Archive for the ‘weddings’ Category

This simple but lovely frock was originally made as a sample to be used in a different photo shoot… but after a miscommunication on sizing it wasn’t included… which is probably just as well since it would have likely been damaged on location (a grubby shack). Instead it maintains it’s silk and wool pristine loveliness…

The bodice is cut from silk/wool blend which is my new favourite bridal fabric… light, comfortable, soft, and comfortable for all seasons… think airy pashmina… mmmm! The sleeves are silk chiffon, as are the top layers on the skirt. The entire dress, not including the sleeves, is lined with silk dupion which gives just enough structure to hold the shape without adding bulk. An extra layer of organza helps the skirt flow and stand away from the body.


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A bride is bound to forget a thing or two on her wedding day which might account for the need to have a ‘something borrowed’.  My ‘something borrowed’ came from my sister.  My ‘something old’ was my vintage engagement ring and my ‘something new’ was a strand of pearls from my parents.  My ‘blue’?  The Jayne label in my gorgeous, custom gown. 

What an adventure this long distance dress has been!  Details were discussed via email and decisions were made in consultation with family and facebook friends.   Lara sourced amazing fabric options and provided lovely renderings of what my dress might look like.  With my husband’s help, I measured my post-baby body and crossed my fingers that I wouldn’t lose any more weight.  And then the sewing began.   The next step was to sit back (while moving from Gibraltar to Scotland by car, with a 3 month old) and wait for the dress to be brought to me by my parents who travelled from Victoria to Scotland to help me travel with my baby to the wedding location in Greece.  When I finally got to try my dress on, two weeks before the big day, I could tell by the perfect seams, hand beaded details and wonderfully fitted finished product that Lara had poured her heart into my dress. 

People asked if I had a back-up plan. They wondered if I had arranged for a seamstress in Athens in case the dress didn’t fit.  I stood by my choice to go custom (why would I give my money to a factory in a foreign country when I could have something made especially for me by a talented designer, heading up her own company?) and I maintained hope that all would go well.  And it did.  I couldn’t be happier with the result.  I didn’t want to take the dress off and I wore it until the last party goer left at 4am. 

And now, as I go through the photos with a cup of tea in hand, it re-occurs to me just how fortunate I am that the universe conspired to bring Lara back into my life and that I’ve been able to have a fashion fantasy come true! 

One very happy bride…

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I <3 brides

I’m knee deep in bridal season… but I wanted to take a moment and share my love of working with brides…

~organized… these ladies have multitasking and clarity finely honed, juggling all sorts of details while keeping the big picture clearly in sight. Hosting a party of this size is often a first for brides and they have to learn through the process.

~beautiful… the glow from loving and being loved is unmistakable… they brighten my day and everyone around them’s day!

~creative… it’s inspiring the amount of diversity and ideas that are implemented by each bride.

~receptive… they do their research and are confident in trusting my professional opinion which makes the entire process so much easier and fulfilling for all.

~gratitude… I am so thankful to be able to work at my trade, provide a healthy lifestyle for my children, meet new and interesting people. Thank you for the lovely ladies who have recommended me and the lovely ladies who allow me to ply my trade.

~fabric… ok I’ll admit that this is probably pretty close to the top of reasons for the sewing geek in me… silk, beads, feathers, embroidery floss… these are a few of my favourite things ;)

~clarity… I have yet to meet the bride that doesn’t have a pretty clear idea of what it is she wants her gown to look like… they do lots of research!

~fun… eating cake in fancy dresses… what’s not to love!

Feel free to contact me about any work that you need done… I am busy… but busy doing what I love and looking forward to doing more.


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Storing your Frock

Came across these personalized hangers yesterday… I think they are so sweet and a nice way to keep your gown…
The best way to store your gown after the big day is to have it cleaned right away, stains can show up over time as the sugars oxidize from certain splashes and spills. Do not keep it in a plastic garment bag but rather wrapped in a cotton sheet and on a hanger out of the sun and in a dry place.  Put back in the ribbon hangers so that they weight of the gown doesn’t stretch it out of shape. There are usually hangers under the arms and sometimes from the waist if the skirt is particularly heavy. There will also be one to hang up the train. Which makes this a good time to mention that all ribbon hangers should be cut off of the dress before dressing for the big day… they have a tricky habit of sticking out and not being noticed until the photos come back. Better safe than sorry, cut them out and sew them back in afterwards!

