Memories of Jayne

In the bridal business, anniversaries tend to be growing days of celebration: the more anniversaries you celebrate, the deeper the bonds. However, there’s one type of anniversary that never gets enjoyable, and that is that of the death of a loved one.

This month marks the first anniversary of the passing of my mother-in-law, Jayne. Our first encounter was the stereotypical nerve-wracked affair – at least on my end – because I was fully aware that a) her son and I had only been dating for a short while, and b) she was extremely religious, the literal Preacher’s Wife.

I steeled myself for an Inquisition, only to be confronted with one of the most accepting, kindhearted, and loving people I had ever met. She was someone I could discuss and debate countless topics with, even the ‘taboo’ ones like transsexual rights and politics. Instead of taking a holier-than-thou stance that I’d convinced myself all religious people had, she presented a basic view that we’re all God’s children and are all worthy of acceptance and love.

Now, bear with me: she reminded me completely and utterly of Mrs. Claus, the unsung heroine of the man who gets all the good press. I absolutely love the concept of Santa Claus and his wife, which is one of the primary reasons I’m so passionate about that part of my business. This married couple is the embodiment of love and unconditional acceptance.

A particularly fond memory I have of her is the day when I took the opportunity to vent about my frustrations with marriage. Even the strongest granite has chips and flaws without crumbling the entire thing. When you share a house, a bed, finances, and emotions day after day, even a fairy tale wedding can turn into a pumpkin from time to time. I asked her if she ever felt like killing her husband Walter. Once again expecting the stereotypical ‘wifely duties’ religious response, Jayne floored me when she easily replied, “At least once a week.”

Without skipping a beat, she continued that she couldn’t imagine living a single moment without him. I smiled at her and said that I felt the same way about her son, and that I must be doing something right. After all, Jayne and her husband had been married for more than fifty years. We both laughed and then she hugged me. She gave great hugs.

I love to tell this story to my brides. Their wistful smiles let me know that they hope their own MILs are as awesome as Jayne was.

It’s a year after her passing now, and certainly things across the globe haven’t gotten any easier. Forced lockdowns may look great on paper, but there is definitely fallout from personalities in confined quarters. In this day and age of the craziness that goes on in all of our lives both personally as well as globally, I think about her a lot and how she would face it. She would accept everyone where they are and love everyone where they are. And she would definitely be one of the helpers.

I can only hope that I did her proud during the quarantine by making 2,100 (and counting!) masks for first responders.

As much as I love my husband, I miss his mother.

Until next time!


Who Was That Masked Seamstress?

Well, I have to be honest; it’s been quite a year thus far. I remember looking forward to the “teens” ending last December and facing the ‘20s with a newfound hope. However, it seems as if the new decade had other plans. We’re currently facing a global quarantine scenario that’s unprecedented in modern times. After decades of telling each other that we need to get away from the computer screens and bring back age-old socialization skills, now we’re being directed to run in the other direction, back to our isolated homes, for our own good.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by doom and gloom. And there is good reason to be so: there are plenty of stressful aspects to this first quarter of 2020 – mass layoffs, loss of business, hoarding, encouraged antisocial behavior, uncertainty, fear, and – yes – even death.

However, in the immortal words of Frederich Nietzsche, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” Those words can strike too close to home for those of us who have loved ones who are elderly or who have underlying health concerns. Covid-19 may not be as indiscriminate in whom it claims than, say, the flu, cancer, or a car accident, but it’s still so ubiquitous in its pervasiveness that we’re all on edge living a scenario that they usually write scary movies about.

It’s at times like this where we have to remember the second part of that quote: makes us stronger. In the midst of all the fear and concern, I have also been witness to several shining examples of the best parts of mankind shining through in dark times. The sacrifice and self-sacrifice of others inspired me to raise my head, look around, and try to find out how I could help others in my own way.

I’m fortunate in that my business can function – for a while, at least – as a solo venture. Creating gowns and costumes can be taken to a decent extent before having to meet face-to-face for fittings and updates. I’ve been able to keep busy with preexisting orders. But soon enough there came a point where I couldn’t do much more by ‘remote control.’

As a result, I recently found myself surrounded by a ton of cloth and not much to do with it. In a conversation with a good friend of mine who happens to be a nurse in the Houston area, I learned from her about the severe need for cloth masks to help in their own way with stopping the spread of the virus, I was inspired to put my skills together and make some masks.

