Dear ASDP Board

  • 04/08/2013 10:43 PM | Anonymous

    The Master Sewing and Design Professional Certification Program was created to fill a gap in our industry. Many of our members are very talented dressmakers and alteration specialists who became proficient without the benefit of a college degree. Very likely, they had a natural ability in these areas. Often they learned the basics from a mother or aunt and continued to explore and experiment on their own as well as taking an occasional sewing class. As time went by, others recognized their talent through the beautiful work they did and often this was the springboard for a rewarding business. 

    I have spoken with many who began in this way and often I hear how they lacked confidence in spite of the evidence in their work that they are truly a professional. This was the gap that MSDP was designed to fill. It was created to validate those who became a professional in an unconventional way. Certification is a way to prove clearly to oneself that you really know what you are doing! It also lets new clients see that you are recognized by a professional organization as being a Master Sewing and Design Professional or a Master Alteration Specialist.

    If this sounds like you, consider participating in one of these certification Programs. You can sign up now for the Master Sewing and Design Professional Certification program or the new Master Alteration Specialist Certification Program when it is launched later this year. Check us out on the ASDP website.

    Written by Linda Macke

    MSDP is proud to announce their first scholarship recipient, Blondell Howard. Here is her winning essay.

    My name is Blondell Howard and I have been a member of ASDP since 2007. I own the Sassy SEWer- Sewing Lounge in Baltimore, MD. I learned to sew at the ripe old age of 22, LMBO! My mother sewed and I have an aunt who worked in the garment industry in New York and Connecticut. However, neither had time to teach me, so I decided to teach myself. I can honestly say it was a slow and sometimes painful process, but I persevered. In 1999, I took a part-time job with Husqvarna Viking Sewing Machines. My primary job was to sell sewing machines. My primary goal was to develop my sewing skills. Viking provided me the opportunity to teach sewing machine/serger operation and creative classes. I loved that job and met some amazing seamstresses. However, most of the classes offered were geared towards quilting and machine embroidery. I wanted to sew apparel. After Viking, I began teaching various sewing classes for Joann Fabrics.

    To gauge whether what I had taught myself was correct, I enrolled part-time in Baltimore City Community College’s (BCCC) Fashion Design Program, all while working a full time job. I successfully completed classes in Garment Construction, Advanced Garment Construction, Flat Pattern Design, Fashion Illustration, Draping, and Textiles. BCCC’s goal was to prepare students to work in the fashion industry. My goal was to develop my sewing and fashion design skills.

    In 2007, my employer was purchased by a national bank. Therefore, my accounting position was eliminated. I wasn’t worried because I knew how to sew and wanted to teach others fashion sewing. The time was ripe to open a sewing lounge. Project Runway had created a renewed interest in garment sewing.

    Fast forward to today. I’m still in business, but need to take it to the next level. Finally, this year I attended my first ASDP convention and fell in love. It was the best sewing conference I had ever attended. I left inspired, challenged and in admiration of the members of ASDP. These were my kind of gals, garment sewers. The skill level of ASDP members was outstanding. I knew that this is what I wanted to do in my second career. Most members I had never met before, but they embraced and encouraged me to pursue custom sewing. Before the 2012 conference I was adamant about not sewing for people. After the conference I knew I could do custom sewing.

    I believe that the ASDP Master Certification will benefit me in various ways. Master certification will validate my sewing and fashion design skills. Most importantly, Master certification will allow me to offer custom sewing with confidence. Master certification will announce to the public that I am a skilled professional who will deliver superior custom clothing. Master certification will further develop my sewing and design skills. Master certification will allow me to mentor, encourage, and attract sewers who want a career in fashion sewing. Lastly, Master certification will allow me to grow the ASDP membership.

  • 04/07/2013 10:41 PM | Anonymous

    Each season brings fabric wholesale shows to New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas… Admission to these shows is free and you can sign up online by giving your resale number. Usually they also offer half-day seminars at minimal rates: classes on Pantone colors for the upcoming season, how to deal with import fees for large orders, etc.