Happy sunshiney day!


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In this modern age women spend less and less time at the dressmakers. Clothes have become cheap and disposable. They also tend to not fit properly or be particularly well made…. but I digress. My point is that most women don’t seek out and meet with a dressmaker until some very special occasion warrants it… grad, wedding, or some other soiree. This can make the whole process fairly intimidating. So here’s a few factors to keep in mind…

Seek out a dressmaker that comes highly recommended. Take a look at their work and discuss fees at the first meeting. An experienced dressmaker will be able to give you a reasonably accurate quote.

Bring your foundation garments and shoes with you to every fitting. A good bra will  change the fit of a garment. If you haven’t found ‘the’ shoes yet, bring ones that are the same height. A crinoline is an important layer that helps hold the shape of the gown with a full or a-line skirt. Different crinolines can change the hemline and possibly the fit through the hips so be sure to pick one and stick with it.

Keep in mind that dressmakers and their studios are fully booked this time of year and their time is a premium. Expect to pay for the time you spend at fittings and arrive with all the necessary items to save your pocketbook as well as the seamstresses busy schedule.

It usually takes several fittings to have a gown fit properly. Hemlines need to be pinned after adjustments are done to the bodice and before the bustle is decided upon.

Take advantage of the experience that your dressmaker offers… she has most likely seen dozens if not hundreds of brides and gowns. It’s also important to be up front about what you like or want to be done. This is your gown, being clear makes it easier for the outcome to be what you had envisioned and within a budget you can afford.

On a final note, spend the money to have your gown professionally pressed and steamed. A lot of time and effort goes in to planning your ensemble for the big day… insure that you are wrinkle free and ready for pictures :)

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There are many brides and grads who are wearing vintage gowns. Some of these are family heirlooms which have been updated and some are funky finds from the internet. This is such a great way to have an affordable and unique gown as well as adding a charming theme for the day in question. There are a great many fabrics used in the making of gowns and the popularity of different fibres has changed with the decades… so how can you tell what the gown you love is made of and more importantly how to care for it… without further ado here is my overdue silk testing tutorial…

For me there is no mistaking of silk… the feel of the smoothness, the particular sheen that it has, the smell… however… there are some pretty amazing imposters… usually polyester but sometimes rayon and acetate can be convincing as well. Polyester is easy to rule out with a simple burn test. It will leave a hard bead and smell like burning plastic. Acetate is often found in vintage dresses from the fifties and sixties… this was revolutionary textiles back in the day. The easiest way to test is to dissolve it in acetone (some nail polish removers are still made from this). Acetate can not be cleaned any other way than drycleaning, water will stain it. Polyester is completely machine washable, in fact I have turned many gowns inside out and thrown them in the large industrial coin machines and had a spanky gown emerge unharmed. *This is only my experience and goes contrary to the care tags in the gowns… so be forewarned… you are on your own with this project ;)*

Silk is a protein like your hair or wool. It burns while the flame is touching but tends to extinguish quickly when the flame has been removed. It smells like burning hair, not as much as wool does but it’s definitely still present.

The other way to test for silk is to soak it in bleach. It will dissolve. This is why silk only comes in a creamy shade of white instead of the blue tones that synthetics can achieve. As a side note, it is this warmth of colour that makes it so flattering on almost every skin tone. Snow whites and blue based whites tend to be very unflattering on most people.

Silk will dye vibrantly and easily. This same property will allow the colour to fade easily from silk garments if they are not cared for properly. Keep it out of the sun, it fades the colours and weakens the fibres. Silk can be hand washed but there will be shrinking and possible fading… always test first. Always have gowns laundered as soon as possible after wearing them as stains can emerge over time as the sugars discolour the fabric. Luckily silk does not attract grease and therefore most stains do lift easily and permanently.

Light weight and breathable. The ultimate luxury fibre… it’s made by moths… how much lovelier can one thing be…

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I have started offering alterations to brides, their maids, and other gowns that require special attention. I was slightly shocked to hear that many kootenay brides are having to go to Spokane to have their alterations done. It’ s important to have alterations done on really expensive garments by someone who knows what they are doing and has the experience to offer practical advice. I am slowly starting to advertise this locally through the kootenay region and this seems like the most logical place to start.

Services I am offering:

~custom design for brides, grads, bridesmaids, flowergirls…


~same day alterations for out of town brides

~professional steaming and pressing

Email me to set up a consultation.



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