Mike’s mom is in town, and we went shopping at Britex Fabrics in San Francisco yesterday.  For those not familiar with the fabric industry, Britex is known for two things: its incredible assortment of quality fabrics, and its stratospheric prices.  If you want Armani silk, this is where to go – if you’re willing to pay $275/yard for it.

So while we were there, what could I possibly do but stop by the lace section for a peek?

And I promptly fell in love with a gorgeous piece of ivory Alencon lace, made in France, delicate in appearance and perfectly matched to the dress fabric.  It’s unornamented – no cheap plastic beads or sequins here! – understated but of very high quality.  In short, perfectly suited for this fabric I’m weaving.

You don’t want to know the price.  (No, you really don’t want to know.)  Needless to say, I could never have afforded it, being unemployed at the moment, but Mike’s mom, bless her soul, bought it for me as “her contribution to the wedding dress”.  (Is she cool or what?!?)  So now I have 48 inches of the most beautiful lace in the store.  I think I’m going to put it  across the central panel of the bodice, down the edges of the overskirt opening, and applique motifs scattered over the skirt, with most of the appliques near the front of the dress.  The lovely thing about it is that it is understated enough to complement the fabric without overwhelming it – it does not scream “LOOK AT ME!!” but instead radiates quiet quality.

So here, without further ado, are the photos (which unfortunately do not capture the full beauty of the lace):

The lace from Britex

The lace from Britex

And here is the lace on the fabric:

Lace on the wedding-dress fabric

Lace on the wedding-dress fabric

And, just for yuks, here’s a comparison between the Britex Alencon lace and a much cheaper Alencon lace (which still retailed for $125/yd!):

Left, quality Alencon lace; right, cheap Alencon lace

Left, quality Alencon lace; right, cheap Alencon lace

You can see that the “other” lace is much coarser, and the pearls and sequins are positively cheap and gaudy.  (I had ordered a sample of this lace to see what it was like, and decided it was far too tacky to use on my precious handwoven silk.)

Anyway, now I am of course champing at the bit to produce the “trial” dress, since it means I get to cut and place the lace motifs (carefully, carefully, so they can be removed later and placed on the actual dress).  However, a few muslins still stand between me and the beginning…must do a few alterations at the waist, and try raising the sleeves a bit.  I think I will leave the “V” at the bottom intact, though, as I think it’s slimming.

I forget if I mentioned that the “sample” I wove with the 60/2 silk weft, before deciding to change over to 140/2 weft, is just big enough to cut out the center front, side front, and side panels for the “test dress”!  So I will be able to get a VERY good idea of what the finished bodice will look like.  The skirt will be done in 30 momme heavy silk crepe, ivory colored, which will give me a good idea of the drape and general appearance.  However, I will not be adding the lace onto the trial skirt – only onto the final skirt, later.

The final piece of REALLY good news is that Laura Fry has offered to have me come study weaving with her!!  This is a priceless opportunity.  She actually offered earlier this year, but I couldn’t afford the vacation time.  But now that I’m unemployed, my time is (largely) my own, so I am flying up there for five days of intensive weaving lessons!  I’m really psyched – and looking forward to studying with a very experienced and gifted weaver.  It’s giving me something to look forward to in the early days of my unemployment, which is a good thing indeed – pulled me right out of the blue funk I’ve been in in the last couple of days.

So, while the last week has been somewhat difficult, things are looking up!

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  1. Posted July 4, 2009 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    So, one door closed (your job) and another opened (getting to study with Laura Fry at her place). You are one lucky lady!!! What a wonderful (and potentially life changing) opportunity. I’m so happy for you, I have tears in my eyes from the sheer joy of it!

  2. Sandra Rude
    Posted July 4, 2009 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    See what I mean about the right opportunity? It may not be a new job, but it’s an opportunity of another sort altogether, one that you will get more out of than you would a mere job. Serendipity!

  3. kathy looper
    Posted July 5, 2009 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Oh goodness, I am absolutely green with envy! What a great opportunity to learn from a master weaver! You are so lucky.
    Please take lots of pictures and be very descriptive in your blog posts so the rest of us can participate in this. I really, really wish I was a fly on the wall of Laura’s studio.

  4. Posted July 7, 2009 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Tien, the lace is absolutely to die for! What a sweetheart your future MIL is.

    And what an opportunity with Laura! Congrats on that!

  5. Cristina
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Fabulous!! My congrats :DDD

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