Today was my second dress fitting, and I have to admit that I’m now really excited about it. AnitaJane has done a mock-up of the skirt and the corset, so that we can ensure that it fits properly and do any tweaks necessary before making the real thing out of silk. So today, I tried on the mock corset and skirt, along with my test veil. Even unfinished, in calico, white cotton, and cheap nylon tulle, it looked amazing.
We discussed the beading, I’ve now come to a decision about that – champagne glass pearls with ‘Siam’ red Swarovski crystals. I’ve been agonising over the bead choice for weeks now. The fabric I’ve chosen comes with fake pearls within a metal spiral floret. It looks fine, but possibly a little washed out, specially as the fake pearls are pale and plastic-y. I decided pretty quickly, so replace them with the red Swarovski crystal beads, settling on the Siam shade. But what to go around them?
Pearls were my first choice, but the glass ones I had seemed a bit too big. I found some real, freshwater pearls in two different sizes: 4mm and 3mm. Up close they looked really good, but they aren’t cheap at £5 to £6 per string (of about 170 beads). I also tried clear Swarovski crystals, small metallic beads, glass beads, and tiny plastic pearlescent beads. I beaded a swatch and have been showing it to pretty much everyone, but it everyone had a different favourite! Looking at it today, from a distance (in the mirror), and in the context of the gown it became pretty clear that the fake pearls were by far the best. They caught the light in a way that the real pearls didn’t, and seem more Elizabethan. It’s going to take about 400 Swarovski crystals, and about 2000 glass pearls, but I love beading so I’m looking forward to getting started.
All I have to do now is go and buy the materials. The pattern requires a little bit more silk than I had expected and, of course, I’ve chosen a more expensive silk for the inset panel, but it is going to look stunning.
What was surprising, though, was the decision that AnitaJane and I arrived at about the lace. I’d been wanting to make the lace for the skirt and veil, but in all honesty, it’s taken me a week to make ten pattern repeats, and I’ll need to make about 180 – 200 for both skirt and veil lace. That would mean it would take me about five months to make enough lace, which would finally be ready a couple of months after the wedding. I could feasibly make enough for either the skirt or the veil, but to have one and not the other would look strange. So we have decided to skip the lace.
Emotionally, that’s a strange decision for me, as I had really wanted to make the lace to trim my veil, and it seems a shame not to use it, but I’d much rather the ensemble work than to force lace onto it just because I happen to be able to make it. So now I have a foot of lace that I, currently, have no need for. What I might do is put it away for now, and then when the wedding is over, remove the pearls from the corset and replace them with lace. Or maybe I’ll find something else to trim with it. Seems a shame not to use it now I’ve made it.
I suspect I’ll carry on making lace now, anyway, as a hobby. Kev and I, along with our friend Chris and Syd, went to the Victoria and Albert Museum yesterday. Syd and I went off to take a look at their jewellery exhibit and the renaissance/medieval display, only to find both shut. We did get to take a look at some of the old textiles they have, including some very, very old lace. It was stunning – the thread they used was so fine, it can’t have been wider than a human hair, and the patterns were so intricate. It made my lace look big and chunky and heavy. But my work looks amazing compared to the crap you can buy in the shops, which appears to have been made by machine and is all fuzzy and, at times, almost felt-like.
But this doesn’t let me off the craft project hook. I still have a metre of embroidered silk to bead, and I have to get that done pretty quickly so that Anita Jane can then make up the skirt. The skirt, stole and corset will need further beading after that. Then, of course, there’s the tiara, the corset swatches, the veil, jewellery… In the light of that, perhaps it’s better that I’ve nixed the lace.