Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


Ooh, I'm so happy for you! Sons are wonderful, as you know, but now you're getting a daughter and shopping co-conspirator! I loved reading your shopping story, nothing like an excellent shopping day to make women feel that all is right with the world!

By Blogger Catherine, at 6:22 PM  

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Wednesday, December 01, 2004  

I came down to the computer today full of giddy thrilling gladness, prepared to write all about a perfect day. I will still do so, but I’m a tad bit sobered - in a good way - mind you, by some posts I read in different blogs&forums. I always do my reading before I start to write, because it’s such fun to see what way I am moved by what is going on in my little cyber world. First hint of where my mind should focus was a monthly horoscope about winding up the old year and preparing for the new - and just where Thankfulness fits into the picture. Then I read two posts about thanksgiving, one reflective, about the author’s thankful feelings for her warm group of friends. The other was a more poignant and emotional outpouring of thankfulness that the author’s son walked away yesterday from a serious car accident with only minor injuries. Both of these posts reminded me that first of all, say Thank you.

And how thankful I am. My goodness I’ve been showered with blessings. If I began counting them up right now I might still be sitting here tomorrow. And while I was going to start out with a paean of gratitude to Hera, goddess of weddings, the real thankfulness goes to the great one, the source, the YouKnowWhoYouAre.

Certainly the WeddingFairy was on GD’s shoulder all day yesterday and since we were side by side all day I got plenty of fairy dust on me. The first bit of good news was that the Flower Maiden Dress was available in the size 8 and would be delivered in 5 weeks. Right. No more dragging those girls through dress shops. So we were primed for success. The plan was to go back to FabricMecca and pick up the rest of the wedding dress fabric. Nothing else was really on the agenda, but we both had the day off and were open for other opportunities. G Street is having a store-wide sale right now, 25% off all fabric - even wedding stuff and we made a beeline for that.

The lovely manager who waited on us last month was there and smiled with happy recognition. We pawed through the fabric bolts till we found the silk taffeta. I had not taken it’s width last time, so had done my calculations for 45” fabric. Happy me to discover it was 54” wide - thered’be room to play with both the laying out and the skirt width. This was also good, since it looked like someone had been shopping with this bolt since our last visit. There didn’t seem to be a lot on it - though it looked like enough.

Enough, that is, until the clerk unrolled the fabric.

Imagine the horror on our faces when we saw smudges, dirt marks, all along the selvage - and what looked like a wheel track in one spot about a yard and half down the length. I suspect that wedding dress shoppers attract a lot of attention at GS, because there suddenly seemed to be half a dozen people clustered around us offering suggestions, help, and phone calls to the other stores. How long to order in a new bolt? (Eek! 4 weeks. No.) Did another store have a bolt? (Yes, but dang, the one in Maryland!) Was there another fabric suitable? (Almost, but not quite)

We looked hard at that fabric - all vanilla scrunchiness of rustling silk. There was a Dupioni that was lighter, but still with that bit of scrunchiness that GD has in mind, but it was slubby and since it is going to be next to her skin she wasn’t sure it would be comfortable. (Just an aside here - it would, because silk warms with body heat and softens to the touch, but that just might make the dupioni go a little limp, too.)

We looked harder and flipped the fabric over this way and that, noting if the smudges showed on both sides. There was almost 8 yards of the stuff - and not all of it was smudged - actually, only here and there. The asymmetry of the dress means that each piece, and there are 8 of them, must be cut out singly. Taffeta is a reversible weave, a smudge on one side, that didn’t show on the other, could be hidden beneath the lining. We only needed 5 yards of this stuff.

We looked hardest of all, spread a little organza, similar to the fabric we already have for the overdress across the back of the worst of the smudges. A rescue ship of an idea rose above the horizon. Brows knit, whispers passed between Bride and Seamstress. A firm jaw, stern eye, the question was asked:

“How much more will you take off if we buy the whole bolt?”

An additional 10% on the day’s purchases decided us and that $50 a yard stuff was bought at $32.50. Another yard of silk charmeuse for the petticoat’s top layer, and several spools of glorious silk thread to sew it all together, the zipper (which I will beg Dicky Brooks to sew in for me) and the interfacing all went into the bag and we will have a very chic, very pretty 100% silk Wedding Gown for under well $600, which just thrills this cheapy old Virgoian heart.

