Belated Answer to Wedding Dress Question

I see now it’s been nearly a month since I last posted. I’ve not been sewing. I’ve worked a little on Jordan’s jacket and gotten some good feedback from Robin on it too. I’m going to see my Dad and help him arrange some things the first weekend of May and have spent an inordinate amount of time on the Tampa Bay craigslist looking for used Berninas. The prices are easily hundreds less than they are in the Baltimore area. Feel free to give me your thoughts on the old Bernina 830, 930 and 1130 if you have or had one of those machines. There’s a 1130 in Brooksville (where my dad is) that I’m partial to (automatic buttonholes). But, I won’t be there for another month.


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We had our 180 person wedding reception a couple weeks ago and I did not wear my wedding dress. I wanted to. But, umm, well. It just didn’t fit. Here’s the thing, pre-wedding I was traveling to China, stressed out and purposefully dieting to lose a few creeper pounds. And the end of last year and the beginning of this, I was engaged in a grief spiral that was best soothed with wine, french fries and Otterbein cookies. I tried on the wedding dress and Jordan said, ‘You’re not going to be happy with this this.’ And he was right. I wasn’t.

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So, I wore the cream dress from the rehearsal dinner that I had made in China.

It’s a beautiful guipure lace and a copy of a Valentino dress. That weekend of trying on dresses and finding that most didn’t fit was a good wake up call for me. I’ve cut out weeknight wine, processed food, refined sugar, treats, snacks etc. I’ve also started exercising again (I’d gotten off track due to a sprained ankle, pulled back muscle, a bout with the flu, two infections — honestly, my body kind of shut down mid December and has only started to cooperate the last two weeks). I’m pretty good now. It was just a bad few months. The party was a lovely start to this next phase.

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My dad  (above left) came in to town. He was kind of the life of the party. He’s talking about getting on to Facebook. Which means I will likely need to get off.

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My inlaws who threw the party (Ugh. I look a little like a stuffed sausage)

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This dress has a side zipper. I asked for that so the lace motif in the back was maintained. But, it is a beyotch to get in an out of.

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And you all know my bestie Trena. Plus Lisette, Robin and two other ‘internet sewing friends’ who don’t have blogs (Shirley and Elizabeth — who is also a neighbor!) were able to come. That’s the nice thing about having ‘just’ a reception. We were able to invite WAY more people than say to ‘just’ a wedding.

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All in all a wonderful wonderful time. We had friends and family from all over (New York, Chicago, DC) come in to town. That’s my oldest brother and my neice with me above.  It was a little overwhelming and a whirlwind. But, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Oh! In honor of going old school and ordering an actual wedding album last week, I made a gif (below). I cannot express to you how proud I am of accomplishing this. The gif I mean.

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Even though I ‘own’ all my photos I still got a photographer’s album.  One of my fondest memories as a kid was going through my parent’s wedding album and asking them questions about people and what was going on. Plus, this way I can force everyone who comes over to look at my photos.


We’re visiting Jordan’s brother in NY soon. I need fabric for a black tie dress event at the end of the April, tuxedo vest fabric for Jordan for the same event (buying a tux was expensive enough) and a second black tie dress for middle of May. Pray for sewing inspiration and good fabric finds. I am terrible fabric shopping under time constraints. Or, when people are watching / waiting on me. Never mind two dudes in the garment district.

OK. Back to the 30 thank you cards I still owe!


  1. ok, for starters, you looked AMAZING in your cream lace dress. Something to remember about photos is that they just capture one split second in time, but in real life you are moving around. I saw you moving, from many angles, and you looked amazing. Plus, your makeup was (all caps) GORGEOUS.

    I am glad to hear you say your dad was the life of the party, because that must mean he was super friendly to everyone. Afterwards, I almost felt like I owed you an apology for flirting with your dad. I mean, really, where did that come from? Well the dude was too charming to resist!!

