The Ultimate Bridezilla

When most folks think of the term bridezilla, they picture the tantrum throwing, sailor swearing, hysterically sobbing whack job that you generally see on reality programs like Say Yes to the Dress (which is one of the reasons I don’t watch that show, incidentally). In my line of work, I’ve been exposed to enough of them, including Mom-zillas, but I would have to say the worst one I’ve come across was far calmer, far scarier, and more insidious than the tantrum throwing toddler in an adult body.

The appointment began like many others: I welcomed the bride and her best friend/maid of honor into my studio, talked about the dress, did the fitting, discussed options, and talked about what comes next. In many cases, the bridesmaid asks if she can bring me her dress too. The answer is always yes, as I do alterations for the entire bridal party.

At the time, I didn’t think anything of it when the bride told me that she was getting married in the Mormon Temple and her dress needed to cover her temple garments, underwear worn by followers of the Mormon faith after they have taken part in the endowment ceremony. These garments are required for any adult who previously participated in the endowment ceremony to enter a temple. They remind me of saint medals worn by the Catholics, yarmulkes worn by Jewish men, and hajibs worn by Muslim women. They are symbols of their faith. I’ve known a handful of devout Mormons in my life, and these garments are a BIG deal to them. Something else that should be mentioned is that, if you haven’t gone through the endowment ceremony, you WON’T be allowed in the temple. No exceptions. So, unlike the other three examples that I mentioned, this one is representative of exclusivity.

Okay, so the stage is set. Enter the maid of honor (MOH) on her own for a fitting appointment for her dress. When I answered the door, there she was, sans dress. Usually when this happens, something else has gone awry in the woman’s life, so I asked if she was okay. She attempted not to burst into tears . . . and failed miserably. I invited her in and scooped her into my arms for a much-needed hug (don’t worry . . . it was pre-COVID). In my line of work, I’m often called upon to play psychologist.

I sat her down, provided tissue, wine, and chocolate, and offered to listen to whatever she needed to say. Slowly, the story poured out between her tears. Apparently, the two women had been thick as thieves through high school and college even though the MOH was not a member of the Mormon Church (not that her friend hadn’t tried). They both dated another set of best friends, neither of whom were Mormons either. When they graduated from high school, the MOH and her beau went separate ways, but her friend received a proposal. The bride apparently agreed on the condition that her fiancé not only become Mormon but also go through the endowment ceremony.

At this point, I didn’t quite understand or remember what the big deal was, so I asked for clarification. She then told me that the only people who would be allowed to attend the wedding were the bride’s parents (see paragraph 3). I was aghast. I asked why they didn’t just elope instead of making a big deal out of it. The MOH continued, saying that it wasn’t the worst part. She told me that her BFF had chosen another Mormon, someone she’d just met, to stand with her for the ceremony. Now I understood the betrayal. The MOH, who had been the bride’s best friend all through high school and college, was being laid aside like an old doll in favor of someone who had the right credentials.

When I saw the bride for the final fitting, I chose to say nothing. It wasn’t my affair, and karma would take care of her in the end. I never saw the MOH again. I heard nothing back from either of them, so I don’t know what happened with the wedding or their friendship.

From my perspective, it seemed that the MOH was deeply wounded by the bride’s betrayal. It was almost as if the bride was telling the MOH, “I’m getting married now and I don’t need you.”  Don’t get me wrong.  I understand that someone’s faith can be extremely important to them.  It just seemed extremely selfish to me for the bride to treat the person who was supposed to be her best friend in that manner. And it wasn’t just her BFF.  She made crazy demands of her fiancé (as I understand it now, the endowment ceremony is quite the event for which to prepare) and unfair demands of his family and their attendants, as she expected them to help with the reception even though they would be unable to witness the union. With so many easy and loving compromises at her fingertips, it just flummoxed me why she would choose this route … one that excluded so many and damaged so many relationships.  Not a good way to start what should be a joyous transition in your life.

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


The Tale of Two Sisters

It is very common in my line of work to perform alterations for several members of one family. Usually, it’s for the same event, but I will often see sisters from one family, for instance, for their wedding gown alterations a year or so apart from one another. What isn’t as common is doing alterations for two sisters’ weddings in the same year.

This particular set of sisters were only a couple years apart in age, but I could tell that there was a bitter rivalry between them even though there were other sisters in the family. Their mother joined them for many of their fittings. Though she didn’t say much when it came to her daughters’ relationship, I could tell that it had been a family issue since day one. For this telling, I will call them Monica and Terri*.

Monica was the older of the two in question, athletically built but not without curves, medium brown hair of medium length, sparkling eyes full of mischief, and a very bohemian outlook on life. Her wedding was first and she was getting married on the beach in Mexico wearing a strapless A-line gown with a crocheted lace overlay. Like I said, VERY bohemian.

