Dear ASDP Board

  • 06/04/2013 11:03 AM | Anonymous

    What is CRAFTSY? Craftsy offers professionally created classes on all your favorite crafty topics such as sewing, quilting, photography, cake making, embroidery and so much more. The classes are online, so they are available at anytime to the student. You can watch an entire class or portions of a class, interact with the instructor and other students, as well as make notes on the video related to your questions and post pictures. Each class is taught by an acclaimed instructor and consists of several hours of HD quality video content. Launched in May 2011, Craftsy has over 500,000 users of all skill levels and is a quickly growing and changing company with a fun and flexible attitude. One of our favorite ASDP instructors Kenneth King has taped classes. You will also recognize Susan Khalje, Barbara Deckert, Janet Pray, Angie Wolf and I among many popular creative personalities.

    Craftsy is powered by the Sympoz online learning platform, a dynamic, interactive environment that allows students worldwide to participate in a meaningful educational experience. Crafters and artisans everywhere come to us for inspiration and hands- on instruction. Our mission is to serve students who want to get better . . . and offer professional educators a chance to spread lifelong passions and expertise beyond their usual realm,” quoted from Craftsy. Just a few weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to tape my class at Craftsy studios in Denver. I thought it would be easy to write about my experience. It was so amazing and our crew really meshed, so is it difficult to write how truly meaningful my experience was.

    For over a year I had been contemplating taping videos for my website, but everyone takes short videos and posts them on their blogs and websites and I just did not want to be like everyone else. Quality and content are my passion, and I would rather have a few good videos than many with topics you see all over the internet. Fast forward a few months ago when CRAFTSY called me and I was hooked. I have been so impressed with the entire platform and organization from the beginning. I knew right away what my subject would be. They loved it, and we set a taping date immediately. From there I was connected with my pre-producer whom I feel like we have been sewing buddies forever.

    We started outlining my class and had weekly conference calls and SKYPE meetings. Right away I created a very detailed outline of my subject matter and that made all the difference. I was able to provide lots of class content and she advised me on the order and setting up my individual lessons. Every class is broken down into smaller lessons like book chapters. They have found that 20-30 minutes of content is a good relatable time for students. I value all her expert advice and once I showed up for taping we had a well defined outline of what I was teaching so it went smoothly. She also helped me develop my ideas and concepts for visuals on camera and I even challenged the graphic artist on some new ideas. I spent two weeks developing all of my pattern samples that would be viewed on camera, making before and after step outs, as well as prepping what I would utilize during taping. From a film crew perspective they kept commenting on how prepared I was and how nice my step outs were. I would definitely guide anyone to be over prepared. Think of everything.

    Taping my class was so much fun. I was so impressed with the detail my film crew put into the taping including things like: my jewelry, ruler placement, step out placement, color coordinating, model poses, photo shoots, sound (oh yes, we meshed in the thunderstorm sound to the background), room tones, and even eating chocolate behind the scenes. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes. They were really professional and we all decided when I go back for my second taping I am requesting all the same people.

    My producer asked me if I was nervous. I told him I felt very comfortable in front of the camera, but my biggest concern was forgetting something as I wanted to give as much information as possible. I love their fun atmosphere. I am not a stuffy person, so hoity toity is not for me. I am bubbly and working in that kind of atmosphere is very important to me. We had a balance of having fun, being serious, and still being myself. My most awkward moment was sitting down and having to reach up and show how to measure the lower body, I had had a funny moment where my glue stick literally jumped up off the table and flipped over like a magnet (that will be in my video), and some other taping funnies that you had to be there. You learn about all your subconscious hand gestures, as you have to position your hands in the same position if you stop or film and intro or outro. My class is titled FAST TRACK FITTING and will be available in June. I am so excited to share real techniques that I actually use successfully in my studio every day. Students will learn key body measurements and how to apply them to their pattern before cutting a muslin. Your pattern is in body proportion and you eliminate all the extra work of having to cut open a muslin to fit and having to create additional fit samples.

