Archive for June, 2009


Valerie Bridal Gown

ValerieGown4Previously, I posted pictures from our bridal photo shoot showing off the two bridal veils I listed in my etsy shop (the beaded one sold already!), but I wanted to give a few details today about the gown itself, which is also available now.

Simple elegance and feminine beauty grace the bride wearing this beautiful gown. This dress is made from a splendid white Lamour Satin with a sweetheart neckline that sparkles with Swarovski rhinestones in Crystal AB and hand sewn glass beads. The strapless bodice has a self fabric facing with boning and sewn in bra cups for a secure fit and a beautiful feminine shape. The bodice flows smoothly into an A line skirt that ends in a chapel train. The entire gown is self lined with a second layer of satin, and it closes with an invisible zipper in the back.

The dress shown here is available in my etsy shop for immediate purchase! I am also taking orders for custom bridal and formal gowns at this time.

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After Midnight

AfterMidnight1This sexy Latin number was so much fun to make! The super short skirt has a dramatic V shaped hemline with beautiful fringe for fantastic movment, and the top features padded bra cups and off the shoulder straps. And of course, it’s been positively COVERED in Swarovski rhinestones in Jet and Jet AB. There are about 8 gross of rhinestones on the bra cups alone!

What do you think? Is it over the top, or a fantastic choice to STAND OUT on the dance floor?

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Custom Swimsuit

Quick post today. Here are a few pics of a custom swimsuit I recently made for an etsy customer:

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Green Glamour

Jamelah5This was FUN! I deeply enjoy sewing in general, and custom dressmaking in particular, but when it comes down to it, some projects are more enjoyable than others for a whole world of reasons. Some go smoothly and others surprise you with unexpected challenges. Some are beautiful and some are… less so (a custom pair of velveteen shorts for a guitarist in an ACDC cover band comes to mind). Some allow a great deal of artistic license and others need to achieve someone else’s design concept very precisely. And sometimes I’m able to work effectively without difficulty, while other times the other demands on my time and energy make it challenging to sew. This particular project was a sheer delight in pretty much every possible way.

Jamelah1The process of creating this truly custom formal gown began with an Alchemy request on etsy. I knew from reading the client’s description of what she wanted that she would be fun to work with. She needed a beautiful formal gown to wear to her cousin’s wedding in a very traditional Muslim village in Palestine, and wanted a custom garment that was modest enough to be appropriate, formal enough to please the bride, but that also demonstrated her personality. She described the challenge with phrases like “I need to be modest but that doesn’t mean I have to wear a potato sack” and included many passionate descriptions of clothing styles she liked… ranging from fantasy elvish inspired costumes to the glamour and tinsel of a 1940’s Hollywood starlet. The challenge set before her piqued my interest, and her open, excited tone fuelled my creative fire. I put in a bid immediately.

We emailed back and forth for several days, discussing her various needs and wants for the dress – fabrics (it had to be silk!), colors (preferably green), embellishments (embroidery perhaps?), her budget, her body type, and photos of several dresses to get a feel for her style. After a great deal of discussion I drew up a sketch for her of a 40’s inspired gown, and she responded with a very enthusiastic, all caps, reply that she LOVED it.

Jamelah3For a completely original design, one for which I’d never seen a commercial pattern, it made sense to draft a pattern from scratch. This particular dress required a lot of draping to determine the right shape for the pattern pieces on the bodice front. Draping is fun. It appeals to my love of  sculpture, and honestly it’s just so practical! I made a muslin for her to try on before working with the silk for her gown, and we discovered that while we needed a few tweaks to improve the fit, on the whole the dress worked and was just want she’d wanted. Fabulous!

Next came the dye bath. I purchased a beautiful acid dye worthy of our silk fabric to dye her dress an emerald green. I have to thank the good people at Dharma Trading for supplying fantastic dyes at great prices as well as thorough instructions for using them with silk fabrics. For that matter I should thank them as well for their awesome customer service, their INCREDIBLE turnaround time processing orders, and their use of recycled materials for packaging and shipping. (Honestly, if you need dyes or silks, or just want to look at gorgeous pictures of hand painted fabrics, go to their site! They are truly awesome!)

Jamelah4The color turned out beautifully. And it was time to sew. On that particular day, my husband took our daughter to a theme park, and I had the rare treat of the house to myself for eight solid hours. I was able to work free of interruptions, at a steady but comfortable pace, watching *my* TV shows (instead of Veggie Tales and Little Einsteins) while I endlessly made little pintucks in the beautiful silk fabric. It was heavenly, and one of those days where my work felt more like play.

Jamelah2I felt confident that the finished product was just right. It looked like the sketch, it fit her measurements, and it embodied the goals she’d had for her dress, being uniquely stylish, modest but flattering, feminine, colorful and lovely. Far more important than my own delight at the result though was hers… and she was thrilled! The final product fit perfectly and was exactly what she’d hoped for. She tells me she expects to be the most beautiful woman at the wedding – except for the bride of course!

So here’s a happy ending to a truly delightful project. And I sincerely wish a happily ever after to the bride and groom!


Ballroom dance WIP’s

Just thought I’d give you all a quick look at some of my recent activities. I’ll post better, modelled photos as I finish up these dresses, the rhinestones, etc.

DWTS Front DWTS Back

Pink Latin Front Pink Latin Back


Satin edge petite bridal veil

LonaVeil1I’m really intrigued by some of the smaller, less extensive options that have been popping up for brides to wear on their wedding day. Options that compliment an updo and allow a bride to show off the detail work on the back of her dress. Others that have strong vintage influences, like birdcage veils with fascinators or even pill caps that look like they’re straight from the 40’s or 50’s.  Veils that are lovely but understated, flattering the bride without stealing the show.

Following the creation of a few other veils recently, I had some smaller pieces of tulle remaining and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make a petite veil. I added a satin ribbon edge and some rhinestones to dress it up a bit, but ultimately kept the veil simple, sweet, and understated. This veil is for sale in my etsy shop now.

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Custom plus sized dress

I have a lot of sympathy for people who can’t find clothes to fit them – or can’t find the clothes they WANT to fit them. I’m always thrilled when I’m able to help someone achieve a vision for the garment they want in fabric they love and a size that *fits!*

se-custom-sundressThe dress here was a custom request from a plus sized woman who wanted a simple, casual, comfortable maxi dress to wear this summer. She told me she wanted a soft, comfortable, slightly stretchy fabric and my mind immediately went to the soft poly stretch knit I’d used when I made my pj’s a few months back. I sent her a swatch from the scraps I had leftover and she agreed it was a perfect fit! (Though she chose a different color).

I drafted the pattern by hand using the measurements she’d send me and went to work. When I was finished the dress looked great and I shipped it out! Unfortunately when my client got the dress it was a bit large in a few places – the fabric had more stretch than I had accounted for. This is one of the perils that I occasionally face in working with long distance clients, where I’m not able to do a fitting in person. I let her know I’d be happy to alter the dress as needed; she sent me a few photos, pinned the dress where it needed to be taken in, and she shipped it back to me to take in the straps and bodice a bit. Despite the delays we ended with a beautiful dress and a great fit!

June 2009
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