Bragging About My Sister

Before I tell you about my sister…I’m going to tell you about our mom. She made a lot of clothes and was a master at alterations. My brother was in a band and my mom added fringe to the side of his pants and rhinestones to jazz up his clothes. (think the 70s) My mom was short-waisted with bigger hips so she often altered clothes that she bought for herself.

I asked her about that once and she said she grew up poor, grew up during the Depression, and had cousins who would pass down clothes to her. She said they were a lot bigger than she was and much bustier so she learned to alter clothes out of necessity.

Not only that, our mom could lay flooring both carpet and linoleum. She could reupholster furniture.

When the farmhouse went through a big remodel, my parents hired a carpenter- just a single one man show. He often needed help and it was my mom, not my dad, that was the carpenter’s assistant.

She raised goats and made the most amazing yogurt and soap from goats’ milk.

She was a woman of many talents and wasn’t afraid to try anything.

She passed on many of these talents to us kids as I have very handy brothers. I myself am very crafty. But the person who got my mom’s perfectionist gene at the sewing machine was my sister. She is an amazing talent.

Late last year her granddaughter got engaged and she asked my sister to make the dress. My sister said sure. She’s made many formal dresses in the past and isn’t afraid of lace and silks. (I am so not her!! I am afraid of it all!!)

Then her granddaughter showed my sister a picture of the dress she wanted. They all agreed it was lovely…now the trick was to find a pattern. No Luck.

My sister found a couple of patterns that all had a feature of the dress but even then, nothing was quite right. There was no pattern that put all the elements together either. So slowly ideas took shape…fabric was found…there were lots of trials and a few errors.

My sister ended up making the dress with no real pattern. She might have taken a piece from one pattern but then extended it or altered the piece to be wider or narrower than what was needed. She might have taken the idea of how to attach the bows from a completely different pattern.

Before I show you pictures of the dress, I have to explain that my sister is a real perfectionist. She painstakingly hand-sewed much of this…parts with invisible thread. She second-guessed herself 100s of times. She worked into the wee hours of the morning trying to get everything perfect and oh my goodness, she nailed it.

They had a Western-themed wedding.

Days before the wedding Bryanna was home for a final fitting. The job was to have the right shoes to check the hem and to figure out how to bustle the back.

It was great!! Then at the fitting Bryanna raised her skirt to show her cowboy boots and everyone loved that so the front of the dress got an impromptu bustle too!!

Wasn’t it perfect?? So sweet.

The dress was beautiful for the wedding and fun and flirty for the reception.

What a talent my sister is!! If my granddaughter ever asks me to make them a wedding dress, hands down the answer is NO WAY!! You can go ask your Aunt Judy. Zero talent in working with silks or lace ever came to me…and the patience to perfect a wedding dress-there is NONE in my hands. Those talents didn’t get to me …and I’m totally okay with that!!

I’ll be the not-perfectionist quilter of the family any old day.

The dress was gorgeous…beautiful and practical too. I sure am proud of my big sister!! I know our mom would be too!! Way to go Judy!!

24 thoughts on “Bragging About My Sister”

  1. Wow! Your sister really does have incredible talent! The dress is beautiful and so is the bride, but as a person who sews, that dress is AMAZING! To figure all that out–I couldn’t even begin to wrap my head around that project. Wow!

  2. Your sister is amazing!! So are you by the way, just different talents! I’m sure your niece is smart enough to truly appreciate how very, very fortunate she is to have such an amazingly talented, generous and loving mother.

  3. Your sister is amazing!! So are you by the way, just different talents! I’m sure your great-niece is smart enough to truly appreciate how very, very fortunate she is to have such an amazingly talented, generous and loving grandmother.

  4. Oh wow, the dress is stunning! Your sister has an incredible talent. I make my own clothes but there’s no way I could do something like that!

  5. Judith Fairchild

    Wow! What is it about big sisters who sew. My oldest sister made wedding dresses too. They all were perfectly beautiful. Me I was afraid to even try especially with satin and lace. The dress your sister made is so beautiful. Cowboy boots and all.