I put out the call to friends and associates who were in a similar predicament and mindset, and soon enough I had my very own posse ready to create some masks. As excited as I was to get started, I had to make sure I was doing the right thing in the right way. Research was required.

One of the worst parts of this global pandemic is that each news headline and daily briefing follows its own agenda. Frequently, stories that outright contradict each other jockey for attention. It only adds to a person’s anguish when he or she can’t determine what the truth is.

There are some reports – even from the respected authorities such as the Centers for Disease Control – stating essentially that masks won’t protect from the coronavirus. Yet these same agencies state that masks are needed for the hospitals to protect the healthcare workers. I figured somewhere in the middle was the answer I sought; places like the CDC didn’t want there to be a run on essential PPE (personal protective equipment) – just look at the empty toilet paper shelves as an example of their fear – especially when social distancing would be just as effective; hospital personnel don’t have the luxury of keeping six feet away from their patients.

Here’s an article that gives a well-rounded approach to the question. And from that I got my answer: If medical professionals can’t even agree on a mask’s effectiveness, I will most certainly err on the side of caution.

More research revealed to me that cotton cloth masks such as the ones I was contemplating actually – and inarguably – perform a greater good. The standard mask for healthcare workers is the N95. These are the ones that authorities were afraid were going to be snapped up by panicked consumers who didn’t need them. Their distribution needs to be tightly monitored. And that’s one way where my and my friends’ cloth masks come into play: they are worn over the N95s to extend their useful life. Additionally, the cloth masks we’re providing can be used for healthcare personnel who aren’t interfacing with Covid-19; this way, the more effective N95 masks can stay where they’re needed. At the very very least, our cloth masks are a stopgap measure until manufacture of new N95s catches up to the need.

So, yes, even if there’s a miniscule chance to protect someone from catching this virus, I’m all over making the masks.

And make masks I did – more than 200 within four days. And hopping on board with a group that Dr. Candace Weaver put together, many thousands more have been created. I and my squad of seamstresses have become a cadre of modern-day Rosie the Riveters. I can’t tell you how proud I am of these ladies (and not a few gents) and how we have all banded together in a global time of need.

Even though our masks are ‘homegrown,’ we take their design and crafting extremely seriously. The fabric is bleached and disinfected, and we create the masks in sanitary conditions. I monitor my health and symptoms constantly to ensure I myself am cootie-free. A majority of the masks I’ve created have been distributed to local healthcare centers and hospitals, but I also sent a whole bunch off to New York, with more on the way.

Now, making these masks – as spirit-filling as it is – takes materials. As you know, I take particular pride in my work, so my masks are four layers thick. Which comes out to about four masks per yard of cotton. My cloth reserves are bled dry, just in time for me to add gowns to the creation menu. So, now’s my chance to ask you for help. If you’d like to donate any money for my project to get masks and gowns to those who need them, I’ve started a GoFundMe fundraiser. Just CLICK HERE to send me anything you can spare. And I pinky-swear that every dollar sent will go into the purchase of supplies and materials for these masks and gowns.

Finally, I want to send out all my love and best wishes to you all. Yes, this is a situation that probably none of us has ever encountered before. But we’ll definitely get past it. Just please do all you can to stay safe and to stay loving toward your families, friends, and neighbors. If YOU have any yearning to help your fellow men and women, drop me a line and let’s figure out what we can do together.


Until next time!


Taking a Leap

Welcome to a special day: LEAP DAY. This extra day in February that comes only once every four years (give or take) is considered extremely special in culture, superstition, legality, and literature – and stories such as The Pirates of Penzance would literally not be able to exist without it.

(Funny trivia that came up in my research: Superman’s birthday – but not Clark Kent’s – is officially considered to be February 29.)

When it comes to the legal system domestically and internationally, special rules apply: the recognition of adulthood (typically your 18th birthday) and driver’s license expirations occur either on subsequent February 28ths or March 1sts, depending on your country of residence.

What does Leap Day have to do with me? Well, weddings are a big part of my business, and believe it or not this day has special significance in some cultures, particularly across the pond in the United Kingdom and surrounding areas.

There’s a popular tradition known as Bachelor’s Day in some countries that allows – or outright encourages – a woman to propose marriage to a man on February 29. If the man refuses, he then is obliged to give the woman money or buy her a dress. In upper-class societies in Europe, if the man refuses marriage, he then must purchase 12 pairs of gloves for the woman, suggesting that the gloves are to hide the woman’s embarrassment of not having an engagement ring. In Ireland, the tradition is supposed to originate from a deal that Saint Bridget struck with Saint Patrick.

