Thursday, December 20, 2007

Play the game, everybody play the game

Okay girls, we've all been to bridal showers that included the inevitable Toilet Paper Wedding Gown game. Love it or hate it, I don't see it going away anytime soon. But next time you find yourself with a roll in your hand and two minutes to pull off a feat a la Project Runway, remember these designs from Cheap Chic Weddings' 2007 TP Wedding Dress Contest. Pretty amazing; I sure don't have the patience for something like that!

For the record, I detest the TPWG game at bridal showers. Who's with me?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box

Just a few thoughts today!

If you're looking for a string quartet for your wedding or other occasion, I'm happy to be able to recommend the Classic Quartet. The members are some colleagues of mine from the Tempe Symphony, and I know you will be pleased with their sound!

Also, I did a wedding gown fitting for the lovely Krystal this weekend, and when she saw her dress, she cried. I have never had anyone have that kind of reaction before! (Especially not when the dress is only half done, and still full of pins!) It was so touching and it made me feel so happy about what I do for a living. Thank you to all of my wonderful brides who remind me what's important!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Working my way back to you babe

I'm posting two days in a row? What is going on here? Well, I have an entry for the Dress Diary! If you recall, we last left Miss W trying to decide whether to use the lace as planned, or to change it up a little. Since then, we have both been very busy with her friend's wedding, which was last month. Miss W has been very patient during the hiatus! But now it's her turn again, so here we go!

As for the lace, if you guessed C) neither; let's replace the lace with some subtle beading, then you win!

Yes, Miss W liked the look of the ruching so much that she thought the lace might detract from it. So we got together one Saturday, along with her mom, sister, and friend and went to my favorite bead place, Beads Galore. If you have any interest in jewelry-making or beading (or just like sparkly objects), you have to pay Beads Galore a visit. They have everything- crystal, stone, glass, bone, metal, semi-precious stone, interesting synthetics, tools and supplies, and all kinds of odds and ends. One tip- don't head over there if you only have a few minutes to kill. You will definitely end up staying longer than planned!

After an hour of debate, we finally settled on a combination of freshwater pearls, Czech glass, and tiny silvered seed beads. I think it's looking pretty nice, and I hope Miss W will agree. I'm seeing her for a fitting on Monday, so I'll have more pix to post soon.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Misty water-colored memories of the way we were

Owning a business is exciting and rewarding. It is also scary, stressful, exhausting, time-consuming, and challenging. It has taught me so much over the last few years, both about business and about dealing with people. Perhaps most importantly, it has taught me a lot about myself. I am constantly learning how to handle certain situations, and finding out just what I'm capable of accomplishing!

Why all the introspection today? Well, I am happy to spread the word that a dear friend of mine has started her own business too. Tawnie is the owner of Scrapbook Fairy, where you can order custom scrapbooks to preserve your most treasured memories. If you're like me, this is a fantastic idea because I simply don't have the time or energy (or talent) to put into scrapping.

Tawnie's designs are beautiful and intricate, and commemorate any occasion. Think about it- you have your wedding album, professionally created by your photographer, and then you have a pile of snapshots taken by your friends and relatives. Wouldn't it be nice to have that pile arranged into a beautiful book of memories?

Take a moment to visit Tawnie's site- you'll find yourself hunting down all your old photos!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Wild thing, you make my heart sing

I stumbled across the Top 10 Most Daring Wedding Gowns today and wanted to share them with you all. I love the idea of doing something different, whether with color, fabric, or silhouette, so these are right up my alley! My favorites are the very first gown and the purple Vera Wang. Fun!

Do you dare?

Monday, November 19, 2007

I thought love was only true in fairy tales

Yes, I am still alive and kicking! This November has been the busiest month I have had since I started my company almost 4 years ago. Whew!

Anyway, I have pix from the Halloween party, finally. Now if you know Stephanie, you know that she does nothing halfway. And that includes her annual Halloween bash which is always themed. Last year the theme was Pirates, which was great fun. This year she had a Shrek shindig, and here are some pix (costumes by Jewel Couture!)

