Monday, December 7, 2009

Zipper Pulls vs. Zipper Replacement

Zipper Replacements - Many times a client has an old favorite jacket or coat that they need to replace the zipper in. Often, the full zipper needs to be replaced, but in some cases, all I need to do is replace the zipper pull for them.

I will always provide the quote for the full zipper replacement, but I will also let them know that if I can just replace the pull, I will do that and save them quite a bit. It's rare a client will argue, most especially in these economic times.

In some cases a client has a plastic type zipper, and although these zippers are much better today than in years past, some clients are most comfortable with a metal zipper replacement, which I will do for them.

Not all plastic zipper pulls can be replaced. But, in some cases, I can replace them, but your zipper might be a metal replacement. Your top stop will be a metal stop vs. the plastic that originally is with your coat.

When a client has a coat that might have cost them over $350 when they first purchased it 7 years prior, as in the case of the jacket shown, it is hard for them to find a replacement coat with the same characteristics that they have grown to enjoy. This is when, what seems to be a costly repair to some, some will find the zipper replacement, repair and lining replacements, actually turn out to be the most economical approach.

This service, of zipper replacement/repairs is provided mostly for local customers, but it is also provided for my internet clients that are willing to ship and pay return shipping costs for their repair needs.

~ Putting Thread to Fabric ~

Laura - seamstress
Davina Dawn Sewing Specialties

Thursday, November 26, 2009


There is so much to be thankful for.

We all face trials in our lives, challenges that make us want to give up at times, yet we also face opportunities to make choices that can make a difference.

I have been blessed with a husband who has been my best friend for over 30 years. Married for over 29 years and a friendship that started a few years prior. In addition I have three daughters who will always be a sweet treasure that I am so very grateful for.

Nine years ago my business started as something to do part-time to help support the family while I stayed home to care for and homeschool our daughters.

It was a challenging decision to stay home, homeschool and start my business, but it proved to be well worth it. There were many looking for what I had to offer, not only locally but also internationally.

This past spring I made the decision, with the full support of my husband, to take my business from the part-time level to full-time. It was a decision that I do not regret and find that the Lord has blessed.

I not only create doll clothing, as I did when I first started in 2000, but I also enjoy making the infant/toddler blankets, therapy bags, Christmas stockings, fleece wraps, and more for my web-site. In addition, I have been blessed to take care of other's needs, outside our family, with their alteration, mending, and custom sewing needs.

For some, it might seem like a tedious chore. For me, it's a gift of serving others.

May you encounter joy during this time where our nation celebrates Thanksgiving. May you find joy in your ability to serve others in the work that you do.
And thank you to the many men and women who serve our country, out of a personal desire to serve and protect.

~ Putting Thread to Fabric ~

Laura - seamstress

Davina Dawn Sewing Specialties

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Replacing you Coat Lining

Replacing your Coat Lining

It is important to be sure when you decide to replace your coat lining, that you are getting a quality job done.

It is common for one to purchase a quality coat that later on needs the lining replaced. The outer shell is in great condition, but due to the consistent wear'n tear, the lining begins to thin.

You can price around to see who is the cheapest and go that route, but make sure you are getting not only quality workmanship, but also a quality lining fabric that will last more than one or two seasons.

There are many variables that go into replacing a coat lining. The cost to replace your lining might cause sticker shock, because in some cases it will seem as if you are re-purchasing your coat new again. What you are paying for is the time involved in taking out your old lining, replacing shoulder pads, creating new pattern pieces from old, worn and stretched out pieces that are being removed, etc. Then, the time involved in adding back in the new lining. This is not something that can be done in a quick hour or two.

When my clients come to me for their coat linings, I discuss with them their expectations. Do they want the inside lapel pocket still (some want to save costs so they remove it)? Do they need any pockets replaced? Do they want something different about your coat lining...some have hems sewn right into the coat, where other's hang loose, and the customer decides to have the new one hang loose. Do they have a kick pleat in the back? Are there other mending needs necessary for their coat? Do they want me to mend things if they are discovered once the replacement begins? Do buttons need to be replaced?