Feeling triumphant, our carefully wrapped package in hand, we both realized we were starving. It was only 1 o’clock, and with mission accomplished we headed off for the food court. How different this mega mall was from the last time we visited. There was no one inside - which is exactly how we’d thought it’d be on a Tuesday. Lunch was a giddy laughing festivity. Bride was happy to have had such a tactile pleasure and confident that her dream dress was going to occur. Seamstress was happy to realize that half the trouble she was having making the muslin was caused by the crummy fabric. Just handling the silk had swept away huge piles of angst inducing doubts about her ability to pull this project off and reassured her, not only of her abilities, but of the rightness of being a fiber snob. Natural fibers really are much easier to work with - be they spinning, knitting or sewing fibers.

But Hera wasn’t through with us yet. It really would be foolish to be next to all those Nordstrom shoes with Wedding Dress fabric in a bag and not just have a look. It would have been criminal to have passed it up yesterday when a single pair in the sale rack twinkled out from among the dark leathers. Taupe silk embroidered with crystal beads with the cutest ankle strap? It was as if they were calling GD’s name. The dress will have all it’s splendor in the richness of silk, the texture of shirring along the bodice and the asymmetric line across the hip. There is no ornamentation on the fabric whatsoever. So little sparkly beads glittering from beneath a silken hem are like a secret surprise. The sale price can remain a secret too - but there was one.

So now, two really happy women were beginning to almost giggle as we chattered and touched and pointed our way out of the shop. Best of all - it was just 3 o’clock - we would probably miss most of the rush hour mess.

“So - is the headdress still in the shop in F’burg?” Seamstress asked.

“Yes” said Bride.

“Well, let’s pick that up on the way through town. No point in delaying and besides, it might get bought by someone else.”

So down 95 we headed, back towards our guys. Not 10 miles down the road a serious traffic jam developed, but our guiding Goddess had her hand on the steering wheel. We were by an exit, we were on the exit, we took Route 1 the rest of the way to Fredericksburg. By 4 we were at a little dress shop that sells French gowns and accessories and had collected the magical headpiece GD is wearing in lieu of a veil or wreath. It is the bit of Funk she wants to add to an otherwise very elegant simple ensemble. To describe in a way that would convey its effect would be impossible but when I am ready to do photos I’ll post one. LD has been educated in the ways of fashion, he likes it. BD is still a neophyte - actually not even that far along the road to fashion comprehension - he has other great gifts and talents and understands that he need only smile.

So it wasn’t yet 5 o’clock and I asked the proprietor of the dress shop about wedding invitations. We only have 8.5 weeks to go. I knew the kids were really agonizing about them. We’d had fabulous Wedding Day Luck already, why not go for broke? A few blocks down the street, a prettily decorated street full of Christmas cheer, was a darling stationary shop; The Write Touch. Bride knew what she wanted, it was just that, paper, like any other fiber, is difficult to buy without touching - and she hadn’t yet been to a stationers. Fortunately, the owner of this shop recognized her - and, when she saw us in the Wedding Invitation Room, broke into the happiest of smiles.

“A wedding? What are you looking for?”

“Something classic with silver. Not too expensive.”

“I know just what you want”

And she did. In one hour we had selected paper, typeface, linings; the invitations will be ready in 1 week, thermopress, not engraved, but as Bride said, she was ready to spend money on her guests, but not that much on something they’d just throw away. These are not people who need to be impressed. They’re friends, for goodness sake, and family. Besides, the invitations still aren’t exactly what someone would call cheap. I’d say - mid-priced.

The young darlings haven’t yet got the exact wording down for the invitations, but they probably hashed that out last night. A final, exact count of the guest list needs to be taken as well. But the stationer will take a fax or an e-mail of the wording and put in the order as soon as the darlings have it. After we left I asked Bride how she knew the shop owner and she laughed and said they used to see each other at a coffee shop in town and since Bride is a chatty sort they developed one of those acquaintances where you never learn the person’s last name, but you feel like friends.

It was 6 o’clock now. Time to pick up Texas Chili for the Boy Darlings and head home. We were back by 7, walking on clouds, pulling out our treasures, modeling shoes and headpieces, stroking fabric (the Boy Darlings could only touch through the plastic, they hadn’t washed their hands yet). I stood there, watching this oh so rare and feminine moment take place in my house, and was reminded of all the years we’d come home from shopping trips with mama and put on a fashion show for daddy. When you have sons, you miss that sort of thing. It was so cute to watch the Boy Darlings' faces, all tender and soft and melting. I’ll admit it - sweet tears glistened in my own eyes.

How thankful I am to have this opportunity to have such a role in this wedding. Circumstances have just turned so that I get to be almost a M-o-B as well as the M-o-G. I didn’t have a wedding when I got married, and as I said, wasn’t too keen on them anyway, growing up. I don’t regret it either, but I sure am having fun with this wedding. I am so grateful to be where I am. So thankful and so open to receive this gift. Who would ever have thought so many blessings would shower down on me?

posted by Bess | 6:52 AM