Meanwhile, a mere Mediterranean Ocean away, in Greece, it is considered unlucky to marry on a leap day. Personally, I think they need to get over this particular superstition: if makes it a lot easier on the man in the relationship to remember anniversaries. Genderist? Perhaps. But true? Absolutely.

Domestically, one town in particular has an interesting twist: in Aurora, Illinois, single women are deputized and may arrest single men, subject to a four-dollar fine, every February 29. To me, this is Sadie Hawkins run amok!

Why else is this day important to me? Because I’ve selected this leap year of 2020 to take a large leap of faith when it comes to my professional life and career. I’ve spent the past numerous months getting some business ducks in a row, and if you haven’t caught it yet, check out my completely redesigned website and upgraded services. When I first started, I wasn’t entirely clear in my head what I wanted to offer as the Singing Seamstress. In time, I learned there’s a danger in offering a little bit of everything – the phrase Jack of All Trades pops into mind. By tightening my service menu, I’m able to ensure more personalized detail to my clients in a more intimate setting. The last thing I want is anyone one hires to me to feel they’re in an assembly line, or merely a number in my appointment book.

So celebrate with me in raising a glass in celebration to this year so far – where, I’m so proud to announce, I’ve been named to The Knot’s Best of the Year for the third year in a row. As we slide into March and the upcoming spring and bridal season, I’d love to hear from you: What are YOUR leaps you’ll be taking this year?


Until next time!


Seeing Red (in the good way)

A few months ago, I talked about traditional wedding colors in other cultures. Now, with it being Valentine’s Day, I was inspired to pick one color – red – and give you my musings on it.

The relationship between crimson and love is age old for obvious reasons – the color signifies the color of the heart. And blood. Rubies (the ‘blood stones’) are the gem designated as talismans that promote love, lust, and fire. Early medieval paintings tended to depict Christ and the Virgin Mary as wearing red clothing to drive home the point of blood and sacrifice.

Outside of our own borders, red is considered a lucky color. Particularly in China; and – incidentally – we’re currently in the Chinese New Year season. For the Chinese, red is supposed to repel evil spirits and bad fortune. Interestingly, we in the West tend to use lots of reds in marketing and ad campaigns that cater to the Chinese, but a little study into the matter would let us know that’s considered bad taste. Red isn’t used every day by far in Chinese couture. I guess it would be akin to Chinese (or Russians or Lilliputians) basing their own perceptions of American fashion purely on the colors of red, white, and blue. Long story short? If you’re putting together an outfit of cultural significance, know that culture’s thoughts on colors.

The cliché of red clothing extends far back into time. Today, there is something actually called the ‘Red Dress Effect’ – a hotly debated postulation that people look more attractive or more sensual when wearing that color. Two opposing studies have clashed on the topic, leaving us with no real idea if it’s actually true or not. But – backed up by science or not – the cliché is still there: red dresses equal vamps. Some of the most iconic dresses in cinematic history have been red. Think of Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face, Vivien Leigh in not one but two red dresses in Gone With the Wind (frankly, Scarlett…), Bridget Bardot in more than one movie… heck, even Jessica Rabbit. Red across the board, and all in sexpot roles.

Looking back through time, this ‘red equals sex’ probably first reared its ugly head in the Christian Bible – testaments both old and new. Sins were described as ‘scarlet’ in the OT book of Isaiah. Meanwhile, in the last few pages of the NT, the book of Revelation described the Antichrist as a red monster being ridden by a women dressed in scarlet. The woman being – you guessed it – the Whore of Babylon. For some reason, in my humble opinion, way back in the day, red got a raw deal.

Where does that leave us today? To me, red is a thrilling color. It represents vitality, and spirit, and passion… and Santa. Sure, crimson isn’t for every occasion or every person, but I personally find it an amazing color to work with, whether I’m assisting someone in their cosplay ventures, cultural wedding couture, or Santa wishes.

All that being said, I want to wish you all a happy Valentine’s Day. (And, to further drive home the themes of love and blood and sacrifice during this day, read about what eventually happened to the poor guy this day is named after!) I think I may start a theme, and touch on the color green next month… and maybe flag colors for July and orange for October and…

Well, that’s enough from me for now… what are YOUR thoughts on red?

