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Concerns with the look of the hips area

Concerns with the look of the hips area

Alteration of the Week - size 14 Essense of Australia 2332

This bride loved that her dress had a plain crepe fabric skirt and wasn’t all lace, but she had concerns about how her hips and thigh area looked without the ‘disguise’ of lace to hide the lumps and bumps.
The corded lace of the bodice much heavier than most laces, and is a good design point for this problem - the heavier texture brings the attention to the upper body and away from the skirt.
To further soften the bride’s areas of concern, I appliquéd extra lace to the hip area of the skirt. This covers the side seams, smooths the fall of the fabric over the hip and softens the middle of the skirt front. It’s fortuitous that designers allow you to order extra matching lace when you buy their dresses, as it frequently comes in handy during these types of alterations.
In addition to this, I made a few slight alterations to the fit - I let out the skirt to give it a little more movement, and I ran the bodice in so that it fit better.
These before and after shots were only taken two weeks apart, and no weight was lost during that time. These alterations have definitely worked to make the bride look thinner in the after photo - it’s amazing what a correctly fitting dress can do!
Connie xo
 

Blast from the past

Blast from the past

Here’s another blast from the past!

Made in silk duchess satin, this gown had a popular boat neckline with set in sleeves and a shoulder pad insert giving the bride that square look. The beaded shoulders and neckline were topped off with a classic bow at the back waist. The train was bagged through the length for extra volume and decorated with beaded cut outs and a beaded tassel which I handmade...just the thought of the hours I spent beading this dress makes me anxious!
Back in the day you put your bridesmaids in dresses that had a similar concept to the bride (duchess satin and shoulder pads here) and YES, everyone wore those matching covered shoes!
Check out the headpiece - faux flowers have come a long way in 20 years, but the overall design is still similar to the floral crowns that are so popular at the moment.
Connie xo
 

Change in Medications can effect your body

Change in Medications can effect your body

Alteration of the Week

This bride changed her medication a few months out from her wedding, and as an unfortunate result put on a small amount of weight. She was still a small size and I believe that it is cruel to ask brides to lose weight - I always try my hardest to find a solution that doesn't involve feelings of shame and guilt on the bride's behalf.
I gave her the dress to take home so that she could try it on as needed, and to call me when she felt her weight had stabilised. She emailed me closer to her wedding to say she wanted to start her fitting, but was very frustrated and upset because her dress was still too small.
I explained how I could let it out in a way that no one would be able to see, and asked if that would be alright with her. She had nothing to lose, so agreed.
I let the dress out an inch either side, and back-sewed the seams so they wouldn't be at risk of ripping on the day. I then appliquéd matching lace over the seam to give it strength and to hide the seam.
Connie xo
The photos show before and after.
 

Made to measure dress 15 years ago

Made to measure dress 15 years ago

I recently moved into a unit, and while packing up my house I found many old photos of brides that I’ve dresses on their big day.

I hear lots of brides justify their dress choice by saying ‘well, it will still be in fashion in years to come,’ and mostly they are right. I do find that bridal fashion goes around in circles - design details are tweaked a little, but the basic styles go back 100 years.
Here is a wedding dress I made approximately 15 years ago. The bodice is guipure lace with a daisy pattern, with a 3/4 sleeve and fitted to just below waistline. It’s softness is accentuated with a floaty silk chiffon skirt.
There are similar styles available now that would be bought for a boho or beach wedding look, just mixed up with different flower and headpieces.
Connie xo
 

Feedback to Designers

Feedback to Designers

My past life as a seamstress doesn't make it easy for the designers I showcase in my boutique. I’ve occasionally offered my feedback on the quality of their workmanship, especially when dresses aren't perfect when they arrive in my store.

