Vintage Redesign

I'm thinking back on some of my favorite past projects that somehow slipped through the cracks for my blog.  I edited Alyson's redesign last year when we did her alterations, but it calls out to be such an image heavy post, that I never got around to uploading. I'm up past midnight, and what can I say?  Yay for unlimited uploading between midnight at 5AM! Hey, now you know why I often blog late.  I live in the boonies and have satellite internet, (read: sketchy service and expensive!)  I have a few other exciting projects to share, but those will have to keep.  It is Alyson's long-awaited night to shine! 

I feel like letting the images be the story for this post.  They tell more than I can.  I'll start you off with the fact that this was her mother's wedding gown that we redesigned for Alyson's style. This is truly one of my favorite redesigns. 

I'll get all of the words out of the way, now.  Enjoy...

A Different Kind of Busy...

You guys know our shop stays "buzzin and poppin", but this is a different kind of busy! Sorry if we have been a little slow to return calls.  The first of this week was full of hard work, long nights, lunges, breathing, and cries of little a angel named Piper. 

We know dresses are important but this is the good stuff!  Pictured above is the birth team to crush all birth teams. ;) From left to right. 

In the bed: our shop manager, Yael, (aka Mama). 

Me, (Carissa). 

Yael's best friend: Erin.

On mama: baby Piper, (7lbs, 10oz of infantino perfection). 

And last but not least: DAD, Tyler. 

Piper Devorah St. Gelais

Time is Winding up...

Our shop manager, Yael is nearing her due date.  She is due on Sept 22nd!  So soon.  I know you guys love her and wish for updates.  Here is a portrait we took in our studio the other day.  Her mama-beauty is in full bloom. 

Some books I read along the way...

Every now and then, I am asked what I studied when I was learned to sew.  I have a post on here about where I came from, (in terms of sewing.)  But, It doesn't cover any actually materials that I studied.  

There are some things I absolutely pored over.  This book... Gah!  This book is so helpful!  If you can draft patterns and measure people, and know how those measurements interpret into garments, you are well on your way. 

Another way that I enjoyed learning about the manufacturing industry was through following the blog fashion-incubator.  Kathleen Fasanella is incredibly knowledgeable.  When I was first kicking around in manufacturing and selling small lines, her input was gold. I still use that knowledge today.  Her information helps with pattern making, sewing tips for sewing the RIGHT way, and sourcing, (she's got great info in that book of hers. Buy it.) She also has a forum for helpful industry chat. Definitely get her book.  

Now I'm saying books, but I'm a book person.  2D translates to 3D for me very easily.  So, if you don't think like that, and you prefer a vlogger, then I can't suggest anyone for you.  

...However! I do hope to shift over to some vlogging myself this winter!  Stay tuned, and I'll take you into my workroom. :) You guys noticed I have been blogging less frequently this year, haven't you? 

Lauren and Mike

This past weekend, we traveled to the beautiful Charlottesville area to Veritas Winery.  It was the culmination of a long alterations project for us. Lauren came to us over a year ago with a Mark Zunino gown that overwhelmed her petite frame.

We cut the dress in two to shorten the torso, and then hand stitched the lace back down.  We took up the shoulders.  We hemmed both the front and the train. We also shortened the neckline. 

Lauren's dress, steamed and ready at the venue.

Why so quiet?

Why is my blog so quiet?  Because it is bridal season and things are crazy in the sewing world!!!  BTW, this is your friendly reminder to nudge your recently engaged friends we are currently booking September, (yes, 4 months out.) Fall brides should already be in the books for their appointments with us. :) 

 

Update: It is now May 31st as I type this. We are booked til the end of October now and we are still quiet on the blog because of the rush of bridal season.  BTW, I hope all of you had a great Memorial Day with your families.  

A Touchy Situation...

Today I'm going to do something that I don't normally do.  I'm going to blog about a touchy subject.

Entourages.

You read that right.  I'm going to bring up the subject.   Reality TV has brought many ills to society, the largest of which is normalizing and reinforcing unhealthy and dramatic behaviors. 

In the past we have politely asked that our clients limit themselves to only 1 guest. Due to the suggestions of reality TV, brides are more often under the belief that bridal fittings are now an "event" to which you should invite your bridal party and relatives.  Well... it's not.  ((clearing throat)) There, I said it.  

