Dear ASDP Board

  • 12/03/2015 8:27 PM | Anonymous

    A big heartfelt thank you to all those who participated in the 2015 fashion show at the conference in Minneapolis. It was fantastic! I think our Association showed our talents very well.

    Lynne Williams wearing her entry Seams Natural. Photo by Karen Gay

    We had 43 garments in the general entries, 2 student finalists in the student design competition and 20 finalists in the Threads Magazine challenge for a total of 65 garments on the runway. There were also the clever creations by the ASDP board with their interpretation of fine works of art. Actually, they were hilarious. I truly enjoyed that and hope someone has photos to share. I was worried when the September 10th deadline came and we only had 2 garments entered in the fashion show, but this wonderful group of talented members came through and we had an assortment of outwear, costumes, casual wear, career wear, and evening wear. We had 3 restyled garments presenting “before” photos on the dual screens while the “after” was on  the runway.

    Noreen Hoenig wearing Edgy Suede Fringe by Cisa Kubley, Photo by Rory O'NeillErin Retelle wearing the dress she created inspired by Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup pop art painting, Photo by Rory O'NeillWhitney Luckinbill wearing her entry Tiny Dancer, Photo by Rory O'Neill

    This is a new area that we might continue in 2016. While there were some technical problems, the show went on and I was told the audience never knew about the glitches that took place backstage. We had a great crew of volunteers and I thank you all for the help as you were so important in pulling it all together. A huge thank you is due to Ashley Roberts, a newscaster from WCCO-CBS in Minneapolis, who served as our guest commentator for the show. Ashley was funny, poised, and professional, rolling with the last minute changes that come as part of a live show.

    Some models and volunteers came from the local colleges and I think this is a great way for our organization to tap into the up and coming designers. We need to get them familiar with ASDP early in their careers, and inviting them to participate in our fashion show is a good way to do that. Most metropolitan cities will have a college nearby with a fashion design or merchandising program. If we offer them the chance to participate in our fashion show, we can help feed their interest in the world of fashion. We had one model, Tara, from the Minneapolis area who is pursuing a modeling career and looks forward to having the photos from this event to add to her portfolio. Tara is going to NY in a few days for a modeling gig.

    Amanda Madden wearing the stunning non-traditional wedding gown she created for her own wedding earlier this year, Photo by Karen Gay

    We also had a young gal from a local college, Anyse Mellot, who was a real trouper. Anyse is a student in the fashion design program at The Art Institutes International MN. She participated in the student design competition, but her garment did not make the finals so she offered to volunteer back stage. Well, this young gal was a godsend to me that night! I was able to give her numerous tasks and she performed each beautifully.   She helped me put the commentator book together, helped with the garments backstage, and then ran the power point for part of the show.  And then on top of all that, I asked her to model.  For more about the exceptional capabilities and potential of using aspiring students, see more* about Anyse below.  Thank you Anyse!! As I am looking forward to the 2016 fashion show, I am working on the details with the help of Denise Liss. We will work till we get the sign up link correct. I don’t give up easily; I guess I am a bit of a determined German!

    The rules might change a bit. We are in discussion on that and we are thinking of new ways to get more of you involved as we realize more of our members are involved more in alterations than custom work.  For those of you designing and doing custom work, start planning on putting a garment in the 2016 fashion show NOW. We are already working with the locals of Vancouver, B.C. to find models just as we did in Minneapolis.

    Carol Fresia of Threads, judge Patricia Robison, judge Judith Neukam of Threads, Susan Widawski (Winner of Best Construction), judge Susan Khalje, Photo by Rory O'Neill

    Again a big thank you to those who entered garments, volunteered back stage, and modeled.  It was hectic, but a lot of fun! There were many modeling glitches throughout the night and Anyse was the only one I had to fit in a particular dress. Well, as it turned out what she modeled was one of the big winners.  She had arrived that night in her casual clothes and fashion boots, expecting to work backstage. Now she was on the runway! No, there was no time for extra make up or hair prep. She went from one task to the other and did it with grace and style. This girl will go far. But this is exactly how the fashion world can be. She went on the runway cold turkey and did a fantastic job. Her comment to me after the show was that she had a lot of fun and was very grateful she was able to be a part of the conference. She also said, “It was amazing to get to see another great fashion show and meet all the people that made it happen. I really hope these are the professionals I get to work with in the future!” She looks forward to hearing more from us and pursuing her career in fashion. Thanks a lot Anyse!

