I’m taking a break from the Yarn series today to show you something very special which was made using one of our yarns: the 2ply Lace mentioned in a previous post in the Yarn Series. Shetland designer Sheila Fowlie is an extremely talented knitter who is well-known in Shetland for her bespoke hand knitted Shawls and Scarfs, she often gets commissions for projects and recently she was asked to knit a wedding dress for the wedding of a local couple Rebecca and John!
Of course we were very excited when Sheila told us about the project, and now the happy day has been we are pleased to share some photos from which Sheila has sent us. I asked Sheila some questions about knitting the dress:
- Were you surprised to be asked to make a knitted wedding dress?
I was, very surprised, wasn’t even sure if I could do it, but couldn’t find anybody else willing to take it on so decided to give it a go myself!
- How many hours do you think it took you from start to finish?
No idea, I gave up after 100 hours and I hadn’t even finished the bottom frill!
- Was it important to you to use Shetland Wool in the design?
It was very important to use Shetland Wool, as I believe it’s a superior product and is what I use in all my knitwear, unless specifically asked for something else.
- How did you go about putting together the design and was it quite complicated to do?
All I had at the start was a picture of the sort of dress the bride would like, so we began by taking some measurements and I started with the frill at the bottom after experimenting with different sized needles to get the correct tension. We had decided on three different lace patterns for the dress, one for the bottom frill – ‘willow leaf’ pattern; one for the middle bit – ‘print o’ the wave’; one for the body – ‘bird’s eye’ pattern.
I made the bottom in five panels, then sewed them together. The next bit was more complicated as I had to split the back, so that buttons could be added and therefore had to transpose the ‘print o’ the wave’ pattern to make it match on both sides of the opening. That took a few false starts and many, many swearwords before I got it right! I then grafted the middle bit to the bottom frill. From the middle and up was also quite complicated, as I had to insert darts below the bust into the ‘bird’s eye’ pattern in the front. The back had to be split to incorporate the opening and then made in two bits to join at the shoulders. I then had to attach a matching lace edge to each side from the shoulder to the waist. By the time I started the top bit I had the ‘underdress’ to copy for size, so that made it a bit easier!
(Washing the finished dress was a bit of a challenge, but that’s another story!)
I also made a 1-ply shawl to match the dress, which the bride used as her veil and a pair of matching lace ‘dags’.
- Were you pleased with the finished dress and did you enjoy the wedding?!
I was really pleased with the finished result and thought the bride looked stunning. I really enjoyed seeing her wearing it at the wedding and received lots of compliments, which was nice!
Rebecca and John actually live next door to us here at J&S so we were lucky enough to see Rebecca as she left on the wedding day. We are very proud to have played a tiny part in such a special garment and well done to Sheila, and of course congratulations to the happy couple!
til next time, happy knitting!