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A Going Away Dress

Posted by on 1:28 am in Custom Designs, Featured, Latest Projects, Vintage Gowns, Weddings | Comments Off on A Going Away Dress

Just how many of these 1980’s high necked, big sleeved lace wedding gowns are still out there? Well, your guess is as good as mine, but all I know is they keep ending up in my sewing room and on my chopping block! This one is going to be a little different, in that it is going to become the brides ‘Going Away’ dress. The one part of the dress that she really loves is the paisley shaped lace appliques scattered on the skirt and the bodice.  So, the plan is to remove the high lace neck, remove the sleeves, carefully remove all those lace appliques, refashion the bodice and skirt, and then re-apply the paisley appliques at the new neckline. A bright colored sash will finish the waistline! I will keep you posted on...

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A Peacock Prom!

Posted by on 3:20 am in Featured, Latest Projects, Prom | Comments Off on A Peacock Prom!

A Peacock Prom!

This was a smart girl; she thought ahead for her prom dress. She came to me way back in November with her dress ideas. That gave us plenty of time to fabric shop, make a muslin and get it completed for her without feeling rushed! Her original design was a little different than the finished product, if only because we had to change one little thing. She had invisioned the skirt of her dress covered in real peacock feathers. Gorgeous, right? Gorgeous price, too! Even buying in bulk, the feathers would have been more than she had anticipated. Then there would be the cost of sewing them all on the base fabric. Cha- chung!! After going over those little cost details, I suggested we look at www.spoonflower.com. Immediately we found the perfect fabric. I ordered 5 yards of silk/cotton. When it arrived, it was just like Christmas! This fabric is so very pretty! The perfct sheen, the perfect drape! I finished the dress just yesterday – ready for pick-up this weekend! The bodice is a bright Marine Blue satin, and the hip level sash is a bright yellow silk doupioni. The bow at the back is removable (attached with clear snaps).  The bodice fits closely through the hip, then flares out into a full skirt, shaped with  crinoline netting. So pretty for a prom...

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The Rhthym of Beading

Posted by on 9:13 pm in Latest Projects | Comments Off on The Rhthym of Beading

Growing up I was never musical and I was never coordinated enough to follow specific dance steps.  Jazzercize? Bombed out pretty quickly. Even a step class was a diseaster.  Just never had any rhthym. But I have found my groove in a sewing technique – beading. There is a certain rhthym to the art of beading.  Pushing the needle through the fabric, catching the bead, and pushing the needle through the fabric again.  When you find your rhthym, it can be a very calming act. Today I spent several hours in this calm place, rebeading a dress for a client.  A very pretty , vintage style black beaded short dress, that had quite a few beads missing or loose.  I am happy to have been able to enjoy fixing it for her!...

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Satin & Lace; 1980’s to 2014

Posted by on 2:42 am in Latest Projects | Comments Off on Satin & Lace; 1980’s to 2014

Satin & Lace; 1980’s to 2014

Ah yes . . . yet another Vintage make-over! As many of these as I have done, it still amazes me how simply constructed dresses were back then!  No lining, no seam finishing, bare bones construction at best. I do wish I had a picture to share of the original dress; however, by the time it was brought to me, it had already been partially taken apart! The brides grandmother had thought she would re-make it for her, but after removing the sleeves and opening the back, decided that it was work better done by a professional! I can tell you this: the original dress had long lace sleeves, a deep V-neck, a cumberbund style waistband, and an a-line skirt. The lace on the dress covered the sleeves and the waistband. The skirt was a layer of cheap satin and a layer of chiffon. This was obviously a home made dress, as many wedding dresses were – back in the day. The bride’s request was to make the dress into a strapless lace gown. It was about 6 inches too small across the back – though it fit fine across the front of the bodice. So, she wanted a lace up back put in, as well.  First order of business was to basically take it apart.   Here you can see that only the waistband pieces had the lace overlay.      In this picture you can see the marking lines I made on the front bodice to create a strapless. Next, I cut the new pattern pieces, including all the layers (lining, interfacing, underlining, satin, and lace) adjusting the sizes of the back pieces according to the measurments I had taken. After a few adjustments that had to be made to the front bodice piece, I finally got it sewn together! I only added boning pieces at the sides of the dress, for now.  I will likely be sewing in the bra she gave me that she plans to wear. I will probably add some more boning at the back panel as well. This afternoon I cut lace and organza pieces (to replace the chiffon-which was in pretty bad shape; plus the organza will support the lace better than the chiffon) for the skirt. Tomorrow I will cut lining pieces for the skirt and get it all sewn together! My Bride will come for her fitting the beginning of the week, and we can determine the back panel and lace up measurements, as well as the hem. So far I am very...