Me as Lord Farquaad

My honey as Doris the Ugly Stepsister

Steph as Tinkerbell

Ann and Pablo as Fairy Godmother and Donkey

Okay, I did not create the Donkey costume, but it was too funny not to post. And, as Donkey and Fairy Godmother got engaged that night, I thought it appropriate to include a pic of the happy couple! Congratulations guys!

And I didn't do this one either, but I have to give props to my brother Matt for his creativity and ingenuity in creating his Prince Charmin costume! (Genius runs in the family!)

Thanks to Laina McWhorter for the awesome photography, and thanks to Steph for a wonderful night! Looking forward to next year...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

With a spooky little girl like you

Happy Halloween! I had the pleasure of attending a crazy Halloween party this past weekend, for which I created several costumes for myself and friends. I just can't bring myself to buy one at a party store or one of those Halloween shops! So I will be posting some pix as soon as I can. I love costumes, thanks to the ladies at ASU's theater department, so Halloween is always great fun for me. It's also a nice change of pace from the usual kind of projects I work on!

Also, I wanted to post a link to Liene's latest post. She's got a photo of Nichole from her wedding last Friday, and she looks amazing!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

It's gonna take patience and time to do it right

One thing all brides have in common is The Wedding Dress. Regardless of your style or the type of wedding you're having, chances are you're going to be wearing a special dress of some kind.

Whether you order your gown from a superstore like David's Bridal or an intimate boutique like Mariee Gallery, you will need alterations. Be sure to consider this when budgeting for your dress. Alterations can range from $50.00 to $300.00 or more, depending on how much work you need done. Even if you are lucky enough to fit perfectly into the dress that was ordered, you will almost certainly need the hem altered. Also, if your dress has a train, you will need a bustle. Most dresses do not come with the bustle already done, since the way a dress is bustled depends on the final hem length. Your seamstress will be able to advise you on the most effective and attractive way to bustle your gown- all dresses are different!

Some things to consider when trying on your gown, whether you're having one custom-made (by Jewel Couture, we hope!) or ordering from a retailer:

1. Wear your wedding shoes! This is the only way the seamstress will know how long to mark the hem. It is also good practice, since you'll be standing in these shoes for an extended length of time on the big day!

2. Wear your wedding undergarments! The fit of your gown can be drastically affected by the bra you wear. If you are going to be wearing Spanx or any other foundation garment, be sure to wear these as well. This also applies to crinolines or bridal slips, as they affect the hem length.

3. Take your gown to a reputable seamstress or alterations expert. Do not try to save money by going to a tailor or someone who doesn't have experience with wedding alterations! I have fixed too many mistakes for panicked brides who had taken their gowns to someone who didn't give the proper care and attention needed for such an important garment. A gown that is custom-made will be fabricated to fit you already, of course. However, if you do order a gown from a retailer, they should be able to do alterations in-house or recommend a seamstress to you.

4. Bring your wedding jewelry and accessories to the fitting. This will help you get a preview of the whole look. What if great-grandma Mabel's necklace clashes with the beading around the neckline of your gown? You'll be glad you found out before the big day!

5. Look your best! This kind of goes with #4. Sure, it might be a Saturday morning, but instead of schlepping around like most weekends, come to your fitting with your hair styled and your makeup nicely done. You'll look and feel great when you get into your dress.

I hope this has been informative for you brides-to-be! Jewel Couture is pleased to offer alteration services as well as custom designs; please feel free to contact us any time for more information.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

And all that jazz

I am so excited to be able to share one of my unique brides with you! Nichole is getting married this month, and I had the privilege of designing her wedding gown. She is a very stylish and creative gal, which I know will be reflected in her wedding. She also has the ever-so-fabulous Liene Stevens from Blue Orchid Designs coordinating and designing her event, so it will be amazing!

When Nichole and I first met, the only things she really had decided on were the wedding colors (black and white) and her veil. (Funny that the veil came first, but if you check out Stephanie James' designs, you'll see why!) Nichole was inspired by the 1940s jazz era as well as Stephanie's awesome website and her vintage-inspired styles and photography. (Which she then took to Liene, who is doing a fantastic job- I got a sneak peek at the table designs!)

