Sunday, December 12, 2010

An Unexpected Reaction

As we sat in church yesterday (after her first reconciliation) waiting for mass to end, I leaned over and quietly asked my sweet little girl, "Do you know what fabric I'm using for your Communion dress?  I'm going to use my wedding dress!" with a big smile on my face.

At which point she promptly started crying.  She thought that I would be sad to cut my dress, and didn't want to be the reason for my sadness.

What?! I thought she'd be excited (like me), and it never dawned on me that she wouldn't want to use it for her communion dress.  And then I remembered how disappointed I was that my mom cut up her wedding gown to make my older sister's baptismal gown, and that I never got to see either the dress in person, or the baptismal gown for that matter.  I suddenly realized that I never considered my daughter's feelings in my plans for one of the most special dresses in her life.  Crap.

When we got home, I opened up the garment bag, and spread out the dress and the train on my bed.  I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief seeing that the train is constructed with plenty of satin.  I don't know how to photograph it to show you, but there's the long train (lace cut outs) part, and it continues around to a shorter side (that faced into the back of my dress) and attached to the back of my dress.  See?

So, I called her in, and proceeded with extreme caution...
"Honey? First I need you to know that the most important thing to me is that you are happy.  I'm not sad to cut my dress for you, so please don't worry that it makes me sad to cut my wedding dress.  Someday, you'll be a grown-up, and you'll get married, and I think that you will want your very own dress.  But, maybe you might want to use part of my dress for yours. If you don't that's okay, too.  Maybe you'll want to buy your dress in a store.  We don't know what will happen, because it's very far away, right?" (I emphasized the "very far" part!) "Number 1 is that you are happy.  And I am not sad.  Got it?"  Head nod.  Ok, proceed...  oops.  The phone starts ringing.  I go answer it, which takes a few minutes, and when I return she ahs questions.  "Where did you get your dress?"  "It's so pretty..."  "Was it expensive?"  "You were so lucky to have such nice dress, Mom..."  Wow.  How did I get so lucky to have such an awesome kid?  I answer her questions, and can see the wheels turning.  She likes the fabric, the lace, the pearl beads...

"Ok, we have 3 options.  Are you ready?
Option 1: We don't cut any part of the dress or the train. We put it away and someday when you get married, maybe we'll use it, and maybe we won't.  But we'll make your Communion dress out of some other fabric."
"Option 2:  We don't cut the dress, but we use the train instead.  See? There's lots of fabric.  So much fabric, I could cover you from head to toe... twice."
She's under there.  Promise.
"And we'll put the dress part away.  Again, maybe we'll use it, maybe we won't.  And see the lace on the edge of the train?  We can use that on the bottom of your dress, too."

"Option 3:  We use both parts, and cut the dress and the train for your Communion dress.  I think that when you're a grown-up, you'll want a dress of your very own, but maybe I'm wrong."

"What do you think?"  There is a brief pause (the wheels are still turning, but I can tell, she knows what she wants), and says, "I think we should do Option 2, use the train, but not the dress."

Phew.  Compromise!  Works for me.  Everyone is happy, and when I show her the Vogue pattern, she starts telling me where the lace will go.  I love having a daughter, and I especially love having mine.
The underside of the train, where I'll cut most of her dress from.
Now, how to get started?  I'm thinking I'll start snipping the threads that are attaching all the trim at the hem.  I don't think I want to jump into making a muslin yet, the girl is still growing and April is a ways away!

In addition, my "flowergirl" (who is now a college freshman), gave DD her flowergirl dress for dress-up, but it's too small.  In excellent condition, we will use the over-skirt of pearl-studded tulle for her veil.  I think I'll edge it in satin, too...

As an aside... the embroidery business is in full swing, with about 65 sweatshirt orders.  Friday at school was fun, seeing teachers and students all over the building wearing my stuff!  I'm officially a trendsetter (in my little world)!


Jane M said...

What a special, touching post and what a thoughtful, sweet daughter. I think this will be a project that means so much to both of you. And also, what a terrific use of all that fabric!

a little sewing said...