The number of guests accompanying brides is getting overwhelming and it's against our very nicely-worded policy.  Unfortunately, the nicely-worded part isn't working anymore. I hate to get firm.  Maybe explaining will help? 

Let me first say that I don't want to come across as offensive in any way.  I treat all of our clients with respect because I really do respect them and their families. The cartoons that are below are just meant to humorously portray what really happens when we have an overcrowded situation. If you are "hangry" right now or get easily offended by cartoons, please stop reading and go eat a snack. :) 

Okay, now that we are alone...

When you bring your friends and family, you invite their opinions and lots of distractions. Too many opinions can be stressful for you. Also, those opinions are often gestures of love from your friend's perspective, but they often increase your bottom line. For example: We give a bride 2 hem choices.  One is cheaper than the other and within her budget.  The other is above her budget but a little nicer.  Aunt Suzy is trying to be sweet by encouraging the bride to pick the best one.  Bride goes for it, because who doesn't like being told that they are worth it?  However, when it's time to check out, the bride is alone with her wallet, while the aunt is talking flowers with mom over in the corner.  

It's not that we don't like your relatives and friends. They are great! :) It just makes our studio feel all crazy when we only have two brides, but there are 13 people there.  I'm trying to do a job that requires precision and a detailed memory, but I'm being interrupted by a maid of honor asking me to show her how to work the coffee maker. Even though I love what I do, my job is high-pressure.  I can't be given a pass to accidentally hem a bride's dress 2 inches too short because her baby niece was screaming or because mom had rearranged her skirt while my back was turned. It happens, people.  All. The. Time. Not the part about the hemming too short, (thank goodness!) but, the screaming baby and mom rearranging the dress is all too real.    

To sum it up:

#1 The entourage makes it more stressful for the bride.

#2 The entourage makes it more stressful for the seamstress. 

That my friends, is a recipe for disaster.  Let's stick with the one-guest rule, okay?  Thanks!  Oh, and thank yourself, too because everything will be so much less stressful for you!

I keep forgetting to post this...

It's not that it doesn't mean a lot. It does.  I'm just not a "contest" kind of person.  It's particularly itchy to mention it.  I won't have stickers about this placed everywhere.  But, if it simply means that I made brides happy this year?  OK, then. Thank you guys for the very gracious feedback.  God has really blessed me.  

The Gilded Thimble Reviews
 




A Little Country Wedding

Brittany and Bret tied the knot in a cozy country church which sits at the foot of The Peaks in Bedford, VA.  Their candlelit guests could be seen through the time-warbled glass windows of Peaks Presbyterian Church.  It was standing room only with a candlelit ambiance.  Piano music of old hymns drifted across the misty fields of cattle and between the many barns that color and dot the vista.  I relished the sound of the beautiful hymn, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing which was played during the processional.  Be still my heart.  *This* is how it is done.  

Brittany and her family and friends prepared themselves at the Claytor Nature Center, Cloverlea Farm . That's an old farmhouse and property that is just 10 minutes away from the church.  

We had to take a bridesmaid's dress up a couple of sizes because she recently lost weight.  It's kinda handy to have a seamstress around ;) I delivered Brittany's dress to the venue, pressed the pashminas and bridesmaid's gowns, static treated the gowns, and sewed Brittany's zipper flap down. I also replaced a button that popped off of Brittany's gown as we zipped her up.       

Brittany in her last moments of reflection before taking her vows. Her gown was from Church Street Bridal.

 

Something to Chew On...

I'm buried in end of the year work right now, so my blog posting is really back-burnered.  I can't wait to get back to you guys!  I have so much to share on the blog.  In the meantime, enjoy this blog post that was written about us earlier this year.  It's about the photography side of my business, how it fits into my business model and how Lightroom has really helped my organization for all of my photos.  A lot of stuff goes into a website and marketing a business! 

When to make an appointment...

The best  day to make an appointment is today!  We often hear sad brides say that they couldn't get in because their dress came in at the last minute.  We were booked full by the time they called.  

Our advice is to fill out an appointment request form when you know your wedding date, or as soon as you get an estimated date of arrival on a dress that you just ordered.  If you are buying off of the rack, some girls set up appointments before they even go shopping or settle on a dress. We can always cancel an unnecessary appointment.  What we can't do, is turn back time and make appointment slots available that have already been snagged by planning brides.  

I hope this helps! :) 

Where to Sell a Used Wedding Dress Online...