    Written by Chris Kazmerzak

  • 12/02/2015 8:06 PM | Anonymous

    The 2015 ASDP National Educational Conference was held October 14-20 at the beautiful Crowne Plaza Northstar, downtown Minneapolis, featuring seven days of classes, meetings, and social events, with 79 members and guests attending.

    On registration, attendees received an ASDP logo neck wallet for holding their name badge, conference tickets, room key, credit cards, pens, and other things and were told that bringing it to conference in Vancouver will net them a small but special perk at conference next year. The hotel, connected with Northstar Mall and the enclosed skyway, had a layout ideal for attendees, with registration, meeting rooms and events all conveniently located on the seventh floor.

    Thursday night’s welcome reception was held in the beautiful Minnetonka Lounge and connecting Fireside Room instead of the outside Skygarden, as originally planned, due to a dip in the temperature and threat of rain. Susan Khalje shared lovely garments and fabrics as she presented “The Fine Art of Lace.” Members and guests (including Threads staff Judith Neukam and Carol Fresia, as well as LAA recipient Sandra Betzina) enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and drinks as they met new friends and became reacquainted with old ones.

    Large canvasses of famous artwork with the faces cut out for photo-ops made their first appearance, and were seen at various events throughout the weekend. Rae Cumbie spoke briefly about the ASDP Foundation, which has now been reactivated as a 501c3 charitable foundation. The reception followed the return of some members from the all-day bus tour of Minneapolis and St. Paul that included visits to the Guthrie Theatre Costume Shop, where they marveled over the vast array of costumes, the Textile Center, one of the finest fiber arts groups in the country, and the Minnesota History Center’s collection of Munsingwear memorabilia.

    There was, of course, shopping – at the Textile Center’s fine gift shop, Treadle Yard Goods, and the fabled 30,000 square feet of fabric and notions at S.R. Harris. Other members at conference on Wednesday and Thursday enjoyed pre-conference classes in a variety of subjects.

    Friday brought full-day classes as well as the keynote luncheon featuring award-winning speaker and Minnesota native Theresa Rose, who presented a lively program on realistic time management.

    Theresa Rose, Keynote Speaker

    At Friday evening’s Fashion Show and Member Showcase, attendees were treated to a runway and multimedia presentation that spotlighted the entries in the Threads Inspired by Art Sheath Dress Challenge. Coordinator Terri Tipps outlined the requirements of the competition, and the artistic inspiration was shown on dual screens on each side of the runway as the garments were modeled. Finalist garments were brought back on the runway for a final look and Audience Choice voting. The national board members again presented a humorous segment as Audience Choice votes were tallied. The segment in which they recreated famous works of art was again a hit with the members. Undoubtedly the favorite of the audience, Chapter Relations VP Debby Spence presented “Thorn Necklace” by Frida Kahlo, with hilariously striking realism!

    Student Design Challenge Winner Erica Sorenson and finalist Valerie Bolden

    As a surprise, one of the sewing machines generously donated by Baby Lock was raffled off to raise money for the ASDP Foundation. Member Abby Riba of Florida was the winner and plans to gift the machine to her granddaughter. Karen Gay, Regional Student Challenge Coordinator, introduced the two student finalists from the Minneapolis area, and presented winner Erica Sorenson with a prize package that included a student membership in ASDP, $200 cash, a Threads subscription, and a Baby Lock sewing machine valued at $1,799, among other things.

