I have found my 35week pregnant self caught up in a project that once again, is way above my paygrade.
Somehow I let my talented seamstress aunt Terri talk me into taking on a project that I had previously only entertained the idea of hiring someone else to do. But I guess she caught me in the right moment and with enough “Oh I am sure you can do it!” comments I was moved to go that very day and buy a pattern and begin to rip apart the seams of my wedding dress in the mission to sew a beautiful baptism gown for the new baby (and any subsequent babies and on and on for generations, right, this is how it works?)
But there’s nothing like carefully dismantling your own wedding dress to cause one to reflect on the stories already associated with that dress, so I thought I would write some of them down. And hopefully in the near future, a before and after post will be possible featuring the new gown.
During our 7 month engagement I had ideas that I would like a simple wedding dress. I had no intention of spending more than a few hundred dollars and even that seemed like an insane amount for a dress. But being the first of all my 5 sisters to get married, I was happy to plan a date with my Mom and sisters and wonderful MOH to a fancy Bridal shop to try on dresses and have that whole bride-to-be experience. Mary, my friend who was my maid of honour, planned the day for me (there’s a reason why I picked her!) and we visited a shop with lovely dresses, thousands of dollars outside my price range, but it was fun! And in a very cliche moment, I saw a dress on a rack that was nothing like I had described any interest in, but I just had to try it on and once it was on I knew it was “The ONE”! Let me tell you, I was dying inside by being so unlike myself, and all the sales people assured me there was barely barely enough time to order it because the wedding was GAH! only 6 months away… not to mention the additional thousands of dollars that would need to materialize out of thin air for me to be able to buy it.
Anyway I went home and talked to Brian about it and considered what to do. This was really a problem I had never anticipated because I did not think I cared about this kind of thing at all. I really am RARELY this kind of sentimental. I kept telling him that, but at the same time could not get that gown out of my mind. But was not willing to consider
I finally came across online marketplaces where brides resell their dresses. I only found one place where MY dress, by the Canadian designer Jade Daniels, in the size I needed, listed for sale by a woman in the UK who had worn it in her Christmas wedding a year prior. Second hand and with shipping it was still considerably more than I had initially wanted to budget for a wedding dress, but it was much more reasonable than brand new + alterations, so we made it work and the beautiful dress arrived and my kind wonderful talented aunt Terri, the same one who inspired my sewing confidence last weekend, worked her miracles of the seamstress variety to make it fit perfect.
So many memories of that happy day in the perfect dress. But I knew it had really done its duty and my non sentimental side came back. I didn’t even consider the crazy amount of cleaning and preserving it, and it is HUGE so even just saving it as a “my daughter can dress up in it one day” was not really reasonable. But the idea of turning the silk and lace into a smaller, more keepsake-able baptism gown really appealed to me from the beginning. It’s only taken three babies but hopefully it will be completed in time!
Not that I mind, I love tradition and family heirlooms and history and all that. And NOT having our own baptism gown to use thus far has been a blessing in that both Clara and Hugh were able to wear family heirloom gowns of their ancestors.
Clara was baptized in the family heirloom gown from my dads side of the family. It is more than 100 years old and has been worn in dozens of baptisms of members of the Moroney family. Including my own father, grandfather and great grandfather. It is in very delicate condition so unfortunately the above is the best picture I could find of the gown as we were worried and took it off her too quickly. Also it is sized for a tiny, days old baby, and my 9lb children plus baptisms a few weeks after birth made for a tight squeeze into those tiny wristbands and collar.
Hugh was baptized in the baptism gown that was originally use in my maternal grandfather Jay’s baptism. Grampa is who is nearing 99, so that gown is almost a century old too!
Both of them were also in a beautiful white crochet blanket that Brian’s mother Melissa made. (You can see it in Clara’s picture)
I am very excited about this project although, like I said, it is a stretch from the simple only-straight-lines sewing I have gotten comfortable with. I haven’t followed a pattern since taking sewing classes when I was probably 10 years old! So I am learning a lot.
I gave Clara her chance to try it on before bedtime the night I began. And then the process began. More work in progrss pictures will probably be shared on Instagram, and maybe in a week or two I will have the finished gown to show. Here’s hoping!
Wish me luck! And if you sew… come on over and help me out! I probably need it more than I know.