    And Howie had such a good time that he wants to gtg with my sewing friends more, now that he knows the spouses. We had a great time at our table with Lisette and her hubby. Trena and the other sewing friends were at other tables so we didn’t chat with them as much, but yeah it was great.

  2. You do not look like a stuffed sausage. You look beautiful! Why are we so hard on ourselves?

  3. Robin is right, you look amazing. I think you need to remember that you lost the weight quickly for wedding pictures, and it was not reasonable to believe that all of it would stay off. I remember your description of losing that weight, and it didn’t sound like you were enjoying life much! And you have had a LOT of stress these past few months. It will all settle down, so let it go. Grief is an all encompassing thing. Give yourself some time. I think you have weathered things admirably. And, I am so glad to see you on the blog again. Of course, I wish you well with future endeavors, but you don’t need my wishes, you will do it all very well yourself.

  4. I think you look great in that lace dress. It’s like a more subtle version of a bridal gown, which I think is very appropriate for a wedding reception like yours. It sounds like you’re ready for some new beginnings. I wish you well, and hope that you’ll take great care of yourself in the process 🙂

  5. I’ve been waiting for this post, since I read Robin’s!
    Another beautiful dress! And more beautiful on YOU!
    You’ve had a whirlwind of a year and you are doing fantastic! Grief has a life of it’s own, and best we give it expression when it arrives!
    And another happy event for everyone to gather round!


  6. You look great, you really do. Still, your husband sounds like a master of tact. You made a terrific choice. It’s nice to get a report from you. Stay well.

  7. You look amazing in that dress. It’s absolutely not a sausage casing, and you don’t look like a sausage. Congratulations on your marriage again!

  8. Hi Rene. I hope you are doing well, it sounds like you are. I have a Bernina 930, which I bought in Louisville, KY, in 1985, and it is the perfect machine. I have still never seen anything that I think is better. As you might guess, it’s travelled A LOT since then–Germany, Texas, Panama, Texas again, hopefully to stay. If, heaven forbid, it should break or die, I will find another one and pay whatever they want for it. I mostly sew clothing, although I have recently started making quilts. It’s never failed me. I’d recommend it to anyone.

  9. Rene, I have a Bernina 930 as well. She was built in 1985 and I purchased her on e-bay a few years ago. She’s my everyday machine. I only go back to my old Singers for topstitching or something very finicky that needs precise stitching. The only aspect of the machine that I really dislike is the “needle up” feature. On later year 930s I’m told you can put the needle back down with the foot pedal but not this one. You look beautiful in your pictures.

  10. Oh, your photos are wonderful! Thanks for letting those of us who lurk on the edges of your life feel as if we were there to congratulate you and Jordan. I love the heavily textured guipure lace as a simple sheath dress. And the gif is both hilarious and deeply moving. As well as being actually moving.

  11. I think you looked gorgeous and I’m glad you had fun. Great dress.

    Regarding changing your eating patterns, PBS/BBC had a documentary had a documentary about the profound benefits of fasting. Essentially you eat 500 calories twice a week and 5 days a week of normal (it’s pretty easy to get by on 500 calories!). Here’s the link to the show:

    Re: Berninas – I’ve had a 1080 for years and she’s a storm-freaking-trooper. Bought her (on time!) when I was a fashion student in the early 90s and she’s still working perfectly. My mum has a 1260 (which is a bit fancier) and that’s a good one too. I hope you find a great one just meant for you.

  12. How much fun! And I see your dad enjoys the company of Bmore’s Ms. Mayore 🙂 And that dress is so pretty, you look just lovely. You should NOT be so hard on yourself. I am feeling the bulge of winter lbs on my hips and butt. Ugh. I’m forgoing all the sweet treats and refined sugary snacks I’m obsessed with, and now eating normal, whole foods and am running again (what a stupid awful winter we had… I was simply FORCED to stay home and bake vegan cinnamon rolls & cookies and eat them all the time). Congrats on all the married bliss! Let’s cross our fingers that the snow melts all the way today and never comes back. EVER!!!!