    These shows can be daunting for the small business owner. I used to attend a show at the Javits Center in New York. There were dozens of rows of hundreds of vendors, many kilowatts of electricity, and thousands of buyers carrying attaché cases and wearing black. Most of the vendors were manufacturers or reps from factories offshore who could meet any or all design requirements if you ordered just ten thousand yards of a color. Yes, Exotic Silks would be there with their 17-yard or $100 minimum, but unless you knew a vendor, the only way to find out if they were appropriate for you was to ask. Asking meant politely waiting your turn, only to have your small needs greeted with contempt, a waste of your time and the vendors’. I found a few prized vendors who would sell 10 yards of an item, perfect for bridal work, but overall it was an unpleasant experience. I stopped going and for years relied on the vendors I had already found.

    Then I saw an announcement for a new kind of show, DG Expo, which catered to small designers. Kitty Daly and I attended their show in February in New York. There were about 85 vendors with “low minimums and flexible ordering options, plus in-stock items and services.” This was our kind of show. Some vendors required a minimum of 1 bolt, most commonly 15, 25, or 50 yards. Some required 10 yards and some had no minimum at all. There were specialists in silks, wools, knits, Lycra, lace, and outdoor fabrics. There were button makers and button importers, embroidery specialists, and print-on-demand companies. I had the opportunity to talk in person to some vendors I’d met through internet orders – Test fabrics (chemical-free fabrics for dyeing), Wimpfheimer (velvets and corduroys), Renaissance Ribbons (trims), Batik Butik (Balinese rayon batik fabrics), Philips Boyne Corp (shirting) and Buttonology (imported high end buttons and made to order covered buttons). Alan from Stylecrest had his whole line there and it was good to re-connect with him, as I bought from him at his parents’ store, Art-Max, forty years ago. There were also vendors I was not aware of previously. A Lycra rep required 50 yards of a color, but said she’d be willing to drop ship to multiple designers if our order totaled the 50 yards.

    There were vendors from Montreal, British Columbia, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Missouri. We think we found Michael’s Fabrics’ source for wool boucle. All vendors were happy to talk. We are their bread and butter.

    Kitty and I were on the fifth level towards nirvana. Some ideas to consider: Do we want to try to do some group buys? Do we want ASDP to have a booth at the next DG Expo? There were a few industry organizations with tables in the foyer and I’m looking into what costs would be involved if ASDP decides to have a presence.

    Written by Rachel Kurland

  • 04/05/2013 10:33 PM | Anonymous

    As an image consultant and custom couturier, I help my clients with all aspects of their wardrobe needs, from cleaning out closets to help choosing the right clothing styles and accessories, to custom design and alterations. Working with a bride is one of my favorite types of custom work. I can turn her fantasy into reality by designing the “perfect” gown to flatter her best features.

    Even though there are hundreds of wedding dresses in the stores, a bride will utilize your dressmaking services because she can’t find the right gown, she wants a dress in a specific color/ fabric, or she is difficult to fit. As a custom dressmaker, you can design a gown for your bride by listening and understanding her needs and challenges.

    There are many books and articles about style and body shapes, talking about apple, pear shapes, ovals, triangles and rectangular shapes, but I have found that there are six common anxiety-producing figure challenges to take into consideration when designing a custom gown: big bust, thick waist, wide hips, petite, plus size and tall and thin.

    Below are some design solutions that can be utilized in combating these figure challenges:

    Big Bust – build a corset with boning into the gown to help support the bust. Many brides today want a strapless gown; a built-in corset is a simple way to solve this challenge.

    No waist – vertical seams and draped fabric help elongate the body. Avoid a design that has a too defined or fitted waistline. Focus on details in the neckline or shoulder area to bring the eye up. A mermaid silhouette can help a boyish figure appear more feminine.

    Wide hips – A-line skirt silhouettes are best; an empire design is also good, where the detail in the bodice can help draw the eye upward. Horizontal necklines help widen the shoulders to balance the proportions.

    Petite – simple, slim shapes that do not overpower the bride; a fitted bodice or a thin belt can flatter smaller bodies. Utilize drama in the shape of the garment, not small details. Trumpet style dresses will work for this figure type. Be wary of tea-length gowns, as they will make her appear shorter.

