The Quest for Lace

….you do what she says….

I mentioned my fabulous tailor in the last post 🙂

Did I mention that she sent me on a quest?

When we realized the hem would need to come up considerably and the train would be taken in a few inches, we (the tailor, my sister and I) noticed that the lace on the hem of my dress was a little cheap. It kind of pilled when dragged on the floor. I mean, it’s fine, don’t get me wrong, but Mary suggested finding similar lace to the alencon gracing the edges of my veil to make the dress look “richer.” All I needed to do was find seven yards of sequin and seed pearl embellished ivory alencon lace, about one to two inches wide. Easy, right?

HA. I went to JoAnn’s in my town. Why did I bother? To be fair, it has a decent selection for every day sewing, but nothing in terms of bridal supplies. Then I went to Windsor Button and Winmill Fabrics in Boston. Windsor Button had a good selection, but nothing close to what I needed. Winmill had nothing, but the guy there described a place in NYC that I should try. “Ya go to Port Authority” he said, in what sounded like a New York accent, “and then ya exit out the 40th st exit on 8th avenue. Take a left, then turn to your left, and there’s a store there. I have no idea what the name is. But it’s full of lace.” “Star!” the lady behind him chimed in, “something about “Star” comes to mind.”

Yeah. OK.

I went to Saftler’s in Whitman. Also a decent selection, but nothing like I needed. Ugh. Lucky for me, I was able to pick up fabric and yarn for other projects, since they still have the prettiest fabric selection around (in my opinion) and have decently-priced “other” yarns (i.e. not just lion brand and red heart). I also talked to some lovely salesladies while there.

Thursday afternoon I headed down to New York and stopped at MJ Trimming. It was FANTASTIC….and only had similar trims in white. UGH! They were nice enough there to get down the laces stocked out of my reach and check and see if any of the white laces came in ivory, but blah, no luck again. If I ever need trim or ribbon for some non-formal project, however, I will be going there. AMAZING selection.

Jam and I headed off to melt in Washington DC, and the struggle to find suitable lace weighed heavily on my mind. Did it REALLY matter? No, of course not, the dress had suitable lace. Did I secretly love the idea of customizing a dress I have seen on at least eight or nine wedding blogs? Yes. Did I love the idea of bringing an element of NYC into the dress (even though the lace would probably not be NYC made of course)? YES. I decided that pre-bus ride home Monday I would continue my quest. I googled fabric stores and wrote down a number of stores in the Garment District. Then after a long ride from DC, we arrived to no power in Brooklyn. I spent the night bathed in my own sweat. I woke up on Monday very cranky, and in no mood to shop. I reasoned with Jam – “I probably won’t find anything” “I don’t even want to shop” “But if I don’t try, I’ll always wonder” “Maybe just for a hour, I’ll look for a hour”  I’m sure he was laughing on the inside, but was nice enough to appear to take me seriously on the outside. I vowed to shop for lace one more time. I decided I’d narrow my options to three stores. If none of the three had anything suitable, I’d move on.  In one last futile attempt to find a specific, promising lace shop with “star” in its name, I googled again.

Lo and behold, “Lace Star” came up on my blackberry, marked with a little pin on google maps on 40th street, right between 7th and 8th Avenue. Holy CRAP! I wrote it down and pledged to go there first – I was filled with OPTIMISM for a change!

I won’t lie, when I walked into Lace Star I was utterly intimidated. I literally walked three feet into the store, stood stalk-still and gaped. Every square inch of the wall was covered in different colored laces. The lady at the front counter was helping someone, so I lurked awkwardly, hoping she’d direct me to another salesperson or at least to the lace trims. A guy around my age rescued me from my awkward loitering and led me to a glass case of trims. “We don’t see a lot in ivory that thin and that embellished” he explained, “I have no idea why, but feel free to look.” He didn’t seem worried about the “Do not TOUCH ask for ASSISTANCE” sign taped to the sliding glass doors. He pushed them aside and said “Go for it.”

Naturally, when I pulled out a bolt of lace that said “99.00/yd” I decided that I would touch things on an as-needed basis. I held up the edge of my veil to bolt after bolt, realizing that nearly everything I liked was either pure white or pure ivory, which was too yellow to match my veil. Argh!

The salesguy would breeze by every few minutes (he did not hover, which was awesome) and ask how I was doing. He finally took pity on me and pulled out a bolt of ivory unembellished lace and said “this will be your best bet.” We talked budget – and the bolt he pulled was perfectly in budget. I mean, it was at the very top of my per yard budget, but not a cent over….still, I wanted to find a perfect match! CMON!

I finally conceded that he was right, the unembellished was best. I felt the tiniest bit defeated, until he actually unwound the lace from the bolt so I could get the full-effect. “This is Parisian-milled alencon lace…it really doesn’t get much better than this,” he said with a smile.

The lace looks a lot like this - gorgeous! Click for photo source.

Honestly, it was frickin’ gorgeous. Of course I had a flash of envy for the ladies with unlimited gown budgets who can afford a whole dress made of the stuff – but snapped out of it – I was getting a whole hemline full, my quest for lace was complete! Salesguy did show me a full bolt of alencon, explaining that’s what the buyers for Valentino and Amsale purchase (*managed to keep jaw from dropping*), then we gabbed about wedding stuff – his wedding is September 12th! We talked about all the stuff the brides are stuck with doing – I admitted that this was hardly a chore, especially since it was a totally superfluous task for the superficial purpose of making my dress look more luxe….because I am vain like that.

I bought an extra yard in the end – mostly because the lace is about 6 inches thick – it’s set up like a mirror image, which means the tailor will have to cut down the middle between the two lace motifs to make a lace edging, which, the salesguy explained, was how my veil was made. The extra was for “just in case” and for edge-matching purposes. Maybe there will be enough left over to make a garter. Sssexy!


3 thoughts on “The Quest for Lace

  1. Ughhhh the husband/wife duo at Winmill. I had quite the experience with them a few months back. I’ll leave it at that. They mean well, but seriously…

  2. hahah yeah, when I told the guy at Lace Star that story he snorted and was like “I actually can’t believe you found us based on that information alone” PS I have a card from Mary the Tailor for you!

    • Perfect!! Yeah, when should I be making an appointment? I figure the b-maid dresses alterations should be much easier so I didn’t need as much of a head start as you. Mary sounds like a good catch though!

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