  13. Excellent gif! Is that a verb? “Great giffing?” What is a gif anyway? Anyway, it looks like a swell party – you look beautiful and clearly a great time was had by all. Looking forward to hearing more sewing exploits soon,

  14. 1. YAY, I wondered where you had been and seriously hoped you would be back

    2 The dress is lovely and you look great. But I understand where you are coming from. It’s like thank you but I know where my body is most comfortable.

    3. Bernina!!! I just won the 380 – how exciting. I posted all about it. I also have an Artista 170 I found in the dealership for a great price with the embroidery module and all. The software is old though. I really like it. How crazy that I then won the new one I wanted.

  15. You look GORGEOUS in your cream dress, not sausage-like in any way. In any case, stress, injury, not being able to exercise, etc. can all contribute to weight gain.

    I’ll bet if you ask him, your hubby will admit to having gained some weight as well-it’s another one of those things no one tells you about! When I first got married we treated each other a bit TOO much!

  16. Re: the sewing machine query. I have been through quite a few in my sewing life. My first was a White. It was an iron horse. I devoutly wish I had it today. I have owned a Pfaff and got talked into a Viking because a famous sewing teacher said it made fabulous buttonholes. Did not. Up-graded, like a fool. The problems I have had with that are too long to go into. The button that ties off the thread and the one that reverses need to be fixed. I spent several hundred dollars on that and have given up. In the meantime, Sewing on the Edge, bought a Bernina 801 on line, a couple of years ago. After her glowing comments, I went ahead and spent less than $250. I used PayPal in case the machine was not as represented but it totally was. And is. I understand that these machines were made for Home Ec classes. All metal. Has some fancy stitches and makes buttonholes but I use a Greist because I have one. I use the Bernina almost exclusively. Not sure what you are wanting in a machine but this does everything I want and I’ve been sewing for a very long time. It was a bit of an adjustment from the Viking in that when I touch the pedal the presser foot does not go down. And it has to be oiled much more often that some of the newer ones. Oddly enough, this machine came from the Tampa area.

  17. You still look magnificent in that beautiful dress. You have gone through a lot over the past few months. Please allow yourself to grieve, be happy, and enjoy life. This is just a rough, but beautiful point in your life. God Bless you and your wonderful husband/family.

  18. You look absolutely wonderful. Everyone looks like they had a terrific time.

  19. You look beautiful! I live in Inverness, FL – the town next to Brooksville – I can pick up the machine for you if you chose to buy it without seeing it in person first, and deliver it to wherever you like. Just a thought (I know you don’t know me personally.)
    E-mail for further contact if you like: fourkid (at) mindspring (dot) com

  20. I have a 1230, which is an 1130 with the addition of an alphabet. I am very happy with it. For example, this machine has sewn through cordura with no issues. And as you might guess, I have used most of the functions that are also found on the 1130, but the numbers and letters…twice altogether.

  21. Thanks for taking us “virtually” to your party, it looked fabulous and so did you. Your Dad is a charmer, says Robin, and I believe her. Everyone looks like they are having a wonderful time, loads of good memories.

  22. I use a Bernina 830 Record which I bought at the end of its model year – 1979! I wouldn’t trade it for anything (inlcuding my 1941 Singer Featherweight). My understanding is that the primary difference between the 830 and the “newer” 930 is that the 930 has the needle-down option. I sometimes wish I had that feature, but with practice I’ve learned to stop with the needle down just by controlling the foot pedal. And as old as my machine is, I can still get the old-style accessories and feet right from my Bernina dealer.

