Forever -and- Always Treasury

My Trumpeter Swan gown can be seen in this latest Etsy treasury entitled Forever and Always.  Check it out using the link below!



A Hat Treasury

I am honored to have one of my vintage hats included in this very cool Etsy treasury which sings the praises of the hat.  It's time to bring them back!




When I first started as a consultant in bridal sales about 10 years ago, there was a lovely array of styles available for a bride to choose between.  The dresses were arranged from strapless to spaghetti straps, to tank, short sleeved, off-the-shoulder, and full sleeved styles. The trend in today's briday market is definitely in favor of the strapless gown.  In fact, if you are looking for anything other than strapless, you will be hard pressed to find what you are looking for.  I have had brides come to me for a custom gown simply because a strapless gown was not the style for them and the market left them little alternative.  I've made so many spaghetti straps for gowns where none were provided it does make you wonder why this demand is not supplied?

It seems quite unfair that this is the case, since when did sleeves become so passe? There are many reasons to choose a sleeved design. Lets take into consideration the weight of a bridal gown.  Depending on the syle you choose, there could be 3 to 4 to 5+ layers of fabric in the bodice alone, not to mention the skirt which will undoubtably have atleast that many. If the dress is made in satin or heavy lace, this adds to the weight.  A beaded design will add even a little more.  Without straps to support the dress on your shoulders, the requirement is heavily boned underpinnings sewn into the dress, commonly referred to as boning.  The dress will need to be anchored to your waist and kept upright by these underpinnings.  The dress also needs to be fitted to you precisely and quite snug, so there is no gapping or slipping of the bodice.

I adore a strapless dress as much as anyone, but with these considerations in mind, it is not a style for everyone.  If you would like the modesty of covered shoulders, or a little more comfort while wearing your gown or even a style that defies the norm of the industry, consider these alternatives.

Spaghetti straps - These can easily be added to a strapless gown by your alteration specialist. Straps can also be a fun way to play with the style of your gown.  You can cross them in the back, add beads or lace, even make them detachable.
Tank - This term refers to straps that are built in to the design of the dress.  It is a very comfortable option.

Halter - The straps of the gown hug the neck of the wearer.
Short or long sleeves - Of course you can choose to be very traditional with full sleeves of any number of lengths and styles.
Off the shoulder - The sleeve reveals the shoulder.

You can also make a jacket to complement your gown.  If you decide to go with a maufactured gown, see about ordering extra fabric when you place your gown order and have a jacket made for you.

Our next topic to discuss will be fabric choices.


A Swan Treasury

My Trumpeter Swan bridal gown was included in a fabulous Etsy treasury! Click on the link to check out a very beautiful collection of items.



The making of a dress - getting started

Are you ready to create a fabulous gown?  You might be wondering, where do I start?  Well, let's take this slow and explore all the options.  I will center this project around the idea of creating a bridal gown, but really, this process applies to any sewing project and certainly any dress design. 

Start by gathering pictures of gowns you like.  Whether you are inspired by the sleeve of one dress and the hem detail of another,  you should collect anything at all that interests you and make a clipping file.  This means compiling all of your ideas in one central location whether that is a fancy scrap book style page or just a spare folder.  It is so helpful to focus on what you like the most and to weed out any ideas that are lovely, but don't quite make the cut.  Review this file as many times as you wish, feel free to add any other ideas that come along and eliminate what no longer is in the running.

A great determining factor is the silhouette of gowns you are attracted to.  Silhouette refers to the shape the skirt takes in relation to how it falls on the body. 

Here are the basic silhouettes :

Ballgown  - A dress style with a very full skirt that flares out from the waist.
Aline - This style has a gradual flare that creates an "A" shape.
Straight - The skirt falls evenly around the body

Trumpet - The skirt flares from the upper thigh or the knee

Mermaid - The skirt flares at a lower point than the knee
These terms will come in helpful and are only guidelines as to dress silhouette styles.  There are many variations of these styles but this is a good foundation and will help you better communicate to the sales staff who will be trying to narrow down your search for you. 
Keep looking through those bridal magazines and have fun in the process!  Next we will discuss the pros and cons of a strapless gown.