Until next time!


2019 – The Year in Review

I can’t believe another year has come and is nearly gone. We’re facing the return of the Roaring ‘20s, and I for one can’t be more excited at what’s around the corner for me, personally and professionally.

It cannot be denied that 2019 capped off a decade of highs and a couple of lows, but that’s par for the course for a small business owner, especially one whose livelihood depends on customer satisfaction even when it’s a fact that some customers are never satisfied. However, it equally can’t be denied that no one ever held a gun to my entrepreneurial head. I do what I do for love. Love and – you know – the occasional paycheck.

So, without too much further ado, allow me to share with you some of the highlights and lowlights of 2019:

Uncle Santa Wants You! – It may seem small in the grand scheme of things, but I was so proud to create my first Civil War Santa costume. A little history: in 1863, President Lincoln thought it would be a good idea to create a Santa who had the best interests of the Union at heart – if Santa is for us, who can be against us, right? – and

Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

that year cartoonist Thomas Nast came up with a visual. Bedecked in red, white, and blue stars and stripes, this figure inspired countless soldiers during the holiday season to end the war in their favor. Now, we’ve all heard of Civil War enactors, but this was the first time I’d ever encountered a Civil War SANTA enactor. Which made me very glad to be a part of history!

Family (Christmas) Tree – In March, I had the honor of attending the annual Santa Family Reunion in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Hundreds of Santas and Mrs. Clauses hit the Gatlinburg Convention Center and streets for a yearly convention that fills the town with love and laughter. It was more than me just being there as a vendor; I found a whole new family and can’t wait to go back in ’20!

You Can’t Make Everyone Happy All of the Time – This was an admittedly low point in the year. On two occasions, I received word of unhappy customers. Now, I know that’s part and parcel of doing business, but I eventually realized that there exists in this world people who will just never be satisfied. Maybe they’re professional complainers. Maybe they have hopped on the train of thought that if they complain loudly enough they’ll get their goods/services/meals/projects at a steeply discounted rate or even free. I have to thank my business coach for ensuring that I had my terms and conditions of service prominently displayed and also made as part of my contracts with customers. As a result, even the Better Business Bureau agreed with my side and dropped the claims against me. But I have to admit it still stung and made me seriously consider my continuation as the Singing Seamstress.

Tying the Knot – And this is the ‘yang’ to the previous paragraph’s ‘yin’ – For the second year in a row, I was named to Knot’s “Best of Weddings.” This is an honor that no one’s personal agenda can take away from me. With more than a hundred 5-star ratings on The Knot – inarguably the Internet’s premier central hub for weddings and brides – I was galvanized and inspired to keep up the hard work and do everything in my power to earn a THIRD award in a row in 2020. I’ll keep you posted!

The Faces Behind the Masks – If you’ve been keeping up with my blog over the past few months, you’ll know I had the joy of signing contracts with two amazing business entities to provide costumes for their mascots. The Houston Texans’ mascot – Toro the bull – has worn several of my creations (meaning that when he’s televised on a game, I’ve got MILLIONS of people checking out my work!) and I even got to help brighten the life of his bride. The other mascot I’m not at liberty to discuss (corporate rules), but if you had found yourself on the road and pulling into a particular large convenience store because you were craving some kind of beaver-type snack, you might have seen one of thirteen costumes I created for this company. Nameless or not, it was an honor and a pleasure (and a lot of hard work on limited time!) to craft these costumes.

Lone Star Roundup – Grapevine, Texas was one of my destinations of choice this year when I attended theLone Star Roundup, an annual event that includes a fashion show; here are several of my costumes being featured in the show. If you haven’t heard of Lone Star Santas, you need to check them out here!

Reaching Out – I think, in closing, that the biggest highlight of 2019 was reaching so many of you. Your word of mouth has done wonders for my business, and I’ve loved posting blogs and memes and photos and observations and jokes and everything else I can think of to entertain, inform, and inspire you. And your responses have inspired me. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your support and patronage, and I’m SO looking forward to stepping into the Roaring ‘20s with you.

Now, it’s YOUR turn… what are some of YOUR highlights of 2019??

Until next time!