While I was designing Nichole's gown, we went through several options, as usual, but the finalist was a white silk taffeta gown with a sweetheart neckline and a twisted and ruched bodice. The skirt is caught up in the front with a cluster of black and white ostrich plumes, revealing black tulle underneath.
I added the gloves in the sketch because I just thought they "made" the design. Accessories can make or break an outfit, as you ladies know!

Over the last few months, while I was working on her gown, Nichole was also very busy of course. One thing that she worked on during this time was her invitations. She worked with an amazing stationer in Houston, Daniela Weil with Simple Difference, who actually took my sketch, along with photos of Nichole and her fiancee Mike and created an illustrated invitation:

I almost loved this more than the dress itself. (Almost, but not quite!) Don't they look like they're ready to groove the night away?

And now for the finished product! I will be harassing Nichole for wedding photos once the big day has come and gone, but for now, she was kind enough to let me take a couple shots during our final fitting. (And even let me use her camera since mine crapped out on me. What a good sport!)

And she got the gloves! Sweet!

I loved working with Nichole and was so sad to see her dress leave my studio! But I know there are tons of fun, creative brides out there. I can't wait to see what's next!

Friday, September 28, 2007

I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman

Well, here they are, finally. Photos of the new digs!

I just have to give props to Girl Power! This space used to be a gym, complete with rubberized floors and red painted walls. Stephanie, Rikki, Melisa, Kelly and I ripped up the floor, painted, and installed new flooring all in three days to prepare for a busy Saturday with clients. (Okay, we did have some of our menfolk over here with trucks to haul garbage out and move furniture in. And we thank you for that! But all the remodeling was done by women!)

I guess my DIY days aren't over, especially now that I work with a whole team of people that are like me in that respect! I even hung all my own shelves and racks. (No, I didn't use a level, but who can tell?)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Devil in a blue dress

You may remember from my very first post that I made my prom dress in high school. Well, I recently moved and was going through some old photo albums, when lo and behold- a prom photo appeared! And since my high school reunion is in two weeks (Go 1997 DHS Mustangs!), it just seems like a good time to post it. (Identities have been concealed to protect the innocent.)

So as I was looking at this, I remembered that not only did I make my dress, but I made my handbag as well. I also did my own hair and makeup and manicure. My date wore his band tux (hee hee) and drove his parents' car.

Not that it's all that fantastic, but it got me thinking. I do a lot of alterations for prom dresses these days, and I see the kind of money these girls (or rather, their parents!) are spending on prom. And it blows me away! I guess I've always been a DIY type of gal.

Anyway, it's a lesson for you ladies out there- a fun evening can be had for less than $200 if you are resourceful!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Come on, come on, let's work together

So the question I get more than any other is, "Do you watch Project Runway?" Or some variation thereof. Well, sorry to disappoint, but no I do not watch it! Not because it's not interesting or entertaining, but because it is both those things, so much so that I will get sucked in and neglect all other tasks that I have to do.

Anyway, the reason I mention it is because you may have noticed that the designers have these nice big worktables at their disposal. If you've ever done any kind of sewing, you know how important it is to have adequate space for pattern layouts, pinning, cutting, pressing, etc.

Well, while I was working from home I simply did not have the room for an appropriate table, so I made do by moving all the furniture to the perimeter of the room and spreading everything out on the floor. (Don't try and say you've never done it; I know you have!) Needless to say, it was hell on my knees and not too efficient. But now, thanks to my wonderful (and handy) better half, I have an awesome work surface in my new studio! And how lucky was I to have his dad and his son at work for me too? In 110 degree heat, no less. Thanks, men!

Since I was minimal help at best, I took photos of the process instead:

I especially like the center photo- no construction project is complete without a little arguing over the best way to do something!

A little foam and cotton padding later, and here's the final product!

I'm just so excited about this, you don't even know! Well, maybe you do, since I just devoted a whole post to it. I guess I also want everyone to know how awesome my guy is and how much he helps me with my biz. He's behind the scenes, but he's always there. I think all of us small business owners owe our SOs a big thanks for all the support they give us every day; we couldn't do it without you.