    Judith Neukam of Threads magazine, along with Carol Fresia (who will be moving into Judith’s position as our liaison with Threads), introduced fellow judges Susan Khalje and Patricia Robison (last year’s Best Overall winner) then announced the winners for 2015:

    Best Overall Award: Tricia Crockett from Damascus, Oregon

    Best Construction: Susan Widawski from Belleville, Michigan

    Best Creative Interpretation: Barbie McCormick from Nampa, Idaho

    Best Successful Adaptation: Debby Spence from Lancaster, Pennsylvania

    Audience Choice Award: Linda McCoy from Oostberg, Wisconsin

    Photos of the winning garments will be published in Threads Magazine in spring 2016.

    Saturday brought a mix of both full and half-day classes for the first time. Two smaller meetings were held that day as well: the MSDP/MAP breakfast hosted by Vandarra Robbins and the Chapter Relations Luncheon with Debby Spence. In the afternoon attendees visited the Vendor Market which, though small (9 vendors this year) offered wonderful high quality fabrics, trims, leathers, patterns and books from a variety of sources. Vendors interviewed were very happy with the response of members.

    In the evening, the ballroom was the setting for our Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony and banquet with guest of honor and industry icon Sandra Betzina. After dinner, President Debra Utberg recognized former national presidents in attendance and introduced member Janee Connor, who read her nomination for Sandra Betzina as LAA recipient. Debra Utberg then presented a stunning glass sculptured award to Sandra and offered a champagne toast. Sandra then gave a short acceptance speech and graciously posed for photos with members, including group photos with those who were wearing designs made from Sandra’s McCall’s patterns.

    Sunday morning came early after Saturday night’s celebration, with a 7 am breakfast and 7:30 am annual meeting. Reports were given by board members (see reports on the ASDP website), and President Debra Utberg gave a presentation on the budget. The early draft cut for the ASDP promotional video being done as a class project by University of Minnesota film students was premiered with great excitement, and the location and dates of the 2017 conference was announced as Orlando, Florida, October 18-22. Annual elections for the national board were held, with all nominated positions being elected. Members were released to attend morning, then afternoon classes.

    The Last Hurrah Tea late Sunday afternoon gave members a chance to connect one last time over beverages and sweets before going their separate ways again. Numerous door prizes generously donated by sewing and design businesses as well as member businesses were give away throughout the weekend. Approximately two dozen members stayed over to attend post conference classes on Monday and Tuesday.

    Our sincere thanks to our sponsors, Baby Lock, Threads, McCalls, Fit for Art Patterns, and Reliable for making a great conference possible!

    Written by Karen  Gay

  • 12/01/2015 7:59 PM | Anonymous

    I hope everyone came home from conference rejuvenated, inspired, and motivated. If you were not able to attend, hopefully the contents of this newsletter will motivate and inspire you to set aside the time and money to attend our next conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

    Now it is time to close out 2015 and make plans for 2016. What will you do to move your business forward? How will you do it? As the board makes preparations for our annual Strategic Planning meeting, I have asked them to read two books, "Getting Things Done by David Allen and "The Trust Edge" by David Horsager. I challenge anyone to find anything in these books that is really new! Still, the authors present the concepts in their own voice and that is what makes them new and worth the read.

    As dressmakers, tailors, alteration specialists, designers, purveyors of goods and services, etc. we are not doing anything new. Rather, it is our voice and how we do it that makes what we offer interesting and valuable. It has been suggested that we are part of a dying trade. Maybe. But, unlike the blacksmith who lost his livelihood to the advent and popularity of the automobile, people still wear clothes, as well as need and use many other sewn products (i.e. pillows, curtains, tents, etc.). What has changed is how people get their sewn goods.

    Even so, in spite of the “casualization” of dress and outsourcing of sewing to cheaper labor markets, there remains a population who have unique desires and needs and who want customized/unique goods with personalized service. Furthermore, they have the resources to pay. To this population, we offer the breadth and depth of our skill and talent, our “voice” if you will. They will find it interesting and valuable - if they can find us.

    May 2016 find you with great books on your reading table, interesting projects in your studio, extra profits in your bank account and an amazing “voice”

    Written by Debra Utberg, President

  • 09/06/2015 3:10 PM | Anonymous

    We have some very exciting news for you – ASDP has a new chapter – the Metro Detroit Chapter!