It's important that boutique owners speak up, because the designer can see the quality of the dresses that they are sending out, and my before and after photos can be used to improve on Quality Control at a factory floor level. (Although they must all think "Argh, not that Accapella Bridal woman again"!)
In this example the seam on the left has been sewn with tucks in it when they appliquéd the lace on. The photo on the right is how I want it done. You can see the tucks prevent the seam from sitting flat.
Connie xo
 

Heard good things about my alterations for different shaped bodies

Heard good things about my alterations for different shaped bodies

ALTERATION OF THE WEEK

This February's bride only came in for her first appointment in January! She’d heard good things about my alterations for different shaped bodies and thought that I might be able to finally help her find the right dress for her size 18 figure.
After trying on a few dresses, we narrowed it down to two. Of these, her favourite was a dress with a satin A-line skirt. However, we both thought that the sharp and heavy skirt wasn’t as flattering as it could be - it was stiff unforgiving and the bride is also quite short.
To counteract this, I lifted the dress about three inches at the shoulders. This also allowed me to change the back neckline to better suit the bride’s bust and torso.
I then removed two panels from the sides of the dress to reduce the width/flare of the skirt. I also removed the heavy satin lining from the train - this makes the dress physically lighter, visually lighter, and much more comfortable in our February heat!
All-in-all a very successful month turnaround!
Bride is size :18
Justin Alexander 8822
Connie xo
 

Dress Martina Liana 931 Alterations

Dress Martina Liana 931 Alterations

ALTERATION of THE WEEK

Bride bought her dress at the Trunk Show I had last year. She loved everything about the dress but the scooped back neckline. I changed it into a V back neckline Connie
Dress Martina liana 931
Connie xo
 

The dresses are arriving

The dresses are arriving

Hi Brides

Remember the trunk show I held back in July? The dresses are arriving!
This is particularly exciting for these brides because, until the designs were officially released in January, all they had were a few photographs of the dress taken on the day they tried them on.
They’ve all been in this week to try them on and fine tune the fittings - here are some sneak peaks!
 

Inexperienced alterations

Inexperienced alterations

Last week I received a text message from a bride who was a mere 12 days out from her wedding.

She had collected her dress from another boutique, after her final fitting, and was beside herself with worry because the dress still did not fit.
This poor bride had been sold a dress with with wide shoulder straps under the impression that the seamstress could change the dress to be ‘off the shoulder’. Unfortunately this just isn’t the case - off the shoulder dresses need a lot of built-in structure to keep the bodice up without the support of the straps. All the seamstress did was sew a seam to reorientate the straps sideways. Ugh, another example of the difference between a factory style seamstress and someone who has worked in made-to-measure and is familiar with drafting patterns.
I was too busy to take on another dress, but I passed along the number of a seamstress I have worked with before.
Glynis ran the dress in on the front and side panels, which helped hold the dress closer to the body. She also ran the side seams in on the skirt, which gave the dress a little more shape. Glynis also told me that the bride was a long term follower of my Facebook account and regretting getting caught up in the moment and purchasing a dress from somewhere else.
THIS is why I don’t pressure my brides to make an immediate decision!

Connie xo

 

Undecided between two stores

Undecided between two stores

This bride was undecided and couldn’t choose between a dress I had in stock and a dress she had tried on at another boutique. She explained that both dresses were very similar and she just wasn’t sure which one she liked more.

She mentioned she had a photo of the other dress, and I asked if I could see it. After seeing the pic, I said I would take a photograph of the back of my dress on her…we put the two side by side and it was plain to see which dress was the better choice!
This is another perfect example of how small design details can make a big impact on the overall finish of a dress.

Connie xo

 

Factory Error

Factory Error

Recently, I was pinning a bride during her first fitting, and I was having a little trouble getting the bodice right.

Being very petite, this bride had ordered a size 7 dress, as per her measurements. The dress fit beautifully across her waist and hips but the shoulders were cut so wide that the edges were falling off down her arms. This was causing me a lot of concern, because the bodice was intricately beaded and difficult to perform alterations on.
I could tell that the bride was also getting worried about the bodice, and when she stopped me to ask if the sleeves were meant to fall down, this confirmed it for me!
I asked her to take the dress off and put on a shop robe. While she was getting changed, I found the size 10 sample on my racks.

 

It was clear to see that the two dresses were the same size!
Together we took photographs and videos of the two dresses and I called the designer. I explained that I suspected an error had occurred and sent through an email with the pics as evidence.
I reassured my bride that I would get to the bottom of the issue and find a resolution. The designer arranged for the dress to be couriered back to the factory and it was confirmed that an error had been made.
The designer fixed the sizing issue - and we all know that factory workers are just human after all - and the dress fits much better.
When I was talking to the designer about it, she said ‘wow, Connie, you have a good eye!’ I explained that it was my history as a made-to-measure seamstress that allowed me to pick up on these things. I’ve had three pattern errors from three different designers in the time I’ve been selling off the rack. If these brides had gone to a boutique without an in-house seamstress they would have spent thousands of dollars on a dress that never had a hope of fitting correctly.

