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Sewing for a Wedding

My daily rhythm as Creative Director of Fit for Art Patterns is taking a back seat this month.  Now, I am the Mother of the Bride, an all- consuming job when you are making all the dresses for the bridal party.  It is returning me to my custom dressmaker roots and the beautiful rhythm of wedding work.

For over 25 years I worked predominantly in bridal sewing and I loved it.  I was privileged to create wedding gowns, bridesmaids, flower girl and mothers’ dresses for countless weddings.  You can see some of my dresses on my raecumbie.com portfolio page.  Here is a photo of Carrie in the wedding gown I made for her in the 1980’s.  It sits on a shelf in my studio in this fun sewing picture frame.

Carrie in her Rae Cumbie original wedding gown!

During each wedding season I had a half dozen gowns filling my studio.  The space had to be kept neat and clean so the white dresses would not pick up dust, lint or colored threads.  I would alternate weeks, cleaning then sewing and fitting white dresses one week then tackling the colorful sewing the following week after the white dresses were safely stored in their jumbo garment bags.  Many times it felt like I was moving through a forest of white trees.

Here is the truth.  Since Carrie and I began Fit for Art Patterns in earnest, I have not cleaned up for wedding gown work.  Messes are my specialty and while they yield some very interesting artful garments, I knew I had to change my ways for the next few weeks.

Susie’s TRJ for the wedding,  The bride, at about age 12, is in the photo on the wall behind the jacket.

So, in November as Edye and I stitched up the Peacock Blue Bridesmaids dresses, my mother-of-the-bride outfit, and my friend Susie’s Tabula Rasa Jacket for the wedding, I slowly tided up with the goal of making the wedding gown in December.

Our Graphic Designer, Erin being fitted for her Bridesmaid Dress in Carrie’s studio, which is always clean.

This past weekend I tackled the final cleaning project, the ironing corner and the ironing board cover.  Covering the ironing board is one of those tasks I often put off.  My habit has been to simply add a new cover on top of the old ones when needed.  In fact, the last cover came off in pieces a couple months ago and ever since, the previous cover has been pealing away a chunk at a time.  Out came the muslin and a new 2-layer cover was stretched into place.

It is now totally tidy.  The cutting table is clean and ready for the off-white silk satin and the silk organza underlining.  The mock up fittings are complete, the patterns are adjusted, the sewing machines and the ironing area are pristinely clean.  I am now looking forward to making a beautiful dress for a happy bride.  Keep an eye on Facebook and Instagram for occasional updates on my progress.

Finishing up the pattern work.

Have you ever sewn for a bride?  Did you find it exciting or stressful?  I am not sure those terms are mutually exclusive.  In fact, they can easily define any sewing project that takes us out of our comfort zone.  I hope your December sewing is satisfying and you are planning some sewing challenges for 2020.  If you challenge yourself during one of our 2020 retreats, we will be there to hold your hand while you work to accomplish your goals.  If you need some new patterns for your 2020 challenges, they are on sale all this week during our cyber sale.  It is a good time to stock up for a new year of fun sewing!

Happy Sewing, RAE

8 thoughts on “Sewing for a Wedding

  1. Yes, I made my daughter’s wedding gown. 🙂 Back in 07. She was in her last year of college far away so I made a mock-up for a fitting, went to visit her Easter weekend and decided the pattern we chose didn’t look good for her height (had a fishtail skirt – I think that’s what it’s called), so we changed it up with another style. It wasn’t too fancy a gown, but not plain either. Made her veil. Got everything done a week before the wedding! Including my own dress. Was kind of stressful not having her home while I was making most of it, but it came out great. 🙂

  2. Congratulations, Rae, to you and the bride-to-be! Such an exciting time for both of you! Enjoy every minute of this special time! That type of sewing adventure would give any ordinary sewer panic attacks, but you are not any ordinary sewer!! Best of luck!

  3. I will be sewing my daughter’s wedding dress for a summer 2021 wedding. We’re already looking at fabrics and talking design, since I plan to begin in 2020.

  4. Yes, I did bridal wear. My first wedding dress was my own, nearly 60 years ago? Years later I worked for a fabric shop, sewing lovely dresses. The shop I sewed for kind of kept the gorgeous wedding dresses for themselves. I did bridesmaids where I had to make the same dress fit all sizes and shapes, and they palmed off on me the plus sized brides they didn’t want to do. After I wasn’t working through them any more I did a few on my own, plus prom dresses, flower girls, etc. and the last wedding I sewed for was the velvet bridesmaids dresses for my son’s wedding. Sewing all that velvet meant the sewing machine needed a good cleaning! I learned a lot doing this kind of work, about difficult fabrics and fitting. And dealing with stressed out mothers of the bride. I loved it all!

    1. Thanks for all these fun comments. It took me a bit to answer as I was busy cutting out the dress. Almost finished with the cutting and underlining. That is the slowest part! Now on to the fun stuff. RAE

  5. Congratulations to you, Rae… and all good things to the bride and groom! Such a joyous experience to be the mother of the bride and celebrate your daughter embarking on the adventure that is marriage!

    3 years ago I was the mother of the bride, the wedding officiant AND the wedding gown seamstress for my oldest daughter’s wedding. If nothing, I’m a person with stamina!

    It was a meaningful, relaxing experience to create Sarah’s gown. Thinking of my daughter and future son in law with love and by practicing mindful, slow-stitching made it absolutely the most meaningful creative experience of my life.

    Deconstructing my wedding gown’s bodice required sitting by a south facing window in daylight to determine which white threads were tulle, beading thread, lace appliqué, or actual sewing thread. Had I felt hurried, that would have been stressful. My kid’s Baltimore row home has only one small south facing window so time each day was precious, quite limited yet much appreciated.

    Fittings in the evening, when my daughter returned from a long , stress filled days work as a resident…those evening fittings were beautiful one-on-one moments that we hadn’t been able to share for years.

    Rae, best wishes for bounty of precious moments as you create and fit your daughters dress!

  6. Congratulations Rae! I can relate about sewing a wedding gown when your daughter was not at home. I made my oldest daughter’s grown using 4 patterns and taking very accurate measurements. When I finished the gown I drove 3 hours to when she was for her to try it on and to get the hem measurements. I also made my youngest daughters wedding gown and she didn’t live at home either. I did a mock up of the pattern after taking her measurements and did a fitting. I then took the mock up apart and used it for my pattern. It is very rewarding to have a final project that you can be proud of isn’t it?

    1. Thanks for sharing Glenda, I bet they were both beautiful. RAE

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