Formals & More

Archive for May 2010

My son, Derek, found Saber, a young German Shepard, roaming around – lost and hungry – at the Panama City airport 2 years ago. He was working there, and living in a very small trailer at the time. Saber was about 8 months old at the time, and he had issues. Derek kept him in the trailer with him for a couple of weeks, until he realized it just wasn’t going to work.  That’s when he somehow (and I am still trying to figure this out) talked me into accepting this undisciplined dog into my home.

Saber was found with a shock collar around his neck, and we soon figured out why. He would bark continuously for hours. Somehow we finally rid him of that bad habit. But others remained. He wasn’t trained; apparently he had never been in a house before. So, I bought a $100 crate to keep him in while we weren’t home with him. It didn’t take long to figure out that this wasn’t going to work with him either. Saber was terrified of being caged. He would hurt himself trying to get out. We tried making it a ‘fun’ place, going into the cage with him, feeding him in it, giving him treats in it, everything we could think of. We finally gave up when, while having him boarded while we went on a trip at Christmas time, he cut himself wide open trying to climb out of a 6 foot high cage at the vet. He had to have 16 stitches.

Over the next months, he slowly adjusted to life with us. I’m sure it helped to have our older, wiser, gentler, more disciplined Shepard, Shaba, to help teach him the error of his ways! And Shaba did do just that. If Saber got out of line, Shaba would (and still does) put him right back in his place.  Now, he comes as soon as he is called, never has house accidents anymore, and has proven to be the sweetest, most loving, most affectionate dog I have ever known. He is terrified of thunderstorms or load noises and will crawl under any table or find any hiding place to try to get away from it. He hates to be disciplined, and will do anything to be loved on.

Derek hated leaving him with us, as he wanted to keep Saber with himself. But he knew how difficult that was, if not impossible. Especially when he went off to school/Army Reserve Training in Wyoming. Sometimes it is months at a time between his visits, and when he is able to see Saber. Yet, even when it has been many months, Saber still remembers him, and greets him much more enthusiastically than anyone else. When Derek is home, Saber sleeps with him, goes for rides with him, plays with him, and basically never leaves his side. Saber still, somehow, remembers that Derek is his master.

So, when Derek started packing a few days ago, to head back to Wyoming, Saber could tell something was up. For 2 days, he was stuck like glue to Derek’s leg. I believe he is beginning to understand that when someone starts packing things, they are leaving. As Derek loaded up his truck, Saber began to get excited – maybe he was going for another ride! Each load, he happily romped outside, then jumped into the truck and back out again, every time Derek came back in for another load. Finally, Derek was ready to say his good-byes. Hugs were given all around, then he said a long good-bye to Shaba, and finally it was Sabers turn. Suddenly, Sabers whole demeanor changed. The tail stopped wagging. The ears went on full alert. The head cocked to one side as if to ask  “what’s going on here?” Derek walked out the door without him, and instead of running to the windows, barking, watching to see him leave (as he always does when someone leaves, and as Shaba was currently doing), Saber just sat and stared out the door. He just sat there for a moment, then looked over at my husband, who was sitting in a chair in front of him, walked over to the chair, and put his great big head in my husbands lap.

Most of the rest of the day, Saber spent upstairs in Derek’s room, laying on the bed.

Do dogs cry? Yes, I believe they do. I believe their hearts rejoice, I believe their hearts remember, and I believe their hearts can break. Just as my heart breaks as I watch him wander around the house and yard looking for his best friend and not finding him, not understanding where he went or why he left. Who would have ever guessed that I would fall in love with this undisciplined, crazy, hyper, untrained, beautiful, sweet, loving, affectionate dog?


Recently, I have had the immense pleasure to do some alteration work on some of the most beautiful wedding gowns I have ever seen! If you are not familiar with Matthew Christopher Wedding Gowns, check him out here –

The most recent gown I have worked on, I fortunately only had to do a bustle on. I say fortunately, because this is one dress I really wouldn’t want to have to tear apart and put back together. Even the bustle was a challenge. We ended up having to call Matthew  up and get his suggestion on the best way to bustle it. Ofcourse, his suggestion worked like  charm. The difficulty was in the weight of the train.

The gown is composed of bias strips of satin and organza, wrapped around diagonally, and hand sewn to the dress. The strips are what adds so much weight to the dress – it’s like quilting strips! Between the sections of strips, the gown is beautifully embroidered and beaded, which adds additional weight to an already heavy dress.

Here, you can see the back of this exquisite gown; although it is difficult to see the beading or the hand sewn bias strips that make up the train.

You can see it a little better here. The embroidery is so amazing because, in most wedding gowns I have worked on, any embroidery is done on the fabric before it is sewn together into the dress – usually to be appliqued onto the dress after construction. But not on Matthew Christopher’s gowns! If you look closely, you will see that the embroidery in done directly on the dress – after construction.