    ASDP member Janet Pray also provided some insight to her Craftsy Experience.

    Janet Pray,

    “A few months ago I was approached by to teach a class on industrial sewing techniques, Islander Sewing Systems. After a brief discussion we decided that the class would involve making a project that included many opportunities to demonstrate those techniques. My newest pattern, Jacket Express, a jean style jacket designed to compliment most any figure, was the choice. In this pattern the student not only learns industrial sewing techniques (no pins, no basting) they also learn a faster production order for constructing any garment. The title of this class is: Sew Better, Sew Faster, Garment Industry Secrets. “Teaching a class in the Craftsy studio was a real pleasure. Having filmed classes and TV shows multiple times I can honestly say this was by far, the easiest and most pleasurable experience of them all. The staff was more than attentive, seeing to my every need including steaming my wardrobe.

    “When I arrived, the on set producer was well versed in all of our plans and that made the filming run smoothly. She worked with a crew who filmed and edited while she directed. The nicest aspect of all; they trusted me, the teacher, to know what was best and gave me all the time I needed to execute a quality class. The relaxed atmosphere was complimented by all members of the team conveying a genuine interest and never trying to rush! Craftsy really understands how to work as a team and how to bring the teachers in as members of that team. I can’t begin to express how positive I feel about this experience. Craftsy is my kind of place!!”

    Angela Wolf,

    “When I was first asked to teach on Craftsy I was a little leery, simply because of the term “Craftsy”. But knowing Tricia Waddell (whom I highly respect, as we worked together on the set of It’s Sew Easy TV) I thought I would give it a shot and I am so glad I did. My first class, Tailoring Ready-to-wear, was shot in my studio and the second class, Creative Serging, was shot in Denver at the Craftsy studios. Both had excellent film crews and if work could be fun, this would definitely fall in line!

    Amy Marohn and Angie Wolf, photo courtesy of Craftsy

    Working with Craftsy was a little different from shooting It’s Sew Easy TV, as I was not constrained to 4 or 10 minute segments. The classes on Craftsy are detailed and informative. The class board allows students to ask questions, post photos, and create chats. The HD videos are open forever, so there is not a rush to watch all the videos at once.

    As I am writing this newsletter, I am just shy of 10,000 students between both classes. With a click of a mouse I am intermingling with sewers from all over the world. I am so in awe. In fact, one student wanted to know how to source fabric in the Amazon! My goal is to inspire others to sew and sew with professional looking results, but not to be afraid of jumping in and getting started."

    NOTE: if you plan to take one of our CRAFTSY classes click through our own personal websites and the link will direct you to CRAFTSY.

    Written by Joi Mahon,

    Joi Mahon Bobier Portrait Studio

  • 06/03/2013 10:53 AM | Anonymous

    In this article I want to introduce you to an online sewing community. This website has over 300,000 members and the main focus is garment sewing. In fact, I was able to meet quite a few of the members at the 10 year anniversary party in Chicago and let me tell you these people can sew. The website offers a plethora of information with reviews, blogs, contests, and online classes.

    In an age of instant access, online classes are a perfect way to learn, interact with others, and get an opportunity to learn new skills on your own time schedule. There are a few different variations of classes on PatternReview: some offer live chats with the instructor, some include detailed PDF files, and most of them include video. Video classes are my personal favorite; I just find it easier to learn while watching. The classes remain open forever, so once you sign up you can watch at your own pace. There’s nothing like learning while sitting on the couch in your pj’s! All of the classes have a class board where you can ask questions, post photos, and interact with other students.

    The classes offered on PatternReview are all based on garment sewing and fitting. Instructors include Jennifer Stern, Sarah Veblen, Kenneth King, Susan Khalje, Deepika Prakash, and me. The prices are very reasonable; if you compare the cost to a live class with an instructor it’s a great bargain.

