20th Century, Sewing

My wedding dress: the fabric

I went wedding dress fabric shopping in the spring and summer of 2005.

It was not a good season for bridal fabric.  Or even for bridesmaid fabric.

Everything was deadly boring.

I don't do boring

I looked, and looked, and looked.  I looked in Wellington.  I looked online.  I looked in San Francisco.  I looked in Oakland.  I looked in Palo Alto.

New York City was my last resort.

So, when I wasn’t visiting museums and taking photos of flowers*, I scoured the fabric district.

I’d seen a piece of stonewashed silk charmeuse in Oakland, and I was in love with the fabric (not the colour though – it was bright coral).  But there was no stonewashed silk to be found, and the only things that I found that I liked even half as much were over $60 a yard – too much to pay.

Finally, digging in a huge pile of rolls in a little tiny designer ends fabric store , I found the holy grain – a roll of palest ivory stonewashed silk charmeuse.

It was a tiny bit thiner and more sheer than I wanted, but otherwise ideal.  It was the perfect colour, and had a luminous sheen without being shiny.  It was like pearls turned into fabric.

Trying to hide my excitement, I asked how much it was.  They said “Oh, that nylon lining – $6 a metre”

And that is how I found the fabric for my wedding dress, and for Mr Dreamy’s wedding shirt.

* Really.  90% of the photos that I took in New York City involve flowers.  You would never know I was in the city at all!  And these are the only photos I got of me:

In the woods near the Cloisters, NYC

Me at an actual NY landmark - Bryant Park!



  1. Great find! My not-quite-as-spectacular but still exciting fabric score was some lovely woven-stripe silk taffeta. It was on the sale rack…and the lowest sticker was marked $2.99 a yard. I did a double take. I nonchalantly wandered over the cutting table and asked which sticker on the sale items was the right price. “Whatever’s lowest,” came the answer, with a shrug. I trotted back to the taffeta, returned to the cutting table, and confirmed “So this is $2.99 a yard?” Glance. “Yeah.”

    “I’ll take eight yards.” It became my favorite eighteenth-century gown…and my eighteenth-century wedding gown. 🙂 And I still have some leftover…

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