  6. I’ve made a few wedding dresses. I’ve sewed since I was about 11 so I’ve never been afraid to tackle much in sewing. But I will say that dress is absolutely gorgeous. The wedding dresses I made were much more simple. Looking at the back of the dress shows me how much work went into the dress, it’s just perfect. You have your own talents Jo.

  7. What a perfect dress for a western themed wedding. Love the design but the fabric is over the top—-amazing. Where would someone even find something like this? The embellishments on the fabric are so outstanding—I’m certain it was even more beautiful in person.

  8. Very beautiful dress! I made my daughter’s wedding dress so I can appreciate all the fittings and planning and work that went into her dress. You are very talented too, in so many ways, Jo.

  9. Stephani in N. TX

    I started sewing my own wedding dress, beginning with putting a big sheet on the floor to keep the satin clean. My mom’s neighbor and good friend was a seamstress, and I was so happy to turn the sewing over to her when things began to get very busy. Together we attended a bridal fashion show and I fell in love with short lace sleeves in front that met in a cape effect over the back of my gown and tiny bows down the back,Not sure how she did that but the effect was my dream dress. There’s a place in Heaven for sewing moms and friends who produce dreamed of wedding dresses.

  10. Truly a beautiful dress. Your sister is an outstanding seamstress. My grandmother made many of my clothes – and always was adapting the patterns to my body shape. It wasn’t until after she passed and I was looking through her college yearbook that I realized she had taken patterning classes as a home ec major. My “homemade” clothes were actually custom made. Bryanna is so fortunate to have a customized wedding dress! She looks very happy.

  11. Such a beautiful dress for a beautiful bride! Your sister does have a very special talent, but don’t put yourself down – you have much talent, just different than Judy’s.

  12. Wow, she is talented for sure! That dress is amazing and it sure looks like a fun, happy wedding and reception! Congrats to the bride and groom and compliments to your sister!

  13. WOW–it is gorgeous!!! Your sister is one talented lady!! I wouldn’t dare try doing anything like that—though i did make my own wedding dress in 1956–cost me $4.97!!!
    I found a flocked white organdy!! Did okay making my own–but it was simple!!! and had a pattern!!

  14. Wow! What a gorgeous dress and beautiful bride. It reminds me of all the handsewn garments my mother made me. My mother was also raised during the depression and taught 4-H sewing. It always amazed me how she could combine the top of one dress pattern with the bottom of another and make it look beautiful.

  15. A beautiful dress! Your sister is a very talented seamstress. This reminded me so much of my Mother-she too was very talented in many ways. She also made wedding gowns for a fancy dress shop when they couldn’t order the size. The shop could order the materials from the manufacturer but my Mother had to create the dress from looking at the sample. The only thing she didn’t do was hand sew all the sequins, pearls ir beads. ( couldn’t pay her enough for the time required).
    She also made my youngest sister’s wedding gown. Thank you so much for giving me a wonderful memory!!!

  16. Your sister is truly a talented seamstress, the dress is perfection. I grew up sewing and I have made our daughters formals for prom but I would have to say no to a wedding dress. Wow, its amazing work and for such an important day.

  17. Beautiful dress. Your sister is very talented to make that from just a picture.
    I did the same to my mum. Gave her a small black and white picture of the dress I wanted. Mum made me my dream dress. I felt like a princess on my wedding day.

  18. Hi Jo – the wedding dress looks amazing! What a seamstress your sister is! I sure didn’t get those talents either. I did make a christening gown for my two boys., but that’s it! My daughter-in-law asked me to hem a dress she bought for the Marine Corps Ball – with two days until the ball! I was so worried. There were three layers of super slippery satin. I only have a regular sewing machine, no serger, and I tried to do a rolled hem on all the layers. Oh man it was awful. I cried, I swore. The dress did get shortened but it wasn’t real pretty. Thankfully, my daughter-in-law was satisfied with the job I did and no one was inspecting the hem. But I begged her to never ask me to hem another dress for her!

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