Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Something old, something new, something unique just for you

It was a pleasure to be interviewed by a local reporter to be included in this years 2010 Bridal Guide, provided through our local paper, the Concord Monitor.

Although my sewing services are varied from meeting the needs of many, from infants through adult as well as your home, this particular article focused on my services that I provide to the bride who wants to wear her mom or grandmother's dress, or use their own dress for something special after the wedding.

From refashioning an old dress or one you find on sale that you want to make more "you" to Christening gowns, wraps and more.

~ Putting Thread to Fabric ~

Laura - Custom Seamstress
Davina Dawn Sewing Specialties

Here is the article, written by By Victoria Shouldis/For the Monitor January 19, 2010:

Get the perfect fit out of an heirloom gown

Here’s the problem. You’ve got your mom’s wedding gown or your grandma-on-your-father’s-side wedding gown and you’re planning on getting married. Naturally, you’d like to make use of that heirloom gown.

But there’s a problem. Or two. It turns out you and grandma had different body types. Or you know, you love the gown, but not necessarily on you. Or you love elements of the gown, but not the whole package. Or maybe the gown hasn’t been preserved exactly correctly, so that a lovely dress that was once a pure white is now something of tinged-yellow.

What can you do? Do you have to toss the heirloom dress and buy something brand new, perhaps beautiful but lacking in the character that comes with history and family stories? No! You can visit a talented seamstress instead.

Laura Field is a local, talented seamstress. She has been running her Davina Dawn Sewing Specialties shop out of her home in Concord for nearly a decade, specializing in everything from new gowns to alterations to exquisite clothes for dolls.

The good news? Field has some solutions for that old family gown.

The bad news is that a gown, in general, only has so much give, so an alteration to make, say a size 4 dress into a size 6 is possible but beyond that is unlikely. (Making gowns smaller is a bit easier, but again, with major size alterations come changes in proportion and appearance of the dress, so there are limits there, too.) Field also notes that you can’t just go by label sizes.

“What is called a size 10 today might have been labeled a size 14 20 years ago,” Field said. So you have to go by actual measurements and not just label sizes.

So a gown can be let out a size or so; Field can also substantially alter that old family gown, to, say, remove some of those flourishes that the modern bride doesn’t care for, or the more restrictive designs that were all the rage in eras past.

“Often times brides have me change things like those lace, high-neck collars,” said Field. “Many people don’t like those.”

Okay. But what if that beautiful, family heirloom wedding gown just isn’t going to make that transformation into your wedding gown? How can that treasure still be a part of the ceremony or other family tradition? Field has a proverbial wedding chest full of solutions.

“Christening gowns. This is a very common use for family gowns – I take the family gown and turn it into a beautiful gown for a baby’s christening,” said Field. “And then that gown, in its new form as a christening gown, can be passed down to other generations as a christening gown.”

Field said gowns can be transformed into non-wedding wear: suits for the bride or even bridal bags or gifts for the bridesmaids.

Field also has tons of ideas for incorporating that old gown into something, well, new, for the wedding ceremony itself. The gown can be turned into tiny pillows for the ring bearers to use. The gown can be incorporated into a new gown’s veil. Or it can even be transformed into a shawl, designed to wrap one both in soft comfort and family history.

Drawing from her own specialization in doll clothing, Field also suggested a very non-traditional way of preserving and honoring, say, grandma’s old gown: doll replicas.

“Some people might want to do this especially to honor a couple in the family who’ve been married for a long, long time: we can take the wedding gown and turn it into a replica of itself on a small doll,” said Field. “Then that treasure can be kept and passed down as a memory in a curio cabinet.”

With many of Field’s ideas, the seamless (pardon the pun) transition of old gown into the new gown is one that will not be readily apparent to the eye. But families will share their stories – as families do – and soon, everyone at the ceremony will know, say, that that veil contains a piece of grandma’s wedding gown, or that that gown the first grandchild was christened in was once the gown that great Aunt Cordelia was married in.

“What’s great about incorporating the old into the new is that you satisfy that old, traditional bride’s creed: something old, something new, something borrowed,” said Field, who is busily wrapping up work on her daughter’s wedding gown. (She’s also bringing food and being asked to play flute at the ceremony.) “We don’t quite have the something blue part, though.”


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