Formals & More

Posts Tagged ‘beading

Sweet Miss Beverly came to me through the Bridal shoppe that I work with doing alterations. She had been unable to find a dress to wear to her sons upcoming wedding in July, and was quite distraught. Everything she saw was for taller, thinner, prettier, more feminine, younger, healthier women. She knew exactly what she wanted, but was unable to find it. Instead of the traditional MOB dress, she actually wanted a blouse and skirt. It had to be fresh and pretty, but not too frilly. Loose and comfortable, but still cover her from neck to wrist. Miss Beverly had spent many years of her youth in the sun with no more on her poor skin but baby oil and iodine. Now her skin has taken on the patina of dry leather. As soft and yet as thick as  well-worn saddle. She has spots of varying sizes and color on her arms, legs, neck and torso. So she wanted a pretty dress that would cover up her ‘shame’ (as she put it) and make her feel beautiful and young again.

We spent several hours together, going over what she wanted, fabrics, designs, patterns, details, measurements, ect. Then I got to work. We had just one fitting of the muslin I made, and, finally, today, after 14 hours of sewing, 7 hours of embroidery and hand beading, and several hours of hand sewing all the details, we had our final fitting.

Sweet Miss Beverly

She cried when she saw it. Just stood there and cried.

Now, it’s not my style; I don’t particularly care for some parts of it. But on Sweet Miss Beverly, it is perfection. It is done in a Spring Green organza over 2 layers of poly lining in the same color. The sleeves were kept sheer with a small ruffle at the hem, to go with the large ruffled flower on her left shoulder (which you can’t really see). Also, at the left side of the bodice, is the beaded applique I made for her. I wish it showed up better, because this MAKES the outfit! It really is very pretty. The band at the bottom of the blouse also has embroidery all the way around but without the beading. It is pretty and youthful, and Miss Beverly cried. What more can I ask?


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!!

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 . . .

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