    Deepika Prakash is the founder of PatternReview and a great friend. This is what she has to say about her website: “I started 10 years ago because as I started sewing I realized that I really enjoyed sharing and learning from others who sew. As my love for sewing grew, I decided that I wanted to do more to promote sewing education and (I) partnered with experts in the sewing industry. helped these experts bring their offline skills online while helping them maintain that personal interaction with our members.

    “At not only will you learn new skills from a variety of online classes, but you will also make lots of new friends. In our classes, the teachers have a one-toone relationship with their students. You can watch videos, ask questions or take in-depth workshops in which our teachers will give you personalized fitting advice patiently while you perfect that garment or pair of pants. We take things slowly because we want to ensure that the students are actually learning.

    Because PatternReview is a sewer-run website, my teachers and I take pride in what we do. I hope you will check us out."

    Written by Angela Wolf

    Angela Wolf by Winn Wolf

  • 06/02/2013 10:44 AM | Anonymous

    Do you have lots of inspiring images floating around in email folders, or sitting on your desk or coffee table? Do you find drawings wadded up in your purse or pocket that you forgot were there? Pinterest will help you keep all of these things at your fingertips and enable you to share them with others.

    Pinterest is an electronic bulletin board designed to keep all your inspirations in one place and sort them into various categories called boards. These boards are yours and yours alone, so you can use them for whatever topics you wish and name them what you’d like. The names you choose describe what you pin on that particular board. Pin is the term used to describe transferring an item of interest from another source to your board. For instance, I have one board that contains corsets. When I see a corset that I find interesting or might like to make, or I just think is interesting, I pin it to this board and I am able to view it any time I look on my Pinterest boards.

    Most anything can be uploaded onto Pinterest and shared. I took an item from the blog of one of our ASDP members, Rhonda Buss, and pinned it on my Pinterest board. By doing this, the items went onto my Facebook page and are now pins on Pinterest for others to find. I did the same with a photo from Angela Wolf, another member. Anything that can be uploaded can be put on Pinterest.

    One of the options available when pinning to the board is to post these items on your Facebook page. This will let your friends know what you found and you can share ideas. I have seen many people sharing recipes, crafts, gardening tips, and other great ideas through pins. There is a small comment box below each picture for you to add a comment when you pin. One of the great things about Pinterest is finding someone who has the same or similar interests as you. You can become their follower, and their pins will show up on your Facebook page – provided you allow photos from that friend and vice versa... When people determine that they like your style, they will become followers of you.

    This is a great way to expand you business’s visibility. People are very visual and occasionally like to look at images without ads or words. Pin up your pictures with a lead to your website or email. It’s a great way to get noticed and it’s free!

    Written by Denise Liss

     Denise Liss by R. Brosnan

  • 06/01/2013 10:41 AM | Anonymous

    How many of you have a smartphone? When I got my smartphone two years ago, the sales person said, “You won’t believe how many things you will use this for.” My thought at that time was that it was just a phone; what more could I possibly use it for? I have since become very dependent on my phone for, of course, making calls and texting—never while driving. It is invaluable for weather forecasts either locally or, when planning a trip to another location, it helps me know what to pack!

    I have read books on my phone, looked up information about any possible topic, used the GPS to help me find locations I am unfamiliar with, and my entire calendar is on my phone. Of course, I will happily show you photos of my kids and grandkids stored on it! Email is readily accessible, although I must admit that I would rather use a regular computer keyboard to answer correspondence, I will give short replies via my phone. If a client would like to use a charge/debit card to take care of a payment, I can do that on my phone and send them an email or text receipt that can include a photo of the garment!

    My shopping and to do lists are very handy on my phone; I no longer forget my list on the kitchen table at home. There is even a Jo-Ann’s app, so I can pull up coupons to use at the store, just in case I forgot to bring them! Searching for a local restaurant and good gas prices, listening to music, sketching a design, using the calculator, scheduling a television recording of a favorite show, setting an alarm clock, checking Facebook, checking out e-books from the library, are all uses of this phone.

