Fourier Analysis is a mathematical tool which can do a number of things: separate out signals from noise; help identify patterns or trends in data; filter out all unwanted data and focus on a single signal; use approximations to make generalizations; make approximations of real world signals (think electronic music); combine harmonics to get a stronger signal. That's what I'll be trying to do here!! Won't you join me with your comments?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed...

And yet another installment of ....

I have been a bit heavy with my last story and I apologize here for this. But this time I flashback for another funny (true) tale from my past.

While I have used this blog in the past to write about my wedding, I did not mention the adventure that involved the preparations for said day. And yes, this deserves its own SOS!

As I had mentioned, we got married in a civil ceremony in the city where my husband was born and where his family still lives. As neither of us is really into organized religion, we did not opt for the additional church wedding which is where the bride gets really decked out. However, since this was to be the only ceremony we planned, I wanted to wear something special for the day and as suits were a fairly common attire for me at work, I decided to wear a pretty dress. Great compromise, until I just could not find anything that really worked for me. Either too formal or too flashy or too casual. I decided I would wait until I got back to Texas to look for something there. As part of the planning, however, I indulged myself and picked up a German bridal magazine. While looking through it I found the perfect dress! A simple A-line, sleeveless shift with a lace cape overlay. And the magazine included the pattern for the dress!

Now I am not a seamstress, but knew that my Mom would help out and so this was the plan. The next good fortune came when I was walking over the local market and came across a stand selling the most beautiful bolts of lace. I fell in love with a simple cream-colored soft lace and bought the fabric on the spot. Back in Texas 3 weeks prior to the wedding I found matching cream-colored crepe for the dress and satin-like material for the lining and I was off. Now the comedy of errors that represents my sewing skills began. But I did not do too bad and only had about 3 meltdowns and tearful tantrums that required my mother's skills to rescue me. I am sure she rues the day she ever taught me to sew. But in the end it worked out fabulous.

How hard could it have been, you ask? Well, for you novices, crepe and satin are very hard to keep in place when cutting and sewing and tend to slip and slide all over the place. And both materials unravel like crazy so you have to be careful with the strings or else end up with bunches and pulls in the fabric (which I did on numerous occasions). And the pattern, while simple, had an elegant trick to it. The skirt had a "lily hem" which was shorter in the front, hitting just above my knee, and long in the back, dipping down to mid-calf. Trying to get both sides symmetrical was harder than it sounds. Oh, and of course the instructions were all in German!

The cape was also harder than it appeared to be initially. We're talking a circle with a cut on one side and a hole in the middle right? Wrong. It too was shorter in the front than in the back, which made it asymmetrical and called for very great care in cutting. I think I pinned the pattern six times before I started cutting. I even made a newspaper version that I tried on and adjusted before I took scissors to fabric. The cutting of lace is a nightmare in itself. And it had only two seams along the shoulders, but in order to sew it I had to use a layer of tissue paper in between and sew it together, then carefully tear out the tissue paper! AARRRGGGHH!! What had I gotten myself into? It finally got done and all that remained was to hand sew a thin satin ribbon around the neckline and add buttons and ribbon loops up the back. It was optional to add satin ribbon around the cut edges of the lace and so I left out that option. Dress finished!

Fast forward to the night before the wedding. When I looked at the dress hanging there I was not happy with the edges of the lace where it had been cut. So I decided to hand sew the ribbon along the edge. Now figuring that the radius of the cape was about 2 feet, that means 2piR is the length of the hem I would need. That's over 12 feet! In very poor light. The night before my wedding. I obviously had lost my mind!! But in fact it helped to calm the pre-wedding nerves and I actually finished by about 2AM.

As if that wasn't enough drama. My parents and I were staying in a hotel downtown while DH was with his family. As I was only in town for 2 nights and we were to return to Holland the day after the wedding, I only had a small suitcase with the basic necessities with me. And of course what I needed for the wedding. Following the tradition, I had "Something old" - a monogrammed lace handkerchief from my paternal grandmother who shares my first initial, "something new" - pretty new pearl earrings, "something borrowed" - I was going to wear my mother's fancy watch, "something blue" - a hand-sewn blue garter from my best friend back in Texas, "and a lucky penny for my shoe" - actually I had two, a US penny from the year I was born from my Dad and a new German pfennig from the year I got married provided by my future

I was all set...until the next morning. As I was packing light, I had thought to wear the bra I had been wearing the night before. Only when I got dressed for dinner I had decided that the black bra looked better under the dark outfit I was wearing. And I didn't pack a white one for under my wedding dress! Granted I was wearing a slip and the dress was lined, but still there was a shadow that I could see and I was afraid a strap might show as the dress was sleeveless. CRISIS!!

My Mom to the rescue. She had an extra white bra with her and while I am shaped very differently, it still worked well enough! And in the rush I forgot to put on her watch. So guess what my "something borrowed" was!!!

I don't usually do pictures, but this result deserves to be seen!

For more lovely SOS Tales, please check out our hostess this week Jenn-In-Holland at Something to Say:About Life in the Netherlands. And for previous and future installments, be sure and look at 'Twas Brillig and Walking Kateastrophe who surely deserve the blame credit for starting this addictive fun!


Jenn in Holland said...

Oh, my, my, my, my, my! That is indeed lovely and you are right it did all come out all right!
I am so glad you shared the photo. I can't sew either. I mean more than the basic stuff. Satin and Lace? NO way. You are a brave girl!

Fourier Analyst said...

I don't know about brave. Something about the whole wedding planning stuff just seems to affect a gal's sanity! You can't believe the look of horror on my mother's face when I showed her what I wanted to do!! i can't believe we actually pulled it off! (And then I go and forget my bra...what a lunatic!)

Jerseygirl89 said...

I am totally impressed with your dress - I think it's lovely and you did an amazing job. Of course, all I can sew are buttons and toe shoe ribbons.

anno said...

I love the dress -- and the picture is beautiful! You are definitely very brave, though. Don't try to deny it.

Goofball said...

you look very angellike. I can't believe that you actually made your own wedding many people can say that! It makes it so much more precious.

thanks for sharing your story!

Thalia's Child said...

What a beautiful dress - you look wonderful.

I love the fact that you knew the exact math equation to figure out how much ribbon you needed to trim the cape. That's totally something Beaker would exasperatedly tell me as I carefully tried measuring in a circle.

Robin said...

You were a beautiful bride. I can't believe you actually made such a gorgeous dress. I can barely sew a button (which must have my dress designer grandmother spinning in her grave)!

Kateastrophe said...

Look at how gorgeous you are! I can't believe you made that yourself! I love wedding pictures. Sigh.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Oh, how lovely! And there's no way I could have handled sewing any time near my wedding! (Come to think of it - there's no way I handle sewing ANY time).

Once again, I'm amazed by you!

Lovely, lovely picture!

Fourier Analyst said...

Here I am trying to tell you guys what a madwoman I was and you are all giving me compliments! (Aw shucks!!) I forgot my bra for goodness sakes!! I stayed up to 2 in the morning with the stupid lace cape! Isn't anyone laughing?

But yes, a guardian angel must have been watching over me on this project as it did turn out to be just right! Thanks to all you lovely darlin's for making me feel so "purty".

Wakela Runen said...

Such a gorgeous dress! I wish I could make something so beautiful!

Great SOS!

Kelly Malloy said...

Oh! That came out beautiful - I also spent the wee hours of the night before my wedding hemming my dress! LOL!

Leslie said...

Oh, your dress is beautiful! And it has a great story behind it.