Formals & More

Archive for March 2010

I may not get much posting done for the next couple months.  For, along with spring (finally, er  …. kindof) comes bridal season. I knew it was coming, as it always does. With new alterations clients everyday; sometimes just one, sometimes up to 4 or 5. Mostly brides, but also bridesmiads, mother of the brides, and grooms, grandmothers, and of course the flower girls. Then there are the prom girls. They are fairly short- lived, though, and mostly last minute. I will soon be stacking bagged dresses on the bed in the spare room. I only have so much storage space in my bathtub. Yes, I store dresses to be worked on in the bathtub of the bathroom attached to my sewing room. It keeps them out of the way, yet close by and easy to get to. I also hang them from the heavy duty curtain rods,  door frames,  and my dining room china cabinet. Last year, at the peak of the season, I had 34 dresses stacked in various places all over the house. Fortunately, this year I am in a bigger, better sewing room ( I took over my daughters bedroom when she left for school in June). But isn’t it strange, that no matter how much space you have, you always need more!  So, right now I have 3 prom dresses, 2 bridesmaid, one MOB, and probably 12 wedding dresses. And 2 veils. And I have atleast 5 new ones this next week. So, as you can see, it has begun.


I believe I forgot to post my new dresses after I  made them a while back! I made them to bring with to Roatan – which I did; but everything was so casual down there that I didn’t have an opportunity to wear them! So here they hang in my closet, waiting, like Cinderella for a special date. I love both of them, but as exciting as my life isn’t, I may never have a place to wear them 😦 

First, the yellow sunshiny chiffon, lined with an ivory bemburg.  I used V8381, size 10. Fit’s perfectly, with no alterations. I added a rusched waist panel with some little chiffon flowerettes scattered on it.

The little flowerettes each have a line of beading on them, which you can kind of see . . .

Next is my favorite, the pink butterfly chiffon. I used V2965 and shortened the length to just above the knee; again size 10 (perfect fit!!)

I love the lines of this dress; which you can’t really see in the photo. But what I really love – is the back!I love open and or low backs on dresses. They can be sexy without being revealing. Now, I may not be able to wear a bra with this. But – I did put in bra inserts, so I don’t have to!

This dress is made of a butterfly print georgette fabric, lined with a light pink batiste. Very lightweight and summery.

This week I am getting caught up on bridal alterations, making a cropped bolero for a prom dress, and starting on one of the wedding dresses I sold on Etsy. Finally got the fabric for the wedding dress in (ivory chiffon and ivory bemburg lining), as well as a pile of patterns I ordered. I will have to post about my new patterns tomorrow. I don’t know when I will get a chance to sew them , but I have them -and that’s what counts right? Who ever dies with the most patterns – wins!

Untentional, maybe, but cruel non-the-less. For those of you who read my last post (which has now been deleted), you know what I mean. I was completely unprofessional and unexcusably cruel and unkind. For anyone who knows me, you know (hopefully) that this post did not represent who I really am. I cannot even imagine what prompted me to write what I did. But, as I said, I will make no excuses, just apologies. And a promise to keep future posts (and thoughts as well as words) uplifting, encouraging and kind, as well as trying to bring humor and inspiration to those who follow my blog.

Nothing major to post today. I had not even thought I would post anything, but I am waiting for my sweet husband to get home, and I know if I go to bed to read, I will just fall asleep. So here I am.

I am experiencing spring fever – the weather is finally starting to warm up, we have daffodils popping up all over the yard, and I see all the work that needs doing outside. Yet, now that I want to go out, I have SO MUCH work to do inside!

I went by the Sewing Expo here in Atlanta last Thursday. Have I mentioned that? Rather disappointing. I hadn’t really planned to go. Figured I would be way too busy ( which I really was – but choose to take a break anyway!). I took a last minute class on fabric embellishment techniques (just an hour class) which served to motivate and inspire.  Picked up several pieces of fabric from Vogue fabrics, a couple presser feet I’ve been wanting, some fabric for a baby gift I need to make, a couple patterns. Didn’t see anything wonderful or amazing. If I hadn’t gone, I wouldn’t really have missed anything. Rather disappointing.

Today I started an alterations marathon. It will last about 3 weeks, maybe more. I have to find time in there somewhere to get a wedding dress made for an order I got on Etsy for one of my dresses.  It will only take 3 days, but that is still 3 days I don’t have right now.  I finally got the fabric ordered today.  This is the dress she ordered – only in ivory, not white.

What will be time consuming is the embroidery and beading on the  waist band and straps.