    Plus size – consider fabrics that have weight and body; fabrics that are too lightweight and fluid can be too skimpy. A fitted bodice with a flowy soft skirt can flatter. Having details in the neckline and bodice area are good accents that can bring the attention to her face. Avoid overly shiny fabrics, which can add pounds visually.

    Tall and thin – avoid a big skirt, a long and fitted silhouette is better. Enhance her curves with bias cuts, contrasting fabrics, or horizontal lines. An overall beaded gown adds volume and can make this figure appear larger. Diagonal and bias lines help define shape; contrasting fabrics at the bust add definition.

    Dresses with ruching at the bust can help a small chest appear larger.

    Anyone, with any body type, can create the illusion of more perfectly balanced proportions through her choice of clothes. It is largely a matter of revealing assets and concealing challenge areas through optical illusion.

    You want your bride to shine on her wedding day, so guide her with the right design choices to flatter her best assets. Today’s trends, like larger-than-life, avant-garde style ruffles, may be in style, but be mindful that whatever you design doesn’t overpower your bride, where the dress is wearing the bride, not the other way around.

    Helena Chenn, AICI CIM, is a wardrobe expert and certified image master, an industry leader in the field of wardrobe styling and fit. Her specialties include: comprehensive wardrobe design for private clients, complete closet organization, professional personal shopping, and exceptional tailoring and alterations for both men and women. She is co-author of Image Power: Top Image Experts Share What to Know to Look Your Best and an active member of the prestigious Association of Image Consultants International (AICI), Association of Sewing & Design Professionals (ASDP), and the American Sewing Guild (ASG).

    Written by Helena Chen

  • 04/04/2013 10:28 PM | Anonymous

    My inspiration begins with the first phone call from a potential client. Asking 5 pertinent questions gives me a basic idea of what the bride is looking for and whether or not I will be able to complete the garment in her time frame. The answers also help me decide if I even want to commit to the project.

    1. When is your wedding?
    2. What is your venue and what time of day will the wedding be held? 
    3. What style of dress or gown do you have in mind? 
    4. Have you tried on various styles of dresses? 
    5. Do you have a price point in mind?

    Then the fun begins. The first meeting with my client is usually very exciting for me.

    I want to learn as much about her as I can at this consultation. I pose this simple statement: “tell me about you”. I ask about her profession, what hobbies she enjoys and when she started dreaming about her wedding day. As I listen to her describe the plans for her perfect wedding, I watch her facial expressions and observe how she presents herself. These are clues to her personality that will help us design the perfect dress.

    Most brides have features of their body that they would like to accentuate and parts that they want to downplay. As I address her concerns, I make note of her body type, height and weight. They are important components of a flattering style.

    We discuss the gown she has in mind: bodice, sleeves, waist position, slim or full skirt, swishy or more like a ball gown. We need to consider what type of lighting she will be in most of the day or evening. Will it be full sun, dusk, evening, candlelight or florescent lighting? This is the point where my creativity really takes over. I have color samples to drape over my client in the type of lighting she will be in most of her day/evening. The color of the fabric and how it enhances her skin tone is very important to me. A discussion of fabric choice and possible embellishments follows.

    I check my stock for fabric and embellishments and plan to shop for what I will need. Like most of you, I am very tactile. The fabric in my hand is inspiring and embellishments further the vision. When I see the bride in that almost finished gown, I begin envisioning other options that are unique and could further enhance her dress. When completed we will have the dress of the bride’s dream; flattering and uniquely made for her.

    I remember what Armani once said: “Elegance is not about being noticed, it’s about being remembered.”

    Written by Ann Hall

     Ann Hall photos by Elegant Images

  • 04/03/2013 10:22 PM | Anonymous

    We have a fun dynamic wedding and design studio in Indianapolis, Indiana. It is a unique business setup because we are two separate entities sharing the same door. The wedding studio is M.H. Pomander’s. M.H. Pomander’s sells beautiful couture ready-made bridal gowns ranging in price from$1000 - $5000. M.H. Pomander’s also sells bridal accessories, jewelry, veils, and carries a small selection of mother-of-the-occasion dresses, including dresses by Erin Young Designs.