Thank you for everything you do for me honey; I love you!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Looking so long at these pictures of you

Don't you just love The Cure? And I don't just mean the band. We are still fighting cancer, and thanks to foundations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure, advances are being made. But not without your help! I participated in the Race for the Cure a couple years ago, and it was so inspiring to see all the survivors and loved ones out there to raise money for breast cancer research. Cicely and Liene reminded me about this upcoming event, and also reminded me how cancer has touched my own family. We love you Donna!

There are so many ways to get involved; visit the Race for the Cure website to find out more.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Any way you want it, that's the way you need it

Miss W and I were lucky to squeeze in a fitting before we both started our busy weekends! A couple minor adjustments needed to perfect the fit of the bodice, but other than that, we're in good shape. We also explored some different options for the lace. Previously, we had thought we wanted a wide band of lace beneath the bust and a narrower band at the waistline. However, when Miss W tried the dress on, the consensus was that the wide band was a little overwhelming. So we opted to use a narrower band under the bust instead, and I think it's perfect. The next decision to make is whether to include the lace at the waist. We had planned to do so, but that's the beauty of having a custom gown made- details like this can be changed and refined throughout the process. Here are the two options, side-by-side:

One thought was that the lace along the bottom of the ruching gave the dress a more finished look. However, there was still the concern that it might be a little too much going on. So Miss W is going to think it over and probably come by the studio again soon with reinforcements (read: mom, sister, etc.) to get some more opinions.

What is your opinion? Stay tuned for Miss W's decision!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Takin' care of business

I'm ba-aack!

Wow, it has been a crazy few weeks. I'm very excited about the new studio (pix coming soon). I'm also excited to be back on track with my clients. I'm sure they are as well!

This includes Miss W, of course. So far this week I have been able to get a lot done on her dress- it is actually starting to resemble the sketch! I had cut out all the fabric pieces before my move, so they've really just been sitting patiently, waiting for me to attend to them. Sadly, I neglected to take photos of said pieces before stitching them together, so you'll just have to use your imagination.

Yesterday I started working on the ruching in the bodice. I do this by hand so I can arrange every pleat to my liking. Then I pin the bejesus out of it and hand stitch it all in place.

Once that's done, I press the ruching lightly, so that it stays nice and smooth, conforming to the shape of the bodice. After Miss W tries the gown on again, I'll probably stitch it in a few more spots and give it another pressing, just to make sure everything stays where it's supposed to.

I think this is going to look pretty cool once it's done; it even looks good with pins in it!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Movin' on up

And now for the BIG NEWS. Wow, nothing adds drama like the caps lock, huh?

I am so excited to announce that Jewel Couture has moved into a commercial space! After almost four years of working from home, I have taken the plunge. I have moved into a new studio at Two Be Wed in Tempe. You may be familiar with TBW- you can meet various talented and dedicated wedding professionals there to help plan your wedding. Well before, it was just an awesome place where I could meet clients for design meetings. Now, I've actually moved my operations there, so you can stop by and see the process for yourself!

I'm really psyched about this and hope it helps take my company to the next level. I would love visitors- stop by and see me sometime! I plan on being there during weekdays and by appointment on evenings and Saturdays.

I should be back to my normal schedule by Monday, so be on the lookout for more posts!

Friday, August 31, 2007

One likes to believe in the freedom of music

If you live in the Phoenix metro area, you might have noticed an unusual building being constructed on the south side of Tempe Town Lake just west of the Mill Avenue bridge. That would be the new Tempe Center for the Arts and it is opening this year. Why am I blogging about this? Well, for one, I think the arts are incredibly important in our communities. Also, this evening I auditioned for the Tempe Symphony Orchestra and was accepted! I'll be sitting in the back like any rookie, but I'm looking forward to the challenge and excitement of performing in such a beautiful facility. Find out more about the TSO's upcoming concert season here.

The TCA is having a grand opening celebration on Sunday, September 9th. Come on down and take in free performances by Childsplay, Tempe Little Theater, Arizona Academy of the Performing Arts, Desert Dance Theatre, and others! Also, there will be an open rehearsal of the TSO Lakeside at 3PM. Look for me in the back row!

(By the way, this is not the surprise I was talking about in my previous post!)

