A Wedding Story

One of the most enjoyable things I do, in the course of my work, is making something old, new again.  From a client’s mother’s 1940’s silk-satin wedding dress and several bathrobes his dad wore, I am entrusted to build an heirloom quilt .  I have had these pieces in my care for a couple of months.  I’ve sketched ideas to demonstrate the possibilities in the client’s price range, but it is not until I begin the work, that I actually know what will become of this tangle of wrinkles.

DSCN2083I have been scrambling to finish some hand binding on another job.  I love hand-work, but the urgency to keep on schedule steals my calm.  To regroup for this sentimental journey, I spent a good hour, communing with the fabrics in the shop.

I examine the details of the dress, the buttons, which I plan to turn into a central monogram, the button loops, a scallop of handwork that I think must go somewhere on the quilt, or be lost.


The pleats in the side bustles, a store of wide fabric, folded and sewn so no raw edges would show.


DSCN2092I marvel at the handwork that has remained secure for so many years.  The discoloration of the knot, a place where the seamstress left oil from her fingertips.  I imagine how adeptly were sewn the strings of covered buttons with one thread.


scissor marks, perfectly straight lines os sewing machine stitches.


I start to deconstruct, saving the buttons, a couple of silk roses, the scalloped fretwork, the train.


I estimate 10 or 15 feet of trailing silk – a good piece for the 60″ pillar details I’m imagining for the sides of the quilt.  That should work nicely with the basket weave brick pattern I dreamt up the other morning.

Next episode: pressing, cutting, assembling


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