Monday, June 27, 2016

Reconstruct + Restyle

In 2013 my beautiful friend Amanda who has always been very supportive of me as a designer, asked me to make her wedding dress. At the time, I was hesitant because I wasn't a custom designer. I was a ready to wear designer where I would create collections to sell. My fiance (now husband) and I purchased our first home and I was ready to take a break from fashion to work on renovations. BUT Amanda is my dear friend and well I couldn't say no, or pass up an opportunity to work with her.

Amanda gave me a dress that was given to her never worn and asked me to redesign and create something new. The idea of cutting up a brand new dress scared me. How could I make this already beautiful dress even better? I decided to us the bodice of the dress for the bodice pattern, which fit Amanda perfectly. I changed the ball gown style to a slimmer more 1940's hollywood feel.

I found a mauve lining and a thick crochet gold lace that pair perfectly together. The end result was a sort of beautiful simple glamour. We held fittings in her bedroom and at the last fitting I hand sewed buttons and the bustle on her bed. It is an awesome memory for me.

3 years later at the opening of my showroom, Amanda allowed me to put her dress on display in the store front window. This meant a lot to me considering is a dear friend an a long time supporter of my business. Amanda had watched me grow as a designer. She even knitted red scarves for me back in 2010 for a collection I showed at the FGI (Fashion Group International) Building (across from Bryant Park) during Fashion Week in NYC.

I adore you Amanda, thank you for allowing me to be apart of your day. xo Sheila

Monday, June 20, 2016

What is Bespoke Bridal?

Mother's Wedding Dress circa 1980
Bespoke clothing is custom-made clothing. It is not made to measure, as featured by many good clothing vendors. A made-to-measure item is a standard one customized at the factory in certain measurements and details. Bespoke is made from scratch to your specifications. Basically Bespoke is a fancy word for Custom.

In 2015 I was approached by a gal I met a few years ago to design a wedding gown for her friend, Jessica. When I met Jessica, I was really excited, she would be my first client that I didn't know personally. As an entrepreneur this was amazing to me. Jessica had a few specifications. The most important was sleeves and to incorporate her mothers wedding dress into the design.

Jessica gave me artistic freedom to design the dress of her dreams. For people that know me, they know how much I love trains on gowns. For this particular design, I wanted to make a statement. It was certainly a lot of dress. This also was a great learning experience for me regarding timeline for something so grand.

We had almost a year to execute this gown, which was nice for me to take my time. It reminded me of college, how I approached Jessica's gown. I decided to use Pinterest as a form of communication as well, here Jessica could pin things she liked, and as I worked on parts/ steps of the construction, I would upload photos to our private pinterest board to keep her in the loop. 

Muslin Fitting
We changed the design from an Aline silhouette to more of a trumpet. I am partial to the aline fit, however on Jessica's slim figure the trumpet was a showstopper.

We added the belt from her mother's dress and created a new belt for her look. We also found a lace that  we didn't even realize until I brought it back to the studio, was almost the exact match of her mothers!

At the beginning of our work together, I was still using my old bedroom in my parent's home as a place to hold consultations and fittings. Within that year, I realized the potential and growth of my business and opened the showroom. Jessica was patient and flexible as I was working on her gown and planning the opening of the showroom.  

Jessica was my first fitting in the new space which was awesome to experience that with her. I had such a great time working with Jessica. 

Thank You Jessica for allowing me to be apart of your day! xo Sheila
fitting in the old space
fitting in the new space
waiting for Jessica to walk in for final fitting

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Harper Ever After

2011 @ our friend's wedding.
At the Grand Opening of the showroom, I had a giveaway where ladies entered to win the dress of their dreams. I was thrilled to announce my good friend Amber was the winner! How cool is this?! The only thing was... she was getting married in 4 months, already had her wedding dress and needless to say, I was already booked with clients.

I was nervous and excited but more nervous because I was worried about our timeline. Amber scheduled her consultation with me, and was one of my first clients at the new showroom. At our consultation Amber informed me that she already had her wedding gown. She had asked me to create 2 dresses that were completely different. One of them would be for her rehearsal (which we would name the Amber dress) and one for the reception (which we would call the Harper dress).

Muslin Fitting
I met Amber a few years ago through our then boyfriends (now husbands). Amber is kind and generous and pretty easy going. She is the life of the party, so I knew working with her would be such a wonderful and fun experience.

At our consultation Amber told me a few things she wanted but left it up to be to have full artistic freedom. It was so much fun to work with Amber, sometimes fittings can be stressful because some clients aren't sure of what they want, too picky or have expectations for a design that isn't achievable within their budget.

The best part about working with a friend, is that I am apart of their special day. It is terribly embarrassing that I cry during our fittings. I didn't realize how much of an emotional person I am. I pour my heart and soul into each dress and so when I see a friend wearing something I made for them, it just pulls at my heart.

2nd Fitting (almost complete!!)

The icing on the cake for me is when I am invited to attend the wedding day of my bride-friend. I always look at the groom's face for approval, that is how I know, it is a job well done. The wedding was held on June 6, 2016 at the Moonstone Manor in Elizabethtown, PA. It was such a beautiful ceremony and gorgeous setting.

They had a drink named the Harperita. Amber did a great job planning her day. I loved her take on the guest book. She had paper mache letters spelling out LOVE, where guests where instructed to sign with a sharpie. The photo booth was an awesome touch. And the food stations where unique to the couple consisting of taco bar, pasta bar and a carving station. I don't think the dance floor was ever empty. It was a such a great time.

Thank You Amber and Brent for allowing me to be apart of your special day. xo Sheila