When I was first asked last year, if I knew of anybody who would knit a Shetland lace wedding dress I said I would ask around. Little did I know, at the time, that I’d end up doing it myself, but I couldn’t find anybody else willing to take it on, so I thought, Why not give it a go? I love a challenge!
My first step was to meet the bride and see exactly what she wanted before fully committing to the task. She gave me a picture of the style of dress she would like and never having done anything like it before, I searched everywhere for a pattern, but couldn’t find anything suitable. Now what?
After much deliberation and use of my few remaining little grey cells, I met with the bride again and took some measurements. She had an idea of patterns she would like in her dress and chose the ‘Willow Leaf’ pattern for the bottom frill, the ‘Print o da Wave’ for the next section and we both decided that the ‘Ring Lace’ or ‘Bird’s Eye’ pattern would look perfect in the bodice. I then had to decide where to start! I thought I would try the bottom frill first and tackle it like I would a shawl, by making panels and sewing them together. I made four, as I would usually do for a shawl, but it wasn’t wide enough and so I had to make another one. When they were sewn together they formed the frill at the bottom of the dress perfectly, much to my delight! Phew!
I then had to tackle from the top of the frill up to the waist in the next pattern, the ‘Print o da Wave’, which included an opening at the back for buttons. This meant I had to transpose the ‘Print o da Wave’ pattern, so it looked the same on both sides of the opening at the back. After a few sleepless nights, quite a lot of cursing and ripping back, I finally got it to look right and was happy with it.
I got the underdress just before Christmas, so had it to copy from the waist up, which made things a little easier, but not much - luckily my tailor’s dummy was just the right size! The bodice was backless with a lace edging down both sides from shoulder to waist and I had to work two darts into the pattern on the front below the bust, so it would fit right. No easy task I can tell you! I was mightily relieved when it was finished, delivered and Rebecca was happy with it.
The 1-ply lace veil to match was much simpler, as I was back in my comfort zone, then about a week before the wedding, Rebecca phoned in a panic wondering if I could do a pair of lace ‘dags’ to match, as the ones she was going to use were no use.
I hope you’ll agree that the whole ensemble looked pretty good and she made a beautiful bride.