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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: jakcomp
Date: 08-17-2006, 01:47 PM (1 of 13)
I am a 52 year old bride for the first time! I know, all of you are really scratching your head over that one! I will have a super simple church ceremony with family only but I do want a nice dress. I do not want the usual gown in white or even ivory - nor can I manage the usual popular strapless models of popularity. I really want to keep it as simple as possible - with the look of the dress and also the actual sewing project. Actually, I would like to add celtic knotwork to the neckline and perhaps other areas if I could only figure out how to make them - have been searching for pre made appliques of knotwork but just can't seem to find them. Anyway, back to the style - I have seen medieval celtic styles that have increased in popularity lately, but have made a mock up of one - princess seams are good, but the A-line effect at the hips is just not flattering for my 5'4" size. I bought an all nylon floor length stretch lace skirt with self fabric godets up to the knee. I love the way it fits - very slimming and makes me look so tall, but has a "glamorous" look unlike the original look that I would like - so I have decided to perhaps make a scoop neckline, long straight sleeve (would like to have either raglan or dolman), very fitted to the knee with godets on to the floor (sort of a fishtail). Then in keeping with the medieval celtic theme, make a jerkin (vest) style overcoat (possibly a semi sheer fabric) that will also have a scoop neckline with bustline to waistline lacing and open on down to the bottom. I haven't decided how long to make the jerkin. Possibly I will put the celtic knotwork trim on the jerkin overcoat area. Since I lack adequate local stores with apparel fabrics to choose from, I am at a loss as to what fabrics to choose - for each piece. I do not have a pattern for the dress yet - I wonder if I should choose one that is made for stretch fabrics, and if I do, then what types of fabrics (special ocassion) are there to choose from suitable? I have found some stretch laces, but did not really want to use any laces, beading, crystals, pearls or any of the usual bridal trims. I think I would like to use a monochromatic color scheme (maybe bridal gold which is a very muted soft pale gold) with the dress the darker goldtone and the overcoat a shade lighter. Something like that - I know what I want in my mind (sort of a modernized medieval) but am having much trouble with pattern and fabrics selection and also how I am going to come up with the knotwork trim. The wedding will be in a couple of months, but as I live in the deep south, it will still be considered a warm temperature here. Thanks so very much for any help that all of you experts may give to me - I really need it.
Desperate Kathy
User: jakcomp
Member since: 08-15-2006
Total posts: 8
From: Chrysantha
Date: 08-17-2006, 04:51 PM (2 of 13)
You don't say where you live, so here goes...

for can make Celtic knots from ready made bias, soutache or small braid. (all you have to do is sew them into the pattern you want.) for medieval/celtic patterns. I know there are some online.
Or if you're lucky and have a friend who can embroider them for you, there are plenty of Celtic knots to embroider.

Kath (in FL)
User: Chrysantha
Member since: 09-06-2002
Total posts: 2414
From: jakcomp
Date: 08-18-2006, 10:00 PM (3 of 13)
Thanks Chrysantha for the help - I live in south Mississippi. I have already experimented with ordinary narrow "gimp" I think it's called, and it can be maneuvered into the very simple patterns and looks okay; however I had something a little more complicated I wanted to replicate. Actually, the new embroidery machines would do exactly what I want, but would wind up costing to have someone do it for me, actually more than it is costing to make the dress itself! I had even tried to hand embroidery the knotwork, but my stitches just look too unprofessional - it would simply be line embroidery, not filling in spaces, but to make it look good is another matter. Oh well, as with the whole project, it has been through many changes from my original design to something entirely differentnow, so I might just have to re-think the knotwork idea. Once again, thanks a bunch for your time.
User: jakcomp
Member since: 08-15-2006
Total posts: 8
From: GreenDragonLady
Date: 08-18-2006, 10:34 PM (4 of 13)
Congratulations on your wedding! When is the date?

Too bad you didn't live closer...I could do the embroidery for you. I have a ton of celtic patterns for my machine because I'm into that kind of thing. And I can do large designs too, so I don't have to rehoop as much.
User: GreenDragonLady
Member since: 07-29-2004
Total posts: 495
From: Sew-Enchanting
Date: 08-19-2006, 10:16 PM (5 of 13)
Congratulations! The dress ideas you have sound just lovely - what a beautiful dress you'll have!

Simplicity 4312 is a different type of dress - it's really a dancer's costume, but cut on the bias, with a little tweaking, it could really be a stunning gown. (Sorry, when I try to copy Simplicity web pages, something just goes weird...go to and search for 4312). Take the funky weird stuff off the front, attach those flowing sleeves...

This one is interesting:

I think a bias cut with godets will be the ticket for you, considering what you've said you like/want. Have you looked in the "costume" part of books instead of the bridal/special occasion? You might find something that you like better there.

This one's actually a "wench" costume, but might give you ideas:

This one has a vest with it,

Just some ideas. :)

This might give you some ideas, too -

House Fabric has some venise lace trim in a knot pattern:

Or try the Pillaged Village:

Some SCA sites might have some trim available, too - I don't have my links right here at the computer, though. Try a search for SCA sites for people to make their own costumes. They're really particular about authenticity, too.

