Sunday, February 17, 2008

29. Surprise Visitor!

Coming into this 3-day weekend, my goal was to get all of the organza underlining pieces hand-stitched to the silk satin and all of the silk satin pieces cut out. Then I would - finally! - be ready to begin assembling the real dress. :)

I was a bit worried about how long all the hand-stitching would take... As if she could read my mind (although more probably it was because of reading this blog!), Barbara, a very dear and long-time family friend of Susan's fiance, Matt, called me up out of the blue and offered to come and help! As an accomplished quilter, hand-stitching is one of her strengths, and I was all over that offer as quick as a bee to honey! ;)

Well, I did have one concern - letting her see MY hand-stitching... What if she passed out from horror and shock, and, while falling to the floor, hit her head on the corner of my cutting table and had to be rushed to the emergency room? I could just imagine trying to explain it to Matt... "You did WHAT to my Aunt?!?!?"

So, I did warn her ahead of time, and she generously made the almost one hour drive out to our house to spend Saturday afternoon underlining with me. We had never met before, but we clicked instantly and had a delightful afternoon.

When she arrived, I wasn't quite ready to begin attaching the organza to the silk - I had to make sure it was on grain and deal with ironing before we could start pinning.

As you may remember, in order to figure out the grain on the rayon and organza, I began by making a small snip near one cut edge and then ripping the fabric. The silk satin, on the other hand, declined to rip, so I had to use another method - thread tracing. I still started by making a small snip, but I used that openning to access a thread, and then I pulled that thread all the way through the entire width of the fabric.

Once the thread it was out, it left a "cutting line" that indicated the location of the crosswise grain. (Sorry for the blurry pictures - I haven't figured out how to get my camera to focus on close-ups.)

Once I carefully made the cut, we checked the grain. It looked really good! That's the last fabric for the dress and I am so thankful that I didn't have to mess with trying to straighten the grain on anything!

Next up: pressing. It turned out to be incredibly helpful to have a second person there to help with the mechanics of dealing with 6 yards of silk satin. We got it wrapped on the pvc pipe and worked out a nice system of ironing. We ironed on the back of the silk and used a large organza scrap for a press cloth - Barbara managed the fabric and moved the press cloth around and I did the actual ironing.

Then we started the pinning. I had us work on the (large) back skirt pieces, because I figured I could do the (small) bodice pieces pretty easily by myself. Barbara had lots of good advice from her quilting experience - for example, she showed me how to do a special knot and how to use a needle threader.

We got one back skirt piece completely stitched to the silk, and the second back skirt piece pinned and stitched up the middle. I finished stitching it later that evening, so both back skirt pieces are done! Yea! :)

It was a truly delightful afternoon - Barbara brought a small album with pictures of some of the quilts she has made for friends and family and I was just blown away! On top of her technical skill, she puts an incredible amount of love and thought into designing quilts that suit the personality and passions of the person she is quilting for...

And now she has put some of that same love into Susan's wedding dress. That makes two of us, and I'm pretty sure that when two people who care about you put love into your wedding dress, that makes the dress magic... ;)

Thank you, Barbara!


Susan said...

I am the luckiest girl EVER! Wow - what a wonderful surprise! I'm really glad the two of you met too; Gwen and Barbara, you are two of the most caring, kindest people I know!! The dress IS magic!! THANK YOU!!!

Vicki said...

How wonderful! I bet that made the afternoon a fun experience and moved the dress along nicely.