Connie xo

 

Expensive Alterations from Sydney

Expensive Alterations from Sydney

Hello Brides,

A friend recently sent me text asking my advice. She knew that I didn’t do alterations for anyone but my own brides, but her sister had bought a dress for $900 at a warehouse sale in Sydney, which needed the hem taking up. The warehouse sale didn’t offer alterations, and her sister had called a few places to get quotes for her dress - one came back at $850!
WOW! If I charged that for a hem I would only need to do one hem a week!
I told my friend that I did think that was unreasonable, and suggested different ways she could resolve her hem issue.
Brides - when you buy a dress, whether it is on sale or full price, please ask for alteration costs as it might surprise you. And keep in mind that there are many boutiques that don’t have their own in-house seamstresses.

Connie xo

 

Developing second thoughts

Developing second thoughts

I recently had a bride that developed serious second thoughts when her dress arrived. She was concerned that she looked boxy, that she felt too restricted and that she didn’t like the covered back or revealing panels at the waist. She was quite upset, because she had previously looked everywhere for a dress, and this was the closest she had come to finding the right one, but she still didn’t feel that it was right for her relaxed Palm Cove wedding.

I explained that I can use my sewing skills to change the styling of the dress and that she just needed to get her thoughts together (she was panicking) and send me an email with some photos or ideas of what she would like.

 

Over a couple of fittings, we worked together to change her dress into her Dream Dress!
1. I added a 4cm waistband so that there was no skin showing through the reveal panels.
2. I ran in the underskirt which removed a lot of the volume.
3. I shaped the front lace to angle towards the centreline so that the dress gave the illusion of being less boxy.
4. I removed the lace illusion back and added shoestring straps.
As you can see in the before and after pics, these four small changes made a very big difference to the overall dress.
She confessed at her second fitting that a colleague had told her that I came highly recommended and that ‘if Connie can’t fix it for you, no one can!’ Luckily I came through with the goods, and this bride left the boutique tonight jumping up and down with happiness and saying to me ‘I love it! You did a fantastic job.’
I said thank you for trusting me!

Connie xo

 

I tried on the dress for a bride

I tried on the dress for a bride

Hi Brides.

I frequently have brides ask me if I try on the new dress styles as they come into the store…and I always reply that I don’t.
Until my recent Trunk Show, that is!
I had a bride who loved one of the dresses that were on show, but she couldn’t fit into it to see how it would sit when on. I held the dress against her and made her try on another dress in the same style, but it just didn’t convince her.
She looked at me and shyly asked if I would try it on for her! I laughed and explained that I was 50 years old and I might put her off the dress if I try it on. She insisted, so on it went.
I have to admit that I felt great in that dress! The structure tucked any wobbly bits in and I felt like I looked great. I asked Glynis to take a photo for me as I wanted to keep it - now I know what brides mean when they get that ‘this is IT’ moment!
The bride said ‘if you look THAT good, I am sold!’.
The dress straps can also be worn off the shoulder.

 

Connie xo

 

My Daughter's special occasion dress

My Daughter's special occasion dress

As a seamstress, I have made many of my daughter’s special occasion dresses - I sewed her christening dress when she was just a tiny babe, her Holy Communion and Confirmation dresses, and immeasurable dresses for parties and dances.  

This bride’s grandmothers

This bride’s grandmothers

Destination Weddings 
There are many reasons why a bride and groom decide to get married overseas. Unfortunately, there are often important family members who are too old or unwell to travel, and who therefore miss out on attending the big day.
This bride’s grandmothers weren’t able to travel overseas because of their health, so she invited them to her final fitting. This way they could see what she looked like in her dress, and she could have some photos taken with these special women. One of her grandmothers is 98 years old and had to escape her nursing home for the day!
It was a treat to host such special moments in the boutique.

 

Connie xo

 

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