Wedding part 2: deciding on a dress

As promised I’m starting to post about my second wedding attire. I’m going to let go of part of the suspense: I did make part of it, but not all. Despite Mr Robots first forbidding me to sew my own wedding dress (or rather, speaking strongly against it). Since I always find myself to be short on time and stressing over my project when they have an imposed deadline (like what happened for the dresses for my friends’ wedding) he didn’t want me to be in such a situation while preparing my own wedding. And I tried to do as he suggested, I promise, even if as a sewing addict making my own wedding dress seemed a very exciting project!

Beautiful vintage wedding dress
(beautiful picture found on Pinterest, I don’t have the original source…)

Mr Robots wanted to have the pleasure of discovering my outfit on the D-day, so he had to know as little as possible about it in advance. Since I still wanted him to like my dress though, I collected and submitted him an assortment of pictures from the Internet, to get his feelings. The dress I was at first dreaming about: a 50′s inspired white tea length beauty, with a lace overlay all over it, a full skirt, a scoop neck and maybe short sleeves. His reactions to the pictures: he liked the feet-long dresses (“it’s more elegant, more princess-like”, can you believe it’s him who said that?!), and he found that too much lace looked like Xxx. -_- You can guess I wasn’t too happy about that… I had to find another style I liked. But one day I’ll make that pretty tea length lace dress and he’ll see that he was wrong!

50's lace dresses
(source 1, source 2, source 3, source 4)

So I went to try wedding dresses. I didn’t want to spend a lot on a second dress I wouldn’t wear often, so I gave myself a small budget. Remember how I said last time that I wanted to keep the big white dress for the french wedding? Here’s the conclusion of those first sessions: the big fluffy white dress wasn’t for me (at least, not at that time in my life). Ironic, isn’t it? I didn’t really feel them, wasn’t especially taken (contrary to my maids of honer/witnesses) and didn’t really picture myself getting married in the dresses I was trying on.

Trying on a white wedding dress

I decided to give the wedding dress shops one last chance with a colored dress I had seen online that had a little bit more personality. All the poeple who saw it loved it: it was beautiful and looked great on me, all that stuff. But while I was looking at me in the mirror suddenly it felt as if I was looking at someone’s picture on Style Me Pretty. It was really nice indeed, but it didn’t feel like me. Add to that that I couldn’t see the exact color I would be ordering (brown x ivory), that the timing would be tight and that it was at the higher end of my budget, and I wasn’t totaly convinced…

Sacha Novia Soyeuse

In the meantime a friend told me about tartan wedding dresses that he saw while on a trip in Scotland. Since I have a long time love for tartan, I really liked the idea. But I wouldn’t order my dress online. And of course while browsing the Internet looking for inspiration on dress styles (to buy), my imagination started going loose: picture after picture, I couldn’t help starting to get a design idea (to make), which seemed far more exciting than the dresses I was trying.

tartan dress
(heritage of Scotland)

Through Zibuzine I heard about Volute, a corsetry and custom dress making shop that had made her wedding corset (sadly they are now closed). I got in touch with them and our first meeting went really well: I liked the shop spirit and the owner was quite excited by my project. We talked about different options and prices.

After all that I sat down to talk with Mr Robots and we agreed that the custom-made outfit was the best option. ^_^ It would be made partly by Volute and partly by me (for the simpler pieces). And I think that even if he was worried he was actually quite pleased that I’d have once again something of my own design. ;p And so to close this up here is a little mosaic of the pictures that most inspired my outfit. You can click on the image to see a larger one. The story is to be continued in a later post…


Japan-inspired book cover n°2

At last I have a completed project to share with you. And it’s one I’m quite happy with. It’s another book cover, once again for a gift. This one was for my father, who wanted his own after seeing the ones I made for other family members. It was his birthday during the Easter week-end so I decided to gift him one.

He got quite passionate about Japan when we got to live there, reading lots of books about the country, so it was one possible starting point for the cover. Especially since I still had some of this fabric, and was on a short schedule so embroidery was quite out of the question. As I didn’t want it to be an exact copy of the one I made for my husband, I decided to use the square fabric motifs as appliqués on a solid background.

At first I thought I’d just use the motifs, but it looked a little bit empty and sad. I played for a bit with the design to see what I could add, and then I realized I could use the small stripes I got left after cutting as ribbons. It was perfect: since they’re thin you can’t distinguish the motifs so it wouldn’t get too busy, and at the same time the colors match exactly! After some fiddling around I found a layout that I liked and sewed everything in place with a zig-zag stitch. In the end it adds a sort of modern graphical feel to the cover that I quite like, with the colored motifs contrasting against the black background.

Mr Robots helped me pick the inside fabric. It’s the red serge from my two-tone skirt. I feared it would be two thick but it wasn’t, and the colors look great together. I also tested minor adjustment to my pattern, to allow for thicker books while still maintaining the folded side in place: putting two elastic bands instead of the only one that’s in the pattern. They’re placed on each side of the initial elastic. If use prove that it’s better I’ll post the details here.

My father seemed happy with his cover. And Mr Robots is almost jealous, he’s starting to think he should have asked for a fancier design for his cover. ;) If you want to make one yourself, you can find the tutorial here !

Vintage inspiration: movie poster

Last Sunday we went to the restaurant with some of my husband’s family and just accross the table, on the wall facing me, was this movie poster:

Of course I couldn’t help but look at it (it’s not like anyone could miss it) and I quite liked the lady’s outfit, which felt like from the early 50s. So after a while I got up and took a picture of it. And I thought I’d share it here with you.

I really like the sleeve shape on her blouse. It was fun because after that we talked about clothes and costume history for a few minutes. And we checked the Internet to see what year the movie was released in: 1952.