    My dressmaking and fabric boutique, Erin Young Designs, is located in one third of the bridal salon. We share dressing rooms and mirrors, so our customers feel part of both shops. I offer fine fabrics, notions, trims and vintage clasps and buttons. I also offer custom dressmaking and design services for any special occasion. I also handle all of the alterations and design changes for M.H. Pomander’s brides and motherof-the-occasion clients. I work primarily with women, but I will design for men if they can handle fittings in a bridal shop (most men cannot).

    This is a wonderful business model for both M.H. Pomander’s and Erin Young Designs. The bridal clients get instant answers on pricing and dress changes that they may want to make on their gowns. If the bride or mother-of-the-occasion client is unable to find a gown, she can have one designed just for her by my studio.

    I have been sewing since the age of five. I started tailoring classes when I was 15. I studied fashion and business at Purdue University (undergrad), and I attended The Fashion Institute of Technology (NYC) for design (assoc). I try to stay up-to-date on design techniques by taking advantage of seminars (Susan Khalje). I also read Threads magazine and Perspectives cover-to-cover. I belong to our local ASDP chapter. I also belong to a local group called the Fashion Arts Society, part of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The Fashion Arts Society maintains a fine collection of historical couture pieces. The Fashion Arts Society has a slew of fun outings and events for the fashion minded of Indianapolis and surrounding communities.

     Diane Smith Evening Gown

    Over the past twenty years, I have built up a small custom design and dressmaking business in my home studio. I have enjoyed restyling and designing heirloom baptismal gowns, local elegant socialites’ gowns, and custom wedding gowns. More unusual requests like repairing an Indy 500 racecar driver’s helmet (the day before the race). Working with famous celebrities and sports figures keeps my job interesting every day. In 2007, I began contemplating the idea of opening a small studio outside my home for fabric and dressmaking. In 2012, the owners of M.H. Pomander’s approached me to ask if I would be interested in working with them for alterations and some mother-of-the-occasion custom/couture designs. I started crunching numbers, and doing a lot of research. I agreed, with the stipulation that I would remain my own separate entity, and be able to offer fabric and notions too. In August of 2012, we opened.

    The reason I decided to offer fine fabrics and notions is because I was so frustrated finding higher quality fabrics in Indianapolis. Indiana was a fabric desert. I would often spend hours ordering samples online or even driving with clients to Chicago or Louisville to find fabrics suitable for their needs. It is wonderful to be able to offer finer fabrics to clients and have them at our fingertips as we are discussing design ideas. I have enjoyed going to fabric markets in Las Vegas, Chicago, and New York City to gather a small, but beautiful, collection of fine fabrics. I also have collected a professional group of friends from these markets.

    I think this business set up has worked very nicely. The hardest part for me is getting used to working full time and wearing all of the hats of a small business owner. I am already interviewing for a part time seamstress (which is earlier than I had expected.), and who will be my first employee.

    Please visit us online at or

    Written by Erin Young

     Erin Young Lucy Drew Photography

  • 04/02/2013 10:07 PM | Anonymous

    Most of the wedding dresses I see in my alteration business are strapless. However, I currently have a display in my store of four wedding dresses--all with sleeves.

    The oldest dress was worn by Mrs. Gertha R. Stenske on April 10, 1917. The wedding took place at a Lutheran church in Sheboygan, WI.

    I was told there were also bridesmaids. From the information I have gathered, it was purchased at Stolzenburg’s Ladies Apparel store in Sheboygan. It was still in the box from Stolzenburg’s store. This wedding gown was worn only the one time by this bride. It was passed on through the family and was eventually given to me by a friend who knew of my interest in sewing and wedding garments.

    This 1917 ensemble has 4 pieces: a blouse, skirt, sash, and the veil. The blouse has a lightweight lining that is almost sheer. It might be cotton or even linen. It has a crisp hand and gives structure to the bodice. The lining supports the sleeves and is only connected to the outer fashion fabric at the front v-neckline and at three small areas at the waist. It does not fit on any of my dress forms as the waist of the bodice measures a mere 22 inches. The sleeves are set into the lining and are kept high at the shoulder with a built-in stay made of netting.