    The ASDP-Metro Detroit Chapter was installed in June. This chapter services the entire Metropolitan Detroit area and runs its operations in donated space from PonyRide, a small business incubator located in Detroit MI. The chapter was installed with five members. They are Monica Minor, Kenyetta Caldwell, Brenna Lane, Kathleen Tootell and Maxine Jackson. Monica Minor serves as the President of this chapter. This is their vision statement:

    “To unify people while bringing new opportunities, new outlooks and new exposure to sewing and design professionals within the Metropolitan Detroit area.”

    Monica says: “The chapter considers itself a unique addition to the association. Metro Detroit has tons of hidden talent in the sewing and design profession; one of our goals is to bring exposure to that talent. 

    Additionally, we are invested in preserving the integrity of our profession. With that, we aim to host several trainings, workshops, seminars, etc. aimed at (a) increasing our knowledge and skills and (b) fine- tuning and polishing up our business ethics and skills. Finally, we intend to start a program within our chapter that is aimed at mentoring our students of fashion for the future. The goal would be to recruit at the college student level with the intent of maturing the student members onto the intern level and to the professional member level. This will not only enhance the talent in the Metro Detroit area for our industry, but will ideally create a future generation of leaders for the chapter and association. All of these initiatives are obviously at the premature stages of planning and development, but we feel that this is where we should start to be of best service for the industry in this area via the association. “The remainder of the year’s meetings will serve as planning meetings as our core team of 5 also serves as our planning committee. We plan to ‘reintroduce’ the chapter with a huge Membership Drive meeting in January 2016. We should have the date set within the next couple of weeks. We will be advertising substantially to ensure a huge presence at this meeting. We also will have a presence at the American Sewing Expo with a booth which is in September in Novi MI where we will provide information about the association and our chapter.”

    Susan Khalje has invited the Baltimore Chapter to her gallery for their first meeting of the new program year. She’ll be talking about lace and showing members lots of beautiful examples. An added bonus - Alice from Mendel Goldberg will also be there, so they’ll have the opportunity to see (and purchase!) her gorgeous fabrics. The Chapter is going to be focusing on ‘Topnotch Techniques’ this year to encourage members to participate in their Chapter’s evaluation program.

    The British Columbia Society has been extremely busy getting ready for their Sew-Ed Conference in September. They have a great working team there, and all are working together for the common goal of a successful event in advance of the 2016 ASDP conference in Vancouver.

    They have contacted businesses all over Canada in preparation for next year’s conference, not only for sponsorship but also to advertise the event. Their sponsors are sending e-blasts to their own client lists, and displaying posters in their places of business. Members of the chapter have also attended different types of events related to sewing and fashion in the Vancouver area promoting their event. They also had a phone campaign calling every contact on their mailing list collected from the spring sewing expo. Carol Lees and Brenda Breitenmoser have been busy promoting their Facebook page and the exposure has been amazing. Some of their class registrations are looking very good and they look forward to filling the classes. If you haven’t already, ‘like’ their Facebook page and you’ll see all the great classes and instructors they having at their event.

    Brenda says – “It is an exciting and stressful time for us all. Looking forward to seeing everyone at this year’s conference.”

    In June, Wisconsin chapter members met at Linda McCoy's studio in Oostburg, about an hour north of Milwaukee along Lake Michigan. Members present were joined via Skype with another Wisconsin chapter member, Lynne Williams, from her studio in Rhinelander which is in far northern Wisconsin, about 3-1/2 to 4 hours north of Linda's studio. It was a great way to meet another chapter member! Members also worked on their muslins for the Sheath Challenge.

    In July, members met at Chris Kazmerzak's studio in Sun Prairie, near Madison. They discussed client relations, cancellation and refund policies. Several of the chapter members are planning to attend Conference!

    The Colorado chapter has been busy upgrading their technical knowledge. They are using cloud computing and a web cataloging tool called LibraryThing to make its growing list of library resources available to members online 24/7. LibraryThing is a web application that allows you to create a catalog or database of library resources including books, DVDs, magazines, articles, and journals. Once created, you can share this catalog with others, and track whom you lend your resources to. Moreover, by assigning specific keywords and phrases (tags) and populating the review, comments and descriptions fields for each resource, it becomes possible to perform very specific searches and for members to share their knowledge by recommending best practices.