That is a great story. You do have a very sweet and thoughtful daughter. This is going to be one very pretty dress!

Mariela Alethia said...

What a great post and a great way to use all of that terrific fabric!

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

What a wonderful compromise! I'm sure you will get an amazing communion dress from the train and the flowergirl dress. But I'm thinking you should be prepared for the fact that your daughter will either wear or use the majority of your wedding dress for her own. And how fabulous will that be that two of the major occasions in her life will be blessed with your wedding dress!

Jodie said...

Great post! I've got a 12 year old (boy) of my own who has recently developed quite an interest (and opinions) about his own clothes. I'm proceeding gently and with caution. I have always sewn most of my own clothes, and odd pieces of his. He now has more opinions and likes to see the whole process BUT doesn't want anything to look homemade! Such fun!
I'm a teacher myself and have 5 days left hang in and enjoy your break.

Gail said...

Sweet story and I'm glad that your daughter retained the option of wearing her mother's wedding dress one day. My friend wore her mother's dress and she felt so special and connected with her mum and what her mother had taught her about how to love.

Michelle said...

I love the pic of her wrapped up in the train. How cute is that??

Bunny said...

The picture of your daughter in the train is just priceless. What a mature young lady. You have worked this out beautifully.

Irene said...

Wonderful solution. It will be interesting for you what she will be saying when she gets to the wedding gown stage of life. For years my daughter said that she wanted to wear my dress. Now an adult, having to at least start thinking of what she wants in terms of a wedding dress - mama's dress is not part of the picture. (Size alone dictates that.)

Cheryl Designs said...

HI :) Just a thought, I think the train might provide MORE usable fabric in the future for HER potential wedding gown. The skirt of your dress looks like it would provide an ample amount of fabric for her dress. Yes, she may never marry. Yes, she may want a wedding dress that's entirely 'her own'. I can picture using your train for MOST of her future wedding gown if she would like to do that. Satin is satin. The lace at the hem and the trim and beadwork are the important aspects of the project :) Remember THIS matter HOW you store your WILL yellow with age. That's just common, no matter how well you store a white wedding gown. If you keep it dry and at a relatively comfy temp...think 70 degrees, alittle more or less.. it won't age badly.
I think it's great if you can get TWO heirlooms from YOUR wedding gown :)

Elaray said...

I am always amazed when we adults get to see inside our children's minds and they express what they are thinking and feeling. Your daughter is very sweet and considerate. She made an excellent choice.

glorm said...

Your gown is beautiful.

It's a good thing you mentioned your plans to your daughter. You hadn't thought of it earlier, I hadn't, and I don't believe any of those who commented on your previous did either.

Her dress will be lovely no matter what the final decision is.

mimi o said...

How lovely!!!!

I just spared my wedding dress from the disaster of a faulty facet on our tub which leaked water into the closet where my dress has been stored the past 25 years.

When I saw the outside protective cardboard box all wet I was in tears thinking the dress was ruined. But thankfully the inner gold storage box was all intact and nothing had happened to the dress. As a precaution I took the dress out of the box and hung it just in case there was dampness in the box thus getting into the dress.

While the dress hung in my sewing/daughters room I pondered this very thing. Why was I keeping this dress??? She would want a lovely dress to call her own someday and not this one for I custom made my own gown and she would surely want something different.

As fate would have daughter called from Alaska right after this happened. I told her my sad but glad story and asked her the same thing....why am I keeping this dress? I was taken back by her response...

Why Mom...I'd like you to make my dress someday when I get married and would like it if we could use your dress in some way in mine.

She just melted my heart just as your story has done. Aren't Daughters are a wonderful gift?

Looking forward to seeing your daughter's dress and what a wonderful thing that you included her in the decision making process for you have created a new dress that has a very special meaning of its' own.

amber said...

I love this post so much! :) Much as I think it would be lovely to eventually make a Christening gown from my wedding dress, I'm not sure that I would actually go thorugh with it for this exact reason. You have a very sweet little gal on your hands - I think she's a keeper! ;)