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!!