Formals & More

Since changing the name of my business last week, I have decided to also change the location of my blog. I have never liked using wordpress (sorry guys if you are listening) because it is very difficult if not impossible to figure out how to personalize anything here. It seems to be easier over ‘there’ so I am going to give it a try. Unfortunately, I can’t figure out how to move all my posts from here, to over there. Maybe some one out there knows how and can help me??   You can find me here –

See you on the other side!!!!!!


At the ASG Conference, I took a class on painting silk. Loved it! Then, today, when I was at JoAnne Fabrics (only went to pick up a few bra inserts; came out $111.00 later . . .) I heard this fabric calling my name –

I had already been thinking of one last summer dress I would like to make before my NY shopping trip next week. This seemed like the perfect fit. But, I also needed a piece of lace or mesh to finish the back. Couldn’t find anything (I was at JoAnnes, remember) that was really going to work, but then I remembered the class I took – and – BING! Light bulbs flickered and then shone bright! I picked up a lovely embroidered organza –

and of course I had the paints from a previous shopping trip –


-so I painted a section of the lace purple, and a section blue –

OK,so the colors don’t show very well here, but I believe I am going to go with the blue. Here you can se them against the fabric –

I would really like to see how a black crocheted (?) piece looks with it, but alas, I was only at JoAnnes . . . 

I may not get it made til Monday. I have one more dress I have to finish alterations on before I do anything for myself. I also may have a rush job on Tuesday. Bride ordered a dress from a company that decided to discontinue their line and didn’t bother to make the dress or tell us that they didn’t. We convinced them 2 weeks ago that they need to honor the commitment as well as the money they received, and it should be getting here on Tuesday. I leave town  on Friday, and the wedding is the  following Saturday, although she leaves for the ‘destination’ 3 days before. So I really need to get it done before I leave on Friday.  I will have a few hours tomorrow before 3 afternoon appointments, then appointments all day Saturday.  SO – I will have 1, maybe 2 days to work on something for me!

I have been thinking of making a change for some time now. In my business name. I have never really liked the name “Formals & More”. I think I just choose it because I needed to have something, and I couldn’t think of anything else. But, it is time to move beyond it. I get so many calls asking if I do tuxes. No. I do not. I wanted a name that would be professional, but classy and give a personal image, and at the same time not confuse potential clients about what my business is. So what is it? My new business name is  “Elegant Designs by Candice Louise”.  I plan to still use my current logo and probably the same colors. I am having my new business cards redesigned by MOO Cards. I am excited to see what they can come up with. My new website probably won’t be up for atleast a few weeks yet, but in the meantime, I will probably be changing my blog site. Not quite yet, as I simply don’t have time right now to put into it. I will also have to change my e-mail, I guess. I already changed my business liscense. Who knew there were so many things to attend to just to change the name of your business! Exhausting! I will keep you all informed!


I got home yesterday from 4 days away at the American Sewing Guild Convention. I laid down on the couch (as I was exhausted) and slept for 5 hours! Woke up long enough to eat some popcorn, then went straight to bed. Woke up at 8 and really didn’t want to get up. Another hour or 2 of sleep would have been heaven!

Anyway – got there early Thursday morning. I had an all day class that day on Couture Fit. It was like drinking rom a fire hose! I always knew I should have a sloper made, but it never made sense to me why? What was I going to do with it? I can’t believe I have been a seamstress most of my life and didn’t know these things! Now I know why I have trouble fitting myself! So now my challenge is to get a sewing buddy to help fit me. Anyway – this class was exactly what I needed. Lots of extremely useful information. I ended up buying the book – Pattern Making made easy. I am sure I will it all the time. Friday’s class was a waste. It was on embellishment. I took that to mean it was a class on various kinds of ways to embellish clothing; embroidery, ribbon embroidery and flowers, soutache detailing, beading, ect… NOT! It was basically a class on bedazzling. Which is fine if that is what you are into. I’m not. SO it was a waste of time for me. Saturday I had a class on The Business of Dressmaking. A friend of mine taught it, and it wasn’t so much that I learned anything new, but a lot of re-enforcing what I already do know. And the finale – was Sunday’s class on Silk Painting. Lots of fun! Got lots of fun ideas of how to and what to paint. May try it on my dress for ICAS this year . . .

