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. ūüôā

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.

Phantom of the Opera “Think of Me” Gown

I admit I’m not a fan of the movie (Andrew Lloyd Weber called it the biggest mistake of his career), but the gowns are gorgeous! **This is the standard version of this gown. The deluxe would have more starbursts in tiny Swarovski crystals. The ultra-deluxe would be in all silk, including silk tulle, which would give the softer bustling effect in the back.**

Oodles of tulle and sparkle! Boned corset-bodice with pink tulle detailing, floofy skirt over a (client-provided) hooped petticoat. Starbursts on the skirt, and the silver-blue tails are easy to overlook… So much more work than it looks like it would be! About 2,000 rhinestones, over 50 yards of trims on those tails (since they’re layered over each other, some of the trims look like one trim), all sewn on.

More photos are in this Facebook album.

Arwen-inspired garden elf wedding gown

This interesting spin on Arwen’s “blood red” gown (the difference between this and the requiem is the lower sleeve shape) was for a garden party wedding.

As usual, the main body of the outer gown is velvet with a long train, but in a creamy white with blue trim instead of brocade.

The undergown trim is like a bed of petals over the shoulders and around the arms, with strands of sequins wrapped in for a little sparkle.  I used brocade for the upper sleeves, and a textured crepe for the lower sleeves.


More photos are in this Facebook album.




“Princess Diaries 2” Coronation gown, my wedding version

My brother and I were laughing our way down the aisle because…well, read the description!

This was my wedding gown.  10 yards of silk duchess satin, almost as many yards of pintucked silk dupioni, and 5,000 Swarovski crystals. Yes, 5,000.

As of two weeks before my wedding, the crystals hadn’t arrived. ¬†Cue a frantic drive down to Los Angeles with my mother-in-law to track down as any as I needed, which I had to buy at retail (it’s more painful than it sounds). ¬†Finally, with a mere thirteen nights left, I frantically started to make this gown. ¬†No pressure! ¬†Well, except that our caterer backed out for a more lucrative gig (and kept our deposit…), leaving us in a lurch and having to re-plan the entire reception, including location. ¬†Oh, and I was also making the cake. ¬†Thank goodness I don’t need sleep….¬†

I made this gown in three pieces. ¬†The first is the bodice, which is lightly boned and zips up the back. ¬†There is more fabric over the shoulders than I’d otherwise have liked, but, since this fabric has no stretch, I needed that excess so I could nurse my baby as she needed. ¬†That was my most important priority that day, no matter what anyone thought about it.

Under that is a longline corset.  The unadorned fabric visible in the neckline of these photos is the top of the corset.  The boning stops underbust to facilitate in nursing.

The last is, of course, the skirt.  This part obviously took the longest due to all that beading!  I made a French bustle to contain the length.  It was almost nine feet from my waist!

On the day of the wedding,¬†¬†I was down a flight of stairs about 150 yards down a hall when the ceremony started. ¬†No one at all thought to tell me that it was starting. ¬†I’m so chronically on time for everything that it as just assumed that I’d be there. ¬†Since I thought it was strange that no one called for me, my ladies and I snuck closer to find out what was going on, and heard the music. ¬†We rushed up the stairs, I tore my skirt, and we got there literally at the moment my maid of honor was to start walking down the aisle. ¬†We couldn’t have cut it closer. ¬†What a tiring day!!

For credit where credit is due, the lovely Carmen, my “Don Juan”/”Think of Me” bride, was our makeup and hair artist that day!

See this Facebook album for more photos.

Carmen’s bridesmaids’ dresses

The bridesmaids’ gowns are cream tulle over cream bridal satin, with burgundy brocade trim, same pattern as the bride’s corset. All were made in less than four full weeks. That’s when I was asked, and the bride was (and still, to this day, is) such a joy that I couldn’t say no! ¬†This wasn’t for a lack of planning. ¬†Since she’s from Canada, when immigration gives the go-ahead, you’ve got 30 days, and she and Seth got approval sooner than expected.

A few days after saying yes, I managed to dislocate my shoulder. ¬†But no time to nurse my shoulder. ¬†The date for the gown needed to be moved up by a lot! ¬†I actually took my sewing machine to the Santa Barbara Courthouse to finish these gowns as the girls dressed since I didn’t get measurements for three of them until…the morning of the wedding. ¬†I had to guestimate. ¬†Thank goodness I was close!

