Sheers and Souls and Smoke

Remember the grey sheer dress? It’s back but this time in ivory…more bride-like.

Remember those huge flowers?






This bride did not want a bustle so the train will be dragged around to show off those flowers.

The addition of a teardrop bust cup adds a little to the original cup.

The front hem was shortened on the satin and lining layers and as the flowers protruded below the hem edge, I just cut around the leaves and it was just what the bride wanted.

In discussing the ceremony and the groom, the bride revealed that the groom’s parents were tragically killed 8 years ago in a car accident and they will not be there with them. When I told her that in the past I have included patches of clothing sewn into the lining of passed relatives, her eyes lit up! I said she could just drop off a scrap and I would sew it into her lining so the essence of that person would accompany her down the aisle.

Her mother was delighted and asked if a scrap from her wedding gown could be included as well to make it a real heirloom for future generations. So with that in mind they returned with this:

The would have been mother-in-law was a very religious Catholic and all that was saved from her belongings was this cross. So I sewed it to the back of an embroidered patch and added the mother’s scrap as well with her wedding date too. I don’t charge for this, it is an honor to do it.

The cross can be/should be removed before cleaning/preserving. At the ceremony, two chairs will be left vacant for the missing parents. I just choked up hearing this but it will make a statement to the rest of all the family that their souls are there to celebrate.

The National Weather Service provided this map this morning of the whole West Coast and the fires…somewhere in the middle of all that dark red…I’m there. To those on the East Coast and Mid-West moaning about getting some of our smoke…sorry…try being in the middle when you cannot see the house across the street and the dogs are wearing smoke masks.

To end on a happy note and cleaner air: here is an article celebrating a happy tailor still working after so many years:

Happy sewing everyone and thanks for dropping by!!!



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39 Responses to Sheers and Souls and Smoke

  1. Laura says:

    Great sewing as usual. See Sacramento on the map? Now move your finger a teensy bit southwest and that’s my house. I’m still waiting to go outside and breath that fresh air for ya. Our smoke made it to the UK!

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Dear, as long as the earth keeps spinning, the smoke has a path East. At least it arrives where there is rain and can be washed down the drain…we all want to see some late summer rains…where are they, Laura?

  2. Mary says:

    I feel horrible for the fire victims out west, and certainly no one that I know here on the east coast has complained about the smoke. Even though we are drowning in rain right now, we know it could be worse for everyone involved. We pray for you and the brave men and women doing an amazing job of trying to beat back these fires. Back to sewing, your link to the article on the tailor reminded me of a wonderful documentary that’s been out for a few years now called “Men of the Cloth”. Excellent life story of three Italian tailors, and what it took for them to get there. A lot of the narrative is in Italian with a translation running across the bottom of the screen, and while this takes away of little of your concentration on the film, it is certainly worthy of your time. I got it at my local library. When I requested it, the librarian thought it was about priests!!!

    • Shelley says:

      LOVE that documentary and if you’re an Amazon Prime member, it’s included in Prime Video.

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you for reminding me of the video, I will surely put that on my list. I find men’s tailoring almost magical and wish I had had the chance to do an apprenticeship with some real tailors.

  3. MichaelC says:

    Great sewing as always. Loved the article

  4. Laura SJ says:

    I’ve been a little weepy lately, and your sweet story made me even weepier. How kind you are! Regarding the fires, I hope everyone breathes easy and stays safe.

  5. mltothill says:

    I am in a smoke zone too. Today the pollution level is 6 on a scale of 0-10. Yesterday it was a 10 even with a light breeze. Today I can see further and the breeze is a bit stronger. We need some of that rain that is falling further East. We are also at drought level 4. On one local salmon river, volunteers went out to catch the salmon fry in the remaining pools to save them before the pools dried up.

    I would love a nice long rainstorm to clean the air and help with the 600 or so fires burning just in BC. This is the first year we have had them close to us (between 5 and 40 miles away) The close ones are all human caused, most often cigarettes dropped on the ground on trails or tossed from cars.

