Anna Hergert, Art & Design

A Wedding Dress Story

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Recently I noticed a Freshly Pressed blog post by Seamless with the heading “Would You Ever Sew a Wedding Dress for Someone?” This brought to mind a flood of not so distant memories. Late last year I agreed to my daughter’s request to make her wedding dress.
Let me set up the scenario a little: She is an athlete and believes in minimalist living… i. e. sharing a house with half a dozen people, turning every penny twice (maybe this is partially due to her student loan resulting in a master’s degree from a foreign country?) and is a staunch supporter of recycling. Why did I mention this?

Here is the surprise – After a brief mention that she would be getting married during the summer of 2012 and my offering to consider making the wedding dress she sent images for inspiration of what she thought would be a nice start for a dress. The first link that arrived in my inbox within days turned out to be an image of a dreamy and stunningly beautiful Vera Wang dress with large rosettes covering the skirt, the edges skillfully stiffened with horse hair… The description on a designer’s blog included the insight that the new trend in wedding dresses has a focus on “looking as good exiting the church, or place of entering into the commitment, as when you enter the space…”
After some careful deliberation and without too much haste I told our daughter that my artistic sewing skills did not include such complicated processes. Fast forward to two days before Christmas 2011 – We spent three hours in a Calgary fabric store selecting a pattern – the choice was a mermaid style dress.

And just for fun I want to give your imagination a workout: The vows will be exchanged at sunrise. She will arrive by canoe. How does one say “no” to an only daughter’s request and yet find it impossible to put the picture of a capsizing canoe with a wet bride clad in silk and sheer fabrics emerging from a lake in eastern Ontario? The mother of the bride smiles… assures the bride that “it can be done” and proceeds.
Since we live several hours by plane apart I knew that regular fittings would be difficult. Several hours creating a “duct tape dress form” provided much laughter and entertainment for the whole family including future in-laws. At home the form was fastened to a metal stand in the studio.

All appeared organized and I was awaiting the orders to start on the muslin in time for a first fitting while traveling through Toronto in May. The OK was not forthcoming. A sports injury prevented the bride from continuing her regular rigorous workouts. Her mood somewhat bleak, and her repeated statements that she had put on “a lot” of weight had me waiting patiently for the go ahead email… which never arrived.

Slightly panicked myself due to a full teaching schedule and various deadlines for exhibitions I put my position on the line in mid-May. I basically conveyed my concerns about leaving such an important sewing project to the last minute… I don’t do “last minute” well – just ask my husband!
It was agreed that my visit to Toronto would include time to look and possibly shop for a wedding dress. That proved to be very trying and stressful – for both of us! But, never give up hope: Approximately five minutes before I was to depart for the airport we found a dress that captured her undivided attention.

The wedding dress plan changed within a matter of moments. She settled on a dress we found in a “previously loved” designer wear store (how fitting is that for someone who wants to preserve preserve our resources?). It is lovely! It is short (to the knee), cream colored, crocheted and best of all it suits her perfectly. Along with the groom in his handwoven poet’s shirt they will be comfortable climbing into and out of canoes.

The wedding is taking place tomorrow at sunrise (6:19 a. m.) – and I am that much calmer as I didn’t have to sew the dress! Thanks for indulging me while I share an important event from my personal life.

There will be no further posts of the wedding – partially to respect the happy couple. Today’s images will have to suffice of Nicole holding her dress, trying on the hair adornment and hand-knitted silk shawl while Greg is wearing the handwoven silk and linen shirt for the first time.


Since the wedding photographer has a website and posted selected images of the event I feel it is OK to share the link with you here.

This entry was published on August 23, 2012 at 6:24 am. It’s filed under Repurpose & Re-Create, Reuse, Special event, Special Project and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

21 thoughts on “A Wedding Dress Story

  1. You are my inspiration , I possess few web logs and very sporadically run out from to
    post .


  2. After searching the bridal shops in Winnipeg over 40 years ago, I came home and retrieved my mothers’ wedding gown from a trunk. Tried it on and made my decision. She purchased it in England during the war, not too many choices then. It still hangs in a closet in my house. Maybe someday one of my grand daughters (the newest one just three weeks old) will choose to wear it again. Thanks for sharing your story Anna. I believe BUSY is your middle name.


  3. You tell the story well Anna……I sewed my own dress ( 35 yrs. ago now ) and was married in a field surrounded by vases of cat-tails and garden flowers! Your daughter is fortuneate to have such loving support from you as I know what kind of a schedule you have!


  4. Liz Bayne on said:

    What a lovely story from the mother of the bride!
    It reminds me of my daughter’s wedding 20 years ago as she and her husband to be kept bringing the date forward as their university graduation crept closer. As a teacher I could not see how I was going to sew this wedding dress in time.
    A day at Laura Ashley’s in Toronto and the perfect wedding dress was found.
    Thanks for sharing your story


  5. Anna and Colin…..have a wonderful day! It looks like the weather will be beautiful!
    Congratulations to Nicole and Greg!


  6. Linda and Bob on said:

    We appreciate the visual insights into the shirt, the dress, the hairpiece, and the shawl. (interesting box-container, too.) We admire your ability to do a calm posting today. My Mom and Dad were married August 24, 1924 — you can imagine the ’20s cloche-hat straight-dress look of the times. Dad’s dad was the Anglican minister performing the service. To each era and couple their own way of making it special.


  7. ekhaugli on said:

    Congratulations Anna. Enjoy your day. Sounds like many lovely memories will be made!


  8. ekhaugli on said:

    Congratulations and enjoy this special day!


  9. Marie Rhodes on said:

    Anna and Colin,Happy wedding day thanks for keeping us so informed. Marie &Ted

    Sent from my iPad


  10. My son is marrying his beloved on Saturday – garden wedding, weather looks fine. You show me yours and I’ll show you mine!


  11. Rita weir on said:

    Come on Anna. You can not tease us like this. I want to see the dress on , the shirt on and the canoe and don’t forget the shawl. What is the MOB and FOB wearing. We need to know. Have a wonderful day and congrats


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