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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Dress and I - A Love Hate Relationship

In March I was elated. I thought planning would mean that I wouldn't be one of those brides stressing about last minute fittings or alterations.

In May I fretted about how fragile the lace bodice of my dress was.

In June I was excited. There was a simple, inexpensive fix that would strengthen and support the fragile lace - Power Mesh Fabric.

Well now it's July. Now I'm worried. Why? Timing, a tear, and some raveling. The plan was to reinforce the lace next weekend - the first weekend of August. Between the decision to reinforce the lace and when we'd actually do the work, I was just going to be super careful with it during my corset fittings.

Flash back to last week. My third corset fitting. We were double checking the fit of the corset under the dress. We were being super careful - I mean super super super careful. The kind of careful where you hold your breath, where you inch into the dress carefully supporting all of the material so that there's no way the bodice will be strained.

You can see where this is going. I mean, heck why didn't I see where this would end. Not well. The lace tore.

So the upside. At least the lace didn't tear when we were saying our vows in front of our Rabbi. Joking about a wardrobe malfunction and experiencing one are two totally different things. (It wouldn't have been as scandalous as the famous Superbowl Intermission Wardrobe Malfunction - we designed the corset to ensure that.)

More upside. After consultation with the experts at Lacis in Berkeley, there's a way to hide the tear, finish the edge of the lace, and reinforce the lace bodice. We can use the lace from the sleeves of my mom's dress. (You don't know how happy I am that we decided not to use the lace on my hat and veil.) A lace expert is available. She can fix the dress before the wedding in October.

The downside? It's a lot of handwork. And it's work that can only be done by an expert. Put those two things together and it might be quite an expensive fix. Hopefully only a couple of hundred dollars. But... if I want the fix to look intentional. That is to not look like a fix at all. It will be expensive. Why? Because right now the bodice also has lace applique. To finish the edge AND match the applique can be done. There's enough edge from the sleeves so that the front of the bodice will match the back (original unmodified). And there's enough pattern that we can match the applique. It just requires a lot of skill. And a lot of hand stitching.

So you're probably thinking - why bother? It's just a dress. At the end of the day it doesn't matter what you're wearing when you say "I Do." But see here's where you're wrong. It's my mom's dress. We haven't always been close. We worked on this together with the designer. When I put the dress on for the first time - her dress unmodified - she smiled a real smile. My mom doesn't always smile from the heart or the soul. And here she was smiling a real smile. A smile from the heart and soul for me. Maybe she's smiled this way for me in the past. I'd never seen it. And I actually didn't see this smile in person. Scatha captured this moment with her camera. And that's when I saw my mom's real smile.

So why is this dress important? This dress is important because it signifies what was always true but that I hadn't always known. It signifies that my mom loves me and has always been there for me even when I haven't seen it.

And like my relationship with my mom which hasn't always been easy. There was never any way my dress would be easy. Relationships take work. Foundations must be strengthened over time. This dress is more than a dress. It's a reminder to me to continue working to strengthen my relationship with my mom.

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