  23. I’m very impressed with your gif, very cool! I think your after wedding party seems much more relaxed and fun than a formal reception and you look amazing in that lace dress

  24. HI,
    I love your pictures, you look great, and the dress looks perfect on you. As a Brazilian, my idea of beauty is different. A girl need curves to dance samba. One should try samba at least once…
    Regarding Berninas. I have the 840 semi-industrial. I got it from a local craigslist. It is somewhat heavy, no oil pan. I purchased used for $250, the person who sold to me, did run a business, and the machine was at her garage unused for years. It was in a sad state, the person did not even know how to use. However, it sews beautifully, and it come with 12 extra feet. This is of the best machines I have ( I feel bad…but I have over 10 machines in two houses long story). I highly recommended… If you can find one.
    Good luck
    Thanks for sharing

  25. I’m gonna say, yes you have put on weight, but hey, be kind to yourself. You have been through so much. And when we go thru things we either put on weight or we stop eating and lose weight. I’m a put on weight person too 🙂 And you still look beautiful! Looks like a fun reception too!

  26. I love these kind of pictures and I’m glad you posted them for us. And even though I’ve never met you I immediately recognized your dad from prior posts. What a great smile! It looks like everyone had a fabulous time and you look gorgeous in your dress (we truly are too hard on ourselves). BTW, I love my kids but even though my son has his own insurance agency and my daughter is a college soccer coach, we are NOT friends on FaceBook (and it’s probably because they don’t want people to know I’m their mother!!).

  27. Well, I can’t offer any advice on the Berninas, but the reception was beautiful and so were you. You don’t (and didn’t!) look like a stuffed sausage. You looked like you were having a blast. And it was good to see your dad again, and that he was happy. Like so many others have said, it’s been a rough several months. You do what you need to do to cope, so don’t begrudge yourself those extra wines or cookies or whatever. Dude, I’d be roughly the size of a blimp if I were in your shoes. But yeah, I’m getting back on the weight loss wagon, too (I can wear jeans I haven’t been able to squeeze my butt into in more than a year!). I’m going the Weight Watchers route. Maybe we need to back each other up (because theoretically, Erik’s doing this with me, but I don’t really expect that to last). 🙂

    And by the way, you’re missing a pic of those fabulously sassy shoes. Those things rocked! 🙂

  28. OK, you look ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS in that dress. That’s really all there is to it! It’s absolutely fabulous and I’m glad you had such a nice occasion to wear it to! Here’s my advice for shopping in the Garment District- let Jordan pick out his fabric first, if he needs to be there, then set him and brother up in the Houndstooth Pub around the corner! That way they get beer and you get solo shopping time!

  29. Wonderful dress, you look so happy! I have a Bernina 1130 and no one could pry it away from me. I’ve also had a Bernina 200E (sold it) and now Bernina 550Q. But I go back to that 1130 and it sews like the day I bought it new. All metal, they don’t make ’em like that any more. Grab you one if you can find! you won’t be sorry.

  30. For more than a year I’ve been devoted to purchasing a Bernina 1130. I have had a 930 for about 30 years and I love it — wanted the automatic buttonhole offered by the 1130. Stalked ebay forever — prices all over the map. I missed some sweet deals and avoided several high-priced options. Then I started following Craigslist, where I also missed out on some good options. But just one month ago, I found one for $500. It’s a great machine and I’m glad I had the patience to wait and I’m encouraging you to take your time, as well. These older Berninas are gems, but there are plenty of them out there and some are always available. Don’t overpay! Every dollar saved on a machine can go to fabric!

  31. Late to the party here but must echo the previous comments: You looked lovely in your beautiful cream lace party dress! Additionally, wanted to comment on the Bernina 1130 — I have one and love it. There was a period of time where I had two residences, so I HAD to have a sewing machine at each location. I had a Bernina 1260 at my “primary” residence, and was able to purchase an 1130 from someone I knew locally. I’m now consolidated into one home (thankfully) and am loath to part with either machine. Both are fabulous workhorses and do everything that I need, sewing-wise. I would tell you that I bought my 1130 for $300, but that would probably depress you.

  32. Despite what you may think, you look so beautiful! It looks like you had a really lovely party and I’m so glad to hear that you’re feeling a bit better.

  33. I dont mean to be mean, but stop being so hard on yourself. You look beautiful, and you and hubby look very happy together.

