A wedding and a watercolor dress

In my daughter Annie’s room, as she gets ready for her wedding, August 2011. Mikel Healey, Santa Monica, CA, is the photographer and a good friend, which made things even more special.

I am not one to panic easily, but a year ago last summer, feelings of fashion anxiety began to wash over me. I was about to be a mother-of-the-bride and knew I needed a dress. Not just any dress. Something that would fit the occasion and the bride’s casual garden theme. Not to mention, no mother-of-a-bride wants to look like last week’s meatloaf, if you know what I mean.

I used to sew my own clothes when I was a teenager who wanted to look special or different. Now the old impetus kicked in, and I started thinking of finding a pattern and beautiful silk shantung fabric which would be both subtle and dressy at the same time for a garden wedding. A trip to the local wedding sewist/tailor shoppe set me on my ear to the tune of $1600.00 to create the dress. I guess if they spell the word “shoppe”, (as in ye olde shoppe?) you know the price tag is not going to be ordinary.

My daughter came to the rescue and spotted a dress on the internet, which looked like a watercolor landscape. It also had some of my favorite colors, so I ordered it and was amazed that it fit and didn’t even need hemming for shorty me. I already had a necklace I had bought from one of my jewelry suppliers back when I had my little art gallery in town. Rarely worn, I didn’t have the right outfit to wear it with. Wow, now I did!

It’s good to have someone looking out for you
when you feel like you need fashion advice. I’m fortunate to have 2 daughters who have given me their 2 cents over the years, sometimes in a painful way, mostly right on. I know I am not the fashion queen, but I’m not ready to do the Georgia O’Keefe method yet, of dressing in either black or white. (Why did she do that? I have to say, I did like her “outdoor” gear.)

My “just for fun” sketch from Academy Awards night 2012, Vera Wang gown as worn by actress Viola Davis, the best dress of the night, in my opinion!

Back to designing your own dress. I was never an excellent seamstress like my mother and grandmother. But I loved adapting patterns and making them my own. Then I started drawing dresses for prom,  cheerleading outfits, and fun little sketches, just doodling. Those prom dresses and outfits came to be, and I wore them all. Some of my blouses and skirts were not well made, but I wore them anyway. Not too many people were looking closely except for the smarty pants that sat behind me in 9th grade Civics class who asked me if I made that blouse myself, with her disdaining eye. “Okay, it was my first invisible zipper, brainiest girl in the school! Did you even try to take home ec?”

The point is, design something and make it.
Now I’m talking about anything at all you want to make, be it a painting, a quilt or a new recipe! The feeling you get when you just create something new is worth it, even if it’s not perfect.

Creation and perfection can’t live in the same room if something exciting is happening.

Just go for it and see what happens. And if you need help, always ask someone. If you are lucky, like me, you’ll have someone like my daughter Annie who can come to your rescue.


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2 Responses to “A wedding and a watercolor dress”

  1. Sarah Schultz Says:

    Karen, please send a photo with the wedding party !
    I love the dress. Lucky you that your daughter found it.


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