So, as you can see, there is more than just bringing it in and replacing the lining. If you have a coat that you really love, that you can't replace because you can't find that classic look anymore, then you might decide it is well worth the investment. If it was an expensive coat, that is still in great condition, except for the lining, it is well worth the investment. Leather coat owners have found it to be well worth the investment because they have worn their coat to the point where it is a part of them.

Whatever your choice, whether to reline or not, is something you need to decide after you weigh the cost of the work with the value of your coat, whether it can be replaced, or what it means to you.

To have this service done by Laura of Davina Dawn Sewing Specialties is generally done for local customers. But, this service is also provided for customers anywhere within the USA, for those who are willing to ship their coat and pay for return shipment.

Stay warm

~ Putting Thread to Fabric ~

Davina Dawn Sewing Specialties

Friday, November 13, 2009

Large Christmas Stockings - Beautiful, Fun & Practical

Christmas Stockings can be so much fun! They are a tradition in our home that we all enjoy. We take our stockings that were created specifically for each child (and yes, David and I each have one ourselves), and fill them with things that have meaning for each person. Whether it be one's favorite candy, little items that show that we thought of them throughout the year or during the holiday season, favorite CD music, DVD's, etc.

We take every gift, regardless of the size, and wrap them individually from the prior years used wrapping paper. It has become a favorite part of our Christmas morning, as we each open little gift. That doesn't mean one has to wrap every little item, as this is just our family tradition.

How is this a practical gift to be used in gift giving?
1. This is a gift that can be recycled and either be used year after year for your child (consider having his/her name embroidered on it), or if it is an office gift item, it can be used again the following year by that recepient to fill and give to someone new the following year.
2. One doesn't have to spend a lot to fill a stocking, just some time and thoughtfulness. Some things we include are necessities, such as tissues, toothbrush & floss, stickers (for kids and scrapbookers), comb's, brushes, a new winter scarf, earrings (you can clip these on the side), match boxes, deck of cards, stationary, pens & pencils all of which could have their favorite team insignia on them or favorite Disney character, etc., books, word puzzle books, socks, stockings, gloves & mittens and so much more. Many items can be found at the dollar store, some can be hand made (such as cookies), and some can be picked up one at a time while picking up your groceries each week (their favorite candy, gum, etc).
3. It doesn't have to be used only for small items, but you can use it as the wrapping for your gift item, such as a special sweater, game, etc.

Who would enjoy these wonderful packages of love?
- College students can use food items, stamps, ink for printers, therapy rice bags (check them out at ) etc.
- Military members can use toiletries, cards, etc.
- Grandparents - their favorite CD music, or old movies on DVD they enjoy watching
- Office Co-workers
- Nurses, Doctors & other medical staff personal
- Neighbor that has been especially kind to you
- Secretary at your church - hand lotion, Christian CD, and more
- Donated gifts to the needy that you might sponsor as you can fill it with the things they asked for (within reason of course)
- Secret Santa gift filled with lots of fun little things
- Yankee Swap Gift - this would be the type of gift that everyone would enjoy getting.

Size & Prices of Davina Dawn Sewing Specialties Large Christmas Stockings
Approx. size: 20" length, 11" cuff width, 15" at widest part of stocking foot.
The price ranges from $30 - $40 depending on the type fabric used.

QUESTION: Can one provide the fabric and Laura create a custom Stocking? Most definately! Email your inquiry to

As you can see, you can use a large stocking for a variety of people and purposes. It provides a special wrapping for all your thoughtfulness. Take a look at the options currently available at All custom made using quality fabric.

~ Putting Thread to Fabric ~

Laura - Custom Seamstress
Davina Dawn Sewing Specialties

Monday, November 2, 2009

Preparing for Winter

It seems that once October & November arrives, we find ourselves in New England, raking, putting away the garden tools and summer furniture, and getting ready for the upcoming winter weather. Not only do we prepare the outdoors, we begin to prepare the inside as well. But, sometimes we wait until the last minute to realize that the cold is going to arrive, and find our gloves, coats, and scarves need to be cleaned, replaced, mended or altered.

