My Sister and Her Bridesmaids

Yesterday I wrote a post about how my sisters, cousins, and I used to play dress-up at my grandparents’ house when we were little, and it made me think of my sister’s real wedding last summer. While we were still very much “playing dress-up,” our roles were reversed from 25 years ago; she was the bride, and I got to make her and her bridesmaids’ dresses. The one thing that is still the same, though: her ridiculously big grin — though now she has all of her adult teeth!

Consider the Groom

Something that I think is critically important in determining what a bride is going to look best in is to know what her groom looks like and what the two of them look like together. Weddings have become so bride-centric that the groom is often overlooked, but this day is just as much about him as you. It is about the two of you becoming one, and you should choose garments that visually reinforce that idea.

When I design a gown for a bride, finding out about her fiance is one of the first things I do. How can I make something for this bride that will not only look beautiful on her but also be complementary to her husband and make him look his best?

Remember that the most important pictures you will look back on from you wedding are the ones of you and your husband together and you don’t want your dress (or your hair or makeup, for that matter) to draw unnecessary attention to itself, or overpower your husband. (Think about all the wedding photos from the 1980’s — how many brides regret the lacy beaded pouffy shiny satin sleeves?!)

I Love This Shot of My Sister’s Wedding Gown

I’m obsessed with how the fabric looks in this photo. It’s a gorgeous Italian silk double-faced duchesse satin that I specifically chose for its luster, which perfectly accentuates all the gathering on the bodice.

Sewing History, Part I: My First Traumatic Experience…

I can remember being just tall enough to be eye-to-eye with the needle, so I would have been three or four years old — and my sister six or seven. For some utterly bizarre reason, she was trying to sew a Zip-loc bag shut. (Yeah, I don’t know why either!) Obviously, she had no idea what she was doing.

Somehow I happened upon this scene and was immediately drawn to the action — or lack of action. She was awkwardly perched on the very edge of her chair. She had one leg completely extended so that she could just barely reach the pedal by flexing her foot and straining her toes. The needle was moving up and down. But since the presser foot was up, the Zip-loc bag wasn’t going anywhere. I decided that she needed my help…

Instinctively, I knew that the bag needed to be traveling under the needle, so I put out my hand to steer it for her. Suddenly we were sewing a straight line, and I felt like a hero! Then she upped the pressure on the foot pedal. The increase in speed caught both of us off guard, and my finger joined the Zip-loc bag on its trip under the needle. My sister had just sewed right over MY FINGER!! She freaked out and ran away; I just stood there alone, paralyzed with shock.

As if I hadn’t been traumatized enough, a few moments later the light bulb in the floor lamp next to the sewing machine exploded with a huge crackling and zapping noise, covering me and everything around me with glass shards and plunging the room into darkness. And I happened  to be one of those kids who was pathologically scared of the dark…

So the fact that I am here in New York, making a career out of my love of sewing is something of a miracle, and certainly no thanks to my sister!

A picture of me and my two sisters from roughly the same time this story happened. The sister on the left, playing a cardboard violin she made, is the one this story is about. Im on the right, holding Glenda, one of my Cabbage Patch Kids.