Stories of My (Early) Successes

Stories of My (Early) Successes

As this year rolls to a close, I thought I’d reminisce about days of old. I enjoyed some early successes as a fledgling Singing Seamstress, but not all of them – in fact, practically NONE of them – came easily. Here are some flashbacks that tend to bring a smile to my lips:

Putting the “Fab” in “Extra Fabric”

A bride-to-be and her mom came to a fitting appointment. Without judgment and speaking purely empirically, it was obvious that the bride was on the plus side. She had bought a dress and a matching bolero (a short jacket for those of you not quite fully fluent in the language of stitchery), but wanted to make some changes. We went to put the dress on and discovered that the zipper to the gown would not close.

In fact, not only would it not close, but the gap was fully four inches… and, yes, in this occasion size DOES matter. Apparently the gown boutique’s salesperson had clipped it where she could and then threw the bolero over the top to hide the fact from her that the dress was too small. Both bride and mother began to cry once I explained what was wrong. I was able to calm them down by explaining that this could still be fixed.

I am very grateful that the gown she bought had straps and that the skirt was a full ballroom style, so I had lots of room to maneuver. Essentially what I had to do was add panels at the bodice side and then cover the seams up with the lace from the bolero body (as the bride had asked me to attach the bolero sleeves directly to the dress0. The upshot of which is that I distributed the lace so it looked like it had originally been crafted like that; no one could tell where the original designer ended and Heather began.

When the bride came in for her final fitting, she burst into tears again. But this time they were tears of joy and gratitude. The expression on her face made the extra work definitely worthwhile.

At Least They Didn’t Take Him on the Honeymoon

This time, a bride came in for alterations and requested modesty panels both in the front and the back; apparently the ceremony’s officiant doing the service wanted less skin showing. She brought me some lace and we played with the design until she was happy with the new design, finally approving it so I could get to work. When all was ready, she picked up the gown took it to show her officiant.

Not to put too delicate a point on it, but he pooped all over it. He requested a whole lot less skin showing. He was so adamant about it, apparently, that he even offered to pay for the work to be done. Once again, the bride and I put our heads together, and we eventually settled on what’s called a racer back formation, which is ironic because she could’ve picked up a dress that was originally in that configuration had she known. Unfortunately, apparently because of the time and expense involved in the additional work, the officiant reneged on his offer and said he was not going to pay for the alterations.

So now the bride and I were both stuck. She said she could pay me half of what she owed me on a credit card and then the difference with a post-dated check. At this point I was so mad at the officiant that I agreed to take a little of the weight off of her shoulders.

When she picked up the re-revised final gown, she mentioned something in passing about her father, and something in her tone and words gave me a sneaking suspicion that the officiant and her father were one in the same person. I never got pictures of the ceremony so I can’t confirm it; however, she DID text me saying that the officiant approved. And the check did clear.

Ironically, Making a Kilt is Harder

I received a frantic call late one Saturday evening from a bride asking if I could do a major alteration within a week’s time frame. She was desperate and asked around for someone who could rescue her, and my name came up. Through her near-hysteria, she explained that her other dress was a “disaster.” She had replaced the dress with a mis-sized alternate off the rack and needed alterations before she left for Scotland in seven days. Time was of the essence! The project could only take six days, max. I love a good challenge – especially when Scotland is involved – and had her come over to the studio that evening.

She showed me her previous pictures of her original gown. The dress she had first tried on was a larger floor sample, and so the neckline sat in a certain way that she liked. When she ordered the proper size for her measurements, however, the neckline didn’t look like that anymore. Her original seamstress assured her she could replicate the neckline, but in the end she couldn’t get it to look right at all.

The replacement dress she picked unfortunately had a six-inch lace border on the skirt that required to be moved. The only way to do so is by hand, and this is a time-consuming, intricate process. But the bride had inspired me, and I wouldn’t be daunted.

Six days? Hold my beer (or, more accurately, wine). I did it in two. I was able to complete the alterations the next day and when she picked them up she was extremely happy. She made her flight the ceremony was apparently a huge success, and I’m looking forward to her portraits in front of the family castle; here’s a castle-less taste in the meantime.

Any success stories YOU’D like to share?

Until next time!


The Yucky Horror Seamstress Show

It being Halloween and all, I thought I’d share with you GHOULISH TALES OF TERROR. Then I figured it’d be better if I downshifted it a bit, and instead just give you my top five “ickiest” moments as a professional seamstress. What makes them totally spinechilling is that they’re ALL REAL…!