New Englanders are made of two types of people: Those who Love winter, and those who could really live without it. I'm one of those that could live without it, except I do enjoy the cool weather up through Christmas, even through New Years. I love the first snowfall, the crystal glitter upon the trees, and the beauty that surrounds us. Even the driving isn't too bad. But after about two months, I'm ready for the spring.

Fortunately, I do enjoy the lovely cold weather clothing. The textures are beautiful, the colors are generally warm, allowing them to compliment many different complexions.

Winter is fast approaching. Now is a good time to check your fall/winter wardrobe, to make sure there are no buttons that need to be tighten, zippers replaced or mended, pockets repaired, and hems secure. I like to remind my customers to consider getting their alteration needs done before the weather actually changes.

Since my service not only provides alteration needs, one can bring other mending needs in addition to custom work done, so that you can have everything done all at once. Or, if you need to budget things to have them repaired, mended, altered or custom made, consider having the items you need to wear in the cold weather taken care of first.

In addition, a customer can shop online, at my site for some online products for Christmas gifts that they can pick up the same day of their alteration/mending pickup. Currently one can find doll clothing and accessories, rice therapy bags, infant/toddler blankets, and more. As I can, I continue to add items for a variety of options.

Enjoy the fall weather. We are blessed with such beautiful colors!

Laura - Custom Seamstress
Davina Dawn Sewing Specialties

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wedding Memories

Wedding Memories - one of the joys I have is in creating replica's of bridal party dresses. When the replica was requested to duplicate a young girls dress, it warmed my heart to know that there was a little girl who was going to be overjoyed with the love and thoughtfulness that the bride put into the gift.

This particular order started out with one dress in March, later to be commissioned to take on replicating three more once she saw my work. The additional dresses (including the one pictured here), all different, were made with Dupioni Silk fabric, satin ribbon, and this particular dress had two layers of tulle overlay.

This order was special, as it was a request for a gift for the young girls in the bridal party. Usually I get the request for just the bridal dress to be replicated. Although I take great joy in creating bridal replica's as it allows my creative skills to be used fully for something that can be simple through intricately elegant. It is another source of joy to create replica's for young girls. One knows that they will treasure their gift of love, bringing back many memories.

You can view more pictures, showing all three dresses at
The pictures will be moved once I start a new custom order, or after a few months.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

To Alter or Not to Alter

One of the things I enjoy providing my local clients are quality alterations. In doing so, I like to make sure they are getting what they want, as well as what they need.

I had the pleasure of meeting a new client today, who was looking for someone that had flexible hours to work around her work schedule, but also someone who would be honest with her. Recently, she lost 30 pounds, but also had some alterations already done to the garments she had. She brought a suit jacket and four pairs of slacks that she felt were not fitting her well. As she tried each item on, the jacket being the first, she realized that the jacket actually fit her quite well. I couldn't see anything that would warrant an alteration as a necessity.

What I thought was going to be a very expensive job for the client and timely one for myself, based on what she shared on the phone, turned out to be a less costly situation.

As she tried each item on, I listened to her and learned that she had started to do more exercises. So, even though she wasn't planning on anymore weight loss, the clothes could continue to change how they looked on her. Yet, with three pairs, I made some adjustments that made an obvious difference in how they would fit.

One of the things I won't do is provide alterations that are not necessary. It is not fair to the client to spend hard earned resources on something that will not make a difference for them. They are depending on me to provide a fit that will allow them to feel good about how they look in their clothes, and in the case of this clients clothing already being altered, whether more alterations can be done. I will educate them where I can, show the suggested changes and let them decide whether it provides them the look they are seeking, prior to them leaving.

My goal, is to help my client feel comfortable and confident when their garment is altered. This is why I take the time needed in the first fitting.

May we all strive to look our best, feel confident in who we are, while living our lives to the fullest.

Davina Dawn Sewing Specialties

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sewing for Thumbelina

Sometimes I relish the time I acquire that allows me the freedom to work on things that I haven't had a chance to. One of the things I enjoy making are things for my website. I get to choose the fabric, the notions, the pattern, and the choice. There is something relaxing about making something for fun.

