Monday, July 11, 2016

Heart of Gold

2009 Downtown Harrisburg, PA
I met Amanda in 2009, when I was her boss at Wet Seal. Yes you heard that correct. I was an assistant manager in retail for a few years before and after receiving my BFA in Fashion Design. I enjoyed going to work especially when it was a day that Amanda would be working with me.

Amanda is one of the kindest most generous ladies I have ever met. She has a heart of gold. Even though I was her boss she really was only a few years younger then me so we became instant friends. I remember the day at work when I told her I met a guy who is now my husband. Amanda helped me pick out my outfit for my first date. She must have done a great job, because we are living our happily ever after.

Amanda has always been supportive of me as a designer and would name drop even was I was just dressing mannequins in the windows at the mall. She was always telling customers and friends that I was a designer at times when I didn't believe in myself. I did a fashion show in 2010 at Fashion Group International NYC across from Bryant Park and Amanda was there with friends. It meant a lot to me that she was there. 

Through the years and numerous jobs we have remained friends. She is the type of friend that you don't have to text or call every day, but when you do it is like you never skipped a beat. She is the friend that I want to continue to get to know as we grow older. 

2014 @ my wedding
In 2014, When I found out that Amanda was engaged, I will admit that I harassed her about making her dress. Understandably she went the traditional route of going to a bridal salon and trying on dresses. She fell in love with the dress of her dreams. I wasn't upset, because well I did the same thing!

Amanda asked me to do her alterations of fitting the dress and creating custom accessories. Amanda wanted some bling to her belt. I don't think she realized how much I love hand beading. I created a custom belt for her. The beading was kind of 3-D. 

On the day of Amanda's deadline for the dress alterations, I was literally sewing the belt to the dress at her dining room table. In regards to her alterations I added a bustle and I had to un-bead the sides of the dress, so I could take them in and hand bead everything back on. 5 hours later it was done. A labor of love, I call it.
Amanda and her husband Adam have the most fun loving relationship that anyone could dream of. The way they play off of each other with witty remarks and silly humor is enviable. My husband and I are lucky to call them our friends. Thank you Amanda for having me  be apart of your special day. xo Sheila 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Something Old + Something New

At the beginning of 2015, one night I was surfing through Facebook and saw that another friend of mine was engaged. That very moment I messaged Amanda requesting that I make her wedding dress. To my absolute surprise she immediately said yes! Amanda would be my 4th custom wedding dress. 
Amanda's Dress Design

Amanda and her mother met me at my parents home for our consultation. We sat at the dining room table to discus the dress plans, go over the design and take measurements. I talked about my design degree, love of art and future plans to have an office space to meet with clients. I was still very very new at this "custom thing". 

She had one request, that the dress accentuate her grandmother's necklace that she will be wearing on her wedding day. In the dress design I made sure to make the neckline a focal point. I loved the idea of the necklace being something old, while her dress would be something new.

Amanda and I have known each other for many years. We were on dance team together in high school. Upon completion of high school, I was even her dance coach for year as I was deciding what I wanted to "be" when I "grew up". We had a sort of history, but more of teacher/student relationship, until we embarked on the custom adventure of designing the dress of her dreams. 

Fitting in her Mother's Living Room
If Amanda would have asked me 17 yrs ago to make her wedding dress, I would have laughed because I didn't even know how to sew that well. 

We held a dress fitting in her mother's living room. This was kind of fun, to bring the dress to her and fit in the comfort of her mother's home. I still didn't have a space to call my own. And I couldn't put the dress making on hold, I had a deadline to meet. 

I feel in love with this dress. It was different from the typical wedding dress. Simple satin, no train, side seam pockets and a belt (my signature). Amanda and I collaborated on the design and added a left front slit with peekaboo lace underlay. Also created a lace back with hand beaded trim and covered buttons.

Fitting in my old bedroom
We held the final fitting in my old bedroom at my parent's home. (so I thought it was the final fitting) When I saw the final dress on my dear friend, I cried. As I have stated in previous blog posts, I didn't realize how sappy I am! Seeing my friends in a design that we collaborated on, pulls at my heart. 

Amanda had picked up the dress after our fitting and I thought, that was that with the dress. 

At the end of 2015, I informed Amanda that I finally found a space and it wasn't just a little office. This space is a showroom with huge windows. I asked her if I could put her dress on display in my window for the grand opening in February 2016. She said yes without hesitation. She allowed me to put her unworn wedding dress in my storefront. She has no idea how much that meant to me. 

I had my two favorite dresses in my storefront for the grand opening. Ironically both friend's are named Amanda. It was destined to happen!

Amanda was with me through the ups and downs of finding a space and my small business growing. I decided that I wanted to have a final fitting at the showroom with her mother present as well. It was such a neat moment to have her walk out of the fitting room and onto the platform. Amanda the beautiful bride doesn't realize the confidence she had given me as a bridal designer.

@ the SHEILA FRANK showroom
Through this experience I would consider Amanda a close friend and have enjoyed the opportunity to get to know her and her family. xo Sheila 

Mr. & Mrs. 06.25.16