Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sarah's Hat

As I said in the previous post, Sarah's wedding hat was also mine.  I had kept it in the top of the closet for twenty years.  I loved it the day I got married, but I had no fantasies that my daughters would want it.  Hats had gone out of fashion for weddings almost immediately after I got married.  I think I was riding the last little wave or may have even missed the trend altogether.  To be honest, hats still haven't come back, but when your girl decides on a steampunk wedding theme, you get to ignore current fashion trends with great abandon.

My hat had a veil that went past my knees in the back and a huge, leftover from the 80's bow on back.  The lace trim on the edge is the same lace that was on my dress.  It's easy to do things like that when your mother makes your dress and you trim your own hat.  I started with a blank white hat.  My sister and a family friend helped me wind on all that ribbon and tulle.  We hot glued on the fake flowers including a little bunch on the underside of the brim.  I loved my hat even if the weight of that monstrous bow and veiling tried to pull it off my head all day.

It's obviously dated now and it most definitely wasn't very steampunk, but the basic shape worked beautifully for a Victorian-ish wedding.  It's not perfectly time period appropriate, but steampunk is all about taking that aesthetic and tweaking it to your taste.

Since my daughter spent the summer working full time, I had the fun of retrimming the hat.  I removed the massive mess off the back and the ribbon twist from around the crown. The fake flowers  and lace stayed.

I made an eyebrow veil that covered the whole hat with tails that reached about shoulder blade length.  Over that I added a 20" ostrich plume.  That was interesting.  I had never worked with feathers before so I had to do some research to know how to form the plume so it bent the way I needed it to on the hat and how to attach it to the hat so it wouldn't fall off.  (Steam!)

She adored the hat.  It worked beautifully with her dress and looked very steampunk even if it wasn't a top hat.  The plume was just fantastic.  I ordered it off Amazon and it came pretty quickly and well packaged.  (Well, the packaging was ridiculously over sized, but the plume arrived in perfect condition.)   It's attached to the hat with both thread (at the front) and hot glue (at the back.)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

My Daughter's Wedding Dress

Like I said, my girl got married this month.   She and her husband have been good friends since seventh grade.  Last summer they started dating. They were engaged in March.   It was a quick time to put together a wedding, but it worked best with their schedule to do it this summer.  So we hit the ground running and I spent the summer up to my eyeballs in wedding prep. 

Sarah wanted a steampunk wedding.   Ashton didn't want anything too over the top or costumey.   We decided on a steampunk lite or, as I would explain it to friends, steampunk meets English garden party.   The steampunk aspect did get her this dress:

And from the back:

 We used a Butterick pattern for the bodice but heavily altered the fit and cut the neckline up so it looked better with the corset.  The patterns for the Victorian apron drapey parts, the skirt, and the awesome bustled petticoat are all from Truly Victorian.  I loved working with those patterns.  They were easy to follow for the most part.  We did make some alterations.  I did not sew the aprons into the dress.  They were made as separate pieces like the corset.  It made it much easier to sew the bodice and skirt together and install the back zipper.  With the corset over the top, you can't even tell it's not all one piece.   This way she can also take the apron and corset and use them with another dress for a steampunk costume of her own.  

The aprons were slightly modified from the original pattern.  I did two aprons with the top apron cut 6" shorter than the bottom.  We used Skirt A that already had the double sash.   I used a ribbon to finish the top edge and added a hook and eye to fasten them together.  And then since I ran out of time, we had to safety pin the back edges so they came together properly.  Ah well.  She can sew so she can add a hook and eye there too when she gets time.

The dress was made from a lovely ivory duchess satin.  It draped beautifully and was the perfect weight for the dress.  The corset and aprons are a shantung (Joann calls them blackberry and taupe.)
I'm sad to say we had to do the whole wedding on a very tight budget ($2500) so the fabric was purchased at Joann with a coupon or on sale and it's all polyester.   The fiber made it harder to work with, but it fit the budget.  Her ensemble cost around $300 including boots, hat trimming, fabric and patterns.  

She wore my wedding hat that I retrimmed (like a good Victorian woman.  Redo it to fit the new fashions.)  I'll do a post soon on the hat.  I've got before and afters.  Shaping the ostrich plume was an interesting experience.    

One of my favorite things we did for them on their wedding day was send them off on a picnic.   After the ceremony we did family pictures and then sent them off by themselves while the rest of us had a light dinner.  Sarah's grandma bought them the adorable hamper as a wedding gift and one of the bridesmaids packed it with a delicious meal.  I had the lemonade bottle already in my cupboard (yea for hoarding!) We just had to remove the labels.  Crisco worked beautifully for that.

The photographer followed them to the park for some private couple photos and then left them alone.  They had 45 minutes of together time before they came back to the party.  It was a good break from the crowd and the hectic schedule.  The guests were so busy eating and mingling that the bride and groom weren't even missed until 15 minutes before they were due to come back.  

It was a lovely day and Sarah and I were both very happy with her dress.  

*the photos were taken by the incomparable Jyl Read of Jyl Read Photography.  It's a lot to ask a photographer to drive 6 hours to shoot your daughter's wedding, but in this case, it was worth it.  She was amazing.  

Monday, August 11, 2014

Our very own Weeping Angel

My daughter got married on Saturday.  We did just about everything ourselves and yes, that's where I've been for four months.  I've done a lot of crafts but I haven't had time to post any of them.   

One of my favorites was a spontaneous thing.  My husband and I were looking around a local thrift store for things to use as table decor for the wedding when I happened upon this lady:  

Isn't she just horrifically tacky?  That Iron Man-esque outfit, the vines picked out in green, she's just crazy.  But she's also perfect for a weeping angel.  See how her hands are posed and her head is tilted down like she's just barely uncovered her eyes?  Scary.  

So I bargained the thrift store lady down to $15 and brought her home.  We turned her into this:

The paint job was pretty easy.  We started with a flat spray primer in medium gray.  Then I painted her all over in a light gray acrylic paint.  Using a dry brushing technique, I added shadow and weathering with a deep charcoal grey mixed with a bit of chocolate brown.  It's pretty easy; you just want to lightly load the brush and then brush some paint off on a scrap of paper.  Then lightly brush the paint in the creases.   I paid special attention to all the places where rain would drip down and turn the stone darker.  I think her eyes could have used more attention, so I may go back and fix that later.  

The flecks of paint were added by dipping an old tooth brush in cream and chocolate brown and charcoal and then flicking my fingers over the brush.  It got a bit heavy with the white, but the tiny flecks really give it a stone look.

It may have been easier to just buy a can of stone finish spray paint, but I prefer the custom, varied appearance of the hand painted look.

She's one of my very favorite things we did for the wedding.  She stood guard next to the gifts and not one was stolen all night.  I think I may have heard of a guest that disappeared unexpectedly, though . . . .