Terri, the younger of the two, was very slightly built, no curves, long blonde hair, and steely grey eyes. Her dress was a lot more traditional–sweetheart neckline with a plain illusion bodice and a satin ballgown skirt. She was the more conservative of the two, getting married in a church and planning a very reserved reception.

Of course, they were both bridesmaids in one another’s weddings, albeit grudgingly. Monica let her bridesmaids choose their gowns to suit their body types with three stipulations: color (soft shades evoking the beach in Mexico), easy flowing style, and mid-calf length for comfort. Terri chose satin column dresses with a high jewel neckline in a dark burgundy for her bridesmaids. Are we seeing a pattern yet?

Monica’s wedding came and went, and I saw both afterwards for the dress alterations for Terri’s wedding. The story of Monica’s wedding from Monica’s point of view and Terri’s were night and day.

The first thing that was brought up was the fact that their parents had relatively recently divorced and neither daughter really wanted the new girlfriend there for their mother’s sake. At least their father adhered to that request. The second thing was the massive bachelor/bachelorette party that happened the night before the nuptials. If you’ve seen the movie Hangover, you get the idea–lots of drinking and debauchery, the groom arrested and bailed out, taken to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning to get fixed up so he was in reasonable condition for the wedding in a few hours’ time. The bride was no better apparently. She managed to dislocate her shoulder in all the chaos and silliness and ALSO had to be taken to the emergency room to get fixed up.

Of course, Monica was giggling during the entire telling, sprinkling crazy anecdotes all throughout. It was quite clear she viewed the whole trip as a massive success.

Terri, on the other hand, was thoroughly embarrassed by everyone’s behavior and clearly thought her sister should be thrown in wedding jail for the mockery she made of such a solemn institution.

Being the reverently irreverent person I am, I found Monica’s rendition of the story far more entertaining and had a hard time relating to Terri’s feelings of shock and horror.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to hear about Terri’s wedding from either sister. I can only imagine that Monica was bored out of her mind and might have been intent on mischief just to lighten the mood, much to the chagrin of Terri. As I have a sister myself, I can completely imagine both reactions to the inevitable chaos of the day. I just hope they are still speaking to one another. LOL

Throughout my career, I’ve seen hundreds of brides and hundreds of dresses. I’ve heard hundreds of “how we met” stories and been sent hundreds of wedding photos. The one thing I’m certain of is that no one configuration of this ritual will satisfy everyone. This ritual for this immensely important rite of passage is intensely personal and SHOULD be a reflection of the two people making this solemn promise to one another. It’s not for me or anyone else, especially a sister, to judge what makes this ritual meaningful to any one person.

What made your special day meaningful to you? Please share … I love a good story. J

Until next time dear reader!


*All names have been changed to protect the innocent or extremely crabby.

Happily Ever After

One of the joys of my job is being part of some very romantic stories. I always ask my brides where they met their sweeties, and a lot of the answers involve college, online dating services, friends, etc. Once in a while, I find a real princess story, and quite a few of those gems happen with, what we call in the industry, encore brides. A lot of these women are older and have grown families, but that’s part of what makes their stories so compelling.

Case in point…I will call her Marilyn. Marilyn’s fiancé is someone she had a very serious crush on in high school. Unfortunately, she was the shy type back then and never did anything about it. They still ran in the same friend circles peripherally in college, so they actually did have one date during that time. However, nothing came of it. After college, they went their separate ways, got married to different people, had children, and those children grew up and had children of their own. Eventually, both marriages came to an end: his wife died, and she divorced her husband.

Thirty years or so go by for Marilyn and her sweetie. One day while she was surfing Facebook, the thought of him invaded her mind, and she did a search for him. There were a lot of profiles with his name, but she managed to find and confirm his. She took a deep breath and friended him. Much to her surprise, his confirmation came back almost immediately, and he messaged her. They began a conversation that led quickly to dating, his admitting that he had a crush on her too way back when, and ended six months later with a marriage proposal.

Since he eloped with his first wife, they are doing the big white wedding this time for him. She chose a dress with a bohemian style yet elegant flare (they are both “aging hippies,” in her words) and will wear a floral headband in her long hair. All their children and grandchildren will be bridesmaids and groomsmen, flower girls and ring bearers in tones beginning with lilac for the youngest grandbabies and graduating up to dark purple for the eldest of their children. This is one family photo I can’t wait to see.

The best part of this story is them realizing that they had to go through all those years of life lessons to be ready for the happiness they would have with one another. Neither regrets their first marriage, but both are grateful that they’ve found one another again.

My takeaway? It’s never too late to begin again. It’s never too late for a happily ever after.

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


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!


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!