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It’s Prom Season!

Posted by on 3:40 am in Custom Designs, Featured | Comments Off on It’s Prom Season!

Prom season is upon us, and while I don’t make as many prom dresses as I alter, I have made my fair share. I thought I would take some time to show off some of my favorite’s of those I have made! This Black ruffled chiffon dress was designed by the client. It had a low fitted back, and a sequined sash that sat at the hip. The ruffled skirt had a thigh high slit. This Blue satin asymetrical  dress was designed after a dress from one of the Mission Impossible movies. It was another experiment in draping, and really fun to make! And yet another draped experiment! This young lady came to me about 10 days before prom with fabric and a drawing in hand. I still don’t know how I did it so quickly and so well. This last dress was one I made a couple years ago. My client came to me with a design and idea – she wanted a “peacock” dress, with real peacock feathers! After pricing those feathers out for her, she decided on this custom made fabric instead. Peacock feathers are not cheap! The custom made fabric wasn’t inexpensive either, but it was considerably cheaper than the real feathers. I am currently working on a prom dress for this year. As soon as I get it completed, I will post photos. Just as a tease – it’s very blingy!!...

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The Dress That Started It All

Posted by on 3:05 am in Bridesmaid Dresses, Featured, Lessons Learned | Comments Off on The Dress That Started It All

Quite often, I have clients ask me, “How did you get started in this business?” So I tell them. It’s a wonderful story, and I love to share it. It’s a story of love and faith, a story about what can happen when you truly seek God’s will in your life. For all of my adult life, I had worked with children. Either in a daycare or school system, or best of all – with my own children.  I had learned to sew back when they still taught sewing in school. I had made my own wedding gown back in 1977.  For many years I had been making my own clothes, and my childrens’. Then I started sewing for friends at work. Mostly little things, but eventually, I started making dresses for a few wedding parties – for bridesmaids, flower girls or just guests. It was at this point when I made the bridesmaid dresses for a lovely bride. The dresses turned out lovely, but I really didn’t think they were ‘spectacular’.  But – the mother of one of the bridesmaids disagreed.  She went on and on about how beautiful the dresses were! She started talking to me about how, with my talent, I should be doing this for a living! Of course, I thanked her, but, really, I wasn’t that good! For 2 years – yes, 2 years! – she hounded me about starting a business in bridal wear. At some point, I guess I started listening to her, and I began to wonder. I also started to pray about it; asking God for direction. I knew I was beginning to feel burned out in working at the school, but was this really what I should be doing?  But the more I prayed about it, the more I was feeling lead to check it out. With my husbands blessing, I made up some cheap business cards on the computer, and set out to hand some out to local bridal shops.  Nobody seemed all that interested.  My last shop was Etain’s, which was located in Tyrone, GA at the time. The manager there, Pennie, told me she currently had a tailor that was doing alterations for her, but she would keep me in mind. I left her a card, and went home, thinking, okay, I guess that’s the end of that quest. Part of me was disappointed, but part of me was relieved. I’ve never been one to embrace change, and as changes go – this would be a big one! 3 months later, I got a call from Pennie. She had a dress that needed a zipper replaced – was I still interested? YES! I rushed right over and picked up the dress, in it’s big white bag. I knew this was going to be kind of a test – to see what kind of work I did, so I was determined to do everything perfectly. Then I opened that bag and saw the dress for the first time. And I cried. This dress was covered in beading. There was not a 1/2″ on this dress that didn’t have beads on it. Now, I had made my own wedding dress many years ago – but it was not even in the same league as this dress! I was...

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A Golden Wedding

Posted by on 7:39 pm in Custom Designs, Featured, Weddings | Comments Off on A Golden Wedding

Claire came to me through a word of mouth reference (the very best advertising!), about a year ago. she had a wedding coming up and had found a dress on a dress rental site that she really loved. The only problem was that she could not get a guarantee that the dress would still be available in 8 months (her wedding date). She showed me the online photo, and we discussed exactly what her specific likes and dislikes were about it. It would not be your traditional wedding dress, by any means. It would be something so beautiful and so fantastic, that she would want to, and be able to wear it often! Made of gold sequins, it fit her like a glove. The sequins were a challenge to work with, but I absolutely loved working on this dress.  So much so, that I recently made another  just like it (but that’s another story!) The design of the dress kind of evolved as we went. Originally, she had wanted a drape across one shoulder, and maybe even straps.   The skirt became narrower at thigh and hip, and more flared at the hem.  In the end, it was...