    Accessing the Colorado Chapter catalog is fast and easy. All you need to do is type the catalog URL allcollections in your Internet browser and click the enter key on your keyboard. A User Guide is available to demonstrate how to view, sort and search the library catalog. However, only members of the Colorado Chapter can borrow resources from their library.

    Currently, Colorado Chapter members are busy reviewing their library resources and identifying additional key words and phrases for each resource so searching can be more targeted, thus saving members valuable research time. In addition, the Chapter Board is considering how best to vet and recommend specific sewing techniques as a best practice, raising the efficiency and level of quality of the Chapter as a whole.

    The Colorado chapter has just uploaded a new website for their chapter. Check it out - This update includes better professional profiles for our juried members and a login area for all members to access chapter documents and resources (library). We will be using this tool to communicate with other seamstresses and potential new members.

    In other news, the Board will be rolling out a new program at conference this year – Chapter of the Year. Chapters will get points for all kinds of things they do and the Chapter with the most points wins! They will be awarded a trophy, bragging rights and perks given at the discretion of the Board.

    Our chapters are doing very fun and exciting things. If you live anywhere near a chapter, join it! You won’t regret it.

    Written by Debby Spence, VP of Chapter Relations

  • 09/01/2015 2:54 PM | Anonymous

    Have you heard the buzz lately about the ‘Millennials?’ Many marketing experts have identified and labeled various generations for the purpose of understanding their characteristics and what motivates them to buy, act, work, etc. If you look at the demographics of our organization, you will most likely find that we are a ‘Baby Boomer’ and late ‘Gen Xer’ group. That means most of us were born between 1946 and 1970. Like every generation, we were shaped by the cultural norms of the time. We tend to have certain characteristics that cause us to respond in predictable ways. For a long time we ‘Baby Boomers’ have been the largest segment of the population and companies have catered to us. NO MORE! The Millennials are now the largest group and every brand and company is trying capture their loyalty!

    So who are the Millennials? They were born about 1982 to 2004. Today, they range in age from adolescence to early thirties. The older Millennials have been in the work place for several years. As a group, they are on track to be the most educated generation in American history.. They have gotten along with their parents more than any previous generation. This generation tends to be ‘friends’ with their parents. Often Baby Boomers and Gen Xers will label Millennials as ‘entitled’ or ‘disrespectful’. If we think about it, these perceptions are not surprising, but there is another way to look at it. Millennials have grown up with abundance and choice. As a result,when they are given a task, they expect the right tools to be available to them. They resent having to ‘make do’ because there is a sense that ‘making do’ is setting them up for failure. Also, because they have been ‘friends’ with their parents, they don’t have a sensitivity to hierarchy. Whether it is a parent, boss, or the CEO a Millennial is likely to see him or herself as on equal footing.

    This is a sampling of what I have learned lately. My resources are Rob Charleton of Charleton Marketing (a Portland, OR company), KRM Information Services and the e-book “When Millennials Take Over: Preparing for the Ridiculously Optimistic Future of Business” by Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant (I highly recommend the book!). I’ll be sharing more of this information in future newsletters. In the meantime, what is my one big take-away? I need to watch my language! (and I’m not talking about the occasional swear word.) Some words that I use to describe people really do not describe them at all. Rather they betray my cultural norms and upbringing, for good or ill.

    What does this have to do with ASDP? As we grow our membership and target the next generation of sewing and design professionals, let us be intentional and choose to ‘use our words’ for the benefit, support and encouragement of all! In the words of Stephen Covey and his “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” let us “seek first to understand”.

