chuppah for a southern wedding: next steps

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live oak wreath chuppah

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, full of get-togethers and wedding events.  I also started using Twitter, which I think we can all agree is a dangerous time sink a great tool for learning what’s up.  (You can follow me @raftersofcedars if you like.)

Meanwhile, I’ve been intending to post more about the progress of this chuppah, which is for a wedding later this month in a Southern venue. The main decorative element is a wreath of appliquéd live oak leaves, which is now finished, barring a few tweaks.

Backing up for a minute, here’s a bit about the steps that got me to the wreathy-looking image above.  Remembering that I began with a pencil sketch that looked like this:

chuppah for rachel + jeremy

Pencil sketch + digital color blobs.

My first step once a design is approved is to create a life-sized drawing from the sketch.  This lets me confirm the size of individual design elements, test out how I want to arrange them, and get a rough idea of how many pieces I need to cut.  When a design is asymmetric I draw the entire thing, but in this case a quarter of the circle is enough:

sketch for live oak wreath chuppah

From this sketch I made some quick patterns and cut out leaves in three colors of silk.  (A fourth color was in reserve for making additional leaves as I went along.)

sketch with leaves

There’s a whole process involved in making and applying the appliqués that I plan to show in more detail one of these days–not that it’s so mysterious but there are a few different methods and it’s fun to experiment with them.  In this case I used three different methods, small variations that add more or less dimension to each leaf.

Arranging all the pieces involves tinkering, trimming shapes, adjusting sizes, and making new leaves where I don’t have exactly the one I want for a particular spot.  When all the pieces are in place, I press them to hold them where they are.  Here’s what the wreath looked like after pressing, but before any sewing:

oak wreath chuppah with leaves pressed in place

From here I sew each appliqué in place and embellish it using machine embroidery.  I took a quick snapshot of the wreath midway through the embroidery last week:

live oak wreath in progress

Now the wreath is done!  Or mostly done.  I sprinkled more acorns around in the original sketch, but I’m pretty happy with the current arrangement.  I’m going to sleep on it while I work on the next phase.

Today I set up a screen in my dining room to take photos of the work in progress.  It’s always a little challenge photographing a chuppah indoors, but this setup is my favorite so far.  It’s just pinned to a canvas-covered screen.

live oak chuppah photography setup

And here’s a better look.  The tiny black mark at the center is a tailor’s thread tack, to guide me in the placement of the next set of appliqués:  the couple’s initials, R + J.

live oak wreath chuppah progress so far

To be continued!

1 Comment

  1. Veridis Quo

    The wreath is gorgeous. So interesting to see the progression of this piece. Look forward to seeing it finished.