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Adding A Lace Caplet

Posted by on 5:35 pm in Custom Designs, Featured, Special Occasions | Comments Off on Adding A Lace Caplet

She came to me with a gorgeous champagne lace gown. It only needed a hem at the back to get rid of the extra long train. But, she was also hopeful that I could do something to cover the back of her shoulders. The dress had straps, but the back ‘neckline’ dropped to bra strap level, and she had a large tattoo she was hoping to cover for her special event. Fortunately, the lace train I cut off was the perfect length to add at the back of the shoulder area, for a lovely caplet! Since the bodice of the bodice of the gown had some pretty beading on it, I decided to add just a bit of beading to the caplet as well. I also added covered buttons to the caplet, just for show. She was thrilled with her new look! I was...

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Hiatus over!

Posted by on 5:29 pm in Custom Designs | Comments Off on Hiatus over!

I don’t even want to think about how long it has been since I last posted.  I do know that the last couple years have been incredibly busy and fruitful. Many brides have walked through my door, as well as their mothers and bridesmaids. I have also begun doing contract alterations work for a well known local bridal shop. They keep me very very busy!  It would be almost impossible to list and show all the lovely dresses I have been privileged to create in the past months; so I thought I would just show a quick slide show of my favorites! Hope you enjoy looking as much as I enjoyed the creating! This was a “Pretty in Pink” gown for a bride that had brought me a picture of a gown completely different form what we actually created. The only thing that really stayed the same from her original idea, was the color pink!  Some brides want lots of color!  This bride did not want anything traditional! Red and black were her colors!  Its actually a short red and black lace short sheath, with a removable over skirt of cascading ruffles. The short sheath was necessary for her departure ride – on a motorcycle!  I put invisible zippers at the bottom of the side seams, that she could unzip for more freedom of movement. A very good friend asked me to make her a beaded tunic for a special occasion. Simple construction, but it turned out so beautiful! The asymmetrical hem is trimmed in a beaded fringe. This was a purchased gown that had a very long train, which I cut off, and created this pretty back drape with cap sleeves, to cover the open back. This sweet young lady needed a flower girl dress for the wedding she was attending. She was such a joy to work with!  When she put on the finished dress, she teared up and said, “I am beautiful!” In the first picture, here, you see a cathedral length gown that was worn several years ago by the bride, who brought it in to me ans asked that I take it apart and create 2 small flower girl dresses for her daughters, aged 18 months and 3 years.  Okay – so this is certainly not everything I have worked on in since I last posted, but it will give you, dear readers, a small taste of what I have been up to!  Next up – my recent fav’s – both created and...

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Oldies but Goodies!

Posted by on 5:08 pm in Lessons Learned | Comments Off on Oldies but Goodies!

I have recently been rebuked, by several people, for coming back from a long hiatus (in the fall), and then jumping right back into the hiatus! So, here I am – again! I’ve spent time recently, cleaning out files on my computer, and in doing so, came across pictures of dresses I had made back when my business was new.  Most, if not all, of these dresses could be considered non-traditional wedding dresses – which I seem to get a lot of. When a bride can’f find what she wants in the Bridal Shops, she comes to me!  Thought I would bring them back, just for nostalgia’s sake (is that a word?). Enjoy! First up is a fun beach wedding ensemble – not a traditional wedding dress, but a sarong with bustier! I made smaller sarongs for her 2 young daughters as well! So fun!     Another non-traditional wedding dress; this pretty in pink dress was for a lovely lady, going into her marriage with a very specific idea of what she wanted, and also what she didn’t want. Pink was her signature color, and she certainly looked lovely in it! This pretty ivory and lace tea-length dress was for a beach wedding, as well. She wanted a 2-piece dress that she could remove the more modest over dress, and wear just the chemise for the reception. I actually got an order for this dress on line. It is a copy of a dress I had originally made for a Bridal Fashion Show. She wanted a couple of slight changes – color, size and beading embellishments. I never actually met her – she sent me her measurements (taken by a professional, per my request!), and I sent it to her when it was finished. She told me it fit perfectly! This was the first wedding dress I made when I began my business, 10 years ago. One of my first voyages into creating my own pattern! Another bride that knew exactly what she wanted. Low-waisted, tea length, with wide sash at low waist. Save...

