I've had another request for some Memory Cushions, using a vintage silk Wedding Dress, and a satin and lace Christening Gown. The dress was made by the bride (now aged 100) from parachute silk after World War II. The Christening Gown she made out of her daughter's Wedding Dress for her granddaughter.
This is the bride in her dress as it was for her big day. However when I was given the dress I saw that she had cut off the train and the long sleeves, and the veil was missing. Sadly it had quite a few stains and marks on it, whereas the Christening Gown was in good condition. The commission is for;
I suggested printing the photo as the centrepiece. I scanned, reduced and printed it onto printable cotton, then backed it with fusible woven interfacing (Vilene G700/Pellon SF101). I like to do this to both intensify the colours and reinforce the fabric. I am using a 12" square of cotton as a base piece, which I have overlocked, starched and pressed.
Here you can see the dress was cut in narrow A line panels with lace inserts and collar, with 10 self-covered buttons. It's not the easiest fabric to work with at the best of times, so the fact the panels were cut on the bias just made life more interesting! However I plan to use all the lace trim and buttons.
Here I have pieced the first cushion using wide tapered strips of lace and silk from the skirt onto the cotton backing and top-stitched the edges. I have just stitched a backing panel on, ready to form the window/frame for the central photo.
Here is the window cut out, ready to turn through to the wrong side. This is the same method as I use for inserting zippers into bags, or to make bound buttonholes in garments.
Here it is finished, and I am trying out different positions for the buttons. I think I would have preferred to have had some cream fabric under the lace rather than white cotton but otherwise I'm happy with the look.
For cushion number two I put silk underneath the lace, but I was worried about the damage being visible so I decided to try repairing it with some hand embroidery using DMC Cotton a Broder thread in 'Ecru'.
I played around with positioning the buttons, but I kept noticing my 'repairs' and just wanted to disguise them! Maybe I should have left them alone, probably no-one would have noticed but now they stand out.
Cushion number three was more of a challenge, using the strips to overlap each other and hide unwanted marks. I wasn't sure at first, but it turned out one of the prettiest - this picture does not do it justice. Just 2 buttons to position on this one.
Cushion number four is the first combination of the two dresses, and again is pretty. It will have two buttons but I have put the first one in place in this shot.
Cushion number five should have been Wedding Dress on the front and Christening Gown on the back, but I was struggling to find any dress silk left now so I decided to comibine them like cushion number four. It really needs more added to make it as pretty as some of the others.
Cushion number six was the easiest, as there was plenty of undamaged material in the Christening Gown and no photo to fit. I used the trim from the hem for piping and the bow from the neckline to finish it off. Very simple. They are all envelope style cushions, and I cut back the back panels for this one from just the white satin.
Here are cushions four and five, combining the Wedding Dress and Christening Gown. I had to add some bought satin ribbon to number five to edge the lace. Despite all my care, none of them seem to end up square when the pad goes in. They all seem a little 'over-stuffed' for my liking, they would look better slimmer.
For the backs I used the Christening Gown as there was more fabric available and this time overlaid the satin with the lace.
Here are the three cushions pieced from just the Wedding Dress. Each is quite different but they all have the silk, lace and buttons as requested.
For two of the backs I used silk from the Wedding Dress for the top panel and a piece of silk petticoat (worn under the wedding dress) backed with some Moda Muslin for the bottom panel. The third cushion had just silk petticoat for both panels as I had run out of wedding dress. I added pieces of lace and satin ribbon to disguise marks.
Vintage Memory Cushions - hope she likes them!