How To Sew A Wedding Dress Essays Examples
Explain why you chose the occupation.
A wedding is a time of transformation for a couple in love. The white color means purity and the wedding dress itself is a symbol of a woman leaving behind the princess and becoming a queen entering womanhood. It’s no wonder that so many women every year go to the expense of finding the perfect garment for their special event, when the eyes of every person present at the ceremony will be on them.
The actual act of sewing a bridal gown can be arduous. While there are similarities to constructing any other article of clothing, the decorations and sheer volume of the dress can be daunting. However, the seamstress of a wedding dress knows she is creating not just a piece of clothing, but a memory. With every stitch, she is shaping a moment in a woman’s life that will remain with her forever. The responsibility is important, but the seamstress who constructs a wedding dress does so knowing it will be loved for a lifetime.
When I decided to marry my sweetheart, the first visual that popped into my head was how I would look as I walked down the aisle during my wedding. The guests would be gathered and all the arrangements finished, but when the music starts and I am prompted to begin my entrance, this is when the wedding truly starts. Of course, the dress would be white and long and beautiful. While I didn’t have an actual picture of it in my mind, I knew it would have those three descriptions applied to it. For month, I thumbed through magazine after magazine, looking for the perfect one. Some were outrageously expensive, but I had enough money to get one that would meet my specifications. I began to visit the bridal sections of stores and even went into specialty shops. As the day grew closer, I was beginning to worry I would have to settle for one that wasn’t quite right. I considered having one custom made, but I still didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted. My fiancé would tease me, “It’s just a dress!” and laugh as I went into a tirade about how important it was.
And then I found it.
It was perfect: a cloud of white tulle with a short train that would follow me down the aisle. I could wear my hair up with a tiara on top of curls. It fell slightly from the shoulders and nipped the waist with a string of pearls. It glittered and shone and I loved it. It didn’t exactly fit, but the seamstress lovingly made the adjustments and it became the bridal gown of which I had always dreamed.
My wedding was perfect and my gown was perfect and I will always have the memory of that day. The pictures all show my beautiful wedding dress and, for just awhile, I was a princess. It lies now in a special box, waiting to see if my daughter thinks it will be the dress for her. If not, it will always represent for me the day I married her father and began a chapter of my life that defined everything that happened afterward.
Because it was such a special event for me, I decided I wanted to learn how to sew a wedding dress. I knew how to assemble everyday clothing; my mother taught me as a child. But the process of creating a bridal gown seemed rather daunting. I wasn’t working when I decided to learn how to make a wedding dress, so there was the possibility I would become a specialized seamstress. Only by testing the water would I decide if this was a career choice for me.
Describe how you located the resource people or tools needed to learn the new task.
I started by asking to apprentice with a seasoned seamstress who specialized in wedding dresses. She was referred to me by the shop where I bought my gown; she supplied a number of their gowns, particularly special-order or customized ones. Mary was happy to have the company and assistance. I offered to pay her for the training, but she told me that when she was learning to sew bridal gowns, the woman who helped her also did so without cost. Mary said she was happy to pass it along and teach me without charge also. Maybe one day, I will have the opportunity to train someone in specialized wedding dresses for no cost.
Describe the process you went through to learn/develop this new tool as an adult.
We started by spreading the fabric over a huge table adequate to keep the material off the floor. The material was smooth and soft against my fingers and Mary would laughingly say, “Stop feeling the material and cut it, already!” The scissors were extremely sharp to keep from creating snags and I had to be very careful to keep the lines straight as it sliced effortlessly through the fabric. When assembling the dress, we used pins that were very fine and sharp so they wouldn’t make permanent hole in the cloth and I was so very careful not to prick my fingers and bleed on someone’s wedding dress. The pattern pieces were enormous and had to be ironed before they were placed on the material to prevent distortion from wrinkles. After we decided where they had to go, the pieces were shifted and measured and shifted and measured. They had to align perfectly with the grain of the fabric so the dress would lay right and move correctly. After we cut the pieces out, we basted them along the seam lines and pre-assembled the dress on the dress form, a headless mannequin standing in front of the window. Everything had to be checked repeatedly for accuracy before the dress was placed on the sewing machine with a very long arm to allow for the volume of the dress to pass between the needle and the machine.]
Discuss how you felt while performing this occupation (did you feel uncoordinated, did you feel your skill improved- tell it as a story.)
