the wedding dress.

last fall my sister got married and i made her wedding dress. during the process, i blogged a little along the way. but like all good bloggers, i started blogging, and then stopped. that’s probably because a new cute boy moved into my neighborhood, or decided to make chili that night, or i had to wash my hair. regardless, i’m still pretty proud of that dress and since here i am writing again, i thought i’d look back in time (what up, marty mcfly?) and share a few of my favorite parts. warning: this is not short. you may want to use the restroom and get a sandwich before proceeding. i know i will.

a little background information.

sister wakes up with the roosters. she goes on a run with her two pups, climbs the tallest mountain in colorado, makes some scrambled eggs, lap swims like she’s finding nemo, bike rides the distance between my apartment in san francisco, california and her place in boulder, colorado and maybe drinks a cup of coffee. meanwhile, i’m still asleep. and you’re still asleep. yeah, it’s only 8am. this means she’s got a hot bod and doesn’t wear high heels. you won’t see her riding around in a pumpkin carriage and she doesn’t want a princess dress. and i love her for it. needless to say, the wedding was picnic formal.

after some creative brainstorming and a lot of conversation about patagonia, here was the silhouette we decided on:

dress silhouette

fabric selection: elfriede and her magic beans.

ok, so elfriede doesn’t have any magic beans (that i know of), but she should. what she does have is the world’s most wonderful, fantastical, bona fide fabric shop in all the world in every universe and the one next to it, too. ever. seriously, she even has a plaque to prove it. more seriously, she doesn’t have a plaque (that i know of), but she should.

elfriede’s fine fabrics is located in boulder, colorado. sister and one of her friends mysteriously found this haven on their search for wedding dress materials (they probably used google). it sits right in the middle of a shopping center like any other, between a farmer’s insurance branch and petey’s pet food emporium, or something similarly average. but when you walk inside, well actually when you walk inside it still looks like any old fabric shop. elfiriede holds the key to the magic (again, the beans). she’s a tiny beautiful lady with oversized glasses and an endearing accent from that place just next to the ussr and south of neverland. she immediately knows what you need before you whisper a word. she doesn’t push or judge or look at you like you aren’t good enough for her fabric shop (which is what usually happens to me, despite the fact that i shower regularly and am good enough for every fabric shop). she dances around her fabric like she’s one of my favorite character’s from roald dahl‘s stories. (as it’s been over a year since i’ve seen her and i can’t remember what she looks, i naturally imagine her as a quentin blake illustration). she has everything from swiss imports to classic liberty of london prints. i hope to be her one day.

right from the get go, sister knew what she wanted for the dress. she knew that she wanted a fluid silhouette, v-neck front and back, and she knew she didn’t want a full-on white dress. at first, she didn’t want a white dress at all. she wanted maybe a floral, or an off-white, or something with a pop. she picked a gray/blue/white large print floral from elfriede’s.

i went back with sister for a second time to review her choices. i also brought along my personal assistant (thanks, mom). we decided that sister needed to start taking some risks and she picked out a few other options including a brighter, punchier floral with reds and oranges and blues.

with the priceless advice from elfriede herself, much debating, fabric a-flailing, and one thumb war, we narrowed it down to two choices. we decided no matter what we picked, we were going to do a white overlay, because unlike steve martin, sister just isn’t a wild and crazy guy. we picked a basic clean silk/cotton poplin weave and a subtle silk/cotton swiss dot overlay. cotton was the obvious pick for all fabrics involved because of the barbeque ribs and pie that were bound to be consumed (and thrown…food fight on the lawn anyone?) at the wedding. we took swatches home (thanks elfriede!) and i sketched out some options for placement.

so we ended up with the riskier, punchier floral and a swiss dot overlay. now i could go into all of the details of pattern making, fitting, sewing, re-fitting and re-sewing but that’s really not very exciting. i used a sewing machine and it went, “vrooooom.” and sometimes, “ptttt pttt ptt.” and occasionally, “could we take a break? i’m exhaused.” the point is, it all worked out.

drum roll, please:

slightly belated but still whole heartedly- happy one year anniversary to sister and hubby. more importantly, happy one year to the dress. xo.


3 thoughts on “the wedding dress.

  1. Wow! This is lovely!! I’ve gotten a lot more into sewing lately and I’ve been debating making some clothes but I’ve been procrastinating and this is such a motivation! I mean…this is gorgeous!! And such a special memory to be able to share with your sister 🙂 I love how nontraditional yet subtle and gorgeous it turned out. I’m not a very traditional person but I’m also not very over the top so I think this is a perfect balance of unique and elegant! Fantastic job!

    • wow thank you so much! i think it’s so easy to get sucked into the wedding craze and end up with a dress, wedding, etc that is over the top and not what you really wanted. i’m glad my sister was able to stick true to herself. she really is just an awesome tough chick and i’m glad we were able to work together and create something uniquely her. i’m happy to say she wore the dress again for her one year anniversary! you should absolutely try out making some clothing! it’s challenging but rewarding. and keep me posted-i would love to see how it turns out!

      • I completely agree, that’s one discussion I’ve already had with my boyfriend and family..I do not want a huge wedding! I’m in love with the simply beautiful things (that are also simply beautiful on the budget!) I love that she was able to wear the dress again! Can you imagine someone wearing a normal ballgown around on their anniversary? The image is making me giggle…And I will definitely keep you posted on if I make some clothes! Trust me, if it actually works out I’ll be screaming and bragging about it from the mountain tops!! 😛

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