    The outer fashion fabric is a silk crepe, very lightweight. The blouse has a crossover style that wraps the bodice. When the bride puts it on, she must first close the lining at center back; then the silk fashion fabric crosses from right center back, crosses the front torso and continues around to close on the left side of the center back. Next, the left side wraps in the opposite direction from the center right back and across the body to close on the right side back. The outer layer is crossing the body from the left shoulder on both the front and back and has decorative 2-inch shell buckles at the right side waist, both front and back.

    There is lace at the wrists and the neck. The lace is very brittle, as it has metallic thread in it, and has browned over the 96 years. It looks in the photo to have been white or ivory at the time of the wedding, matching the dress color. Over the bodice are two drapes that hang from the shoulders coming to a point at the side of the body decorated with a metallic tassel. This drape is hemmed with a bridge stitch to a double layer of 2-inch wide silk.

    The skirt is also made of the silk crepe; it has two layers slightly gathered at the waist. The top layer has an angled hemline forming points at center front and back trimmed with the bridge stitch. The under skirt has the same lining as the bodice from the waist to the hip. The lower skirt falls straight from this lining.

    The sash is 6 inches wide by 3 yards long with a tone on tone border. We believe it was worn at the waist. The blusher veil is stitched onto a wire that would have been bent to keep it secure on the bride’s head. The veil is hand embroidered around the edge in a swirl pattern on a double thickness of the tulle. The veil is hemmed to follow the pointed design that the skirt has at the hemline. The veil, while it is very deteriorated, is a fine example of detailed hand embroidery done at that time.

    Thirty years later, another bride had a special dress. The dress from 1947 was made by a talented seamstress and milliner, Mrs. Marie Bowser. Marie made it for her daughter, Mrs. Kathleen Ayers, when she married on June 28, 1947 in Sheboygan Falls, WI.

    The dress is made of a light, sheer, yet very durable parachute nylon, which was commonly used in the post war years, as it was readily available.

    It has a high neck with a Peter Pan collar, long full sleeves with cuffs, and a slightly gathered skirt that falls into a chapel length train.

    The delicate guipure lace was placed at the waist, cuffs and Peter Pancollar. The dress was worn with a slip of satin for modesty, as the nylon is very sheer. The very full sleeves are kept full at the top with the aid of a sleeve head. Delicate lace covers the cuffs, which close with snaps. The fullness for the bust comes from the hand-stitched smocking at the shoulders. This dress was worn again by Kathleen’s oldest daughter, Maureen Juul, in 1972 and a third time by Andrea Jensen in 1974.

    Over the next 30 years, I learned many of my sewing skills from Mrs. Marie Bowser. I took those lessons and made my wedding dress to wear on June 11, 1977. My dress is made of chiffon and Chantilly lace over satin. It is a princess seamed dress that has a slight A-line skirt tapering into a chapel length train. The Chantilly lace is on the bodice, sleeves, hem, and appliqués on the skirt. The slender sleeves are set in and trimmed at the wrist with a matching lace. There is also lace trim at the neck and on the bodice. The veil and headpiece worn with the dress have the same Chantilly lace as the dress.

    Thirty-five years later I found myself making another wedding dress. This time, the dress would be worn by Mrs. Annette Baumgartner of Chicago, IL on November 24, 2012. This dress would also be princess seamed and made of a lovely ivory Alencon lace with accents of an embellished beaded Alencon trim over satin. The skirt is a fuller A-line that tapers into a chapel length train. It has a petticoat attached to the dress to give the skirt fullness, as this bride knew exactly how she wanted the dress to move and flow as she danced with her groom. The v-neckline, accented by Alencon lace, was most flattering on this young beauty. This dress, too, has sleeves; but they are small cap sleeves finished with the beaded Alencon scalloped lace. Annette wanted a part of her grandmother’s dress incorporated into her dress, but it just didn’t work with the design that she chose. So, as a surprise, I added a pocket inside the skirt of her dress made from her grandmothers wedding dress.

