To search this blog, please see the categories and search feature in the footer of any page or in the sidebar to the right.  This blog does not contain everything I’ve made.  More can be found at my Aria Couture Facebook page.  As time allows, I will move some things from my defunct website here, as well as move creations from my Facebook page here.  I encourage you to follow both this website as well as my page!


If you’re here for my Beauty and the Beast costume studies:

To my surprise, tens of thousands of people are, and to make it easier, I’m going to post those here.

Emma’s (“Belle’s) yellow gown from Beauty and the Beast: A Costume Study
Beast’s Ball Ensemble:  Costume Study
Provincial Belle: A Costume Study
Gaston: A Costume Study
Pre-movie costuming thoughts about Beauty and the Beast
Post-Beauty and the Beast costuming thoughts

Breaunna’s Arwen-inspired Blood Red gown

Navy and rose-wine velvet, red and gold brocade, and trim so pricy I grit my teeth when cutting it. The sleeves are very long. They will cover her hands when her hands are lowered. The train has a built-in French bustle. This isn’t an easy gown to get into, and will require help. The velvet has some stretch, but is still slightly fitted through the bust. This is a tier 2 costume edition (aka upgraded costume version) that doesn’t use silk. As such, a back zipper, which the original Lord of the Rings film gown had, would have run the risk of puckering unattractively throughout the day. The sleeves have some good weight to them, and will try pulling the off-the-shoulder neckline lower. Body tape is made for this. 🙂 I loved making this gown!

More photos are in this gown’s Facebook album.

Titanic Dinner gown

All silk, crystal, all hand-beaded. 🙂 Seven packs of 3mm crystal beads at 2,400 per pack. I had 142 beads left. Four packs of 4mm crystal beads at 2,400 per pack. I had 67 beads left. One pack of 6mm crystal beads at 600 per pack. I could actually have used a few more, but substituted the 4mm. None left. One pack of sequins at apps. 25,000 per pack, and I wasn’t even about to count how many are left. Maybe a third were left. Add in about 15 yards of various silks, one spool of thread at 1000 meters, most another spool at 500 meters, part of another 1000m-spool… Oh my god, this gown was finally finished. It tops the last Heaven gown I made years ago. That one only had 23,000 beads. Heh. Only.

Of course, more photos are in this gown’s Facebook album.


1797 Silk Transition Gown

I made this silk over-gown for Lady Nora of Baronet’s Daughter Designs (she made the white gown beneath) for a 12th Night Soireeé a fe years ago. Very fun event! I had a night to make this gown, including drafting a pattern. It’s based on a fashion plate found on page 44 of Napoleon and the Empire of Fashion. It crosses over in the front, and closes with a pin. Just plain pins that we use to pin pieces of fabric together was a common method of closure in that era! One side is longer in front while the other is shorter and pleated. The biggest change, aside from color and trim, is sleeve length. This gown has a short little train. The party wouldn’t have been a good place for a longer train. The gold trim gives it a regal feel.

More photos are in this Facebook album.

Blue silk regency robe

Sometimes I am sent the most beautiful fabrics and trims to work with, and this is no exception!  Kat sent this gorgeous blue silk and the trim, and asked for a regency robe to wear for a sailing event. Here is the result! I’m not sure that there’s much to say aside from the bodice is lined in cotton, and the skirt is box-pleated. The center back is double-box pleated for more fullness while keeping a slim silhouette. By request, the pleats on the sleeves were moved to the top instead of the period-correct location of toward the back. The gold gown under it is one of mine, and it for the photos only. It looks so much better than just putting the robe on the dress form.

More photos?  Of course.  Here, in this Facebook album.

Cinderella Prom

This princess prom gown was inspired by Carly Rae Jepsen’s Cinderella gown. Inspired-by is key here. As we went along designing, elements changed, up to and including in the last hour!! The corset IS a full corset, despite the lack of seams on the outside. I’ve devised a method of corset-construction that doesn’t lack the integrity of traditional assembly, yet allows for not having those seams. (They’re on the inside lining in a special way.) The rosettes have pink Swarovski crystals in them, and these are special crystals, magic, one might say. See, Haley was in a production of Legally Blonde, and these crystals were left over from that production. I got them from the director and worked them into this gown so that Haley could have a part of Metro with her. She was going to star in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, but funding didn’t come together, so I really wanted her to have Metro with her for prom.

The skirt has 200 yards of tulle in pink and blush over a cotton lining. Cotton isn’t as reflective as most satins, and so had the desired effect with flash. All of the fluff is tulle, no other supporting layer. The top layer is split, and draped back. The skirt is what was changed in the last hour. The flowers on the skirt weren’t there, but I was staring at the gown on my dress form, and something just seemed off. Then it hit me. So I grabbed chiffon rosettes and the rest of the crystals I had, and had at it. 🙂

As almost always, more photos are in a Facebook album dedicated to the gown.

