Dress Part I describes the journey we took to choosing a dress and fabric. Now Mom had to get to serious work. She had less than six months to make my dress, and she was going to see me twice before the wedding. We had to maximize every opportunity. Good thing my mother is not only a brilliant seamstress, but she is also a project manager. She created a schedule of what had to be completed by when to make sure the dress was finished and perfect.

Mom and Dad came to visit us in Boston over New Years’ weekend. She brought a muslin bodice to fit to me that she had made based on the measurements she took at Thanksgiving. Over the Christmas holiday, she and my aunts had gone shopping for a dress form that she fitted to my measurements. We shut ourselves in the guest room while I tried on the bodice, and she pinned adjustments. Then she playfully threatened me not to let my weight fluctuate, because this was it! No pressure!

Mom went back home to Michigan and quickly got to work on the bodice. Then we got a surprise (and not the good kind!). I had emergency exploratory surgery at the end of January, and Mama flew to Boston, because that’s what Mamas do. She brought the in-progress bodice. While the surgery wasn’t a great and fun experience, it gave Mom and me an extra fitting session, which was very helpful. Once I was up to it, we put me into my corset and tried on the bodice. Mom was able to make some changes to the bodice right then so I could try it on again before she left. It’s a little gift that didn’t go unnoticed. I’ll tell you, sewing a wedding dress long distance is nerve-wracking walk.

In February, Mama worked to complete the bodice. It’s not like I chose an easy design, one that had a pattern. Nope, she had to make it up. I was so excited when I received photographs in email that the bodice was complete! Then Mom and Dad were off to Alabama for their yearly trip to visit my aunt and uncle. Mama traveled with the sewing machine and the millions of yards of fabric to complete the skirt. A few days later, I had photos of the skirt! It was all coming together!

The next time I’d see the dress, it would be all put together, and I would be trying it on! Mom was bringing it for me to try on the weekend of my bridal shower. Her flight arrived quite late on Thursday night (technically Friday morning), but I insisted that I needed to try it on the moment she got in the house! And I did. The dress was absolutely gorgeous. I had been terrified that I had gained weight, and it would be tight. But, it was actually too big in spots! Mom hadn’t tacked down the rouching on the bodice yet, and she promised me that making the adjustments wouldn’t be terrible. It was also a little too long, which meant she was going to have to take the skirt off the bodice. I felt badly, but she said she was so relieved that there weren’t more changes necessary than that!

Friday, we had a total girly day. We started by visiting the seamstress who would be steaming and pressing the dress the week before the wedding. Julie couldn’t believe that Mama had made the dress–even offered her a job! I also had appointments to get my test make-up and hair up-style. My salon had told me I should schedule those on the day of my final dress fitting, and at first I said that there wouldn’t be a normal final dress fitting, since Mom was making my dress. And then at the last minute, I was able to get my make-up appointment scheduled for Friday during the day, and bless my stylist, she came in on her day off to do my hair test. After we were all done, we met Lloyd for dinner at West on Center, one of my favorite restaurants, then went home to take a few pictures of me all decked out in my tests! It was a great day with Mama, and ended with a web chat with Ben and Ashley, who declared the dress to be absolutely perfect. So, here it is, pre-buttons and final adjustments pinned, and me all excited!

The dress headed back to Michigan, completely on schedule. I loved listening to Mom tell me stories about her project meetings at work, which often began with her colleagues checking in on the progress of the dress. They all got the biggest kick out of the fact that Mom laid out a project schedule for the dress (and other wedding tasks). Mom never quite understood why; it just made the most sense to her! She’s got those skills, so she was going to utilize them!

Mom worked over the next several weeks to finish the dress, so she could move on to the vests and ties. I sure kept Mama busy! When she was all finished, she left the dress on the form, partly to show off to a group from her church when they came for dinner one night. It was quite the conversation piece! The afternoon before the dinner, Mom sent me photos of the dress on the form, from several different angles. I was so excited! Between the finishing of the dress, and Ashley telling me she had ordered my flowers, the reality of the wedding really started to hit me, in all of the best ways.

Mom and Ashley arrived at my house the Sunday night before the wedding. As soon as we unpacked the car, I had a final fitting. (Sorry for the blurry photo. Ashely grabbed the cell phone at the last second to grab the moment, and I’m so glad that she did!)

After the final fitting, Mama had a few more little embellishments to make to the dress.

On Tuesday, it went to the seamstress to be pressed and steamed, so it was all ready for the big day. The next time I’d see the dress was right before I got dressed.

Edited: Part III