  1. HAMMER GYM OF HORROR – This particular smelly situation has happened to me more than once. Twice, in fact; which is twice more than it should have happened. I refer, of course, to the client who has somehow misjudged his or her timing and has opted to hit the gym before an appointment with me and equally opted to not shower beforehand. Now, you may have heard that I have previous extensive experience in community and professional theatre. And let me tell you that one person’s body odor can wreck an entire production. Same with those who come to my admittedly small studio to get measured or fitted. I beg of you, please take the as-little-as-two-minutes’-time it takes to freshen up the smelly bits. We’re working in close quarters, don’t you know.
  2. SWINGING FROM THE RAFTERS – As a seamstress, ,I have to maintain as much of a detachment to the bodies of my clients as much as a gynecologist. To me, a naked body is something needed to be clothed, preferably by something I’ve created. However, that does NOT mean I encourage you to go commando, whether you’re male or female… and I’ve had both. Please trust me when I say that no seamstress on the planet wants any extra surprises when measuring inseams. However, if you feel you MUST be ‘free and unfettered,’ please refer to Number 1 above and don’t add inappropriate smells to the inappropriate sigh
  3. WHAT, WILL THESE STAINS NE’ER COME OUT? – It’s part of my job to take garments that customers have found that are frequently secondhand and used (the garments, not the customers). I actually get much joy from repurposing or altering something that’s already been created into something new and personal and tailored to the new owner. That being said, there’s been at least one misguided Santa in my life who opted to bring me a full costume that needed re-rendering that hadn’t been washed, laundered, or drycleaned. Like, EVER. The stains and the smells jockeyed for position as to which was the most overt. I actually sort of felt for the kids who might be encountering this particular Jolly (and Smelly) Old Elf at the mall or parties. So much so that I dipped into my own pocket to have the thing professionally cleaned and practically deloused so that I could work on it without gagging. Do me a favor and have your costume, clothes, or gown drycleaned before bringing it to me. If you’re in a pinch, know that I have an entire drawer filled with coupons I’m willing to share.
  4. O HOLEY NIGHT – Believe it or not, there’s something worse than a client who has opted to go commando (see Number 2 above). And that’s wearing undergarments that are – how shall we phrase this? – ‘well worn.’ Yes, yes, I’ve heard the old joke, “Of COURSE I have holes in my underwear; how else would I put my legs through?” but there’s a limit, folks. And while we’re on the topic, skidmarks are something I wish to see ONLY on the road. Not in your unmentionables. Alas, I’ve had both bride and Santa greet me with this. So, I beg of you, when prepping for an appointment with me (or any other seamstress or tailor out there), remember what your mother told you: wear clean underwear!
  5. THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK SOUL – So, most of my above examples have been pretty olfactory centered. Yes, stains are bad and smells are worse. But what is truly horrifying is some of the horrendous attitudes I’ve encountered in my professional life. And not just directed toward me. Too often I’ve come across bridezillas and Santazillas alike. On occasions that are supposed to be all love and happiness, they bare the darkest parts of themselves that are best hidden, if not exorcized. I got into this business because I wanted to use my talents to bring happiness into people’s lives on their special days and to leave the world a little cleaner than I found it. I vastly prefer it when people make it easy for me to do so.

So, those are MY tales of terror! What are YOURS?

Have a safe Halloween… and don’t eat the candy while trying on your wedding gown!

Until next time!


The big deal about small business

There’s a saying in the stage theatre industry that comes from the great dramatic teacher Constantin Stanislavski: There are no small roles, only small actors. I recently discovered that you could easily change that to the wacky world of entrepreneurship: There are no small businesses, just the humans that run them.

You’ve heard me talk of my history as a weekend seamstress and part-time theatrical costumer as I sold medical supplies and performed other corporate gigs. You’ve also heard me self-congratulate my decision to “go pro” and become the professional Singing Seamstress you know and love today.

But what I haven’t gone into is exactly how such a decision and turning point in my life could have had an equally negative impact on me. That’s right: it isn’t all glitz and glamour.

I’ll preface this with an assurance that I’m not going anywhere; I’m not laying down my hand and walking away from the table. And I certainly don’t intend for this to be a rant-fest. But a couple of issues arose recently that made me – perhaps for the first time – honestly question if what I do is worth the cost of what I do, emotionally and otherwise.

I won’t go into particulars and I certainly won’t name names, but I have to admit if you decide to do an online search of my ratings, you’ll most likely come across what I’m talking about.

