Posted on October 31 2022
A mother's love has many forms, but one that sticks with most of us the rest of our lives is her devotion and selflessness. Actions speak louder than words and this is clearly reflected in Dawn's dedication to crafting her daughter's wedding dress. Here is one such story of a mother's love.
Hi, my name is Dawn. I’m a homemaker. I have 3 kids and my elder daughter just got married!
3 generations in one photo.
I’ve been sewing for as long as I can remember. As a preschooler, I’d watch my grandmother sew. She allowed me to use her sewing machine so I would cut out mini versions of her blouse or trouser patterns and sew those for my dolls.
Soon after, I’d have all sorts of sewing projects, stuffed toys, dolls, clothes for my Barbie dolls. I loved to experiment with different designs, so I’d scour through magazines, malls for designs that I could sew for my dolls.
I started sewing again when my daughters were young. It’s wonderful to see little girls in frilly dresses. When my daughters were young, I’d sew party dresses for them. This time though, sewing for little girls was different from sewing for dolls. For example, comfort was key so seams and edges were hidden, and fastenings reinforced for rough play.
I’m not sure who first broached the idea of me sewing her wedding dress, but whatever it was, it was an excellent idea. It wasn’t just about buying jewellery or gifts, this was more personal, special and from the heart – therefore the idea of sewing my daughter’s wedding dress was born. Sabrina is my eldest, and it’s wonderful as a parent to see how she has grown into an independent young lady. Which is why I wanted to do something special and personal for her wedding.
Dawn with the wedding dress she made with her own hands!
My first challenge was right after I bought the fabric. I mean, I know how to sew, and I was pretty confident of carrying it through. But I also realised that this time there was very little wiggle room for error. Thoughts of things going badly kept intruding ever so often, would she be ok if the fit was bad, would it be too late to buy a dress at the last minute.
So that was when I realised that probably, I was just a little bit in over my head. I just didn’t know where to start. I had the beautiful fabric on the table and I didn’t dare cut it for fear of making a mistake. I also didn’t know how to draw a paper pattern. That’s when my fingers started working and I found Fashion Makerspace. The date suited me and I enrolled myself in a basic dressmaking course. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It covered the gaps in my knowledge. I was then able to start my wedding project with more confidence.
I had a model who was always available. My daughter was pretty adaptable as well. So if something really didn’t work out, and I suggested something else - if there was a good reason enough, she’ll say, “Fine, it’s good.” She was very clear about what she liked and at the same time open to feedback on design and material so it was an easy and enjoyable collaboration.
She wanted something clean, fitted with an open back to “show off her muscles”. We visited some boutiques but most of the dresses there had too many bells and whistles which didn’t match that classic, simple vibe she had in mind.
The one liberty I took was embroidering a biblical quote on the inside of the dress. It was a meaningful and personal message and it embodied the gift of the wedding dress from me to my daughter, and after that was done – I knew the dress was completed.
A wedding dress and a memento at the same time.
Functionality was important for my mum so her dress incorporated design and ease of putting on, for example, wide neck, looser fit, Chinese buttons in front instead of a zip behind as she found it difficult to reach behind her back.
My mother’s dress was a little more challenging. Shareen (the trainer) mentioned that chiffon and silk was tough during the course. I didn’t realise how difficult it was. [Laughs] I made two sample dresses first to test the cut and fit, and therefore only had to contend with the fabric when I made the final piece.
Some details have to be hand-sewn.
My mom was happy. When she tried on the final piece, she was quite pleased with it and she asked to take a picture with it. So I knew that more or less I nailed it.
Dawn and her eldest daughter in the wedding dress she made.
I find joy in the actual conceptualising, the creation, the cutting of the pattern, the trying out the different ways of making it. So the end result really is just part of the satisfaction. It’s not just a matter of buying a dress. There’s fulfilment in the process, the whole process itself. You learn every step of the way. And finally, it becomes a piece that you can call your very own.
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