But, I digress . . . back to the title. I had entered 2 of my gowns in the fashion show that was presented on Friday evening. Practice was Thursday, so my daughter, Brittany (my model) and I showed up and joined all the other entrants. At the end of the ‘practice’ the director of the show gave everyone their numbers for placement, and my name was never called. Anxious and a little perturbed, I waited to talk to Loretta Phipps after everyone had left. Apparently she never received my entry. But she assured me that if I could write up the details needed for entrance in to the show, she would find a place for my dresses. So, I went back to my room and started typing. About an hour later, I finally had it ready to e-mail to her. I went to bed assured all was well.

Had to get up early for 7 a.m.breakfast, so just by chance, I thought I would check my e-mail. Lo and behold, there was an e-mail from Loretta. She wasn’t able to open my documents. So, I had to go down to the office center and print them off and get them to her that morning. Thankfully my classes weren’t till after lunch. Long story short – we were in the show. Brittany made a beautiful model for me. She was so funny – while waiting for her turn down the runway, she entertained all the old ladies and myself with her funky dance moves to music only she could hear – in a wedding gown.

Brittany in Pearls & Lace

 Brittany in Feather Fantasy










There were so many beautiful outfits presented at the show. Made me feel small and insignificant! Some of the workmanship in these outfits was simply amazing. SO much time put into them! I guess if I had the time, I would learn all the techniques I saw being used, also, and I, too, would be proud to show them off. Simply amazing.

I got to meet one of my ‘heros’ – Linda Stewart. I sat at a table when I first got there, and there she was!  I recognized her right off, and was just so excited to meet her! A very sweet lady, full of knowledge.

All in all an exhausting weekend,  full of information. Now I am looking forward to my next big weekend  – NYC!!


First, thankyou to Selfish Seamstress for this pattern. I traced and cut it out of tracing fabric, then using the tracing fabric as a muslin, pinned it to myself to make necessary adjustments. With the origianl pattern being only a sz 32, I figured I would have to grade it up atleast a size or 2. Typically, I make a 10 to fit the bust, and between a 10 -12 for the hip area. I’m still not sure what went so horribly wrong. Everything about this dress was HUGE!!!! Not only was it atleast 2 sizes too big, but somehow, the fabric ( a textured black linen) either had a warped grain to it that I didn’t notice, or I really screwed up in my cutting. The front of the skirt – even though it looks straight and even, feels like it is twisting. And the side seams are twisted just very slightly. My husband said he couldn’t tell to look at it.  Anyway, I ended up taking it in an inch on each side of the skirt from the hips down; plus, because after taking it in at the sides it was still baggy through the front, I added 2 front/side seams to follow the princess lines of the bodice. Princess seams. AAARRGGGHHH!!! I have no problem doing them on others. But on myself? HA! Way too wide through the center front. Way too narrow at the side fronts. Back way too long. Gaping at the neck. Rolls of fabric at the back waist. Bust points all off! Why is it so easy to fit others and so difficult to fit myself? I ended up adding a back center seam (to narrow it up through the back), raising the waist (which was originally lower than the natural waist), adding the 2 front side seams, lowering the front neckline about 1/2 inch, and raising the hem about 3 inches. Oh, I also added a front – faux- self fabric belt with 2 black buttons that go perfectly with the fabric. What should have taken maybe 5 hours max, ended up taking about 15. I was sure I would hate it – but when I tried on the final product – I was fairly pleased. I can see the flaws, but I don’t think they are noticeable to anyone else. It is comfortable for the most part. And I did get quite a few compliments on it at the Bridal Show I wore it to today. So – what do you think?