    Just before the wedding ceremony, her grandmother Kathleen gave Annette a handkerchief from Marie Bowser. She placed it in that pocket made of parachute nylon, while her Aunts Maureen and Andrea looked on and felt included in their niece’s wedding day. They, too, had worn that dress made by my grandmother, my first sewing instructor.

    Written by Chris Kazmerzak

    Christine Kazmerzak by Heather Meyer

  • 04/01/2013 10:05 PM | Anonymous

    Renewal, rebirth, new start, fresh, hope, reawakening, regeneration, revival, new beginning, resurgence, renaissance are all words that relate to the spring season. For many of our members, work is bridal related; in many cases, bridal business increases in the spring. Therefore, as I have heard it said numerous times, spring is a busy time of year for our members.

    Bridal is the main theme for this month’s newsletter. We have an article about bridal gowns that have had many “lives” over the years as they made their way through the generations.

    As with the discuss list, information learned here in our newsletter can be filed away for future reference if it isn’t needed immediately.

    Fitting issues and finding the right dress to compliment a particular figure will give inspiration to those who are now or will be working with a challenging figure type, and Erin Young has written information about sharing her business with a bridal boutique.

    As my Minnesota winter continues to hang on, I yearn for spring. I find that in the spring I like to plan ahead for the next year and reconsider my personal goals. This is a good time to re-evaluate a business plan. Remember that Member Resources on the ASDP website has helpful links about writing business plans and other links for running and improving a business.

    Spring is also a time for the ASDP Board to evaluate the past year and to make new goals for the future. Part of our recent Strategic Planning Meeting was spent reviewing our long-range plans. We are happy to report that the goal of a Canadian chapter has been achieved a year early! Pressing short-term ASDP goals are to continue changing and improving the website, conference planning of Oh Sew Country in Nashville, and increasing membership involvement within ASDP. My hope is that all of our members will take some time this spring and make a decision to be more involved in ASDP.

    Written by Teresa Nieswaag, President

  • 02/09/2013 9:01 PM | Anonymous

    Several years ago I rejoined ASDP after a long hiatus as my career track had taken a sharp turn toward architecture. However, as I renewed my interest and learning in the field of sewing, I realized how many people skills learned in my 25 years in residential architecture related directly to the challenges met in dressmaking and design.

    For example, we would often hear that a friend, brother, etc. had a house built in Wyoming, New York, etc. for $100 per square foot. How many of you have heard a client say that her friend, mother, etc. can make a dress for (fill in the blank) dollars? Yes, but what house and what dress, what materials and what size, and in what economic market?

    For the most part, a short conversation with the potential client would yield whether they are open to learning how to match their expectations to reality. In both architecture and custom clothing, the role of the successful professional is to manage those expectations from beginning to end. If you do not think that is possible, walk away from the project, be it a $2 million house, a $2,000 wedding gown or a $20 alteration.

    While most clients for home design had a level of sophistication and experience that led them to make reasonable decisions, the one class of client who could be a troublemaker, regardless of income or education, was the control freak. Whether because of insecurity or a need for power the control freak can greatly interfere with the design and manufacturing process often with a dose of unpleasantness to boot!

    In an effort to help these clients understand the degree of control which can be asserted the building industry had a simple three part triangular chart: Price, Quality of Materials, and Size. The client can control any two of the three; the designer has control of the third. Think of it - if price and quality are most important, then the designer will need to determine the size. If price and size are most important, the designer controls materials. If quality and size are most important to the client, then the designer has free rein with the budget.

    If a controlling client was unwilling to acknowledge the validity of this triangle, they were not right for us. As simplistic as this triangle seems, it did help to weed out those who were inflexible, but unwilling to pay for their inflexibility.

    What relevance to sewing does this have? Since there is not as much variation in size between clothing items and houses, how does this compare? Replace the “Size” category with “Design Complexity” for your answer, as Design Complexity is directly related to the number of hours spent in creating the finished product.