I also have a veil to finish this week. It has a scalloped edge with beading all along the edge, also. It is due next friday, as are 4 dresses I am currently working on. Today was very frustrating. I was working on one of said dresses. Lots of work to do on this one. It is a Pronovious gown, satin with 3 layers of netting and lace over it. It needed taking in at the back and the sides of the bodice; she wanted the straight neckline made into a sweetheart neckline; beadwork done at the high waist line, french bustles, the lace hemmed, oh, and by the way, could you make it into a mermaid skirt, also? I had no idea what a nightmare it was going to turn into. The lace layer has beaded appliques that have to be removed and then re-applied (in the new seamline), none of the filmy netting or lace layers are the same width; there is no easy way to mark netting or lace – pins just fall out, fabric markers don’t show up enough, tape doesn’t stick well enough. I started this morning at 10 a.m. Got the back taken in, bodice sides taken in, sweetheart neckline done. At 10 p.m.I finished the 2 bottom layers of lace and netting (taking in for the mermaid skirt). But I am not happy with one side of the lace. Still have one more layer of netting to take in, then adjust the hem on the train to fit the new skirt, finish the lace hem, add the beading to the waistline, and the bustles. I thought (silly me!) that I should be able to get it done in one long day! HA! That will teach me to be optimistic! I have to finish it tomorrow though. Between running to town to feed my friends’ cats, run to the bank, appointment at 10:30 at the bridal shop, and another one at home at 4:30.  May be a late night . . .

Next time I will tell you about the ugliest wedding dress . . .

Finished and being delivered this week!

It turned out just beautifully. The rhinestones (hotfix) really added to it’s festive appeal; although, I took a bit of liberty in adding a few more than my client had originally asked for. It just looked a little bit too ‘rhinestone cowboy’ for me. Cindy will look beautiful in it, dancing with her handsome husband. I will post pics of her in it, as soon as she sends me some! For now, here it is on my “Molly”.

Front in foreground, back in the mirror view.

A closer view of the rhinestone embellishment.

When I first took her on, she came in so enthusiastic. Ready to help in any way she could – or even couldn’t. Never afraid to jump right in and lend a helping hand.  She became quite efficient at certain things, such as ripping, removing pins, re-arranging pattern pieces on fabric, and especially – emptying the trash can. Always full of energy, always available, and eternally cute. Seriously cute. And one must never under estimate the value of cute in a working environment.

However . . . times have changed. My cute assistant is still cute. Not so full of energy these days. Not so helpful. Not so willing to go out of her way  to be useful. Don’t get me wrong – she is still quite good at the things she does well. She just chooses not to do – well, anything. She may wander in after the day is half gone, then takes up space sleeping! Yes, she actually has the gall to fall asleep! And not just to fall asleep, but to fall asleep in a most inappropriate place. 

Asleep on the job - on the ironing board!


I do believe I will keep her around, though. After all, there is something to be said for cute. Seriously cute.

Emma Grace

I have been awfully busy since I returned from my awesome incredible wonderful trip! Which is why I haven’t been blogging much (at all) since. But, I am back, with a bit of detail on what I have been working on.  

First, I had a couple alterations to finish up. The lovely bride wanted me to reduce the fullness as well as the length of the train on her Pronovias gown. The straps also needed adjusting. I had to remove the lace overlay form where it is attached just below the hip in back. Then I took off 18 inches from the satin train underneath. I also took it in at the sides 6 inches at the bottom, tapering up to the hip. Before re-attaching the lace over-lay,I had to remove the lace trim at the bottom; take out 10 inches off of each side (to reduce the width), and remove a good 15 inches of the length. Then I re-attached it to the dress before hand-sewing the lace trim back on. Not a task done easily or quickly. I was up til 3 a.m. Saturday morning. Now, seeing it on my poor Molly, I see that I need to re-do the strap across the back of the bodice, where I had to remove then replace it to adjust the straps. I am sorry I don’t have any before pictures, but as you can see from the after pictures, there is still a lot of dress here. I hope it’s not still too much for this bride. I will find out on Thursday. 

Full Length of back

area that was altered

I also put 2 bustles in it. I used a French bustle for the satin underskirt, and a traditional bustle to hold the lace over-lay up. 


On Thursday, I decided I really needed to get started on my friend, Cindy’s dress. Cindy is a breast cancer survivor, who loves to dance! I have made dresses for her in the past, so when she again asked for my assistance, I readily agreed. This time, she had chosen a Vogue pattern – 

V1031- the shorter view

– to be made in an emerald green stretch satin. I had actually made this same dress for her before, in a pink charmuese. And, as before, I had just one problem with this pattern. Notice how the back of the dress doesn’t lay against the body, but seems to create a bubble but? 


So, I took out the curved seam from about 2/3 of the way up, to the bottom. I pulled the back in about 1/2 inch at the area that was giving me the most trouble. However, I also noticed that the pleats were just not laying down, either in the front or the back. So, I thought I would tack them down about an inch or so out from the seam. I have done this on wedding gowns with wonderful results. 

Tacking down of pleats

I was not happy with these results, though. You can see every tiny stitch, even though I thought I was being very careful to stitch them invisibly. 

So I took them out.    Much better. Tonight I will do a very small bit of hand sewing on the straps. That will finish the construction. She also asked me to add some rhinestone embellishment to the curve int the side. So as soon I recieve my crystals in the mail, I can get it finished. 

So, that is what I have been busy doing this week! 

Many more alterations to get busy on, now. Bridal season has begun!

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