Formals & More

Posts Tagged ‘alterations

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.


I know I’ve not been posting at all lately . . . .   Just when I really expected things to slow down a bit in the bridal business, they pick up speed again.  I’ve been getting consistent orders for custom-made dresses! Mostly Mother-of-the-Bride, and a couple of Bridesmaids, and one flower-girl.  So, between dress construction and alterations, I’ve been very busy.  Tomorrow I will be delivering the one of the bridesmaid dresses. It’s really a very simple dress, made of a lovely lavender slinky fabric. V-halter with empire waist and draped criss-cross back, knee-length. I am planning to take pictures of my client in it tomorrow to post. Her problem was in finding a  dress to fit her very well endowed chest.   I m also working on a Mother-of-the-Bride dress that is going to be so pretty. I guess it is technically a grandmother of the bride dress. A very clean bright shade of lime green organza. It is a top and skirt, made to her own design, with the added embellishment of embroidery done in silver, and some beading –

beaded embroidery for Beverly

The color in the picture really doesn’t do it justice.  And I am very pleased with how the beading turned out. There will also be some structured flower embellishment. I m waiting on a couple of zippers I ordered to show up, to finish it.

On another note – I have decided to put more work into my social life. In the last month I have gone out with friends about 4-5 times! I have neglected my friends horribly in the last months, and plan to do much better in the future. This is yet another reason I have not been posting much (at all).

And on yet another note – we have babies! Kittens that is! My sweet EmmaGrace finally had 4 sweet babies early Tuesday morning. She and the babies are all doing very well. They are all ft and healthy, and she is proving to be a wonderful loving mommy. I will post pics as soon as I can get them out from under the bed, where she seems to think they need to be. She actually did have them in her box, and probably would have  left them there had I not decided that the towelling in the box needed to be changed. When she saw what I was doing, she immediately moved them under the bed. They are on a clean towel, and they are right next to the edge of the bed, where I can see and even touch them. Yes, she allows me to touch them. She is very proud of them, and often during the day, she comes to find me, brings me to the bedroom, and seems to want me to just watch her as she nurses them. I’ve never had a pet who seems to need and love me like EmmaGrace does. It is very enduring, and causes me to wonder how some people cannot find comfort in animals. EmmaGrace is showing me how unconditional her love is, and that animals do indeed feel love. I don’t know what else it could be. Devotion? Maybe.  But I choose to call it love. Unconditional love. And trust. That she allows me to touch her precious babies when they are minutes old, that is trust. I will post pics as soon as I can!

 In the meantime, I will be upstairs, sewing.

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!!!

Is it a robot on hyper-drive? It is a woman on speed? No – look again! It must be a woman with a mission!

I don’t know how it happend, or why. Maybe it was the fact that I quit early yesterday, at 5 instead of 9 or 10 p.m, to spend my anniversary with my husband. Maybe it was that glass of wine I enjoyed mid-week instead of the weekend! Maybe it was the scent of my lilac candle inspiring me with a breath of springtime. Whatever ‘it’ was, I want it everyday! I was a whirl wind today! I started out the day by vacuuming my downstairs, then cleaned up the kitchen. From there, I swept my front deck, then got in the car and ran to the pool store. After lugging in all the pool chemicals, and getting the pool pump going, I gathered my glasses, my drink, my phone, and headed upstairs to start my work day. By this time it was 10 a.m. By 1 p.m., I had 3 dresses hemmed and taken in! Dress #1

Dress # 2

By 2 p.m., I had another one done! I started on another dress that needed a hem, and a lace up back put in. Finished by 4!

 By 5 I had the bustling done on a wedding gown.

By 5:30 I had my sewing room cleaned up (WHAT!! Cleaned up! When was the last time I had time for that!) and headed downstairs to make supper – and by the way – I have no hand sewing to do tonight! Yes, you heard me right – I am taking another night off! I’m not sure I will know what to do with myself! I my even read a magazine! Then again, I may just crash. Even Super Sewer has to sleep!~

You’ve heard of bridezilla, right? The bride that can’t be pleased? That nothing you do will please her. It doesn’t matter how you bend over backwards or how many hours you spend working on something for her, changing it again and yet again. You can’t please her. Well,in the years that I have been working with brides, I have rarely had a bridezilla. On the other hand, just mention the momzilla and I can regale you with stories! It’s usually the overbearing mother who wants to control everything about her daughter’s wedding. She is the one who won’t be pleased or happy with anything. Even when the daughter (bride) wants to leave well enough alone. Even when the bride is perfectly happy. The mom has to find something wrong, something to complain about. Whether it’s the cake, the guest list, the arrangement of the flowers, the cut of the neckline on the dress, or God-forbid! the cost of altertions!

Just for informational purposes, I have had very few of these momzillas. Maybe 2 or 3. Unfortunately, I currently have 2 of them back to back. I have to feel badly for the brides. I feel their embarressment when mom starts in. They are the ones who try to be the peacemakers. They try to console and act as devils advocate. Usually to no avail. So, I try  to remember, that ultimately, my job is to please the bride. Yes, mom may be paying for it. But it’s not her wedding; it’s the brides. So when mom says the dress needs to be tighter here, or higher at the neck here, or let out here, or longer/shorter, higher/lower  bustles, or whatever! I turn and ask the bride what her preferance is. That usually silences momzilla. Atleast in front of me.

So, the next 2 days when I am meeting with these sweet lovely brides who were unfortunate enough to be born to overbearing power hungry mothers who apparently beleive that they must be in attendance for every fitting we do, well, I guess I will just pray for patience. And the will to not do what I really want to do. Hit them upside the head and tell them to shut up and let the bride tell me what SHE thinks; after all, it’s her wedding, not yours. Momzilla.

My sewing marathon continues. It’s been atleast a dress a day now for about a week and a half. Some times 2 a day if I’m lucky. Wake up at 7:00 a.m., eat a yogurt, check my e-mails, get dresses & make the bed. Feed the dogs & cat. Then it’s upstairs. I have had several days where I had to run to Etains for appointments, and that really cuts into my sewing hours! Had to run to Joannes for supplies on Thursday. But I am still managing to get about 10 hours of sewing in a day. I stay in the sewing room til it’s time to come down and get something thrown out for supper.  Then I do my hand sewing downstairs while watching TV. By this time of day the dogs are very lonely for my presence, and my husband is usually home in the evenings, also. By about 10-11 p.m, i start seeing cross-eyed and I know it’s time to quit. But each night it’s getting harder and harder to sleep! I find myself tossing and turning, thinking of my to do list of alterations,as well as a couple of construction projects I have coming up. Then my head opens up and I start designing gowns in my head. And then EmmaGrace comes and curls up around my head and starts purring in my ear. Or my husband starts to snore. I should probably just get up at this point and go upstairs and get to work, but it’s so nice to lay in a warm bed and relax, even if I don’t sleep. So, tomorrow I have several appointments in the morning and several more in the afternoon, so I probably won’t get a lot of sewing done. I will have to make up for it on Sunday.  Sorry this has been such  a boring blog. My life this month – well, it is what it is!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1 other follower


Connect with me at