I am SO pleased to welcome Justine from Sew Country Chick as today’s Flashback Friday guest! She is a busy mother of 5, and shares her life in the country with us, from home decor to her amazing vintage inspired creations.
Justine is as genuine as they come, and I love that reading her blog really gives you a sense of the creative, warm person that she is. I think you’re going to love the flashback that she’s so kind to share with us today!
Hi I’m Justine from the Sew Country Chick blog where I have been blogging about sewing, crafts, parenting, and handmade living since July of 2010.
Thanks for inviting me over Abby!
I am honored to be included among the Flashbackers here! I had to think for awhile about what to write about today…..
I don’t have any relatives who sew and I don’t have any heartwarming stories about me sewing as a child. Except that one time I tried to cut up a pillowcase to turn it into a skirt and jammed up my mother’s old and underused Kenmore at age 13! I didn’t actually learn to sew until I signed up for fashion design school at age 21. While there, I learned to make patterns and drape but my sewing skills were pretty atrocious and they sort of just sped through the one sewing class we took there.. I remember sending my projects to the dry cleaner to have them put in the zippers and buttonholes!
Shortly after graduating, I was married and pregnant. I never continued with my design career or my sewing until I started my blog in June of 2010 many years later.
I was determined to finally become a decent seamstress and started sewing up a storm! But my skills were pretty rusty. Here is one of my first dresses I posted on my blog.
I called this the cupcake dress! Cute, but but my sewing was not nearly advanced enough to make a wedding dress! Which brings me to my story for today.
A few months after starting my blog I was asked by my son’s teacher who knew I had a sewing blog if I could make her daughter a wedding dress.
Well, that was way out of my league but I said yes, I would do it!
I spent the next three months eating, sleeping, and breathing wedding dresses. I had about as much confidence in my skills as a gnat but I was determined not to make this beautiful girl a target of derisive laughter on her wedding day!
I spent hours on wedding sewing forums, bought an out of print copy of Bridal Couture and took an online couture sewing class with the author Susan Khalje. I shopped in downtown LA with the bride and we finally found just the right silk charmeuse and French Alencon lace for her gown. We pored over designs until she found the perfect design and I made her a pattern for it. I had no idea how make a bustle, sew on buttons and hooks, sew an invisible zipper, make a pleated sash or sew invisible lace seams. In fact, it was the first time doing any of these techniques for me.
There were lots of mistakes or what I like to call ” learning experiences” and much was learned… Here are a few photos of the sewing project that turned me into a real seamstress. Please excuse these lousy pictures! I have learned a lot more about photography since taking them.
Creating the bodice pattern first.
Drafting the skirt pattern.
The bride’s inspiration.
How on earth was I going to do this?
Fitting the underdress.
Attaching the lace to the layers underneath. All of the lace had to be sewn on by hand.
This skirt was all wrong and had to be redone!
Sewing lace trim to the neckline by hand. I had to dye it in tea to get it to match the lace.
Two disastrous first tries at a pleated sash!
The final sash, after many You Tube videos!
The final day finally came…..
I had to admit the final result was simple stunning on her . I had bitten many a finger nail worrying it would fall apart while she walked down the aisle !
Moral of my flashback story is don’t be afraid of a challenge when it comes to making something out of your comfort level. You just may surprise yourself like I did! In looking back, it probably wasn’t a good idea to take this kind of chance in making something I wasn’t confident in, especially on such a special day as a wedding. I guess ignorance is bliss! Stop by sometime and say hi at Sew Country Chick. Or you can stop by my Twitter or Facebook pages. Thanks again, Abby!
Thank you for sharing this, Justine! That dress turned out amazing – I can’t imagine all the hours you must have spent working on it! It was fun to see all that you learned throughout the process, and is proof that practice really does make perfect!