The first instance occurred a few months ago. Now, you’ve heard me joke about bridezillas, and you’ve also read me talk about how in many cases they are simply misunderstood. But sometimes, you come across what I term a ‘professional complainer’ – someone who is either never happy or expects to get something lessened in price or free if they express real or feigned unhappiness. These are the type of people who, when dining out, have to have the manager called over to state that it was “the worst experience they ever had” – despite it being a normal experience for anyone else – and not stopping until the meal is comped. And if the meal – or other service like, say, altering a gown – isn’t comped, they feel the need to take their story to the world and facts be darned.

That’s the situation I found myself in. I’ll summarize the experience with my admission that I finally realized the customer isn’t always right. When a bride wants a gown a certain way, and you know it won’t work, don’t cave in to her demands. Especially if it’s a bride who turns out to be a professional complainer who also likes to blame the world at large for everything wrong in her life (as evidenced by her own history of social media posts). She publicly railed against me on my own Facebook page with a litany of false and inaccurate accusations, and I replied in kind. Apparently that really affronted her, because the next I knew, I was being notified by the Better Business Bureau of a complaint with them.

Now, do you know what stung worse than the complaint (which was eventually dismissed)? The accuser’s statement that I should “stick with costuming.” Though it was designed to be belittling (and admittedly had that effect on me), it also denigrated the dozens or hundreds of cosplayers and Renaissance Festival actors and performers that I’ve taken care of over the years.

That woman’s barbs truly did their damage to my commitment, and for the first time I actually wondered if it’s ‘worth it’ to continue working with brides if it meant dealing with more of her ilk. Eventually, I was able to shrug it off and dive right back in, just in time for the ‘busy season.’

The second instance came shortly thereafter. It was actually sort of surreal. The bride in question sent me an email to the effect of “I like you and your work, but I’m going to give you a bad review.” I tried working with her (and indeed also before this point when I once again found myself trying to acquiesce to a bride’s unrealistic demands of their visions for their gowns), but she still publicly posted on a review site. Oddly, she too opted to take a dig at the supposedly relative ‘easiness’ of costuming and how I should just stay with that for my career path.

This time, it took a lot longer – and not a few bottles of wine – before I got out of the resulting funk. At first, I was ashamed of my tears, but was assured by family, friends, and supporters alike that they’d be more concerned if I wasn’t devastated. My pain meant I cared. I honestly had to go through the stages of grief like a bereaved widow to come out of this one.

Again, I replied in an equally public forum; not to get the last word or to be defensive, but to assure clients old and new that there are usually two truths in any given situation, and that they needed both versions to come to educated decisions on their own. Hopefully, my track record of more than 100 five-star reviews outweigh these two 1-stars that hang over me.

As a small businesswoman, I’m realistic. I know I’ve brightened the lives of countless dozens of brides and their families. I know that I can’t please everyone. I know now that the customer isn’t always right and that I’m not in the wrong for pointing it out to them.

I also know the Small Business Association statistics that 30 percent of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 50 percent during the first five years, and 66 percent during the first 10. The SBA goes on to state that only 25 percent make it to 15 years or more. Though the odds are better than the commonly held belief that most fail within two years, there are still many businesses that are closing down every year in the United States. I’ve made it longer than many, but not yet as long as most. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel comfortable enough in my chosen career path to rest easy. But that doesn’t mean I stop trying.

So, thank you for allowing me to vent. Now, I’m going to get back to sewing. Wedding gowns and costumes alike.


Until next time!


Where Do I Begin…?

I’m rapidly approaching my fourth ‘official’ anniversary of being The Singing Seamstress; the journey has been longer because the shift from amateur to professional took some time leading up to the official naming. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? While I’ve been fascinated by sewing and fabrics and design and creation pretty much my whole life, there was one particular moment when I decided to turn seamstressing from a hobby to a profession. Like any superhero, I have an origin story. Not that I’m saying I’m a superhero. I’m merely saying that Wonder Woman and I have never been in the same room together at the same time, and we’ll leave it at that.

The first Santa costume photo that I posted way back in 2016!

I was actually in the medical field a few years ago, and in honesty I’d had I had no designs on getting into bridal alterations. But the fates intervened and I received a frantic call from a theatre friend saying that one of her best friends was in a pickle. She begged me for my help, and who was I to turn down a friend’s friend in distress?