    Now, let’s review the triangle from a custom clothing point of view - if Price and Quality of Materials are most important to the client, you will need to control the complexity of the design. If Price and Design Complexity are most important, you will need to control the quality of the materials. If Quality of Materials and Design Complexity are most important, you will be in control of the Price. If your client can’t wrap their head around this concept and still thinks they can control it all, it may be time for both of you to move on.

    How many of you have also had multiple careers and bring those skills to the sewing table?

    Written by Kitty Daly

    Kitty Daly by Ned Daly

  • 02/07/2013 8:57 PM | Anonymous

    The Chicago and Wisconsin chapter members got together for a weekend retreat on January 18-21, sewing for themselves and trying new patterns such as Angela Wolf’s knit top. Knowing these members, I’m sure there was great food along with the great time spent together fitting one another and solving sewing problems for each other.

    The Chicago chapter has had a busy month, as they also held their first meeting of the year on January 6, revealing the results of their “Out of the Wild” competition and who won the wildest? We’ll have to get someone from the chapter to let us know! I’m sure it was a fabulous show.

     Karen Gay in her Angela Wolf top

    Elections held recently in the Baltimore Chapter yielded a new board of directors. Blondell Howard is the new President, Debby Spence (who most recently served the chapter as President) takes over as Secretary, along with retaining her position as Chapter Representative, and Carrie Emerson is one of the Directors-at-large. These members join Jane Backert (Treasurer), Edye Sanford (Program Chair), and Jean Harris (Director-at-Large), who are partway through their terms in office. Congratulations to all of you, and thank you for your continued commitment to your chapter.

    In February the New England chapter presented a two-day workshop, the Perfectly Fitted Shirt. Jennifer Stern-Haseman, who is the chapter’s VP of Programs as well as instructor and owner of J Stern Designs, took participants through the process of fitting a torso sloper that will become their perfectly fitted shirt.

    Speaking of New England, chapter members had a fabulous opportunity in mid January to visit the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston with a behind-the-scenes look at some amazing couture garments from the museum’s costume collection. Pam Parmal of the Textiles department gave us an in-depth look at garments from Dior, Mainbocher, Chanel, plus a gown attributed to Vionnet. The seven of us struggled to keep our hands to ourselves, gesturing and peering into the understructure of the garments to try to determine how and why seams were sewn the way they had been. The Mainbocher gown was a bias confection of floral lame with a deep circular flounce attached by intricate appliqué seams. Diane Martin pointed outt that the Chanel boucle suit had vertical stitching in the hem at certain seamlines, a mystery to us until Pam realized she had the skirt aligned incorrectly. The zipper was actually in a side-back seam of the 6-gore skirt, and the seaming in the hem allowed the hemline to softly fold at the side front seams, as if it were a pleated panel. For some of us, the piece de resistance was being able to examine an outfit still under consideration for purchase for the museum’s collection, a Dior wool skirt and strapless bodice with a taffeta shawl. Where else can we get the chance to be part of something like this? The event made me so thankful to be part of the New England Chapter of ASDP.

    Here’s a suggestion for chapters in locations near cities where the Original Quilt and Sewing Expos take place; after ASDP’s very successful service project sewing garments for Michigan Dress for Success at the 2012 conference, the organizer of OQSE has expressed interest in having the association do a similar project at their shows. One of our chapters is looking into the possibility for this year. Is your chapter interested? Contact me for more information. Giving back is one of the things we do.

    Written by Janee Connor

  • 02/03/2013 8:43 PM | Anonymous

    In 1988 I was asked to make a flapper style dress for a woman who loved to do period dance. She wanted it to wear to a party she planned to attend. This was soon after our move to Michigan.

    It was an inexpensive number, polyester shantung and rayon fringe, but I constructed the pattern to fit her body and style needs, and as usual sewed in my ASHBRIDGE COSTUMES label along with the care instructions.

    Imagine my surprise when I got an e-mail (early Jan 2013) from a woman in Florida who had purchased a dress at a thrift store and wanted to know more about it! She had tracked me down through my website because of the label. Her daughter just loved the dress! So, you never know where you may make contact with your potential market!

    Written by Leslie Littell

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