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Hello to my faithful readers! (All three of you...) You have surely noticed that I have been remiss in my blogging of late. There is a valid explanation, I promise! Check back here in the next week and you'll see what I mean. I can't talk about it just yet because I don't want to jinx it, but it's very exciting!

Mysteriously Yours,

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

With a love like that you know you should be glad

You may not know it, but there is a whole industry out there that helps men (and women!) plan the perfect proposal. Although it's outside my area of expertise, I think that unique proposals can be really amazing and fun. I stumbled across this one today; I just love it!

You can read more about George and Sara's engagement at his blog here. Take note, guys! (And girls...)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Joining the world of missing persons

Quick update for those of you following the adventures of Miss W!

No, I have not forgotten about her. I've had to switch gears and work on a large bridesmaid dress project for a November wedding. Coincidentally, Miss W is one of said bridesmaids! So she and I will be getting to know each other very well over the next couple months.

But fear not, the next installment of Miss W's dress diary is not far off!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hey little sister what have you done

There's a reason that Vh1 has about twenty different '80s nostalgia shows. We really do love the decade of big hair, bright makeup, and bad clothes. (God knows why!)

This weekend, I was lucky to be involved in an '80s wedding themed murder mystery dinner, courtesy of Two Be Wed and FireSky Resort. These are just a couple shots of me and Rhonda.

See more at The Invitation Lady's blog! We had a lot of fun and the resort was beautiful, as always. Thanks KT!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

When you wish upon a star

Once upon a time, a young-ish girl heard that Disney teamed up with a wedding gown designer to create a line of wedding gowns inspired by the Disney princesses. She searched online, far and wide, but to no avail. Finally, one day, she traveled to the land of Google and found that the day had arrived. And many brides would live happily ever after.

Okay, so I have been looking forward to seeing the collection for a long time, and it's finally available. (Actually it has been for a little while now, but I've been busy blogging about Miss W!)

From designer Kirstie Kelly, the Disney Bridal collection includes gowns inspired by Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine, Ariel, and Belle. I think it's a fun way to have that fairytale element while still having an elegant look.

I also like this idea because, as a designer, I am constantly drawing inspiration from many different sources- fashion icons, cultural ideas, fantastic textures and patterns, etc. This collection is interesting because I can see from where the inspiration came.

Anything you love can inspire a great design- even something beloved from childhood. Your only limit is your imagination!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Boy, you gotta carry that weight

I just bought a great book by the costume curator at the Kyoto Costume Institute. Check it out here- it's pretty amazing. I love fashion history; the more you study it, the more you realize that the history of clothing is really the history of the human race and all its different and diverse cultures.

What is my point? Well, this book is filled with fantastic photography and details, including this photo of a late 16th century French corset. It's made out of iron. Can you believe women used to wear stuff like this every day?

Fortunately, we have come a long way since those days. Miss W's wedding gown has a built-in support foundation but it is lightweight and flexible- much more comfortable than an iron cage! I use several pieces of plastic boning to give the bodice its structure and shape, then finish the back closure with hooks and eyes.

What this does is take a lot of stress off the dress itself. If you've ever worn a wedding gown, or certain kinds of formal gowns, you know how heavy they are. You have several yards of dress fabric, several yards of lining, several yards of underlining. You may have beads or trim. You may have a long train. All of these materials add up; some wedding dresses could weigh more than twenty pounds! The foundation is tight and secure around the torso, and supports the weight of the dress. Additionally, there will be minimal slipping, so Miss W won't have to be hitching it up all night (you girls all know how irritating that is!)

Anyway, going back to the start of this post, the next time you have to wear pasties or Spanx, think about how much worse it could be, and be thankful. I know I am!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

You're so vain

Tag, I'm it! Evidently there's a viral chain letter of sorts circling the blogosphere. Cicely tagged me, so I'm supposed to post eight interesting things about myself and then tag eight more people to do the same. Sadly, I'm so new to blogging that everyone I know has already gotten this! If you read this and want to get in on the Eight Levels of Narcissism, let me know and I'll update this post with a link to your blog.

