Monday, November 5, 2018

Another Beautiful Bride, another Wonderful Wedding!

So, like the buses, they all come at once! I've had three wedding dresses to do this year, and each has had its own distinctive beauty, reflecting the character of each bride. What I so love about making wedding dresses, is that the girl's input, along with my design and sewing know-how always ends up with something unique, but reflective of the bride, which you can't really get with an off the peg number (and rarely will you find one of those with SLEEVES!!)
This latest one was a real joy to make, both because of the lass's lovely personality, and because of the fabric she chose which was a rich pure silk ivory taffeta, with a distinctive shawl collar made of silk jacquard with a rose pattern woven in.
(All Photos courtesy of Peter L Jones)

 The ceremony was an Eastern Rite Ukrainian Catholic one, so a new experience for many of the Bride's Latin Catholic friends. There is a lovely crowning ceremony, and I think the dress really did make the Bride look like a queen!

Below are some details of the dress, with its shawl collar and the veil which was also made especially to go with the dress. The dress had silk covered buttons with a front opening so that the shawl collar could be all in one undisturbed piece around the back.

  The veil was made from a pure silk tulle in ivory. The Bride wanted it to cover her hair fully, and we agreed it would look nice with a lace edging. Providentially, I wandered into an antique shop one day and found some lovely antique English net lace, exactly the right colour and width! This was hand-stitched in place to form a beautiful frame for her lovely face.

Many Congratulations to the King and Queen of the Day!

Monday, September 24, 2018

And They lived Happily ever After!

Some folk think I just make First Holy Communion dresses. It's not true! Here is the latest silk and lace wedding dress and pure silk veil, made for a fairytale princess (as she laughingly told me that's how the receptionists at her block of flats used to think of her..)

I don't know, I think they might be right!

(photo stolen from one of the guests fb page!)

(Anna Pimenta Photography)

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Joy and Sorrow, with Hope.

I have been asked to make a few items recently which seem to fit into the cycle of life.

A gift set to send to Australia, for a new, much longed for baby, not quite yet delivered!

The gift-giver was quite specific in what he wanted, something "Traditional" in white, but not to look as though it were for a Baptism... hence the touches of green, with elephants marching across the bib. The set is made from a very fine cotton lawn with satin weave and embroidery details, and touches of antique insertion lace, all lined in cotton lawn (apparently, it will be hot in Australia when the baby gets to be old enough to wear it!)

The next project completed was for a Polish wedding, soon to take place, but as it hasn't yet, I can't really reveal "The Dress". It's for a lovely Welsh Lassie, who's marrying a dashing Polish Gentleman! Suffice to say, it involved a lot of piecing of extremely pretty lace, and swathes of silk satin, lots of buttons and a bow!
Sneak preview! Two different laces have been invisibly joined prior to piecing the back part of the bodice. 

The back after completion!

The last item is of a more sorrowful nature. It made me reflect on how fleeting life is, and how we should all prepare for death. A widow-to-be is expecting her terminally ill husband to die soon, and wanted a special mantilla to wear at his funeral. She had a specific idea of what she wanted. As I looked at the image she had in mind, I realised I would have to cut, shape and piece together lace. It was a time-consuming project, involving a lot of hand-stitching, all around the edges of the inset pieces of lace. But I found it a very moving task to sit quietly sewing the pieces together, and pray for her and her husband and family, and contemplate my own mortality too.

The first stage of shaping the lace edging around the dotted net. It was coming out bigger than the recipient wanted, so I had to bring the edging in more.

After completion.

When I started Zelie's Roses, I had little patience for hand sewing, wanting to get things finished speedily. The more I force myself to spend time creating things by hand stitching, the more I appreciate what Zelie Martin used to do in her lace-making! I hope I'm now of a level for her to have employed me as someone who pieces the lace together, since I still don't have the patience, or skills, to actually make lace!!

I like to add all the people I sew for to my prayers; a safe delivery for the baby and mother, a joyous and Christ-filled marriage for the happy couple, and the consolations of St. Joseph and Mary to be with the dying man and his family.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Unusual Teal Mantillas for sale

Someone asked me to make them a teal mantilla. It's quite hard to find nice teal coloured lace (at a reasonable price!) There is also rather a large range of colours labeled "teal" out there! However I did find two quite different laces in nice colours.
Infinity veil with roll hem edging

Infinity veil with scalloped edge

The first is quite a delicate lace, and was only wide enough to make two infinity veils. One has a scalloped outer edge, the other is straight. As they say in the shops, once they're gone, they're gone! (I bought the last length of that lace that was available.)

Infinity veil

It was hard to get a good colour rendition of this lace. It is more blue than the other, it is also thicker, and has a lovely cotton-y feel to it. There's more of this, so it can be made into a mantilla or infinity veil, at the customer's request.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Boy Bishop!