    Written by Debra Utberg, President

  • 08/03/2015 8:52 PM | Anonymous

    You are used to hearing the words altering or re-styling associated with new bridal gowns, but for the past 9 months another word has surfaced in my work, the word “salvage.” In the fall of 2013 I started working as a volunteer with my local YWCA to open what is now called “The Bristol Bridal Station” in an un-used section of their building. The concept was and still is to contact upscale bridal designers and salons across the country (those that carry gowns in the $3,000 and up range) asking them to donate their sample and older year gowns to us rather than marking them down to sell. It is a win-win situation, as the donor gets a tax write-off and the Bridal Station gets the gown. At present we sell the gowns at about 25% of the retail value.

    Stains on the gown

    The majority of the gowns arrive in pristine condition, but others arrive with stains, dirt, perspiration/ deodorant, or makeup. If the gown is made of polyester we are in luck as all of those are simply washed in the washing machine, let air dry, and then steamed. Stain problems are harder to deal with if the gown is made of silk, as are many in the price range we receive. Deodorant is especially hard on these gowns and many have deteriorated in the underarm area to such an extent that they simply cannot be worn or sold in that condition.

    Missing buttons and loops

    This shows how some of the gowns come in with buttons and loops unusable.  In this case, new loops and buttons are made or are simply removed and a zipper inserted.  I keep new buttons in stock to replace old buttons, but I never discard a usable button. Many companies use the same buttons on all their gowns and I can usually match buttons from ones I’ve saved. In this situation a little ingenuity comes in handy.

    Vera Wang gown

    In the case of the Vera Wang gown shown, the silk under the arm had rotted (see red arrow pointing to the replacement on previous image. I loosened the ribbon and removed the rotted silk organza at the underarm and at the bodice top edge. I then cut a new underarm piece using the removed organza as a pattern I sewed it in place at the top edge of the bodice, tucked the edge under the petersham and topstitched the ribbon in place. By doing this I salvaged what would have been an unsaleable gown with an original retail price of over $8000.

    So far all the silk gowns have come in either ivory or natural. I’ve kept scraps of silk for years and also keep in stock bolts of silk organza so matching colors has not been a problem. One gown came in with huge rotted holes in the plain A-line skirt. To my surprise, the under layer was very ornate and was supposed to ‘shadow’ through the silk organza. I simply removed the torn layer and salvaged the gown.

    Several gowns from designers such as Monique Lhuillier, Vera Wang and Oscar de la Renta have come to us with retail values of over $13,000. I simply cannot allow a gown with a value that high to be discarded because of torn or rotted fabric. In the photo below is an example. The gown is a Monique Lhuillier that had severe rotting and discoloring, not only at the underarm but throughout the entire bodice.

    You will notice the gown has one puffy layer at the top of the skirt. It originally had two puffy layers. I removed one layer and used the fabric to make a new bodice. The bodice is exactly like the original. In this case the fabric was so unusual that if the gown was to be salvaged, the fabric had to come from somewhere on the gown.

    This gown is one of the very few silk gowns I’ve actually washed, as it was very yellowed. In this instance, I used Ivory laundry detergent and some Oxyclean in the bathtub, gently agitating by hand. Then I rinsed it until the water was clear and hung it to dry. It was a huge risk, but in this case the gown was unsaleable the way it was.

    Monique Lhuillier gown

    Now we have a real showcase gown. Some gowns simply cannot be salvaged.  We mark them as unsaleable in our inventory and I remove any item from them such as zippers, boning, lace, and embellishments that can be used to repair other garments.  One lovely lace gown came in with the lace on one side perfect and the other side so rotted it fell apart in my hand. I salvaged all the stable lace.

    I have found my volunteer work with this project to have been a great learning experience.  I have stretched my imagination and skills to be able to salvage many of the gowns.  To discard a gown that can, with a bit of ingenuity, be salvaged seems such a waste.  All the funds raised by the Bridal Station go to help the YWCA with its many projects, mainly a top-ranked daycare center which is the only one in our region to offer sliding scale care.  We also have a wonderful project to help at-risk teenage girls.  So I see where all our efforts go.   The Bristol Bridal Station is always looking for new shops to partner with, so if you know of any, please pass the word along to me. Please visit us on Facebook

    Written by Linda Stewart

  • 08/02/2015 8:50 PM | Anonymous

    One would think a costume shop has everything! Think again. No costume for a pregnant actress that looks authentic?  When a friend of mine could not find the appropriate costume, she asked me if I would make a costume for her actress.