  34. First, you look wonderful. Second, I have the 830 record, but I use it for quilting so have no idea how the buttonholes are. It’s a great machine with a good stitch. I’d try to make a buttonhole to tell you about it, but I left the machine at my daughter’s where I babysit my granddaughters every other week (and this is the other week). Congratulations on your marriage and good fabric buying vibes coming your way.

  35. OMG, I have been stalking your blog since, like 2008! Though I have not visited in the last year or so, I am very happy for you. Congratulations on your nuptuials!!!

    Better late than never.

  36. Heartledly agree with all the complimentary comments on your gorgeous dress. You looked
    beautiful, and there was a lovely serenity and peace on your face. Much happiness and good health to you both!

    As to the Bernies, if you haven’t found your gem yet: when I attended industry trade shows several times a year in the 80s, I picked up the unrelenting vibe about the “solid” “Rolls Royce” and superior quality and workmanship of the 930. I then set out to find my own. I chose to work with a Bernina dealer, and gave her my requirements: one owner, complete service manual. My year long patience was well rewarded with just what I requested when, as so often happens, a customer traded up .. plus, so many feet and attachments, the orginal user manual and a large covered and segmented tray to hold them all at a fantastic price at the time. I was beyond thrilled. I just wouldn’t ever let her go, even though the built-in decorative stitches of the new Bernies tickle my fancy from time to time.

    The metal, non-computerized machines are really wonderful… VERY heavy (50 lbs in the carrying case), but so reliable. I follow the schematic directions for lubricating, and knock wood: not one repair (may it continue, please God). There are a couple of very helpful Yahoo user boards for older Bernies, and there are some knowledgeable amateur and sewing machine repair folks who participate. Folks do advertise their older machines for sale there at times. The one I’ve relied on the most for random quandries : Bernina Thirty Somethings. They’ve saved my butt-er on more than one occasion. The buttonholes aren’t the greatest, probably improvable with more practice, but I also got the Greist buttonholer from which I removed the bulky top part to fit under the 930 presser foot.

    I don’t know anything about the 1130 or 1230 .. and I hope you’ll have a chance to find one
    that you can try out with all thicknesses and types of fabric… that’s a really good test. Good luck on your hunt!

  37. I agree with everyone who commented here, you look absolutely stunning in your dress! Stuffed sausage never looked so good! It’s true, we are always our own worst critics!

  38. you should drive to Florida right now to get a 1130 🙂 I’m almost kidding…!
    I have an 1120 and it rocks. my. world. Mostly because it does its thing and let’s me do mine. I don’t need to fuss about tension, skipped stitches, or any of that other kind of nonsense i hear about. only wish i had the 1130 for the auto buttonhole.

  39. Thanks for sharing. Your pictures look great. Your beautiful smile. Such a joy to see. Now, this is what I know…
    I have the Bernina 850 semi industrial. Last year I purchased from a lady who had garage sewing business and a shop. It set at her garage for over a year un-used and it shows. I got it for $250 plus 12 feet, one needle. I just bend the ONLY needle yesterday( human error). Oh! wellI. I have not use much due to my back and forth from Hawaii.
    It sews beutifully, has 20 stiches, straith and various forms of zig zag decorative stitches, buttom hole( not made one yet). If you have the space, this is a great machine. It has a industrial table and motor. NO OIL pan like my Juki, that’s another story. If you find one without the manual, no worries. Free download at the Bernina site.
    Hope you find the machine of your dreams.
    Aloha from Josie.

  40. Love, love, love the wedding dress! Best wishes to you both.

    My two cents: My 1130 and I are going into our 26th year together. We’ve been through heirloom sewn baby dresses and coats, quilting, chair recovering, sporty teen swimsuits, prom dresses, first job skirts and tops, sailboat canvas repairs, and lots and lots of mending. So now I am waiting with fingers crossed to make more baby dresses! If you find a good one, go get it!

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