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In Remembrance of Jane . . . .

Posted by on 2:06 am in Featured, Latest Projects, Special Occasions | Comments Off on In Remembrance of Jane . . . .

Every year during the first part of December, my second family congregates in Las Vegas for a working vacation, i.e. conference. It is the annual ICAS Convention (Interenational Council of Airshows), where performers, promoters and lovers of airshows all go to plan for next year and remember and critic the last. One of the most somber parts of our time in Vegas is always remembering those that left us far too early. Of course, this year we will be remembering our friend Jane Wicker, who was killed this summer while doing what she loved best – walking the wings of her beloved Aurora. My friend, Brooke, was a good friend of Janes, and wanted to honor her in a special way this year. Jane loved all things vintage -as in roaring 20’s. So, Brooke asked me to help her create  20’s look for the final night of our conference, when we have our awards banquet. It’s our very own ‘red carpet’, in which we have the opportunity to dress up like rock stars! Off to Gails, again . . . .  This time we really lucked out! We found the perfect fabric; covered in tiny sequins, ranging in color from palest silver gray to navy blue. Small enough in size that my sweet Ella (short for Ellageo) stitched right through them. I made her very simple tank top with an asymetrical hemline and scooped neck. She plans to wear it over a dress she already had, and to wear a very vintagy sequined headband as well. She will certainly have the look down! I know Jane will be looking down on her and...

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A Lovely New Lace Bolero

Posted by on 1:54 am in Custom Designs | Comments Off on A Lovely New Lace Bolero

The fall wedding season has been busy! Things are finally settling down to give me time to catch up on sewing for myself, as well as taking care of my home again (you don’t want to know when the last time I dusted was!). Last week was a busy week for me. I finished up 2 adorable Flower girl dresses (that will appear in another blog!), and I made 2 sweet jackets. The first one is for a bride who brought me her goreous lace dress that she had purchased at a consignment store. It had already had previous alterations done to it, and whoever had done them had taken out all the tags, so I don’t even know who made this lovely gown. It needed a hem and bustling, in addition to a small bolero jacket she wanted made. I informed her that I would not be able to match the lace of the dress, but I wuld do the best I could. I really lucked out! After having no luck at Gail K Fabrics – all the laces were either not the right color of ivory, or not the right type of lace – I came home frustrated and started looking through my own stash. And miracle of miracles – I already had the perfect lace! The short little bolero Jacket turned out so pretty! My client will pick it up tomorrow – I only hope she is as happy with it as I...

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Mom’s Dress

Posted by on 3:33 pm in Lessons Learned | Comments Off on Mom’s Dress

Finding The Perfect Mother of the Bride Outfit Finding the perfect dress for any occasion often proves to be a challenge; this is no different when looking for a mother of the bride or groom dress. In fact, if you ask me, it can be much more difficult. With so many dress styles and colors to choose from, it still seems like nothing ever fits the way it should, or looks the way it should, for that matter.   The way a dress or even suit looks on the hanger doesn’t always translate when put on. As a dressmaker, I have seen countless dresses and outfits that the MOB or MOG have brought to me for alterations. Sadly, I have encountered far too many women who are beyond miserable with their dress. Speaking as a woman, this is just not fun; when I am wearing a dress, I want to look and feel my best, especially at my son or daughter’s wedding.   While you could spend endless hours searching for the “perfect dress”, why not have a custom dress, gown or suit made just for you? After all, a piece designed specifically for you will surely be all that you have dreamed of. Whether you want a tea length dress, which is popular among many MOBs, a long gown, or even a skirt and jacket, wearing what makes you feel good, will make your son or daughter happy as well.   While the wedding is about the bride and groom, don’t forget to make sure you are satisfied, scratch that, overjoyed with your outfit choice, and the upcoming nuptials!   Good luck finding a dress, and if that doesn’t work, have one made specifically for you, highlighting your personality, style, and best assets!  ...

