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


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Sunday, December 19, 2004  


It’s finished! All but the hem. It’s hanging by its little ribbon loops with a sheet pinned around it to keep it clean. Yes yes yes!

Yesterday was such a productive one. Bride dropped by in the early a.m. and I did another fitting, determining the waist needed to be taken in a good inch on each side. Fortunately, the skirt is attached below the natural waistline so that is an easy adjustment to make. We pulled out all the rest of the outfit; shoes, headdress, little fur bolero - and she tried them on. Yum. It’s delicious. And the Boy Darlings fluttered around like a couple of bemused and besotted puppies. There is nothing quite so cute as drooling fallen-in-love men. Papa’s heart is as swollen as if she were his very own daughter. Son thinks he’s gazing at the sugar plum fairy princess. And I feel like Glenda the good witch who made it all happen.

It’s the strangest thing to feel utter delight when the two men, who have always been mine, get all gaga over another woman. Usually when BD gets all soppy over a pretty woman it irks me. He doesn’t do it often and it doesn’t mean anything other than the cauldron of childhood fantasy, hormones, and esthetics is bubbling a bit. He’s so transparent and, I’ll admit it, clumsy, I can’t really stay ticked off. But this same reaction towards Bride is somehow darling and precious and actually something we share. And of course, I would hope that LD was all soppy - I’d be pretty upset if he weren’t. I’ve never had that sort of attachment to him.

So, we stood in admiration while she turned this way and that in front of the mirror.

Then she asked me if I could make her something to wear on her shoulders.

I’ll confess. The thought of having to come up with more WeddingAttire made my stomach turn over. I really want to be done with the pressure. But she assures me that it is considered tacky for a bride in a strapless gown to walk down the isle without something on her shoulders. (?!?!) Most brides wear a veil but she's wearing a headdress. What I think she really ment was that it might be slightly improper, not tacky, to go so bare shouldered down the isle of a church. I’ll confess, I’ve never been a fan of strapless gowns, not now, and not any other time they’ve been in fashion. Since I know that reaction is hugely personal, not necessarily esthetically defensible, I don’t even have an much of an opinion about other people wearing them. I don’t like butterbeans either, and I’m assured by the entire rest of the world that they are delicious.

I tried to use my formidable reason to explain that if one is wearing a strapless gown one ought not to put a jacket over top of it. The point of a strapless style was that it be strapless. If one wanted one’s shoulders covered, one wore a gown with shoulders and sleeves. It was a forlorn and futile effort. Besides the fact that I can’t resist her silent pleading eyes, I, too, feel an ever so slight discomfort about all that bare skin inside a church, especially in the dead of winter. There was a pile of cut up bits of organza; leftover pieces of the original gored overskirt. I took one skirt piece and began pinning it onto her arm - it came to the middle of her back. Another skirt piece pinned from wrist to center back created an interesting sort of architectural cloud around her shoulders. Where the fabric went across the back of her neck it folded down into a sort of collar that then flared out at an angle, framing her face, creating an Elizabethan effect. Where it was joined in the center back the bottom half flared open. Two darts at each elbow allowed the arms to move freely without causing the fabric to pull across the back.

Well. She is right. This is an essential piece to the whole outfit. It must be. I know I won't be able to get it finished before Christmas, but it shan’t be too hard to put together after the holidays. And really, truly - this is absolutely necessary, now that I’ve seen how it looks. I was too distracted to take proper measurements yesterday and she won’t be over here till late today, so I can’t really put it together today - but I am going to be busy enough as it is.

We discussed jewelry and she, a subscriber to the doctrine of less is more, thought perhaps just earrings. Her headdress has little clear teardrop shaped beads in it and I have a pair of teardrop shaped Austrian crystal earrings, brought home from Vienna by LD one Christmas when he was a teen. They are the perfect touch. They will be The Something Borrowed. The fact that they had been selected by Groom for HisMother was a precious bonus.

It was hard for her to take the dress off and she spent a long time turning this way and that before the mirror, but at last she relinquished the vision and I could get down to work. Lots and lots of handsewing yesterday, but I got it all done; zipper, bodice lining, tiny rolled him in the overskirt placket opening, ribbon straps - the whole thing. It’s pressed now and hung away and today’s task will be the petticoat.

Alas, I only have white netting. I’m really flummoxed about this because I know it isn’t important if the petticoat is white, and not vanilla, but I’m having the worst time letting go of EverythingTheSameColor-Itis. Still - I’m going to make the durn thing because I can’t mark the hem of the dress unless we know how far out the skirt will stand and by golly I want that dress utterly and completely finished. One of the few tasks I can do in the evenings, unless I’m really dead dog tired, is to hem. I actually enjoy the tiny repetitive motions of hem stitches. They’re a little like the tiny repetitive movements of knitting. The petticoat is just 2 tiers of net ruffles sewn into two silk panels that tie around the waist. It’s entirely feasible to imagine completion this week.

And now, my dear friends - I know you all want to see this confection, whipped up in a frenzy of Southern hubris, but, aside from the fact that I don’t yet have a photo, I’m not altogether sure Bride doesn’t want the final unveiling to be a surprise. Nobody who lives around here reads this blog - the only people coming to the wedding who do are my mother and P, who’s catering the wedding anyway. Still, Bride may want it to be a surprise. I’ll ask her tonight and if she says yes I’ll get a picture up here in a day or two. If not - you’ll have to wait, like the wedding guests, till after January 22.

I packed everything up around 4 and, stiff with sitting so long, crept upstairs and took a long hot shower and a brief meditative nap. Afterwards we went to a friend’s house for a Christmas Carol Party. She is our resident Martha Stewart - and I mean that in all the most fabulous and complimentary ways. The Martha Stewart of her first book, not the tragic one. LauraAnne isn’t all that different from MS - with a combination of money, education and artistic skill to create exquisite food, settings, and displays. She will cater or do flowers for select events. She’s a GardenClubOfVirginia daffodil judge. Her parties are really a treat. She is the only person I know who can make a setting worthy of a magazine layout without making it feel like a prop - but like a lavish gift to her friends.

And boy was that ever the break I needed. An hour of lusty singing is almost as good as a gym workout for clearing the head. Talking with people was a perfect antidote to 3 days of hand stitching. I’m refreshed and ready to get down to business today. I believe I’ll pen her a little thank you note, and let her know the important part she played in TheWeddingDress.

posted by Bess | 7:30 AM