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  • Tuesday, January 22, 2008

    Of wedding garb

    So yesterday I had an appointment with the woman who will be sewing my dress. Basically, I brought pictures and the kimono, and she is going to take my design ideas and translate them into material. First, she'll make a pattern in muslin, which I'll try on and discuss and then we'll make any necessary changes based on how it fits, what I like and don't like, etc. Then she'll cut the kimono and sew the dress.

    And it's going to cost me about $1200. That's mostly for labor. Ouch. I already bought the kimono (all of $40) and will need to buy an obi for the back and the liner, but um, yeah, material is a minor cost. Ouchy, ouch, ouch. But I think it will be worth it. Here's why. This woman did the wedding dress for a friend of mine, who is also nikkei (Japanese ancestry). See below. I think her dress is just gorgeous. One of a kind. Could be in a designer's book. I love it.

    Her dress is made from a traditional Japanese wedding kimono, so the material is basically embroidered tapestry. Mine is crepe silk. But I will be stealing my friend's idea to use the obi as a train of sorts down the back. Although my dress will be cocktail length, I think it can still work. And that's why I'm willing to pay the bucks for the dress. Because I trust that this woman can do it right.

    But I also wanted a second dress for the reception. She said she would charge the same price for the second dress, and I just can't see spending another $1200 for the reception dress. Oh well. So I started thinking about my options.

    1. I could buy a dress off the rack. Pros: cheaper, convenient. Cons: finding one in a style I like, won't be made out of kimono (which I really want), just dealing with bridal shops/stores in general.
    2. I could have something made out of the kimono, but using a pattern. Pros: get something I want which fits me well, less expensive than a custom-made dress. Cons: trouble finding a pattern I like, having to find a seamstress who can do this well at a reasonable cost, more expensive than off the rack, lead time necessary to have it made.
    3. wearing something I already have. Pros: cheap, know I like it. Cons: not special.

    I think I'm going with option #2. I have my heart set on using the purple kimono. Now I have the leg work of finding a pattern and a seamstress. Ugh.

    I did go to a bridal store yesterday to check out a dress that I saw online and liked. Gawd was that a demoralizing experience. First, the dress felt so cheaply made, and the material was generally icky. Second, I, of course, had to take a size about two sizes larger than I usually take. Now, I understand that this is normal, that wedding gowns, etc. are sized smaller than today's vanity sizes in stores -- plus, I have a broad back and am, um, well-endowed -- but it still sucked to have to go up two sizes to accommodate my back, boobs and thick waist. Bleh. And then have the dress look, well, just frumpy on me. I don't want to look frumpy! And all of the dresses were cut way. too. low in the front for me. You're probably wondering how the dress looked frumpy while at the same time showing too much cleavage. Well, it did. Because my hips are on the narrow side, the dress just ballooned out from me and looked frumpy. Because most dresses aren't cut to accommodate big boobs, the top was cut too low. Bleh. I know that sexy dresses are what's popular now, but I don't want my cleavage spilling out, nor do I want a strapless gown.

    So that was so. much. fun. Um, NOT.

    I know it was only my first try, but it wasn't a happy trip. It definitely left me thinking that I want to have a reception dress made to fit me. I've given up the idea of designing it myself. I think it will be special enough if I have it made out of kimono. I just need someone talented enough to take a pattern which has most of the right elements in it and sew a dress that I want.

    So, this whole little adventure has been no fun. First, learning my measurements (a reality I had been denying for a while). And then having to try on dresses that were two sizes up from my normal size. And then, having those dresses look frumpy and ill-fitting on me.


    And the thing is, the only thing that I really care about for this ceremony/reception is the dress. I don't really care about the decorations or the cake or the music or any of that stuff. I just don't care. But I do care about the dress. And I have the feeling that it's not going to be, pardon the pun, a piece of cake to get something that makes me happy.

    ::grump, grump, grump::

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