It turns out the aforementioned friend was the father of a bride, the wedding was two weeks away, and the person they had originally hired to do the alterations (a biddy from their church) didn’t do a good job on the gown and – furthermore – was not returning phone calls. Sight unseen, I offered my own assistance.

The dress turned out to be a strapless mermaid; one of the most difficult fashions to alter well. To this day… well, I can’t say I HATE a particular style to alter, but I CAN say this style is near the bottom of my list. Additionally, they’re specifically designed for a particular body type, and I’ve lost track of the times I’ve tried to convince a bride of the ‘not particular body type’ to go with another style and they refuse, only to wonder why they don’t look like they thought they would in it. But that’s another blog entry.

The original, disappeared seamstress had only taken the dress in at the very top. She had not extended her seams down the entire length of the dress, which is a vital component to any alterations to it. She also hadn’t bustled it, which, again, had to be done for this fashion. No wonder the bride and her dad were ready to have father/daughter matching heart attacks.

I will admit that my hands shook the entire time I was working on it. I was convinced I had bitten off more than I could chew, and I just KNEW I was going to only further disappoint the bride. But halfway through the project – and there’s no way to say this without sounding all Kung Fu – something happened, and my hands steadied and my nerves calmed. A sort of sereneness washed over me and with each stitch I grew more confident in my abilities. In the past, I can created and altered dozens – if not hundreds – of everyday clothes and theatrical costumes. In the end, this was no different, except for the pressure I had put on myself.

In any event, I finished the dress and promptly proceeded to drink an entire bottle of wine upon its completion. It was a sort of celebration, because I had survived the ordeal unscathed. Additionally, the realtered gown looked absolutely stunning on the beautiful bride, and I can still remember the tears in her dad’s eyes when he saw his ‘little girl’ all grown up and wearing white.

I figured – and rather naively so from today’s perspective – that this was probably as bad as it could get, so I decided to ditch my corporate position and try out professional seamstressing for a living. It took the largest leap of faith I ever had to take, and those early days were filled with hit-and-miss. But word of mouth spread, and my work began to speak for itself, and I realized the pros definitely outweighed the cons. So here I am to stay.

Now… tell me YOUR origin story!

Until next time!


Superman’s Seamstress (or, “What a Load of Bull”)

As a girl growing up, I had a singular problem with the whole Superman/Lois Lane relationship dynamic. According to the official story, Clark Kent never told Lois – nor Jimmy Olsen nor anyone else outside his immediate family – that he was really the Man of Steel because he was afraid they’d be targeted.

Sure, I can give points for caring, but in reality every other issue of the comic book dealt with Lois being kidnapped to lure her hero into a trap because she was “Superman’s Girlfriend.” Whether or not she knew Superman’s secret identity, she was “part of the family” and prime pickings for Lex Luthor’s evil plans.

(And to the comic nerds who follow me and my musings: Yes, yes, I know, the writers of the Superman mythos finally “evolved” their story so where she now knows. But I’m a traditionalist.)

Personally, I think he never told her because he couldn’t trust her to keep her trap shut.

Now, I find myself in that exact same predicament. Because I’m privy to a secret that rivals the knowledge of Superman’s identity itself. Cue the music! Look up in the sky! It’s a bird… it’s a plane… It’s… It’s…


That’s right, I’m part of the inner circle who knows the identity of the NFL team Houston Texans’ mascot.

How did I get to enjoy such a treasured secret? Simple. Because I had the honor of being selected by Toro’s human counterpart (let’s call him “Clark”) and his lovely woman to create his wedding tuxedo and perform alterations on her wedding gown for their recent nuptials.

Now, I can’t tell you how much I want to splash the wedding photos all over the interwebs, but I’ve been sworn to strict secrecy, and this is a charge I take to heart. Sure, being known as the official seamstress of Toro’s Wedding could give me some amazing street cred, but it would go against the explicit and implicit wishes of my clients, and that’s something I simply cannot do.

Photo courtesy of Magek Photography,

What I CAN tell you is that both “Clark” and his lovely bride are amazing, friendly people; honest, engaging, and honorable, just like you’d like your superhero and his gal to be. If you want proof, just check out this wedding photo courteously provided by Magek Photography showing Toro brightening people’s lives at SOMEONE ELSE’S wedding. He treasures the value of his fans and likes to give back to the community as best as he can.

And that’s no bull.


Until next time!