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The Gown of My Nightmares!

Posted by on 1:17 am in Custom Designs, Featured, Weddings | Comments Off on The Gown of My Nightmares!

The Gown of My Nightmares!

One of the things I love about what it is I get to do every day, is that no dress is ever the same. There is always more to learn! And while I usually am quite ready and willing to learn new techniques or methods in my craft, this dress became a bit of a challenge (to say the least)! This client came to me with a photo of a super model wearing a lovely slinky silver dress with an organza ruffle effect at the neck.The dress had a VERY low back, and was basically molded to her curves. My client was in love with the dress – with a few changes. #1 – she wanted it in a shade of peachy pink instead of silver. #2 – the back must be covered. Problem #1 – finding the fabric in the shade she wanted. Wasn’t going to happen. She did find a lovely beaded fabric in the perfect shade. It wasn’t a stretch fabric (which I specified was needed for the shape of the gown as pictured); but she had fallen in love, so . . . .  we made adjustments. Problem #2 – Because we needed to adjust the design of the pattern to fit the fabric (instead of the other way around – which is how it’s usually done), there would be seams where she didn’t necessarily want them. But because it was not a knit, I explained, it HAD to have seams. A strange concept, I know, but even though I have been called a magician, I simply cannot change some of the rules of sewing. Problem #3 – The quote I had originally given her was for a simple sheath dress done it a knit fabric. Few seams, no closures except for the neck, and, with the serger, easy seam finishing. However. This fabric was heavily beaded. Heavily beaded needs underlining for support. Heavily beaded needs removal of beads within ALL seam allowances. Ka-ching. Ka-ching. Ka-ching. First off – cutting the pieces and preparing them – i.e. underlining-       Each bodice piece had the lining, the underlining and the fashion beaded fabric to be cut. The underlining needed to be hand sewn to the beaded fabric, along the seam line. Now the fun part; before anything can be sewn on the machine, all the beading within the seam lines must be removed. By hand. With a small needle nosed pliers.  6 Hours and several blisters later . . . . ….. I had a lovely pile of smashed glass beading. What you see here is a small fraction of what I actually ended up with! So, atleast 8 broken needles, 5 fittings, 4 more designs alterations and one very frustrated seamstress later – Front Back It actually turned out very pretty. While I ended up being fairly pleased, it was a true pleasure to see that dress finally leave the sewing room in the hands of a very happy...

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My ‘Ah- Ha’ Moment

Posted by on 1:26 am in Lessons Learned | Comments Off on My ‘Ah- Ha’ Moment

  It happened while I was doing a fitting for a special client. She is a lovely young lady, about 17 years old. She is a sweet girl that happens to have Downs Syndrome. I am making her a Jr Bridesmaid dress.  She came by with her mother for a fitting with the muslin I had made of her dress. Not much to look at at this point; just a few scraps of fabric quickly stitched together.  After I finished with the pinching and pinning, I had her turn toward the mirror so she could see how she looked.  As she got her first glimpse in the mirror, her eyes grew in size, a huge smile formed at her mouth, and in a loud excited voice, she exclaimed, “I’m gorgeous!”  Tears came to my eyes as I looked at her and realized how truly beautiful she is. But my moment wasn’t finished. It was a few days later, I was at the gym, and I couldn’t help but over hear a couple women discussing their dissatisfaction with their bodies. As I turned around, I almost expected to see  a couple of mis-shapen gargoyles with hump backs and warts, from the way they were talking about themselves! Instead, I saw two beautiful, fit mid aged ladies.  And this made me so sad.  How could they not see how beautiful they are? How perfectly made, in God’s own image? It was at this point that I realized that I have been guilty of this same self abuse for so many years.  So I gave myself a challenge:  To find something about my body that I not only liked, but that I loved.   I also want to challenge you to do the same.  I realize that we all face challeges, physically; some of us more than others.  But I also believe that none of us are so physically challenged or suffering such illness, that there is no beauty to be found. My hope is that each and everyone of us, as women, will be able to look in the mirror and with sparkling eyes and a bright smile on our faces, exclaim with enthusiasm, “I’m Gorgeous!” Are  you ready? I will go first. I love my shoulders!! My shoulders have always been strong. They have carried, lifted and comforted my children, they have carried the weight of trials and tribulations of varying degrees over the years. My shoulders respond well to excercise, becoming shapely and strong.  Though they may have pains now and then, if I treat them well, and don’t abuse them, they heal quickly and become strong again. http:// So, tell me – please share what it is about your body that you love! Maybe it’s your skin, or your soft belly; maybe it’s your crooked fingers or toes! Is it your big smile, or maybe your perfectly shaped head. Whatever it is, I want to hear about it! So share this post – pass it on and share the...