Assembling the material was not so different from any other garment aside from the sheer amount of it. But when we draped it over the dress form and began to add the embellishments, the character of the outfit began to come to life. Mary told me that every dress is different, made for one special person to wear one special time. She and I worked a long time on the gown and at times it was hard. We had to bend over that huge table, reaching and stretching across it. Of course, we couldn’t eat or drink while we were working for fear of spilling or getting something on our hands that would transfer to the dress.
As we were working, I drew a correlation between sewing clothing for everyday wear and sewing the dress for the most special of occasions. Making clothes for myself, my husband, or my children is a labor of love. Working as a seamstress making alterations does appeal to me at all. When sewing for my family, they are a necessity but they are also a labor of love. I think they did appreciate the time and effort I put into giving them something new to wear. But when a torn knee in a pair of pants or a grape juice stain on a white blouse condemns the garment to the trash, it’s not a traumatic event. If a wedding dress is destroyed or lost, it’s a monumental heartbreak.
Discuss your personal thoughts and experience while learning the task.
At first I was afraid of making a mistake and we would have to throw out acres of gorgeous material. I was so careful, Mary even asked me a few times to move a little faster. But I became more confident the longer I was involved in the project. Sometimes, Mary would ask my opinion about the placement of a button or the position of a drape and it would hit me that I was making a wedding dress! After that, I knew I was getting the hang of things, and as my confidence increased, so did my speed.
Discuss whether this occupation fulfilled a personal goal.
The dress form had been set to the measurements of the bride, but she came in for an initial fitting after several days of work. She was so excited that I became excited with her. Her mother was with her and the four of us were smiling from ear to ear as we got the first glimpse of what the dress would become. Mary and I used our sewing pins to indicate a few changes, but otherwise it was coming along nicely. When the soon-to-be bride took the dress off, I was assigned the job of making basting stitches to loosely hold the changes together until we could sew them permanently on the machine. As I did so, I thought, “I’m making a wedding dress!” and could barely suppress a giggle.
Finally, the dress was finished. The dozens of embellishments and appliqués were hand sewn in their designated places. Mary stood back from the dress form, frowning and walking around it. She decided to make a few more additions before we both stood back to critique the finished product. We stood motionless, our arms crossed, as we squinted and frowned and evaluated for any possible flaws or missing spots. With a sigh, Mary turned to me and said, “It’s finished.” We smiled and hugged and looked at the dress a little more. It stood before us as a testament to the creativity associated with a tradition. I had an idea of how the bride would look as she walked toward her future husband, but more than anything else I wanted to fix in my mind the image of the first wedding dress I ever created (with some help from Mary!).
Learning how to sew a wedding dress had been a goal for me for some time, but I had never taken the time for it. I often ask myself what prompted me to find Mary and offer my services in exchange for the instruction. I think, truthfully, that I was just ready. I had reached a point in my life where I wanted to give something special to someone else; someone who was a stranger because sometimes that makes the gift best of all. Making the dress for a friend or my daughter would be different. Making the gown for someone I don’t know is truly a selfless act.
Discuss how this occupation fits into your personal life roles (is it typical or atypical of your normal life role.
I rarely sew anymore. When I was growing up, making clothes were less expensive than buying them. Having store-bought clothes were a luxury. Besides, I had one-of-a-kind outfits that fit perfectly. Unfortunately, it’s easier now to run down to a department store and pick something off the rack. Material and patterns cost more than an outfit you can throw away if it becomes stained or torn. If they don’t quite fit and the color isn’t exactly what you wanted, the convenience and price compensate for it. We are so busy with our lives that the time it takes to sew a blouse or a dress just doesn’t seem worth it.
Discuss how it personally enriched your life.
I’ve sewn other wedding dresses and while it isn’t a full-time occupation for me, it remains one of the most important activities I do. True, creating that mound of shining satin and sparking lace is a hobby for me and not a profession. But I can proudly tell people that I can sew a wedding dress. I have photographs of the gowns I’ve sewn during the pinnacle of their presentation and I look at them every time I haul out my sewing machine and unfold the big table. I still help Mary with some of her projects from time to time. I never see it as work. It is a privilege to discover the dreams of a woman, put them to paper, buy the pattern and fabric, and put the dress together.
Sewing wedding dresses may be an occupation, but it is not a job. It is the opportunity to be a part of someone’s most precious moment, to give her the chance to become, if for only a short time, a princess turning into a queen.
Anon. (2015). How to Make a Wedding Dress. wikiHow. Retrieved 23 February 2015, from
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