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Vintage Re-Make

Posted by on 3:30 pm in Latest Projects | Comments Off on Vintage Re-Make

It seems to be my year for Vintage Re-makes! Here I will share with you about the second one of the year; although I started today on yet a third! This gown is another 70′s design, worn by the brides mother. You know the era – the full sleeves, high neck, gathered waist, lots of lace and ruffles around the neckline. In working with these older dresses, I have found that they don’t make dresses like they used to! A lot less structure, a lot less finishing. In remaking this dress, I first had to remove the sleeves and the lace ruffles on the bodice. I added a structured lining: I took the skirt in to create a more a-lined look, taking the gathers out of the back and replacing them with pleats. The lace was all replaced, and the beading began. Several days and many hours later, the bodice was beaded, front and back. Here is a veiw of the front, partially beaded: And here is the back veiw: After finishing, with adding buttons at the back, and straps (a last minute addition; they came over the shoulder and made a ‘V’ at the back.), and a traditional bustle, she finally picked it up a couple weeks ago. And – I simply cannot believe these are the only pictures I got! Mom and bride promised me pictures later, of both mom in the dress in the 70′s, and the current bride in the same dress. I will not only post them here, but I will also be framing them and putting them in my sewing...

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Becoming Reality

Posted by on 3:28 pm in Latest Projects | Comments Off on Becoming Reality

Normally I wait until the bride takes possession of her dress before I post about it. But this time I simply can’t wait! I won’t post her name, though! This bride came to me almost a year ago with the idea of a very simple dress for her beach wedding. Basically just a dressed up t-shirt dress. But she had another idea, and brought me a picture, of a gown that was her true dream dress. How much would it cost? Could I make it with just a couple changes? Absolutely! The biggest difference was that she wanted the main satin layers in a soft pink. Initially, we talked about the over – blouse and skirt being done in white organza – Front Back After the first fitting we decided to nix the organza and go with a mesh for the top, and tulle and Point d’ Esprit for the skirt. But there was still something missing, so we added the magic touch – It’s not finished yet; still need to do some fitting on the top, add buttons at the back, and the hem. But my client is so excited, and so am I! I so love this dress! Can’t wait to show you the...

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For Jane

Posted by on 3:24 pm in Custom Designs | Comments Off on For Jane

The last post I made here was to share with you about a project coming up that I was so excited about.  Jane Wicker, Airshow performer, and Wingwalker, had asked me to make her a very special wing walking outfit for her upcoming marriage. The plan was for her and her fiance, to get married while wingwalking! I hadn’t a clue how this was going to be done, but I had no doubt that Jane could do it! Sadly, and tragically, this project will not be happening. Today, Jane was killed while performing her act at an airshow in Dayton, OH. I have been involved in this business long enough to have lost several friends. It doesn’t get any easier. But perhaps this one was a little tougher, because I had really just been getting to know Jane, and really really liked her. Jane had given me some ideas of where she wanted to go with her wedding outfit, and I had some ideas of my own. Together we had come up with some really great stuff! Jane was a huge fan of the era of the ‘Roaring 20′s’; probably because of the love she had for her airplane, Aurora. It was a huge old Stearman Bi-plane, built for that slow dancing in the sky, that she was so good at. She could dance across the wings of that airplane like nobody else! It was a priveledge to watch her and a priveledge to know her. She had wanted an outfit that reflected the romance of that era, but was also conducive to her needs as a wing walker. This is what we came up with – only with long, fitted sheer sleeves with some bling at the cuffs. It was to have spattered bling across the shoulders and chest, at the high neck, and again in a thin belt at the midriff. We talked about a seperate skirt of silk charmuese for the after party,as well. Instead of a veil, I was going to make her this  turban/hat – which we both fell in love with! Minus the feathers, though, and add some bling instead. Though this lovely outfit will never be made, I will always see Jane in it; standing on the wing of Aurora, waving at the crowd, a huge ole’ smile on her face as she does what she did so very well. God Speed, and Blue Skies forever,...

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