Eight interesting (sort of) things about me:

1. I am an Arizona native
2. I play the viola (that's the one that's bigger than a violin, smaller than a cello)
3. My first job was working in the pro shop at a small golf course in Mesa when I was fifteen
4. I'm currently growing a second head. (Seriously- this pimple is unbelievable!)
5. I lived in New York City during 9/11
6. The weirdest thing in my house is a pinata shaped like a pirate wearing a tiara.
7. I'm half Chinese
8. The first thing I ever sewed was a nightgown when I was eight years old

Okay, so this is the part that I list the eight people I'm passing this along to. Which right now, is no one. Help!

Oh, and by the way, no one else send this to me, please! It took me forever to come up with just these eight things!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Pretty woman give your smile to me

Success! The first fitting with Miss W has come and gone without a hitch. Only a minor adjustment in the bodice needed. The next step is to take apart and recut so the pieces can be used to mark and cut the dress fabric. I'll also be adding boning to the foundation to make it nice and stiff and secure.

The next fitting should be a lot more fun; the dress will actually look like a dress! I know Miss W is looking forward to it, and so am I!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Many times I've wondered how much there is to know

A quick note for those who are interested- the Jewel Couture website has been updated with new photos from previous clients' weddings as well as the January bridal show. (More photos here, courtesy of Rhonda Lewis Photography) A special thanks to Will at Highrise Creative for his fantastic work and creativity! Will, I would be lost without you!

Another note of interest: on Friday I had my lovely assistant Anna going through my sketch file. These are all the sketches I've done for clients over the last four years. I was struck by how many there were- a couple hundred! We had them spread over my cutting table, trying to get them organized, and this funny, unfamiliar feeling sprung up inside me. I think it might have been pride. Ha ha.

For those of you who know me, you know how unusual it is for me to feel that- I just kind of go along, doing my thing, without really stopping to look back at what I've accomplished. But it just struck me that this sketch file not only represents everything I've done, but how much I've learned and grown, both as a designer and a business owner. It's kind of cool!

Friday, July 27, 2007

You can never get enough of this stuff; it's Friday, I'm in love

Miss W's fabric arrived yesterday! The yummy satin and delicate organza will have to wait though, until the bride comes in to try on the foundation and lining. Below are the pieces of lining, cut and ready to put together. (My mischievous little girl Ophelia wanted to help, so I let her do some measuring!)

I usually will go ahead and cut and stitch the lining for the first fitting, then I can mark any necessary changes, take it apart, and use the adjusted pieces as patterns for the "real" fabric. This process is traditionally called making a muslin, since muslin fabric is inexpensive and a good choice to use for a mock-up. This way, the more expensive fashion fabric can be saved from any errors.

At this point, I'm ready to have the bride come in and get fitted. I may or may not take pictures of the fitting; it depends on Miss W's comfort level. But either way, I'll be back soon with an update!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Girls just wanna have fun

Have to give another shout out to Cicely at Life Design Event Planning for putting together another opportunity to share green wedding tips with Valley brides. This morning we were on Fox 10 News; you can read more about it on Cicely's blog, and see the spot here (video).

Thanks again, Cic! You have fantastic style!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

We've only just begun

I have a confession to make. I don't have any formal training in patternmaking. When I was at FIT, I was a styling major, not a fashion design major, so I didn't have the opportunity to take any drafting classes. Luckily, when I worked for ASU's theater department making costumes, I had the chance to learn a lot about garment construction. Additionally, I learned a lot about working with many different body types.

Today, while I don't draft all my patterns from scratch, I do have the ability to take existing patterns and alter them to my specifications. That's going to be my approach with Miss W's dress. I'm using a pattern from my library and making changes to it, so that it not only corresponds to our final design, but also fits her body perfectly. I'm still waiting for the fabric to come in, but when it does, I'll be ready to proceed.

I've already drafted, cut, and stitched the pieces for the bodice foundation, as you can see. It's kind of like a built-in corset, and it gives the dress the proper structure and stability needed in such a heavy garment. I think I've gone as far as I can for now; I'll have to wait for the fabric before I can do anything else.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Shine down on me satin queen

I am always excited at the beginning of a project (as opposed to the end, when I've been looking at it for months and just want to get it out of my studio!)