    If it were not for my machine embroidery, I do not think I could be quite as comfortable with technology. When I purchased my first embroidery machine, ten plus years ago, I was forced to figure out how to use a computer. I remember the days working on an embroidery design on the computer and a text box would ask me “Do you want to save?” I promptly entered yes, wondering where it went. There was a lot of trial and error learning, but I must also thank those other more tech-savvy seamstresses and embroiderers who helped me along the way. I am proud of all that I have learned about technology; it is the way of the world today.

    This month the blog is dedicated to technology, in its many forms. Enjoy the information and always keep an eye open for new technology. You may be surprised how much you can use it!

    Written by Teresa Nieswaag, President

  • 04/09/2013 9:48 PM | Anonymous

    Most of the news in this issue had been borrowed from the chapters’ Facebook pages. Find them by typing Association of Sewing and Design Professionals in your Facebook search box – keep up with these chapters’ news by Liking their pages!

    Members of the Oregon chapter recently had an archivist from Jantzen as guest speaker. The talk “Jantzen through the decades” covered the history of Jantzen, bathing vs. swimming suit, and how progressive and cutting edge Jantzen has been. The chapter’s April draping workshop with Catherine Stephenson filled so quickly that additional dates in May have been added. This seminar is open to both ASDP members and non-members. Details are posted on the ASDP Events calendar.

    For the Baltimore Chapter, photography was the topic for the recent chapter meeting, held at a Baltimore photographer’s studio. Members were shown how to best photograph their work. A shopping stop nearby, A Fabric Place, was the natural followup, with members focused on knits for the knit dresses they’re making for their chapter challenge this year.

    Several New England chapter members offered alteration services at the Princess Boutique in early March, making on-the-spot adjustments to prom dresses donated to local teens. Members all over the country have talked about similar events they’ve attended, either with other chapter members or on their own. I’d love to be able to share more news of ASDP members giving back to their communities!

    In the Heartland chapter, a January meeting was devoted to a program on Personal Branding for Sewing and Design Professionals, entitled “Authentic Professionalism.” The presenter is an image coach and consultant, who gave members a personality profile and tips on developing and packaging a personal brand image for their businesses through clothing. The presentation included a strategic plan for building and maintaining that personal brand through consistent image practices.

    This isn’t really chapter news, but speaking of the Heartland chapter –Donna Christian (at the urging of Joyce Hittesdorf) asked my help to post a project to the discussion list. The garment had members wowed! A custom gown made for a contest, designed by the client and executed by Donna, that’s simply out of this world!

    Here is what she told me about this gown: “I have been working with a designer for the past month on a dress that she had designed and submitted to a competition run by a local fashion group.” It was an interesting design that had many challenges and pushed my comfort zone and skill set. This past Saturday, the designer entered a competition at the Palladium, the Performing Arts Center in Carmel, Indiana. It is not the usual type of dress I make for weddings. It is far from a modest dress that we would want our daughters to wear, but it was fun to have a good challenge. It took about 54 hours to construct. Since I had not worked with crocodile leather before, we had a master leather man construct the crocodile belts, but I sewed them onto the gown. The gown was presented, along with 6 other entries, before a concert by the Cameron Carpenter Concert and Carmel Symphony Philharmonic Concert this past Saturday evening. The 7 designs were voted on by the audience. Our dress won first place!

    The dress in total cost over $3,000 for labor, materials, and leatherwork.

    Written by Janee Connor, VP of Chapter Relations

  • 04/08/2013 9:43 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 9:41 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 9:33 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 9:28 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 9:22 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

Blog posts

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

Terms of Use & Privacy Policy | Sitemap | Advertisers | © 2024 Association of Sewing and Design Professionals

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software