    Because I make all of my shape wear (“Spanxlike”) I decided to use that as a foundation garment that could be “impregnated” and enabled stuffing to accommodate several stages of pregnancy.

    With the help of ASDP experts Carol Kimball and Ruth Ciemnoczolowski I used my shape wear garment pattern and changed the fabrics used. 

    For the front I used swimsuit lining fabric and for back I used 4-ply Lycra. I raised the waistline almost to the bra line and added shoulder straps.  I finished garment in same manner as my usual shape wear.

    It was now fitted in back and legs and waiting to be stuffed in front.  I made an insertable stuffed “baby” that could be enlarged as needed and added an elastic strap to move baby high or low.  When the actress tried on her costume she looked ready to go into labor!

    Written by Annie Barnes

  • 08/01/2015 8:42 PM | Anonymous

    If you’re doing bridal gown alterations for clients, at some point you’ll probably be asked to salvage a gown that someone else has already worked on.  A bride called my studio at the end of July, a week before her wedding, and asked if I could see whether anything could be done to make her gown fit better.  She said the gown was originally several inches too big.  The bodice had been taken in, but now it was way too tight at the top while it was loose at the waist.

    Here are some photos of how the gown looked when the bride brought it in, showing several issues I hoped to correct in addition to improving the fit. The “jog” along the top edge, created when the side seams were taken in, needed to be smoothed out. The gown had a layer of Alencon lace with Venise lace appliques on top, crossing the seams.

    The Venise lace was sewn into the seams when the bodice sides were taken in, instead of being lifted and reapplied across the new seamlines. The satin belt was positioned 1/2” above the waist seam instead of being seated at the seam (the ruler in these photos is aligned with the waist seam).  Also, the belt wasn’t extended under the buttons.

    And opening things up to look inside, here is what I found:

    Part of the reason the bodice was too tight at the top is that the side seams were curved inward.  This may also have been the reason the top edge seam was not trued up.

    I was happy to see that the Venise appliques weren’t completely cut off when the seams were trimmed.

    There was just enough fabric left in the side seams to let the bodice out at the top enough to gain the amount needed for a more comfortable fit.  I had to open the side seams up completely to release the Venise appliques so they could be reapplied across the seams.  I straightened the bodice seams all the way up (recalling Ruth’s reminders that a bodice should be funnel shaped), and that brought things back into alignment enough to allow me to true up the top edge seam.

    After taking the gown in at the waist (and altering the skirt layers to fit back on correctly), the satin belt needed to be shortened.  Since I had to remove it to do that, I moved it down to align it with the waist seam.  I also extended it beneath the buttons at center back.

    Debra Utberg said on the Discussion List recently that our goal with alterations is for the work to be undetectable.  I felt pretty good about the way this turned out, given what had already been done to the dress. 

    And that is what I was doing while you were all working on finishing your Threads Challenge projects!

    Written by Tina Columbo

  • 06/06/2015 10:54 AM | Anonymous

    In recent days the discussion list has had “why I joined ASDP” as a topic. I love hearing why people join and hopefully stay members. I thought I would turn the discussion around a bit and write to you what I have gotten from PACC/ASDP. I became a member January 19, 1993.

    I have gotten:

    • Confidence and with that comes validation of my skills (therefore I can charge accordingly) 
    • A great education, not only from the books I purchased, but from the authors themselves since so many of them are also members. 
    • Support and encouragement directly from ASDP members to write 3 books (instruction books no less!) 
    • To travel to San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver, Albuquerque, Portland, Novi, New Jersey/ New York, Savannah, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Cincinnati, Jacksonville and other cities for conferences and to teach, all because of my affiliation with ASDP. 
    • To meet, and in some cases become friends, with Tom and Linda Platt, Betty Kirke, David Sassoon, Kenneth King, Judy Neukam, Nancy Zieman, Martha Pullen, Roberta Carr, David Coffin, Claire Shaffer, Susan Khalje, Helen Armstrong, and the one I will always treasure, Charles Kleibacker. When I pick up my Threads magazine, it’s like reading letters from friends. I’ve seen our members become regular contributors to major publications and rejoice in their success. Please forgive the names I’ve left out, there are just so many and I’m so blessed to know them. 
    • To participate in projects like the Vionnet project and now am among 40+ ASDP members who have their ½ scale garment at the Maryhill Museum 
    • My certification
    • To work with outstanding women on our Governance Board 