    Love the idea of stitching memories of those who have passed into the bride’s dress.

    • mrsmole says:

      Human caused fires are just so disgusting but as devastating as lightening caused one that we have. I saw a video of BC smoke and black skies right in the middle of the day and it looked like midnight…holy moley…the sooner they contain the fires, the better for all of us and the animals of the forest as well.

  6. Shelley says:

    What lovely way to remember family. Never heard of the idea of stitching memory patches in a gown, but it’s awesome.
    It’s brown outside in the Willamette Valley as well. I can’t remember it being this severe as it’s been in the past two years. The worst we had before was some smoke plumes or a bit of haze in the distance from field burning.

    • mrsmole says:

      All my neighbors that have camper vans have headed up the I-5 or to the coast but it seems there is no escaping it this year. You might as well stay indoors with smoke filters in your A/C. It has made a real difference to our house this year as I have to keep all these gowns smoke free until the leave the sewing room.

  7. susew says:

    Wonderful post- I teared up just reading about the empty chairs at the ceremony. Thank you for the spitalfieldslife link. My mom’s paternal grandfather was a tailor and she has told me a few things about watching him at work. My mom trained to be a seamstress in Europe for commercial manufacturing. She still has her graduation document with grades. Working in a factory wasn’t so nice as being a tailor/seamstress with your own shop.
    All the forest fires in US and Canada are awful to have to live through.

    • mrsmole says:

      I found factory work a real challenge as speed is the main driver and with no time for ripping out, you get to be a perfectionist whether you want to be or not. Working for home allows you to manage the techniques and timing better but with weddings, you do “sew to the date” the minute the dress is dropped off.

  8. Elle C says:

    That is a lovely story. I got teary too.

    We are suffering up here in Canada too. BC has been declared a State of Emergency with over 500 fires burning in the province and no rain in sight. Here is an article about the air quality.

    and a photo

    Let’s all pray for rain for the west coast.

    • mrsmole says:

      You must see the results firsthand in the nursing homes. Breathing is so difficult and so limited these days. Even if you cannot see flecks in the air, you are breathing in so many pollutants. Have the tourists stayed away from the valley? have the wineries had difficulty harvesting the grapes this year? How about the peaches?

      • Elle C says:

        Peaches haven’t been too bad, I believe I’ve heard about the wineries having concerns about the smoke and ash and the grapes. The harvest hasn’t started yet. Time will tell. Tourists have been going home, and I don’t blame them, if I had someplace to go, I certainly would.

        This past weekend at work, you could actually see the smoke INSIDE the building! They brought out the industrial air cleaners and all was good. We are restricting the residents access to the outdoors, it’s just too dangerous. i wear a N95 mask outside when it is really bad, it doesn’t stop all particulates but it stops some.

        Wishing you rain without lightening.

  9. ceci says:

    Wish you could have gotten the 4 inches of rain that fell here in VA this afternoon!


    • mrsmole says:

      You almost forget the sound and smells of new fallen rain from May-November…but I think if rain ever returns we will call be dancing in the cul-de-sac!!!!

  10. Martina says:

    I’m making a handkerchief for a friends daughter with lace from her wedding gown that includes pearl beads that the bride’s grandmother sewed on the gown because she thought her daughter needed more…as you say, it’s an honor to give the bride a memory of her grandmother to carry with her on her special day.

  11. Sandi says:

    Brought a tear to my eye. We need more people like you in the world to balance out all the nastiness in the world. The gown was beautiful.

  12. upsew says:

    I really welled up there, and lovely that the bride has this in her dress – once you lose the connection with the previous generation you are really lost. It will make that day so extra special. Hope the smoke abates…. these world wide weather induced conditions are frightening. We have had a good wet august here, and a continental colleague of mine is horrified (Irish weather does not suit her at the best of times) – even when I point out that our reservoirs are still too low and we are facing a fodder crisis for cattle this winter….. this wet august will at least get some wildlife balance back (cant believe I am missing seeing slugs in the garden!)