Thumbelina was a doll that I adored when I was a young girl. My mother made me give it away when she felt I was too old to hang onto it. So, who would have thought I would eventually be making doll clothing when my girls were young? Who would have thought that Thumbelina would have returned into my life.

I do have a Thumblina, that I acquired on Ebay a few years back. I search high and low for one that was in good shape and still movable when her knob was turned.

So, it was a pleasure to make a nightgown to include on my site that fit Thumbelina specifically. Thumbelina looks beautiful in this new gown. It doesn't have lace, as I wanted to provide a simple gown first. More outfits will be added to the site as I can make the time to create for her size.

This nightgown is made with 100% cotton flannel, has a two button hole closure, and a cute little pink bow button on the bodice. The flannel is a cute flannel that has baby toys throughout. The bodice is fully lined. All seams are finished preventing the opportunity for fraying. Elastic on the wrists of the sleeves, and folded-over hems for the sleeves and hem of skirt. As always, looking to provide a quality product for those seeking quality craftsmanship. Check out Thumbelina's page at to see the different views.

Those who enjoy collecting dolls, or have a special girl in your life with a body size of Thumbelina, will enjoy this page.

Have a delightful and restful evening.

Davina Dawn Sewing Specialties

Monday, October 5, 2009

Giving Life to the Frayed Edges of Towels

Today I was catching up with the laundry. The benefit of having children is that they help with the chores. The disadvantage is that they don't tell you when things need mending. So, when I take over this particular chore, due to school schedules, I discover what needs mending.

So while I was washing/folding towels and jeans, I discovered again how towels that might be just over a year to two years old, still had plenty of life in them, yet the edges were coming apart. You know how it is, where the threads start to fray away from the edges, so you begin cutting them each time you wash them because there really isn't anything wrong with the towels. Seeing this was the issue with a few washcloths and a couple bath towels, I brought them over to my serger and took care of the frayed mess.

What I do to preserve the life of the towels, so we don't need to cut them down into rags long before they need to, is serge the edges. I have done this to my towels and washclothes for quite a few years. If I get new towels as a Christmas gift, I just put them aside as our summer pool towels. They can also be used for the kids bathroom. I have not had any future issues with the towels until they are ready for the rag bin. And, the nice thing in doing this, is that edges remain the same for many future uses.

I do provide this service to local/nationwide customers who have quality towels, with plenty of life left, yet are frustrated having to cut the threads all the time from washer/dryer wear. They don't look like store-bought towels with the hemmed edges, but they stop fraying, no longer getting caught up in the washer or tied up in the laundry, and look nice and neat.

For myself, I use whatever thread I have in the serger as all I'm looking for is a quick fix. For customers who want a color to closely match their towels, I will do my best with the limited serger threads I have in stock.

I hope that you find this to be a helpful tip, or a service that you might consider taking advantage of the next time you discover your towels have too many threads when washing.

Have a delightful day filled with blessings,

Davina Dawn Sewing Specialties

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Love of Creating with Thread and Fabric

Sundays are days of reflection for me. I can take a look at my past week and contemplate the week in front of me. It allows me to evaluate what I can do better, what skill I can enhance, or even what new skill I can learn.

This last week I have been blessed with an opportunity to begin a project for a bride-to-be, working on American Girl dress replica's for girls that are a part of her wedding. Pictures have been provided, and fabric from the girls dress are provided as well. It is a unique opportunity that allows me to take part in a celebration that others are unable to experience. I will also be preparing to replace a lining in a quality dress coat, where I need to create a pattern and order specific lining that will last a number of years for long lasting use.

The first dress that I'm working on, is actually one of three, and added to a dress I had already completed in April for my client. Each dress will require a pattern designed specifically for each doll, and each dress is different than the next. I sent my first preliminary pictures, which allow my client to make comments, and share changes that are needed. In this case, I will need to remove a ribbon (that I had only pinned). I'm waiting for an answer to one question, then I will be able to proceed and complete this first dress. Because this client has three dresses, I can begin the next dress while I wait for the answers.

The love I have for sewing is a gift that I can give to others as a service in craftsmanship. My goal is to provide a quality service and/or product, and a personal service that others feel that they are part of the decision process of what they receive in the end.

