Friday, December 31, 2010

Dolls and Ribbon and Lace!

Dolls are so cooperative--they stay still for fittings, and don't mind laying around in they're bloomers while I make changes, they're fine with Velcro down the back, and they even stand and smile patiently for photos!

I had the fun of making four little outfits for my sister's doll, "Liberty," (18" doll from Vision Forum) as part of a birthday gift.

A southern belle

Sweet dreams

Sunday best

Abigail Adams, founding of our country

This last one is my favorite--I'm so pleased with the combination of fabrics and trims that I was able to find!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lydia Photography - Jordan & Becky's Wedding

Finally, a few photos to show off Becky's finished gown, with her beautiful handmade flowers and the little rhinestones she sprinkled on the the bodice! My friend, Lydia, is the photographer. She does the most beautiful work, capturing special moments, impressions of the day, and all the fun little details. Check out her website here.

My brother and his new wife!

Congratulations Jordan and Becky!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


This pieced skirt and doll dress are a recently finished fun project--a birthday gift for my little sister. I had all the fabric scraps in my stash! It's so rewarding to make something without having to take a trip to the fabric store.
The pictures are sunset at one of my very favorite places for a sweeping view of our city and the surrounding hills.
Little sis gets her turn with the camera too!

Friday, November 12, 2010

My Weekend

I feel so blessed to have been able to spend part of two days visiting recently-married friends, Sarah and Peter, in the Monterey area. On Sunday Sarah and I enjoyed walking and a bit of shopping in the rain, with a final stop for yummy pastries and hot coffee. Monday was blue skies and sunshine--perfect for a bike ride along the scenic and romantic Monterey Bay Coastal Bike Trail!

My first impression of Peter and Sarah's place--A vibrant box of mixed greens is so welcoming and homey!

Getting our bikes ready...

A breathtaking view of the coast from the bike path.

I also made my first batch of really successful yogurt, this weekend! Thanks to good clear directions on Lindsay's blog, Passionate Homemaking.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ready for the Wedding Day!

Part IV

The front of the finished gown, before Becky added flowers and little rhinestone beads.

Tiny elastic loops to close the covered buttons:

The upper bodice is carefully hand stitched to the original dress, a flange of fabric on the inside to neatly finish the edge. Hidden between layers, I used a piece of light plastic boning across the front neckline to keep it smooth.

I had exactly enough scallops of lace left from re-hemming the dress with the shorter train to trim the neckline! I think the lace really helps tie together the new with the original.

Becky always envisioned little satin buttons down the back of her wedding gown. I used them to close the new upper bodice, and over the zipper at the waistline to blend the two parts together.

To see some beautiful pictures of the wedding day, including the delicate fabric flowers that Becky created and lovingly stitched to her gown, check Lydia Photography Blog

I'm hoping to get a few more pictures up here of the finished dress on Becky, but we are having technical difficulties...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gown Transformations - Progress

Part III

The dress had a fairly long train that gave me enough fabric to cut the new bodice pieces, and still leave a pretty sweep at the back of the skirt.

Here are the muslin pattern pieces pinned to the train.

This was the most intense moment of the project for me! Once I cut into the gown I couldn't go back!

Here is the new bodice pinned to the dress.

And the back.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gown Transformation - Options

Part II

First I took in the dress at the sides, a fairly standard alteration. Then we started making muslin test bodices to try out different styles. The following pictures show the two main cuts that we experimented with:

A wide ballet neckline with a little cap shoulder....

....or a wider shoulder with a deep, slightly sweetheart-shaped neckline.

After settling on the first option I got to work perfecting the fit of the muslin, front and back.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Wedding Gown Shopping!

Part I

I had the opportunity recently to go gown shopping with my soon-to-be-sister, Becky, and some other friends. What a fun and glamorous experience, with room sized three-way mirrors, upholstered chairs, and lots and lots of beautiful dresses! The trip did confirm my suspicions, though--a wedding dress off-the-rack, with sleeves, or even shoulders, was not to be seen! Becky desired to honor her soon-to-be-husband be wearing a dress that was beautiful, but not revealing.

So after some discussion and sketches of possibilities for adding and altering, Becky decided to go ahead with purchasing a beautiful gown by Wtoo and I would make the desired changes.

The style of this dress was perfect on Becky, we all agreed. Not at all stiff or "puffy", soft creamy white and so feminine with all-over lace and delicate gathers accentuating the bodice and waistline.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Liverpool Tunic

I have recently completed the Liverpool Tunic (pattern by Amy Butler), for a client. I've been eyeing this pattern for myself for quite a while and had just ordered my own copy when my client brought me her copy and some really sweet Liberty of London yardage to make it up in! The pattern was fairly easy to work with and the fit was great with almost no alterations.

A couple of comments for anyone else trying this pattern: you may want to round the collar stand at the front neck edge a bit more; it comes to such a sharp point that it's hard to trim, turn and finish neatly. Also, the pattern includes in-seam, self-fabric ties at the waist, that we omitted; they seemed to detract from the style, and the shirt already has a nicely tailored fit in the back.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fun Little Projects....

I made a scarf for a client with the left over material from her blouse. The narrow ruffle on the edge was a fun detail! Since all sides and edges of a scarf might show I used a french seam to neatly attach the ruffle.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


A dear friend just had her Quinceañera--a coming-of-age celebration, popular in Mexican culture, when a young woman turns fifteen. She and I worked together to make her gown, an ambitious project for a young seamstress! She used Vintage Vogue 1094, and lots of rich blue satin, tulle and silver-sparkled sheer! The gown was gorgeous, but even better was the glow of feminine grace on Julie!

The lovely quincianera surrounded by family and friends in traditional garments!

I really enjoyed the opportunity to get a taste of mexican culture!

Final Photos - Floral Blouse

Close-up of the binding, button & buttonhole and the covered snap at the neckline.

The finished top--a soft and summery piece, cute with jeans or dressed up with a slim skirt and maybe a fun belt.

Tiny bindings at neck and sleeve edges!