Origin Story

Every superhero has an origin story, and, even though I don’t wear a cape (usually), folks are very curious about the origins of The Singing Seamstress.

I’ve been sewing since I was a young girl and performing since high school. The two did not come together in a meaningful way until I was past my opera phase.

My opera career consisted of mostly singing, dancing, and reacting to scenery. I played everything from a nun to a lady of the night to a peasant and everything in between. Because I am a tall woman—a presence with which to be reckoned, if you will–a lot of costumes didn’t fit quite right. Even after the costumer had her way with things, I would often come in behind her and fix things myself.

I got tired of being in the background, so I switched to musical theatre after five years in opera and started getting juicy lead and supporting roles. Now that I was out in front, I didn’t want to settle for just any old costume, so I started making them myself.

People started to take notice. Other actors began asking me to make their costumes as well. It went from two to four to half the cast and then full productions rather quickly. (Costuming a full production is a LOT of work by the way, and it’s a mostly thankless job, unfortunately.)

Somewhere in all of this, a fellow actor asked me to make him a Santa suit. Compared to my more recent creations, it’s a very simple affair–washable but sturdily made. Eight years later, it’s still in use and still looks like the day I delivered it to him.

He was so impressed that he got me in contact with the Lone Star Santas, the largest regional Santa group in the nation. I went to their annual shindig to hawk my wares and received quite a few suit orders. These folks were so impressed that they got me an invite to the largest Christmas performer group on Facebook (over 10k members). From there, I just posted pictures of the things I created. Between this and word of mouth, my Santa business grew by leaps and bounds.

Sometime after the Santa suit, another actor friend contacted me to help her BFF with his daughter’s wedding gown. They had originally taken it to “a lady at church,” and the gown needed a lot of work still. I had never worked on a wedding gown (unless you count the gown I found at Goodwill and modified to be my Halloween costume as the Bride of Frankenstein). Though nervous, I figured it couldn’t be all that complicated.

Well, I was both right and wrong about the last bit. All the fundamental parts were there, but the only garment more constructed than a bridal gown is a man’s blazer and some cosplay costumes. So, it was a steep learning curve–and I only had a week and a half to sort it out.

I managed to get everything in the right places, but, to this day, I still hate strapless mermaids. I also think I consumed a whole bottle of wine on my own to calm my nerves. After recovering, I realized that I could really make a go of this and decided to start networking in the local bridal industry.

I have since won six industry awards for my bridal work and am in The Knot’s hall of fame. It’s super cool to be recognized for my work when I love it so much.

I am more than blessed to love my life’s work. It has taken me a long time to get here, but the journey has certainly been illuminating. I eagerly look forward to all the new suits, all the new dresses, and all the new friends I will be making in the future.

Until next time, dear reader. May your bobbins be full and your seams straight!


Conferences … for Santa?

Conferences have become ubiquitous in our culture. Whatever interests you, not only are there groups where you can meet other folks with the same interests, but they usually hold semi-regular conferences on said interests.

Folks usually assume that I attend bridal conferences. I went to a few but quickly discovered that my alteration services weren’t something brides were focused on at that point. Additionally, most folks looking for a custom gown don’t attend those sorts of conferences.

Instead, I attend Santa Claus conferences. Yes, you read that right. I regularly hang out with 300-600 guys with white beards who wear red clothes of all types. And if you’re thinking, “That’s got to be surreal!” you would be correct.

Santa conferences are a lot of fun. Most of the guys and gals are indeed jolly, and they love to talk and tell stories. I love listening to the stories of the kids they meet. There are awesome stories–like when they get to tell kids they are being adopted by their foster parents–and there are the heart wrenching ones—such as when they visit terminal cancer patients. They see all of humanity. Those that take their roles seriously have huge hearts and deep souls. They truly feel for the people they touch, and you can hear it in their voices when they talk.

A lot of them know me now and bring their friends over to meet me and get a custom suit made. It’s fun to make a suit unique to a Santa and his market. The devil is always in the details, but that’s also where the fun is. Each gentleman brings something unique to the role, and I like to reflect that in the clothes I create.

If you’ve read my blog “What Christmas Means to Me,” then you know how much working with these folks means to me. I get to be a part of thousands of children’s happiness through these amazing men and women.

I get to truthfully say that I make magic for a living.

Until next time Dear Readers, may all your bobbins be full and all your seams be straight.


An Incredi-BULL Story

I work with some amazing clients. If you’ve watched my picture posts, you know that I work with some very famous characters, too–Santa and Mrs. Claus, Buc-ee the Beaver (Folks in the South know who he is.), and an NFL mascot known as Toro.

This year, I had the privilege of attending the Houston Texans’ Halloween game where they honored Toro’s achievement as NFL Mascot of the Year 2021. He earned that award as well as the Anchor in the Community award, both of which were voted on by his peers (i.e., the other NFL mascots). I’m super proud of the young man whose face we don’t see, who embodies the bull costume and bullish attitude, and, doubly so, proud that he won the award in a PANDEMIC YEAR. I know some of you are thinking, “Why is this so extraordinary?” First, he was confined to a stage for every game, yet he still gave it his all. He and his team came up with all kinds of creative skits, and he wore crazy, eye-catching costumes (mostly made by yours truly, but definitely a collaboration on design). Second, he wasn’t allowed to do his in-person visits to see the community kids he loves so much, so he found all kinds of other creative ways to reach out to them–like holding Zoom visits to classrooms, riding the window washers’ dolly up the sides of the hospitals, and creating silly TikTok videos on social media for them to enjoy. The mayor of Houston even honored him with a proclamation, indicating that October 31 was now officially TORO DAY.

So, how on the hot plains of Texas did I ever get to meet this amazing guy?

Toro and I met almost four years ago when his alter ego (whom we’ll call Andrew) did a web search on seamstresses who could handle making costumes for mascots and sent me an email inquiring about my skills and services. Honestly, I thought it was a joke. Why on earth would anyone from a professional football team be reaching out to me? I mean, seriously . . . he GOOGLED me???? Good sense and curiosity got the best of me finally, and I replied. I figured, if it was real, it could be a lot of fun. If it was fake, then I merely wasted five minutes in replying.

Well, the reply resulted in many emails back and forth and finally an in-person consultation.

Not sure exactly what I was expecting, but I will admit to being blown away when I opened the door to find Andrew on my doorstep in full Texans regalia, Toro costume in its VERY large bag, and the Houston Texans van parked a few feet away. Okay . . . it IS real. Just breathe, Heather.

I look back on that now and laugh. I admit, I was expecting someone who was full of himself. I’ve certainly had my share of client-zillas, and I was wondering if this guy was one in the making. I am happy to say that my worrying was unfounded. Andrew is quite simply the nicest guy you will ever meet. He’s creative, excited about his job, passionate about the kids he visits in the hospitals as well as the kids he visits across the city with his anti-BULLying campaign, and he just loves being with people.

The initial consultation was about a tuxedo (which he has worn a GAZILLION times by now), but over the past four years we have collaborated on and created some truly awesome costumes, some of which have even been shown on national TV—and, yes, HE is as excited as I am when that happens. I’m extremely proud to be a part of a team who is enthusiastic about what they do, both on and off the field. He, just like Santa Claus, is the most visible part of the team, but as there are about twenty or so of us who make Toro “go,” he stands on the horns of some very strong individuals . . . and that’s no BULL.

Until next time dear reader!