Sunday, July 8, 2012

When my girls were little, I lived to make them dresses.  The joy of my life was to get a Storybook Heirlooms catalog in the mail and drool over the beautiful dresses they sold.  Then there would be a prompt planning meeting between my sister Colleen and I, and several follow up phone calls between our trips to the fabric stores.  We were determined.  Our girls would have the prettiest dresses on the planet.  And we would accomplish this with as many hours at it took to make it happen.

By mid year of Jessica's kindergarden year of school, she came home with a frown on her face one day.  When I asked her what was wrong she said, "No more pretty dresses Mom!"  I said, "Honey, why not?  You look beautiful when you wear them to school?"  She replied quite descriptively.  "My teacher puts her hands on my shoulders and walks me around to the other teacher's to show them my dresses, and tells them that you make them.  I don't like it!"

So as you can imagine, it was the icing on the cake to dream of making my daughters their wedding dresses one day.  When Frankie proposed to Jessica last August, we got right to work on the planning.  In September I flew into Detroit and Jessica and I went immediately out dress shopping.  It was a mother's dream to see her daughter's smile while trying on dress after dress.  Many were very pretty but we just kept our idea pad filling up while we tried them on.  Then the sales lady brought out the most expensive dress the shop sold. (we both felt bad for wasting her time, but hoped to at least send the bridesmaids in to purchase from her)

And there it was. Jessica's face lit up with a beautiful smile, and we both saw rhinestone heaven on this dress.

I kept snapping photos with my eye on the details of this dress.  Lots and lots and lots
of details.  And a price tag to go along with it.

Shortly after this trip home was my neck surgery.  I HAD to feel better to even attempt this dress.
In November Jessica flew out to New York with her girlfriend, Tatianna.  It was a week before my surgery.  Our sweet Daughter in law Mandy even met us in the city for the day.  

Sorry you are not in the picture Tat, you must have been taking the only picture I have of this day.
Before Jessica headed back home to Michigan in November, I made her bodice out of cotton so that I would know I had a good fit on patterning.  I guess I forgot to mention to Jess that she should not lose any more weight!

As soon as my neck was healed enough to get started, I dug out the fabric, it was Dec 10.  I printed out the photos of the store bought dress, and got my plan of action started.

First I spent an entire Saturday designing the embroidery that would go on the bodice.  I got the embroidery started and realized on Saturday night, (late) that I did not like the way the embroidery turned out.  On Sunday I started all over again.  This time I got it straight.  

After the embroidery was done I cut out each piece of the bodice and began to rhinestone it

This is all of the bodice pieces layed flat 

A Close up of the embroidery in silver thread and some of the beginning rhinestoning.

From here I sewed the bodice together and made a lining of the same pattern.  I put boning down each seam.

Next I spent a couple of afternoons hand beading the embroidery of the dress
But wait, we need a skirt.  Oh the skirt.  This took on a life of it's own.  I knew it needed to be two things, very long for billowing, and flat and embroidered perfectly in the front.  Ugh.  How to do all of that? I had no idea. 

I was a weee bit overwhelmed at this point.  

After a few days, here is what I had come up with:

When I started to try to recreate the picture of Jessica's concept skirt, Mark spoke up.  We didn't like it
Jessica was a young enough bride, we didnt' want  her skirt to look like "Miss Muffit!" 

In February we had Jessica come out for one more last round of fittings.   Jessica, Julie and I also made a very fun day trip into New York city on the train.  We were set out to find just the right rhinstone trim that would make the belt of Jessica's dress and trim the top.  It was freezing cold, but there was no stopping us.  On that day we also found Julie's prom dress and my dress to wear at Jessica and Frankie's wedding.  

We set aside one of the last days of Jessi's trip to have our photographer Sarah McCoy of  do a photo shoot of our fittings.  She is an amazing photographer and I was so excited that she could do this for us.

So now you all get to know the big huge secret I had to keep for the past several months. 
While I was working hard,( and so was Jessica and Mandy) on your orders with A Great Impression, this mommy had some major sewing to do for her bride to be.  I was excited to show people what we had come up with, but that had to wait until she walked down the aisle last weekend and became Mrs. Frankie Aldrich.  

We could not love Frankie more.  He is just the man we prayed for all of those years when we prayed for our daughter.  He is kind, caring, gentle, and smart.  He loves our daughter just like we dreamed he would.

Here are some of the professional pics from Jessica and Frankie's wedding.  Thank you to Sarah McCoy Photography.

I used the train of my wedding dress to make the flowers in this bouquet on Jessica's train.

Happily Ever After begins now.


Karen Mulvenna said...

So awesome! What a great time captured here! Great job, Mary and Jess!

Karen Mulvenna said...

So awesome! What a great time captured here! Great job, Mary and Jess!

Cheryl Counts said...

Beautiful job Mary!! I'm sure you were thrilled to be able to do this for your daughter!

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