Material: I really like . They ship quickly, I've never had a problem with any of their fabrics, and their prices are VERY reasonable. Their crushed velvet was really nice - and would make a gorgeous medieval style dress...but probably not in southern MS. :)

Good luck! Sounds like a terrific dress on the way!
User: Sew-Enchanting
Member since: 12-28-2005
Total posts: 53
From: SandyGirl
Date: 08-21-2006, 09:05 AM (6 of 13)
Welcome to the "mid life bride" club! I was/am a "first time bride" in my late 40's. I have a couple of other buddies who also are part of this trend. Definately worth the wait! Congratulations!! You will love marriage! Makes me wonder why I did not do it sooner! Ok, I know why but...............

Regarding your wedding what you want and the heck w/Tradition!! I did wear the dress (was a ten time turn!!) but did away with the garter throwing, no head table, stupid posed pictures of clock watching, etc. Just a fun afternoon celebrating with friends and family!!

User: SandyGirl
Member since: 09-16-2005
Total posts: 97
From: jakcomp
Date: 08-22-2006, 02:00 AM (7 of 13)
Sandy, thanks for the advice - however, I have never been one to carry on with tradition - just always have to do it my way. Soooo....I am trying to keep it so simple, the wedding in the church with just family to attend (which will comprise, both families, about 22 people), but no matter how hard I try, it just seems to mushroom, i.e., Dad HAS to walk me down the aisle, I HAVE to carry a flower, there HAS to be music; all this according to my sis. Really, what I wanted to do was to get married in the church by candlelight one evening, just me, him and the minister, and maybe have a reception with family afterwards. I guess I'm being selfish - my sis would have a fit!!!
Anyway, there will be NO wedding if I don't settle on my dress style, fabric, etc. I have changed my original design many times, modified it to death so that now it is entirely different from my first design. Oh well - I'll get it together.
Thanks a bunch for the well wishes and continued happiness to you.
User: jakcomp
Member since: 08-15-2006
Total posts: 8
From: Carol in ME
Date: 08-23-2006, 10:47 PM (8 of 13)
This isn't much help - just an idea to get you started.

Some time ago, I saw an article and picture of an ensemble made by a mother of the groom. As I recall, the ensemble itself was quite simple. The embellishment was yards of bias tubing carefully appliqued to the jacket. Maybe the jacket was crepe, and she used the reverse (satin) for the bias tubing. It was simple and elegant all at the same time.
User: Carol in ME
Member since: 01-27-2003
Total posts: 105
From: jakcomp
Date: 08-24-2006, 12:12 AM (9 of 13)
Thanks Carol, I have experimented with using "gimp" and it really looks okay only if I keep it a simple 2 strand knot and also I have used the satin cording which looks okay - but very tricky in order to get the right curves handsewn on. I would really like to get a little more intricate but by using the single strand of trim for each strand, I can't get the overlapping 3D effect that is necessary in order for the overall motif created to even look like what it's supposed to look like. I am just quite surprised that there are not already made trims in the celtic knotwork designs as this type of thing has increased in popularity within the last several years with the advent of the "Riverdance" troupe touring here in the states. I will keep experimenting. Thanks so much for your suggestion and your time,
User: jakcomp
Member since: 08-15-2006
Total posts: 8
From: LeapFrog Libby
Date: 08-24-2006, 05:16 PM (10 of 13)
Have you tried the 'rat tail' that Michaels sells??.. It looks like it is satin cording. Between 1/8 and 1/4 inch diameter..
Sew With Love
User: LeapFrog Libby
Member since: 05-01-2002
Total posts: 2022
From: paroper
Date: 09-06-2006, 07:42 AM (11 of 13)
The Bernina machines have a new freehand cording foot. You thread your cording through a special little eye that fits on the machine's thread cutter and the top of the foot so it can feed as you work. The foot itselt is a large round clear plastic circle with a large hole so you can see as you go. I wonder if a local shop would let your "rent" a little time on the machine in their shop to do this?

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: VenusElaine
Date: 11-03-2006, 01:00 AM (12 of 13)
I am also planning at "mature" marriage next year (tho it is my second and HIS first). To view many styles you are considering, is a great website. They have RTW, patterns, tiaras and circlets, jewelry, etc. They also carry a large selection of Celtic design.
I also visit And I agree that is a great website with excellent service. If you register (free) you get ten free swatches, which are renewed every time you place an order. I do a lot of performance outfits, and Distinctive Fabrics have fast service and very reasonable prices.

"Always put as much effort into your marriage as you do into your wedding."
User: VenusElaine
Member since: 10-22-2005
Total posts: 126
From: weezyrider
Date: 11-03-2006, 11:13 AM (13 of 13)
You can also check out Folkwear and Laughing Moon.
Since you sew - do you have a serger? If so, you can chain with a decorative thread in the looper - like ribbon floss and zig zag the chain down just like gimp. I've done this on an old serger and it looked really nice. I recently saw an article about using narrow iron on tape - like for the bias tape for quilts with this. Someone else here might be able to give you more help.
User: weezyrider
Member since: 08-19-2003
Total posts: 218
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