Here are some lovely photos of the dressing up clothes I recently sent off to the Pugin Centre & Shrine of St Augustine in Ramsgate..

First we have a Grey friar:-

Next we have the Gothic Chasuble I showed in an earlier post, with its accompanying maniple and stole:-

And finally, the Bishop's Mitre and Cope - good to see the Mitre stays on!!

I love the pious expression! Maybe he will be a Bishop one day!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

First Communion Gift

My sweet Godson will be making his First Holy Communion tomorrow. As he is chuffed that he will soon be able to join his numerous illustrious elder brothers in serving at the altar, and has recently got interested in "playing" at Mass, I thought I would whip up a 'play chasuble' for him for a First Communion gift.

As he has an angelic name, I thought the angelic orphrey bands would suit - it was a huge roll of stiffened ribbon I bought, ahem, about 20 odd years ago, when my lad was a baby - in the vague hope that I would find some use for it...sometimes it pays to horde things!

It looked a bit bland in the centre of the cross, in need of a motif, and as I had plenty of red velvet scraps, what better in this month of the Sacred Heart, to place one there.

As I've been rather busy sewing lately, I didn't have much time to spend on this, and I was racking my brains for a quick solution to the flames needed at the top of the heart ….

Having just completed a dress for a certain young lady, I had plenty of scraps of the fabric lying around, and realised that if I cut a piece in just the right way, it would do splendidly...

Sweet Heart of Jesus, bless all the little ones about to receive you for the first time. Amen.

Summer Sunflowers

My Super Model decided she wanted a "Sunflower" dress, and so I ventured forth to find suitable sunflower fabric. There was quite a lot of quilting fabric, (which is not usually suitable for clothes) but not much dressmaking fabric around. Eventually, after much scouring of the internet, I came across some delightful sunny stuff at a reasonable price in my local fabric shop; such is the way of the world!  Having got the young lady's measurements I proceeded to make a "muslin" as it is known. This is basically the dress made up in a cheap fabric in the required size which is then fitted to the person, before using the "real" fabric.

The only snag was that my model kept moving around the country, so after the first trial muslin was sent to her, and photos and said muslin were duly returned, it was obvious that it would have to be re-cut and re-shaped to get a perfect fit. This is not an easy task when one doesn't have one's model to hand. A second muslin was made up and sent off, but the ensuing photos still didn't quite come up to the mark, although it was much closer than the first one - everyone's body-shape is so different, this is why buying off the peg only works for a few! However, we had dithered long enough, and as I was never going to pin this model down in my vicinity, I decided to take the plunge and make the adjustments by eye, and get the dress made up and sent off.

I was relieved to hear that it was a perfect fit - she had specified certain features, the neckline, the sleeves (which got changed half way through to a style I'd never made before, but which turned out really well) and the skirt shape. I had suggested princess seams for the bodice, as they create such a flattering line, and she ended up delighted with it.

Doesn't she look lovely, and she's even found a stylish pair of shoes to go with it!

 Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, plant, tree, shoes, flower, outdoor and nature

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Recent Shenanigans

Well, the busyness of the business has been taking over to the degree that I haven't managed to post anything much lately. So here's a random selection of what Zelie's Roses has been up to...

A winter wedding dress of pure silk

It started out as some very large circles - I am so grateful that I have my wonderful cutting room floor!

And became a very elegant flowing gown, with almost a 1940's feel...

Then to carry on the circles theme, I managed to make a couple of circle skirts for a little lady...

Who chose the teapot one for her first day back at school!

Whilst I'm also working on several altar frontals/tabernacle veils, I did manage to get this one made in time for Easter...

This was it being tried on for size, during Lent, hence the purple Tabernacle veil!

Oh yes, and somewhere in between all that I managed to pop in a set of vestments for the Shrine Church of St Augustine, and the National Pugin Centre. It included an Alb, Chasuble, Cope and Mitre.. as well as a Monk's habit. As it was to be a Pugin-esque Chasuble, I was very blessed to find just enough vintage orphrey banding to make it look sufficiently authentic....

You may well ask how I managed to do all that in such a short space of time, well, they are meant for children on their educational visits to the centre, so didn't have to be too perfectly finished, although I did spend time making sure they were robust! I hope to get some pictures of them all being modelled in the not too distant future.

And just as I thought I could settle down to some serious work on a real-life full-sized Chasuble that needs to be ready for an Ordination in June, a Bride to be in distress got in touch asking if I could make her a Wedding Mantilla Veil, as she hadn't been able to find anything big enough, and her Wedding was in two weeks' time! Happy to oblige, I fortunately had some lovely lace in stock so was able to come up with this...

Now, back to that Chasuble...(and the next Wedding dress I'm working on too...!)