Fortunately, I am ready to start working on Miss W's wedding gown! Fabric has been selected and ordered. We went with a beautiful creamy duchess satin as the main dress fabric. It's 100% silk, which I always recommend for bridal gowns, and has a wonderful hand and luster. The shrug will be a delicate silk organza, crisp enough to hold its shape but soft and sheer enough to move and breathe. Finally, the lace is a unique silver floral motif, heavier than typical bridal laces. I think the contrast will be gorgeous.

In the meantime, I'll be drafting the patterns so they're ready to go when the fabrics arrive. Check back soon for more!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Did you ever have to make up your mind

One of the things I love about what I do is seeing my ideas become reality. Going from the flat illustration and fabric swatch to a real, three-dimensional gown that someone is going to wear on the most important day of her life is a real treat. And now, you will get to experience it too, as today kicks off Diary of a Dress.

One of my lovely brides, Miss W, has graciously agreed to the project, so over the next six months, we'll be posting notes and photos of her wedding gown throughout the process.

Miss W and I first met to discuss design ideas. Some of the photos she brought to show me are pictured here:

Left to right, these are designs from Anne Barge, Monique Lhuillier, and Lazaro. Miss W liked the ruching element in the bodice of Anne Barge's gown, as well as the metallic embellishment under the bust. The Monique Lhuillier gown was the perfect example of a delicate wrap that she was envisioning- something to cover her shoulders and upper arms, but still with that bare feeling- very soft and sexy! Finally, the waistband from Lazaro's gown showed the heavy, densely patterned applique style that attracted Miss W's interest. Other design elements she was interested in were the wrapped or crossover bodice, an A-line skirt, and a possible applique or embroidery around the hem.

Keeping these ideas in mind, I worked on some drawings for Miss W. Following are some of the designs I proposed:

I included a sheer shrug or bolero in each design, knowing how important that was to Miss W. I showed a variety of ways to use lace or appliques, whether allover, or just in some places. I also included some variations on the ruching and the wrapped look.

Miss W liked all the designs but one was clearly the frontrunner. We made a couple of adjustments, and ended up with the final design:

Working from the original design, we added the metallic lace applique to the dropped waist and to the hem to complete Miss W's wedding gown design. We were done with the first step (whew!)

Next up: fabric!

Monday, July 16, 2007

It's the new Mother Nature taking over

Thanks in part to activists like former VP Al Gore, this country is finally starting to pay attention to the environment and the damage that we cause it on a daily basis. You may have noticed the terms "green" and "eco-friendly" being attached to everything from filmmaking to transportation.

Well, the good news is, you can have a green wedding too! My friend and colleague Cicely Rocha Miller of Life Design Event Planning recently appeared on local news Channel 12 to share ideas for making your special day an environmentally friendly one.

The spot also featured a dress from Jewel Couture. The information on this dress did not make it into the spot, but it also is green. The fabric and lining are both 100% silk, a natural fiber, and are undyed. Dyed fabric requires much more processing, both chemical and mechanical, so a natural undyed fiber is great for the environmentally conscious. Also, the gown is handmade. No factories or industrial machines were used in its manufacture.

I'm no expert, but I'm sure it's almost impossible to have a true, 100% green wedding. However, it is possible to limit the damage by using alternatives such as the ones Cicely talks about here (video).

Props to Cic for a creative and insightful look at how we can design our most important events to be compatible with Mother Earth!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends

After much poking and prodding, I am on the blog bandwagon! I hope to update at least once or twice a week with new fashion trends or interesting wedding info. I'll also post any news about Jewel Couture and the projects that we have going.

How did I get into this? After deciding to sew my own prom dress in high school (a not-entirely-ill-fated project), I found out that A.) you should practice a little before diving right into formalwear, and B.) secondhand metal zippers are not the best choice for a satin evening gown.

Fortunately, I recovered from that experience and went on to make veils and bridesmaid dresses for friends who were getting married. Four years later, here I am, self-employed and helping the Valley's brides complete their dream weddings with custom gowns and accessories.

Check back periodically to see what's going on! I know I will...