Front view

Back view

I think I would like to try it again in a cotton sateen with a slighly raised waist and center front inverted pleating. Really do love the back though!

Well, it’s finally finished – actually it has been done for over a week. My internet has been down, which has been preventing me from posting.

Last Tuesday I brought it to try on my youngest daughter (who will wear it in a Fashion show next week). It fir her perfectly, so all I had to do was measure for the pearl drapes across the back. I’m very pleased with the over all look. Again, please try to see beyond Dolly’s (my dressform) sway-back. Everything hangs a bit crooked on her since her accident.

Pearls and Lace - front view

Here is the front view. I used a champayne colored silk charmuese for the draped bodice and the underskirt. The lace is white, and with the background of champayne silk, it shows up better than if I had used a white underskirt. The slit top sleeves are also of the lace, with small pearl and crystal buttons at the top of the shoulder and at the hem of the sleeve. The hem of the sleeve is also bordered with small white pearls.  At the left side front of the skirt, there are 5 horizontal pleats, detailed with larger pearl and crystal buttons. The raised waist curves downward in the back to the natural waist. It is adorned with a trim which includes several different sizes and colors of pearls. The flared hem is finished with a 2″ lace trim that has a row of small white pearls along the top of the lace. The lining has an attached  crinoline to help the flared hemline to do it’s ‘thing’.

Here you can see the sleeve detail.

Bodice detail.

Pleat and button detail.

Here you can see the lowered back with the pearl drape. The dress is slightly fitted through the hip, but not overly so.

And finally – the pearl drape. I really wanted this to be the focal point of the dress. It took several trial and errors to get the length right and deciding on my pattern, but I am pleased with the way it turned out. It is detatchable on both sides, with a small button that is attached to the inside of the back of the bodice, and the string of pearls has a small button loop on each side.

I am very pleased with this dress. I will show it this weekend at the Flat Creek Bridal Show in Peachtree City, Ga, and again next Friday night at the Fashion show for ASG (AmericanSewing Guild). I will also be showing my Feather Fantasy Gown.

In past years, July has typically been one of the slower months of the year for me – as far as work goes. Spring and early summer weddings are done and gone, and fall weddings usually start to gear up for me by August. HA! Not this year! I swear – This July has been as busy if not busier, than June or even May! Partly because I seem to be getting more custom  orders (which is great!!!). But I really do seem to have more bridal alterations this July than ever before. Yesterday I was feeling more than overwhelmed. But today I feel much more caught up.

In the last week  this is what all I have done –

Finished all sewing on Pearls & Lace Gown,  Made flower girl dress (that was ordered back in April), alterations on 4 wedding gowns, 2 MOB’s, and 4 Bridesmaids. The next week will continue to be incredibly busy – by the end of July, this is what needs to be finished :  Drum major uniform (not my usual forte’, but I am happy to do it), 4 wedding gown alterations, finish construction on  1 MOB dress, and finish the draped beading on the Pearls & Lace gown. Not really a terribly lot to do. Easy peasy – right? Ha!! One of the wedding gown alterations is going to be the biggest challenge of my life. It is  a Matthew Christopher gown (I LOVE his gowns!!!) that came in about 2 sizes too big. Bad measuring. So – they are remaking the gown for the bride. So now the bride wants me to make this gown (that is too big) into a shorter version. It will be the challenge of my life. I will try to remember to take pics as I go, but it will be so intense working on it that I really can’t promise anything.

In the meantime – here is the flower girl dress I made over the weekend –

On a side note – the kittens are growing by leaps and bounds! Playing and jumping and stalking – but when I try  to feed them either canned cat food or moistened kitten chow – they only want to bury it. One will taste it  and eat a bit, but the other 3 want nothing to do with it. They are 5 1/2 weeks old now, and I thought that by this time they should be starting to eat a bit of solid food. Either way – they certainly are fat little babies!!

That’s all for now. Very late – time for bed.

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