Dotted Linen Regency Gown

Sheer, gauzy dotten linen, light and flowy.  The tucks on the skirt have pastel 1″ ribbon running through them, as do the sleeves and waist, and a narrower white ribbon closes the neckline. The yellow can be switched out for a different color. This was a a very narrow fabric, and took some tricksy work to avoid vertical seams all over the skirt. 🙂 Because the fabric is so delicate, all seams but one are French seams, and all are reinforced with extra rows of stitching. This is a NorAria Designs gown, bodice pieces cut by Lady Jersey, the sleeves and skirt and all sewing by yours truly.

More photos are in this Facebook album.




Miss Plus Northwest for Miss Plus USA 2014

This gown was top-secret for the longest time! In pageants, you don’t share what you’re wearing. Can’t let the competition know. 🙂 Nora Fosberg Azevedo approached me about a gown for Miss Plus Northwest Brittany Hudson, and it was a no-brainer. YES!! This gown is a collaborative design between me, Nora, and Brittany, and a joint creation between me and Nora. Months of tweaking and fittings, a dozen yards of charmeuse and silk dupioni, several hundred Swarovski rhinestones, and many, many hours later, and this is the result! Brittany made it to the two 10 (Nora and I screamed so loud that the emcee teased us), but did not place. She did, however, with the WeCare scholarship.

More photos are in this Facebook album.

Rashelle’s Princess and the Frog wedding gown

When I found out my daughter’s Teacher Rashelle was getting married, I had to make the dress for her, as a gift to her for all she has done for Charlotte. My family supports our educators wholeheartedly, and Rashelle is such a sweetheart and we all love her dearly! I was so thrilled when she said yes!! She wanted something that isn’t the typical poofy princess dress, but still beautiful princess and elegant. I suggested something based on Tiana’s wedding gown (not the green lily pad dress, but the one she wore for her church wedding), and Rashelle loved it! Instead of cream, in white satin, and on the cowl neckline, a rainbow of jewels. And a rainbow veil!! The film version has a higher hemline in the front, and was lower in the back. I left this one a bit longer than the film version, and raised the back a bit, but otherwise kept pretty faithful to the film. This dress closes on the left side with an invisible set zipper. The veil is a seven-colored rainbow. 🙂

She’s still a part of our lives, and we are so lucky for that.  She is the type of educator we really need more of.  Support you educators!

And see more photos in this gown’s Facebook album.

Sale to raise medical funds

In the US, it’s possible to have medical coverage that doesn’t cover doctors.  Literally.  This leaves people needing to see a doctor in the lurch.  Without getting into too much detail, there’s a situation going on where someone in my household has a medical issue easily correctable early on, almost always with surgery, but that becomes progressively more difficult, and with the medical history involved and only 25% of a set of involved organs remaining, waiting until it’s an emergency that an ER can’t turn away is too late and comes with a substantially elevated risk of death as it involves cutting off blood flow to part of that last 25%.  All options to get more coverage have been exhausted at this point, and an appeal on the one chance is going to still take time.  We’d rather not put off going in for a few months.  So we’ve got to jump-start medical care and pay out of pocket.  And the way I’m helping with this is through a sale.  It’s really all I can do.

I will be posting several things in my Square shop, viewable here: Aria Couture at Square.  Some ready-to-wear gowns, custom corsetry and stays, etc.  More will be added over the day.  Please take a look, and please share this, and check back again later.  No one should have to worry about how to access medical care, especially with an active health situation going on, but this is the hand we’ve been dealt, and, though it sucks, we’ve got to deal with it however we can instead of waiting, if there’s any way at all to make that happen.

Oregon Ballet Theater-inspired Genzano flower festival dress

My daughter saw the School of the Oregon Ballet Theater’s Genzano costumes in the middle of 2014, and fell in love with what she called the peacock dress, and wanted one. What is a mama to say? 🙂 I took some costume notes (I had the opportunity to see the up close), and on the way home from the studio, got supplies. The skirt is five layers–green, navy, cream, green, cream–with a brown satin ribbon waistband. The bodice is lightly boned for structure, and is five panels of navy velvet with a wine piping, and hydrangeas decorating. The original bodices were either navy velvet (for the lead female dancer in this scene), or hunter satin, and closed with hooks. I wanted more versatility, so used grommets and lacing. These pictures were in downtown Portland just after OBT’s OBT Exposed event.  She wasn’t even five yet!

More photos in this Facebook album.