More photos are in this Facebook photo album.

“Don Juan”/”Think of Me” wedding gown

40 yards of tulle, 40 more yards of netting, 10 yards of taffeta…for just the skirt. White Chantilly lace over cream cotton for the chemise, and white brocade lined with burgundy cotton interlined with cotton drill for the steel-boned corset. Another 5 yards for the veil. The skirt was fashioned after the “Think of Me” gown from the film, minus the starbursts and blue tails, and the top after the “Don Juan” ensemble, but in white with cream trim. The petticoat is taffeta, slightly trained, and trimmed with the same pearl-beaded lace as the bottom of the corset. I also made the veil, and the comb has the same pearl-beaded lace. I also made the bridesmaids’ gowns.

Carmen and Seth are one of my favorite bridal couples.  She played a role in my wedding as the cosmetologist!

On the day of her wedding, which was at the same venue as my wedding, we found out the courthouse was closing earlier than anticipated.  The wedding was in the courtyard, and suddenly we had nowhere to wait!  Cue a scramble through bushes.  Literally.  In her gown!  It was one of those snafus that was humorous even at the time.  It was such a beautiful wedding.

More photos are in this Facebook album dedicated to this gown.

Chumash wedding gown

I am privileged to call this bride a friend, one of several I’ve met through this little business, and to see her family grow.

This Chumash wedding gown was made to match the ceremonial ribbon shirt the groom’s mother made him. The fabric is organic cotton sateen (an amazingly wonderful fabric), and the bodice is a vintage fabric the bride found. The bride also found some¬†wonderful button covers made from od buffalo nickels!

The skirt is two-layered with the top layer being shorter to show the ribbon edging the bottom layer.  The edges are softly squared to allow the ribbon to lay flat.

More photos of this gown are at my Facebook album dedicate to it.

To learn more about the native Chumash people, please visit: http://www.santaynezchumash.org/history.html and http://www.chumashindian.com.  Trying to sum up the culture, traditions, and beauty of any tribe in a few paragraphs would be a disservice, but those sites are wonderful!



Princess Catherine’s Wedding Gown


More photos are in my Facebook album for this gown.

Literally as soon as I saw the wedding on TV, I started drafting the wedding gown, and finished this prototype within 24¬†hours, which may be close to the record! ¬† I couldn’t afford to go all out in silk and custom lace, and so settled on white bridal satin without lace. ¬†I used an English embroidered netting I already had on hand, and made a mad rush to every fabric store within 75 miles to buy enough bridal satin. ¬†That many full-length layers to the train takes a ton of fabric! ¬†And it was still quite an investment for a prototype. ¬†It’s not perfect, but my goal was to see how close of an approximation I could make before bigger names’ knock-offs of this Sarah Burton (for Alexander McQueen) gown could hit the market. ¬†With more time now to research the original, it’s easy to see some overall design details that I missed, such as the shape of the overtrains, but again, this gown was finished within 24 hours, and before many detail photos had hit the internet.

The original gown cost the Middleton family a rather modest¬†¬£40,000. ¬†Of course that’s budget-breaking to most of the rest of us but reasonably low for a royal wedding.

Please pardon the photo quality.  My photos were taken with an iPhone 4.

Princess Catherine’s Reception Gown

More photos are in my Facebook album for this gown.

When I made this gown, we had very few official photos. ¬†Literally as soon as I saw the wedding on TV, I started drafting the wedding gown (and finished a prototype within 24¬†hours, which may be close to the record), and then started on this one. ¬†It was a no-sleep marathon! ¬†So, so few photos to go on, even a day later. ¬†Despite that, I came pretty close. ¬†Rather than use silk duchess satin on a prototype, I used a white bridal satin over a crinoline, and a fur knit was turned into the cardigan. My cardigan closes with a handful of buttons. ¬†The original is knit angora with pearls. ¬†The sash is a simple crystal sash. ¬†I would really rather not try to knock this gown out again so fast. ¬†As a prototype, it doesn’t have the delicate couture touches of the original. ¬†It’s still a lovely gown that would be at home in a wedding itself.

Please pardon the photo quality.  These were taken with an iPhone 4.