    • mrsmole says:

      Slugs gone missing? That really is cause for concern as birds eat them and they are necessary in the food chain. It is like when you watch wildlife shows and they can predict the climate changes by how many frogs are missing too. Mother Nature is signalling that we are not doing right by her and yet our politicians will not listen.

  13. Would you believe, I walk past that shop on my way to work every morning and never knew the history behind it…thank you so much for sharing this.
    Oh, and while I’m here, can I say how much I love your blog, you are a real inspiration for the humble sewist

    • mrsmole says:

      How cool is that? You should drop in and say you saw the article about him and it would probably make him smile! Thank you, Princess Leah, I only share to encourage others to take a chance at difficult things. We only learn through mistakes and ripping out. After 50 years of having to backtrack, finally I can sew without too many changes.

  14. maryfunt says:

    What a wonderful tribute to the groom’s parents. I also sew little mementoes into my custom gowns but this is special. Stay safe and I hope the fire situation improves. I enjoyed the video about old world tailoring and hope this level of workmanship isn’t lost.

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Mary! I hope everyone was about to see your skirt article in Threads magazine this month…it was so precise and thought provoking to get to see inside the dimensions and construction of a couture garment. hoping you get to do more detective work like that in the future! Your blog inspires me!!!

  15. JustGail says:

    I hope my recent comment about the smoke reaching all the way to the midwest and the east coast didn’t sound like complaining. It was intended to express how mind boggling for me to comprehend how smokey it is out west for it to reach this far. Still wishing for gentle showers for the west coast and fire areas.

    I like the additions to the dress to honor the groom’s parents.Thanks for the article on the tailor, the links at the end lead to other interesting stories about tailors and alterations people. Isn’t this is written by the same guy that wrote how he trashed the sewing machine his mother used to put food on the table, and seemed rather proud of doing so?

  16. mrsmole says:

    Yes, Gail, same writer but so nice to have an up lifting story about a man and his passion don’t you think? No harm in mentioning smoke arriving in your area…we underestimate the power of wind and how far things can carry. As far away as Japan is to the West Coast, we are still getting debris from their Nuclear accident a few years ago with help from the ocean currents. Wind and water know no boundaries!

  17. erniek3 says:

    My eyes are burning in Seattle, but my husband is getting kinda sentimental about his college days in the smog in SoCal, watching the sun disappear into the smoke. We are NOT in awful shape, my house will not burn down (well, not from a wild fire) and hopefully we’ll all get some rain they promised this weekend.
    The tributes in the dress and at the ceremony are beautiful. Bless you.

  18. Susan Hart says:

    Hi Mrs Mole,
    Susan here…WOW!…..two of the same dress altered in two completely different ways. That’s true creativity and many don’t realize we seamstresses are like that.
    I’ve also added different things to a few gowns over the years, mostly on the bodice…crosses and the like too but I like the inside patch embroidery!
    I’m currently enjoying the cool weather and cloudy skies in Crescent City on our drive down Hwy 101 from Aloha last Friday. It was nice on Saturday @ South Beach and then got cooler as we went further south.
    I wish I could send it ALL to YOU…and everyone else inside of smoke bubbles.
    Hoping to see you maybe on the 25th. I’ll call then….and if it’s not a good time just let me know…
    Take care….

  19. mrsmole says:

    Looking forward to seeing you if time permits. I edited a few words in your comment to keep my town and identity a mystery…ha ha.

  20. Tia Dia says:

    What a beautiful addition to a very lovely dress. I liked this dress the first time you shared about altering it for another client, but this one has so much more going for it! I love what you did at the front hem for the flowers and leaves.

    When I was in BC last August, we drove through Glacier Park, and stopped to watch some of the aerial firefighting across one of the valleys. And can you believe, standing beside us were a pair of idiots SMOKING?!?!?!? I read the other day that it had been determined that most of what is burning in CA was caused by human carelessness. Makes me so mad!!

    Which is why all the links in this post are so welcome. Thanks for sharing.

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