    The most important thing I’ve gotten from ASDP is the deep and lasting friendship of so many people. Not very many organizations can say that. It is one of our strongest points and best assets. I can assure you that many question asked on the discussion list are not only answered on line, but are answered by a phone call. We pick up the phone and try to help our fellow members. We care. When one of us wins an award such as Ruth did recently, we are all there to offer our sincere congratulations. When one of us succeeds, all of us succeed. Another example of our strong personal ties was watching members wait in the lobby in Philadelphia as our members arrived at the hotel. We just needed to be together.

    To get all the benefits from ASDP, you have to give back. If you sit back and think things will just happen, they won’t. The more you give to the organization, the more you get. If you are on the discussion list, participate. If you are moved to write, then write an article. If you have an idea that would help the organization, let the board know. Please don’t think that just because you are new to the organization, you have nothing to offer. Not true. We want you here and we NEED you here.

    I’ve had members call me ASDP’s cheerleader and I’ll take that moniker gladly. The above list is just a short example of how ASDP has affected my life. I quite simply would not be where I am today if I had not joined. And I like where I am today.

    Written by Linda Stewart, ASDP Member

  • 06/04/2015 10:37 AM | Anonymous

    As part of my job responsibilities at the store I work for, I am often asked to do custom redesigns of wedding dresses. I recently had a rush job to do on a Watters Beilin bridal gown, style 7059B. At the first fit I understood that she wanted both volume and length so additional fabric was quickly ordered from Watters. I only had 2 weeks from my initial fit, really a week and a half with waiting for the fabric with a May 30th wedding. To complicate things further, the bride had to travel from New York City and I had a multitude of other wedding dresses due in May.

    I knew I had to get my design idea solidified before the fabric came. My first thought was to add godets in the back seams to add length and fullness. Then I just had to figure out how to add length to the existing dress panels. I just joined ASDP last year and immediately reached out to the discussion group, figuring that they could help advise me with all of their experience. I was so excited to finally have someone else to “talk” to after working in a vacuum for most of my career. I was even happier when the responses started coming in. I received encouragement and support along with design suggestions, complete with drawings.

    As the days ticked by waiting for the extra fabric to arrive, I continued communicating with the discussion board while I worked on my design. I received hints on creating the color of the ribbon on the dress. I made some muslin pieces to try with the dress.

    I was still unsure about how to add volume and length to extend the existing skirt panels if we couldn’t get the right color of ribbon to match the fabric. In the end, with the encouragement of a favorite employee at the store and the confidence from my ASDP group, I forged ahead. I wasn’t sure how the bride was going to feel about it all but I had to trust my instincts.

    The end result was very well received by the bride. The seaming was unnoticed and the lace edge I added was a hit! I was then given 2 days to finish it all up. I was so shocked when I was told that the mother had picked it up without a final fit, as the bride said that she was not worried, that it would be fine. I was astounded! After all the hubbub and expense of adding this custom train, it seemed to be taken as an afterthought! Go figure, sometimes the littlest wrinkle sends a girl and mother over the edge and other times nothing seems to bother them.

    I cannot express strongly enough how helpful and supportive all the ASDP members on the discuss board were, with many suggestions on size and placement of the godets, tinting the grosgrain ribbon, and being sure to be paid enough. I am so happy to have been able to benefit from and contribute to this organization of ASDP.

    Written by Jann Young, ASDP Member

Blog posts

2885 Sanford Ave SW #19588, Grandville, MI 49418 ~ Toll-Free (877) 755-0303 

Terms of Use & Privacy Policy | Sitemap | Advertisers | © 2022 Association of Sewing and Design Professionals

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software