As I begin my work for others, I seriously take a look at what it is I'm making, always trying to get a solid idea of what the client's expectations are from me. I communicate with them to be sure that what I am doing is exactly what they want. I also give my work to God, asking that He allow me to use my hands in a way that will bless and honor Him yet also allow me to use my hands in creating something of quality for my client.

I am fortunate. I have a gift that others are not given. They have other gifts that I am sometimes a recipient of. As I create custom work, provide alteration and mending service, and even online products, I always want to present the best possible work that I am capable of doing. My sewing business is a service that others pay for, where they can expect professional, friendly, caring and quality service.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Concord Monitor's Capital Business Connections special advertising supplement

Today, Friday, Oct 2nd, my local paper, The Concord Monitor, published a special advertising supplement where I placed my first large advertisment. Below is the portion of the advertisment where they provided a brief write-up of my business.
Laura, of Davina Dawn Sewing Specialties provides a variety of seamstress services to the community and abroad. From alterations, mending (including bridal and formal gowns), refashioning already-owned clothing, custom infant and children’s clothing (including christening and baptismal gowns,originals or refashioned from bridal gowns), other dress attire, and more.

In 2000, Laura opened Davina Dawn Sewing Specialties to create custom doll clothing for the variety of play dolls that were on the market. Serious dollcollectors contacted her, requesting custom outfits for their vintage andcustom dolls as well as miniature bridal gown replicas.Laura, who has lived in the Concord area with her family for the last 22years, says her business grew naturally. "While I was homeschooling our daughters," she says, "they kept asking for certain doll clothing. As friends and family saw my work, they asked if I would sell them, which started my business beyond just making doll clothing".

Laura’s work has been featured in magazines, and has created custom dollclothing for professional doll designers.

In addition to her delicate and beautiful work in miniature and personal service, Laura creates a range of accessories, infant and toddler blankets and quilts, therapy rice bags, totes, home decor and other gift items. Flexible hours are provided so that she can work around customers work schedules.

When Laura isn’t busy working or spending time with her family, she’s donating her time and sewing skills to the Family Place at Concord Hospital to create special shirts for mothers of preemie infants.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Colors of Fall & Fisherman's Lap quilt

Good morning. I have decided to add a blog for my website, to provide an area where I can share thoughts, new products and provide an avenue for customers to leave comments and ask questions.

October is like a new beginning. Here in NH we begin our days with a new tapestry of color as we experience God's beauty throughout the hours of each day. The colors change so quickly, and look brilliant whether the day brings rays of warmth and sunshine or rain. It's an amazing time of year.

Last night I worked on a new lap quilt. It is called "Gone Fishin' ". Initially I was planning a simple infant/toddler quilt, but as I put the fabrics together, I realized that this particular quilt would be a beautiful gift for someone who enjoys fishing. Whether you have a child that likes to go fishing with their daddy, a hubby or wife who would love to have a lightweight quilt to keep the chill at bay, whether on the couch or in the car. Another person I thought of was a grandfather, who might reside in a long-term health facility, that would really appreciate keeping their legs from being chilled.

The quilt is made from a large print fish fabric that has beautiful colors. With the thought of creating a quilt around this piece of fabric, I went shopping to see what I could find to compliment it. In doing so, I found that it was really difficult to find the perfect blue that would match the blue water colors in the initial print. Then I found this beautiful fabric I choose as the backing, that has fishing creels, reels, fishing poles, etc, with a neutral tan background. Taking this into account, I brought the backing together with the colors in the main fabric on the front, and used a brown print that pulls the quilt together. For the filling, I did not put a heavy polyfil or warm'n natural fill, but rather used ecology cloth, that actually makes it lightweight, yet heavy enough to keep the chill off. With this idea, the quilt can be used in many climates, including FL where many from NH seem to travel to in the winter, cool months.

I added pictures of the above quilt to my page where one can view other quilts that are for infants/toddlers

With the cool autumn weather, I am thinking of warm items to create for family gifts as well as gift items for my website.

I do hope that today brings you much joy, filled with God's beauty and love.