Finally, here you can see the bustle – lousy picture though it is! It would look much better if  the dress were on a dress form that was taller, and would let the dress fall more naturally. Because of the position and weight of the bias strips on the train, it could not be drawn up directly in the center of the back, but needed to be drawn up at an angle, to the left side. It is held in place with 3 sets of color-coordinated gross-grain ribbons that are an inch apart. If you look closely, you will see that the bustle is not centered. I was also concerned that (because of the weight) the 3 gross-grain ribbons may not hold, so I also added a 1″wide satin wrist hold, which I padded lightly with flannel. I figured that if the bride does have to use it to hold the train up, the flannel padding would prevent the train weight from dragging on the wrist and hurting her.

So, why have I shared all this with you? Because, on June 4th and 5th, 2010, Matthew Christopher will be having a Trunk Show at Etains Bridal Boutique, in Tyrone, Ga.  I hope you will post this to any brides who may be interested in coming to see his gorgeous gowns! Even if the bride already has her dream gown, these are worth seeing in person! If you re interested in ordering one of Matthews gowns, the ladies at Etains would be happy to take your appointment to have Matthew himself do your fitting!  Check out Etains website here –  then give them a call to set up an appointment to see Matthew next weekend.

Personally, I can’t wait to ask him a few questions of my own about the construction of these works of art!!

Sorry, no pics this time. Interesting subject though. I am currently working on a wedding gown with a hem that has an overlay of vertical ruffles, on top of a skirt of silk twill and english netting, underlined with silk organza. The vertical ruffles were a real pin. Let me rephrase that – a REAL pain! But I did it. What has me confused and stumped, is why, OH WHY!!! in the world would a high end couture Bridal House GLUE the hem down on the skirt (silk twill/english netting/silk organza). Yes, dear readers, it was glued down. Not a single thread to be found. It was very upsetting. How does one remove glue from such fine fabrics? After a bit of internet searching (what did we ever do without this precious tool?) I decided to try gently heating it with the iron and trying to separate the fabrics. It actually worked! Fortunately, the areas where the glue gathered the heaviest, will be cut off. Although there are a couple of spots that look a bit lumpy. Suggestions as to how to remove said lumps of glue are welcome and appreciated! And any answers as to why the glue was used to begin with would be wonderful as well!!!

I received the shock of my life this evening when my son walked in the front door! He has been attending college in Wyoming as well as drill weekends once a month up at Fort Billings (he is in the army reserves). Classes finished up this past friday, and he had drill over the weekend. I was under the understanding that he was moving in with friends for a couple of weeks till he had to leve for military training, in June. He and a friend took off yesterday afternoon and drove straight through. My husband and both my daughters were in on the surprise. The girls had met Derek about 1/2 mile down the road, where he left his truck , so I wouldn’t see him pull up. The dogs started barking like they do when someone is here, but I didn’t see a vehicle, so I figured it was the neighbors. Then I heard the door open and I heard Sheena’s voice (my oldest daughter), so I figured it was just her. Then Derek walks around the corner in a cowboy hat! It took me  few seconds to realize it was him , then I just kept hugging him, til eventually we both were crying. So for a few hours tonight I had all my babies home with me, til the girls had to head home again. Derek will stay for about 10 days until he has to leave for training for Afghanistan (which he leaves for in September). I will soak in every moment and cherish them while I can.

I’m excited to be participating in the May Hand-Made give-away that is going all over blogland on May 17th!

I will be giving away several patterns (individually), none of which have been opened.

This is a Vogue pattern, sizes 18-20-22









This is a Vogue pattern, as you can see, it is a Claire Shaeffer Custom Couture pattern, in sz 6-8-10-12








Here we have another Vogue Designer pattern, sizees 14-16-18






Winners will be choosen randomly. If I were more experienced at this I would pose questions or challenges for you to compete in! Maybe next time!

The contest will run from May 17 thru May 20

Prizes will be shipped by May 24th, and Iwill ship internationally!

Find out more about the giveaway, and see what other participants are giving away here:


I am trying to get more view time of my etsy shop and realizedI could do it here! I really want to sell a couple of these wedding gowns! The Feather Fantasy gown and the Blossom Gown are my favorites! Especially the Feather Fantasy! It is so unique and beautiful! So take look and share with everyone you know!

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 . . . I didn’t have to fire her – she quit. I think. She hasn’t been showing up much recently, and when she does it’s only  to sprawl in places that are very inconvenient to me (ironing board, on my sewing table, my lap . . .). I guess she has better and more important things to do. You see, she found herself  boyfriend. I haven’t actually met him, but the proof is in the pudding, as they say. She started gaining weight a few weeks ago. Then she started hanging around the house more. She had been staying outside most of the day, now she goes out for an hour in the morning and that’s it. She’s become extremely affectionate, also. So, by my calculations, we should have some new members to our family in 2-3 weeks. Her box is ready, and even though this wasn’t planned, I can’t exactly be surprised, either. So, for the next little while, my lazy assistant will continue to spend her days lounging in the sun


 napping on my ironing board,


 and begging for belly rubs.

I’ll keep you posted.

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