Making my own wedding dress means total creative control. Aside from all the concerns of fit, construction, craftsmanship, and time why not also add customization?
Maybe I’m having delusions of grandeur, but I believe this garment will be part wearable and part work of art.
My first thought was to make the skirt patterned based off Mandalas. I’ve done some Mandala coloring pages and sometimes doodle them in my notes during a presentation or meeting. I appreciate the peaceful, meditative meaning behind them. And let’s face it, on the Big Day itself, who couldn’t use a little extra peacefulness?
How do you translate it to a knitting pattern?!
I actually found some existing table cloth patterns that echo some of these shapes. Most of the ones worth mentioning are by a deceased German designer Herbert Niebling. Getting my hands on the pattern is another story. They are hard to find in print! They were published well before the days of Ravelry (my go-to pattern source) and online downloads. I found a few on Amazon in the $30+ range. Considering I don’t know which one would work exactly…I don’t want to buy a buch of them. They were also IN German, which I cannot translate. Enter a quest to use inter-library loans to get them from all across the country!
With that on the back burner for now, I’ve been thinking about what truly has meaning for me. I don’t have an Indian heritage, so as much as mandala’s are cool, I also wanted to incorporate personally relevant symbols or meaning into the design.
The quote I always come back to in the Bible is Matthew 6:33. It has held a lot of meaning and encouragement for me for a decade or more.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. -Matthew 6:33 ESV
This verse reminds me not to worry and when it talks about “these things” it uses some beautiful imagery.
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? -Matthew 6:26 NIV
Birds are cool! I started researching some vintage lace and found this sweet literal example:
The passage continues:
See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his splendor was dress like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow thrown into the fire, will he not much more cloth you- you of little faith? -Matthew 6:28-30 NIV
I want to pull in these types of shapes or have kind of a flowing feel in the skirt area. I’m looking for lace patterns that give this feel. I also think I’ll incorporate nupps (like little knot balls) in some areas to give a nod to buds.
Another passage that speaks to this whole process and to being successful in marriage is Proverbs 31. I plan to pull several aspects out of here for other aspects of decorating. One of the ones that I think will make it into the dress design is ships.
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.
-Proverbs 31:10-14 ESV
Ship imagery has played a huge role in my relationship with my SO. I actually also found lace with a literal ship, but when I think of big, cool ships, the first thing I picture is all the rigging and ropes. That feeds into another verse that has played a big role in keeping our priorities straight.
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. -Eccelsiastes 4:12 NIV
We are a team with God as our third strand.
I actually know how to accomplish this! Three-stranded cables! I don’t know where or how it will all fit together, but that is happening!
The design process is both intimating and exciting! Who knows how it will turn out in the end?
What about you?
What inspires you?
How literal would you translate symbols into art?