T Minus 2 Weeks

I have some advice for you. If any of you ever decide to get married and if any of you ever have any choice in the matter, do not set a wedding date within two months of moving house. Don’t do it. Just don’t.

And if you do, don’t say I didn’t warn you.


The Ceilidh Dress – Puckering Hell

, if you’ll excuse my language.

I am having a nightmare of a time trying to sew uninterfaced silk taffeta without it puckering like crazy. Yes, my top tension’s reduced. Yes, I’m using a size 1.5 stitch length, yes, I’m sewing slowly, and yes, I’m down to a size 10 needle. I still get this:

That inside seam is now unpicked (again) and frayed beyond repair. I’m going to have to insert a 2 inch wide vertical strip in the back of the bodice because I don’t have enough fabric to recut the pieces. It’s a design feature, don’t you know? (Actually I think it will look quite cool like that anyway.)

But the question remains as to how to stop the fabric puckering quite so atrociously. Option one is to interface, either the whole of the back bodice or just the seams. Option two is to try and procure a size 8 microtex needle and keep my fingers crossed.

I’m leaning towards option two, but of course that means getting to a sewing shop and I can’t because I’m at work (doing nothing) all day. I’ll be going within a mile of my favourite sewing shop tomorrow actually, when I head out for psychotherapy, but it’s not open on a Wednesday because it’s That Sort Of Shop. So I’m looking at Thursday at the earliest before I can start sewing on this dress again.


What I really need is a day off in business hours to gather supplies and put some serious time in, but I’m not going to pull a sickie. This trying-to-be-honest thing is a pain in the backside sometimes.

Ethical Choices

We’re trying to make our wedding as ethical as possible. Actually, that’s a lie. We’re trying to make our wedding as ethical as possible within the scale of what we want and what we can afford and without getting obsessively guilty about it, which as I’m sure you’ll appreciate is something slightly different.

Nonetheless, we have tried to keep an eye on these things. A good example would be the people we’ve chosen to have as our caterers. Our remit was that we wanted someone who would do vegetarian food, who would be able to cater for vegans and at least the fairly standard set of allergies, and who would be able to do more than just a finger buffet – I get grumpy very quickly when I get hungry, and my wedding day will be no exception!

Local is better, naturally, but we compromised on Nottingham (~50 miles) in order to have these people, who are a community association helping socially disadvantaged people through their organic allotment volunteering schemes. Sounds too good to be true? That’s what we thought. The thing that pushed us over the edge was the fact that if you want, they will come and serve you out of their solar-powered converted 1970s camper van! Oh yes! We are not, alas, going for this option – we decided on reflection that a sit-down meal might be that bit more practical.

In other news, our vegan-friendly wedding cupcakes are being made by a woman who we discovered at a local ethical fair who donates 100% of her profits to animal charities (we’ve chosen the Sumatran Orangatans), our plates and bowels come from here*, and we’ve been lucky enough to have both wedding and reception venues within easy walking distance of both each other and good public transport links.

To put a slightly different slant on things, my wedding dress may not be re-used but it did come from a one-woman independent business. The wedding reception venue is a church-based community centre on the edge of a public park. Not sending out paper invites may have saved us money but it will also have saved us a heck of a lot of paper.

To an extent, we’ve gone for all of this because we are left-wing hippy liberals and that’s just the sort of thing we like anyway. But to an extent it is about practising what you preach and making choices that you genuinely feel are right for this world. I think that once again we are reaping the benefit of feeling the freedom to do things differently.


*Though yes, I do appreciate the fact that there is a bit of an ethical minefield with this sort of thing. Reusable versus compostable. Natural materials versus natural destruction. Proximity and transportation. Third world trade versus third world exploitation. Is there even such a thing as an purely ethical choice? Probably not.

T minus 4 weeks


The Ceilidh Dress – Princess Victory

Remember that I ended up with two pieces like this for the top of the ceilidh dress bodice? And that the aim was to stitch the red lines together in a single smooth seam?

I appreciate that it’s not entirely clear from the rather cack-handed Inkscape illustration, but essentially the point is that I have been trying to insert an angular seam with a sharp point in the middle into a nice smooth curvy seam, and do so right-sides together so that they curve the same way, completely counter-intuitive to one of the fabric pieces (as for a standard princess seam). Plus it’s in silk taffeta which marks permanently any time a pin so much as goes near it.

Clear as mud, I appreciate, but any sewist reading this will currently be wincing and going “You’re trying to do what???”

So it is with great pride and enormous pleasure that I show you the right-hand side complete. I used every trick in the book – I cut my seam allowances down to 1/4″; I thread-basted by hand; I notched and clipped; I sewed reeeally slowly and pressed it on my tailor’s ham. In the picture I’ve got it sat on my knee to demostrate the 3D curving effect (as this part of the bodice will be covering a, erm, 3D curve). It isn’t nearly as puckered in reality either.

Oh yes! Now to do the other side the same…

Confetti Confessions – The Reply

(This started off as a comment in reply to a blog of Flix’s, before I realised that I was over a month late in replying and it was kinda relevant for here anyway. So go and read the original, maybe, and its comments before reading this. In my defence, I’ve been busy planning a wedding :P)

I think I always knew that being able to get married would be amazing, but I honestly couldn’t see it happening to me just because I honestly couldn’t imagine finding anyone perfect enough to want to spend the rest of my life with. I think the whats and the whys and the hows suddenly fell into focus when I found that person – not least when I realised that I was going to be able to have a Quaker wedding.

(It’s not that I couldn’t have had anyway – non-Quakers can marry Quakers in a Quaker ceremony. But it would have felt funny for me not to have had a Quaker ceremony, and would probably have felt equally funny for a non-Quaker to have done things in ‘our way’. I didn’t intentionally fall in love with a Quaker, but I’m glad it’s worked out like that from a large number of points of view.)

And as soon as you are having an unconventional wedding by most people’s standards anyway, it liberates you to go the whole hog and be damned with tradition if there’s a particular tradition you dislike. So my father will not be giving me away, we will not be cutting a cake (after J told me about the symbolism!), and all of the speeches will be joint because I don’t see why it’s only the men who should have the say.

At the same time, it’s important to keep the traditions that you like – you only get to do this once, after all. I think I’ve mentioned on here before that despite the Quaker testimony to simplicity and the traditional implication that in my case would be frankly inaccurate, I discovered that what I really wanted to get married in was a white princess dress. So I will, simple as that. I once joked with my second/ third year housemates, long before I got with J, that if I ever got married then I would ban posh hats and fascinators at my wedding. “You can’t do that!” they replied, horrified. Well just watch me!

One final remark in relation to the comments over at Flix’s. You think that everything is going to be kept terribly simple and inexpensive and stress-free because your wedding’s going to be different. I point at your naïvity and laugh 😉


What goes on hen do stays on hen do 😉

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