As a side note I promess that I’ll share longer posts soon, I have many things to show you, I just have to find a little bit more time to edit my pictures and finish the translations.

Lil Weasel

For the opening of its online shop, the parisian brick and mortar shop Lil Weasel is organising a little game to win a gift card. It’s a cute little store in one of Paris’ roofed passaways, full of beautiful fabric, yarn (or so I’ve heard, because to be honest I don’t much about yarn), patterns and other sewing tools. I’m therefore gladly doing a little bit of advertising here to join the contest, and I’ll add it to my French shops reference list right away. And I might try to go to the parisian store soon to check those pretty swiss dot fabrics in real life (not that I really need new fabric, but they seem very nice)… ;)

Wedding part 2: Save the Date

One year ago yesterday we pronounced ourselves husband and wife for the second time. What better moment to start a journey back to the preparation of that magical day? Rather than just showing you some random pictures from the wedding day, I’d like to share how it came to life.

The ceremony corner

Let’s start by the begining. After we came back to France in 2010 we started talking on and off about this wedding. The theme we would use to decorate the reception room was chosen without much difficutly early on: autumn! We both love that season, and the beautiful autumn trees (and nice weather) that we had in Japan made our love stronger. The first wedding was in March, we decided it would be nice to have the second one in September. That way it would be in autumn, and we would have two anniversaries 6 months appart. With time the themed got more precise, evolving into a kind of slightly enchanted autumn forest. In theory, M. Robots really wanted that wedding to happen, but in real like he was quite scared of organizing such a big event. Months went by… Then in June 2011 one of my best friend got married. It was a wonderful ceremony, full of emotion, and it got me going. I realized I really wanted that wedding, and I wanted it as we imagined it now, not as we would do it in 5 or 10 years. M. Robots got no other choice than forget his worries, and we started looking for a venue. In the end fate had us get married in March again, because of one of our witnesses (kind of a maid/man of honnor?) lives in the US and we had to do with her schedule, plus deal with the availability and price of the venues. People were therefore quite surprised by our theme (“Autumn in Sring?!”), but we didn’t see why we should change our plans just because it wasn’t the present season. ^^

Japanese autumn

We decided to do as much as we could by ourselves, so as to cut down on costs (the official reason) and because it was more fun (my own personnal reason ^_^). That included the paper stuff. I’m no designer but since I was a little girl I liked drawing, so I was happy to have an excuse to get back to it. Save the Date are not very common in France yet, you usually tell people about your wedding over the phone or by email first, and then a few months in advance when everything is settled you only send an invitation with all the details (which, funnily, is called a “Faire-part”, which would be closer in meaning to “save the date” than to “invitation” ^^; ). Since I started reading things on the Internet to prepare the wedding I discovered the concept of the save the date, and I loved it and decided we would have one. It’s way nicer to tell people about your wedding that way! Once we got the venue booked I got to work, but had a hard time deciding what it should look like: include some sort of mini us or not, what to show of our lifes, tastes, of who we are, what we do… Plus it had to be inside the limits of what I could actually draw. At the begining of September I got a design inspiration that I shared with my husband, who liked it and thought it should be our basis.

first sketch

There were too many living creatures on this first version. They were things we like, but they made the design look too much like a mix of pop-culture references and less personal. We decided to remove them and keep only the nature/decor elements, that would create the feeling we wanted to convey and be more neutral so as to let the Save the Date be about us.

paper version

After the final version was mostly done on paper I scanned it to add colors on my computer. Since we both studied computer science it made sense for us to send all the paper things by email (except for the grand-parents who don’t use the Internet much). It was a hard work for me since I’m far from being a master in computer illustration, but I managed to get something we quite liked, even if it’s not perfect. Our forest being a little bit of a magical place, it also contains shells (as M. Robots grew up by the sea). And you can see that in the end I kept a small white Totoro because it injected a quiet little bit of life that blended well with the rest of the design. Some people recognized it for what it was, others didn’t know about it but still guessed it was a forest spirit/creature, and others still thought it was a kind of a rabbit. It was funny. :)

Digital version without text

Then we had to work on the text itself. At first when we started organising the wedding I was thinking about it as an event that only concerned us as a couple. It was our marriage, our big day. I didn’t think much about what it could mean to our parents. And then I came to realise that it was a big deal to them also. After all, it’s not everyday that you children get married! Even if it’s not their day, some of them wanted to help, to take part in the making of this thing that was so important to us. That made me revise my thinking and try to find ways they would feel included and could help if they wanted. That also included the invitations texts, even if I didn’t want the traditional thing (“Mr and Ms XXX are happy to announce the wedding of their children” sounded too far from who we are and what this wedding was). I think that the event being a second wedding in a not so common situation, and us being older than the first time, gave us more freedom and imagination and the will to express who we really are. I had thought of adding nice books to the table decor because they’re pretty and we both love books, and it added a whimsical/fairytale feel that would be perfect for our strange little forest. Since my husband’s mother and my grand mother are/were working in public libraries, I got the idea one evening of writing the Save the Date as a kind of book release announcement. M. Robot really liked it, and most of those whose advice we asked in advance were enthousiastic too. In the end it gave us the following:

Final Save the Date

It reads like this (I removed the real names and locations):

“Hear ye! Hear ye!
My-family-name and his-family-name publishing are introducing…
Lholy & Mr Robots
The wedding ~ part 2
On Saturday March 31, 2012
At Town-of-the-wedding
To be followed in the invitations…”

So here is how our personalized Save the date was born. People responded really warmly to it, which was nice. It eventualy inspired all the other paperware, which you’ll discover later. In the next installment I’ll start talking about my outfit. :)