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This Weeks Challenge – A Lettuce Hem Prom Dress

Posted by on 1:58 am in Featured, Latest Projects, Prom | Comments Off on This Weeks Challenge – A Lettuce Hem Prom Dress

Fear can be a paralysing thing. We all have things we fear, or are atleast a little anxious about. Something that we lay awake at night worrying over and analysing. For me, this week, it was a prom dress; with a unique hem. The dress had been waiting for me in the sewing studio; almost as though it was teasing or baiting me to come work on it. Each day for over a week, I would walk by it, hanging in it’s place on the rack, and I could swear it was mocking me. The unique hem on this dress is called a ‘lettuce leaf hem’, because of the curly frilly fullness of it. It is very pretty – but, for me atleast, very intimidating!  On this particular dress, the hem was done in the most difficult of fabrics – very fine tulle. Five layers of very fine tulle. Each layer about 10 yards in length. To accomplish this frilly look, the tulle needs to be cut off to the exact length needed. Then fishing line is sewn right on to the very edge of this hem. The fishing line gives the fabric it’s unique curl. I was intimidated to say the least. But, finally, I knew I could put it off no longer. I put the dress on the dressform and sat and looked at it, examining it, for about 20 minutes. I knew there had to be an easier way. And there was! I’ve only done a waist hem a few times; mostly because they can’t be done on many dresses without altering the entire skirt. But upon examing how this dress was constructed, I decided it could be done. First up, was to carefully remove all the appliques at the waist and the top of the skirt. Next, I separated the bodice from the skirt layers. After raising all the skirt layers to the appropriate length, I pinned them in place, using a pin about every 1/4 inch or so for security. I needed to add gathers to the new skirt waistline to ease in the fullness of the skirt, but that was ok, because it had been slightly gathered to begin with. Now, I carefully sewed the bodice and skirt back together. Next up was to put all those appliques back on! First I pinned them in place – Each applique was hand sewn back onto the outer most layer of tulle. Finally, several hours and a sore back later, it was finished! I know you can’t see in the picture, but the hem was raised about 5 inches at the front, tapering to nothing at a point just past the side seams. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. I do still need to learn to do that Lettuce leaf hem, but I think I would rather tackle it on a different fabric, such as chiffon or...

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A Going Away Dress – Part II

Posted by on 2:41 am in Custom Designs, Featured, Latest Projects, Vintage Gowns | Comments Off on A Going Away Dress – Part II

Remember the last post about the Vintage Gown I am re-fashioning int o a Going Away Dress? Well today I want to show you the progress I have made.  This is what I started with –                   First I removed the buttons, the zipper, the lace ruffle at the bodice, and the sleeves and bodice overlay –                   Next, off came all of these lovely paisley lace motiffs –                   After removing all the lace and embellishments, it was time to seperate the bodice from the skirt and over skirt –                                        And now to start putting it all back together!                              The bodice will have straps made; the skirt has been chopped off to about knee level.  The skirt also will get taken in at the sides, panels removed at the back, and a new layer of chiffon added. The Paisley motiffs will be re-applied at the neckline, buttons re-sewn at the back, and a sash added at the waist. My lovely bride will be coming in a few days for her next fitting; I’m excited to see her reaction!      ...

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