldn’t it be funny if they got married some day?”

Wouldn’t it just. 😉

Well fast forward to June of this year, and Brian and Sara let us know they had some big news: they were engaged, and expecting a baby.

I, of course, was tickled pink. Babies and weddings are two of my favorite things, after all. I congratulated them and asked all sorts of questions (How soon would the baby come? How soon would the wedding come?) before asking the two things I *really* wanted to know:

Would you like me to make your dress? And,

Do you plan to take Brian’s last name?

At first, Sara thought it would be better to find a simple ready-to-wear sundress for the big day, and perhaps enlist my help to alter it or add some special touches to give it a more bridal feel. They planned on a brief engagement and a casual wedding, and going all out on a custom gown seemed unnecessary. But, when she went searching, the sundress of her dreams was nowhere to be found. Sara is a breathtaking woman who has a beautifully proportioned full figure. She has an hourglass shape but, in a plus size and with a baby bump starting to grow, the options are limited. Since at least part of the wedding was to be held outdoors (in August, in Florida), she wanted a lightweight breathable fabric like cotton. For the most flattering fit, she ideally wanted something empire waisted, A-lined, and knee length. She never wears sleeveless garments and her wedding day would be no exception – so this cotton sundress would need to have sleeves. She couldn’t find anything to meet those criteria anywhere, and time was rapidly running out. I told her that if the design was simple enough for it to be possible, I’d be happy to make her dress for her. For clients, I almost never agree to take on rush orders. But Sara’s family now and that’s a whole different story.

Before this, I’d have told you it wasn’t possible – but Sara and I created her wedding dress in just over two weeks’ time (largely in my off hours, as I also  needed to continue work for my existing client)!

One of the things that made it possible was that Sara used to design and sew a lot of her own clothing. Apart from having a clear vision of what she wanted and how it would flatter her figure, she also had an idea of what sort of design would be simple to make. She also had the ability to convey this design clearly and quickly to me. Sara sent me a sketch, I made a couple of suggestions, and we set a time for her to come over to get started.

Before she came, I pulled out every scrap of white fabric in my stock. Due to the time and budget constraints, we needed to use materials that were already on hand as much as possible. As crazy as it felt to suggest it, I offered cotton muslin as my recommendation for the main fabric on her dress. I buy muslin in bulk so I knew I had plenty to use for the main and lining fabrics, and I knew it would breathe well and feel soft against her skin. I also knew that muslin looks like, well… muslin. Unless you do something about it.

I also had a length of white lace I’d purchased long ago for a vague idea that never took shape; I thought it would be great to add a lace overlay to the muslin. The lace was a nice open mesh that would maintain the lightweight, breathable comfort of the muslin but dress it up considerably! Sara agreed to both fabrics. We turned our attention to the sash she wanted to wear around her waist. I suggested we use black fabric for the sash, which would match the flower girl’s dresses. As fortune would have it, I had about a half yard of black satin leftover from some prior garment. We were in business.

I took Sara’s measurements and she took our daughters to another room to distract them while I frantically drafted a pattern, and cut out some muslin for a quick mock up. From the time she stepped foot through my door until we finished her mock-up fitting took only three hours! And, half of the mock-up was useable in her actual dress. We were efficient little worker bees.

From there to completion only took a couple more days’ sewing, and about a week of hand beading in front of the TV in the evenings. This was by far the fastest little wedding dress I’ve ever made. But what delights me further is that at a glance you’d never guess this was thrown together in two weeks using leftover materials. For all our haste and thrift, it actually is the dress she wanted!

The wedding was lovely. They had a casual, intimate ceremony, with close friends and family in attendance. I was so happy to be able to contribute to their special day!

Since my husband and daughter were both in the wedding (and, since I am apparently a crazy person) I decided to make my dress for the wedding as well. Something simple and casual, that would be comfortable in the summer heat but that was decidedly newer than most of my wardrobe. Here we are together with the rest of the groom’s family.

Oh! And in case you wondered about that other question I asked her back in June: Sara’s hyphenating.

Congratulations to Brian Goff and Sara Eatherton-Goff!


Rachel’s Wedding

Like so many people, when real life beckons, my blog goes on hold. But I’ve been prompted today to return, and so I am at last, nearly a year later, blogging about Rachel’s wedding day.

It was perfect.

Rachel and Danny were married on October 30 of last year, in a beautiful outdoor venue called Cross Creek Ranch. They took their vows in the late afternoon, standing under the spreading branches of a huge grandfather oak tree. As the sun set, we moved to an open air barn set with beautiful tables and strung all over with Christmas lights. Their wedding had a strong autumnal theme, with just a pinch of Halloween spirit added to the mix: a candy bar in lieu of traditional party favors, a Corpse Bride cake topper, and Rachel’s purple Iron Fist zombie shoes.

I was privileged to get to come early to dress Rachel, and to stay to attend the wedding. What a splendid treat for me! All through the creation of her dress, we discussed her wedding plans, and we fine tuned some of our vision for the gown to fit that day. It showed. Looking back, I can’t imagine a different gown for Rachel. And at the same time, I can’t picture her exact gown on anyone else or at any other wedding. It just fit.

Even before I helped Rachel into her gown, she was beaming. Even in her zip-up sweatshirt, there was no mistaking that she was the bride. She simply radiated joy and anticipation. But in her gown… the room full of bridesmaids and family members fell silent for a moment as I laced her up. She was really breathtaking. And just as importantly, she felt beautiful. Every bride deserves that experience on her wedding day.

And, watching her walk hand in hand with her new husband, I was as excited for Rachel as for any of my dear friends. Now, almost a year later, there’s even more to be excited about: she and her husband are expecting their first baby!

Don’t you just love weddings?

All of the photos in this post are courtesy of Rachel’s professional wedding photographer, Joel Cocker of Custom Art Cafe.

September 2011
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