I'm sorry this isn't a "real" post.  I've been recovering the back end of my business, so my blog is slightly neglected.  I feel an editing burst coming, so hang in there and we'll have a fresh crop of before afters for you soon.  Oh, and we have a c-ville courthouse wedding to share with you!  Yippee!!!  Her dress was tea length.  ((swoon))

I stumbled across this little blog article that I thought I would share.  I get asked all the time, where do I recommend selling used wedding gowns.  Well, the short answer is, I don't. I have zero experience with it. So try out this handy dandy list of 7 sites for selling your pre-loved gown.  Lemme know how it turns out. :) 

http://www.brit.co/sell-wedding-dress-online/

 

Jordan and Justin

Jordan tied the knot on Saturday!  You may recognize her before/after picture from a few months ago.  Her alias on here was, "Tootsie".   She married at the Church of God on Hildebrand in Roanoke.  Her reception was at Woodland Place in Vinton, VA.  Let's start with a little back story...

Get it?  "Back story"?? ;)  Jordan is pictured far left.  While getting ready, she is managing her Cathedral length veil in a very creative way! Her mom is in the middle picture.  Her zipper gave out first thing and I had to sew her up into her dress!  Crisis averted.  Sewing a zipper is a quick way to solve a major problem, but it's also much prettier than a regular zipper.  More on that later... ;) The bridesmaid on the right is a good example of a few other fixes that I had to make Saturday.  Her snap had broken on her sash, so I sewed it back on.  I also had to shorten another bridesmaid's straps so that she would enjoy a perfect fit.  

Left: The colors were in full strut on this scattered showers day.  

Right:  Love these ladies!!  Jordan's grandmother is on left.  MOB is on the right. They both accompanied Jordan to my studio for most of her fittings.   

Here's the back of Jordan's dress before and after I sewed her zipper flap down.  Her dress had an unusually flappy zipper flap! It would never lay right on its own and had to be sewn in place.  

After a steam and a stitch, Jordan is ready to walk down the aisle.  

I want to make special mention of Jordan's photographer, Paula Greenway.  I always love working with her!  Please visit her website.  She's ultra savvy about this stuff and produces beautiful work.  I'm always amazed at how huge her sneak peeks are- and lightening fast!  

Thank you Jordan for allowing me to share your day!! 

And sometimes we fix messes...

This bride came to us with a dress that had already been "altered".  She showed us a picture of how she wanted her dress to look.  This is the same picture that she had shown her previous big box seamstress. The dress she started with had a short, high waist with a small sash.  She wanted an additional sash added to elongate the waist.  She also wanted to add lace to the straps. She showed us her dress.  It was a disaster.  

Please excuse us for not giving credit for the first photo.  I have no idea where it came from or who took it.  If you know this info, please let me know, and I will credit accordingly.

The most obvious problem was that the added sash didn't match the dress in color or fabric. The second most obvious problem was that her dress didn't match the picture of what she wanted.  The third problem was that someone with scissors had actually done violence to her dress. (I have other pictures with additional, terrible errors that I am withholding for brevity's sake.) You can also look at the middle picture and see how the top of the bodice near her underarms blooms out quickly, (particularly on the left side.) They altered the dress wrong for fit as well, and actually caused irreparable damage in the side seam.  We patched it up as best we could and moved on. Also note: the mid-line of the sweetheart in the middle picture is off-center.  We also had to fix that.  ~sigh~.  The sash part of her dress didn't end up being quite as long as we hoped it could be, but she wanted to use the original fabric so that it would match perfectly.  That means we had to un-gather the ruched sash fabric and then sew it slightly less ruched so that it would be stretched as long as it could be.   

I kid you not, we had to completely deconstruct this gown to fix it.  It looked like an explosion chart on my cutting room floor.  The problems pictured above are as follows:

A:  When they added the not matching sash, they struck the zipper with the machine needle.  Breaking the zipper and causing the seam to not hold. 

B:  They SNIPPED the front of her dress.  The telltale "V" shaped cut does not lie.  That is from a pair of scissors.  Unfortunately, mistakes happen. But, this bride was not told about the snip.

C:  Here is the dress with the length of the original waist/sash.  This is just so you can see how much we elongated it. 

D: My bride's dress deconstructed while I repair the gown.

E: The final result!  Yay!  This dress looks sooo much more like her original picture.