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!


A Bloggin’ from Saint Nick

‘Twas the month before Christmas, and all through the blogosphere, not a creature was writing, so I thought I’d post something here.

If you were expecting a post from Heather, I’m glad to disappoint you. Oh, she’ll be back soon enough; she’s been a GOOD GIRL this year working on brightening the lives of many clients, but she’s against the clock at the moment, so I thought I’d post in her place. Allow me to introduce myself:

It’s your old pal, Santa Claus. That’s right; Kris Kringle himself. Father Christmas, Père Noël, Saint Nicolas, Dedt Moroz, Hoteiosho… I have many names, and nearly as many faces. And I have to say that Heather has done an awesome job at bringing some of those faces – and costumes – to life for me, as well as many of my ‘helpers’ who work the crowds while I work away at the North Pole. Here are some examples:

Now, THIS is Heather’s first attempt to capture my modern day image. Did you know that the stereotypical look of Santa came from a 1933 Coca-Cola advertising campaign? I mean, sure, cartoonist Thomas Nast got most of that look down in the 1870s, but the fine folks at Coke made me the man I am today to American children. Too bad the milk industry wasn’t quicker on signing me on as the Official Milk Spokesman!

If you go back to my earlier roots, I looked a lot different than what I do today. In the 1820s, Clement Moore wrote about me in his famous poem that we all know and that I sort-of quoted up top. But he imagined me as a teeny-tiny guy with reindeer the size of wiener dogs. Personally, I think it was just a writer’s shortcut so he wouldn’t have to explain how I make it down chimneys. However, in the Renaissance period, I was larger than life. Here, Heather crafted a beautiful outfit for me that was quite stylish in the 1400s.

In Nordic countries, people’s views of me are all over the map. In Norway in particular, I’m called Julinessen, and I catch a lucky break because people do their gift-swapping on the night before, so I can cross them off my travel list early. I also have little gnomes called Nisse to help me. Here’s a shot of me and one of my adorable helpers in beautiful Heather-crafted costumes.


As popular as Charles Dickens is with Christmas lovers, I’m nowhere to be found in his Scrooge story. But rest assured I was working behind the scenes to bring old Ebenezer to an epiphany. Every year, that’s celebrated in Galveston at a huge festival where I get to work on my Texas tan as I wear Heather’s official Dickens on the Strand Santa costume.


Speaking of Texas, there’s an awesome artist named Jack Sorenson who painted a cowboy version of myself. I loved it so much that I asked Heather to recreate his fashion. I think she did a purty durned-tootin’ job.

Even though I bring tons of toys to millions of children each year, I also love to help other causes the rest of the year. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I’m passionate about helping raise that awareness. People like to wear pink ribbons to commemorate the month, but you KNOW I like to take it a step further, so I asked Heather to whip me up a whole costume in pink. Let me take this opportunity to encourage ALL men and women to do what it takes to catch this horrible disease early.


Movies about me are a great way to spread the holiday spirit. But it seems as if each moviemaker has a different idea about how I should look! Luckily for me, Heather is on the case and has crafted a movie-Santa look for every occasion. Here are some shots of me in costumes inspired by movies like Tim Allen’s The Santa Clause, Frozen, Rise of the Guardians, and Kurt Russell’s The Christmas Chronicles. What’s YOUR favorite movie featuring me??


Finally, I’m a big fan of the concept of “an oldie but a goodie.” Sure, I may look nothing like I did back in 280 AD in Lycia (which is nowadays somewhere in Turkey), but I’m very comfortable in my ‘traditional’ garb. Here are a final couple of shots of costumes that Heather put together for me.

I love that Heather is so busy each year working on costumes for my helpers. Be sure to book her early for YOUR Santa or Mrs. Claus costume so you can be featured next year around this time!

Ho ho ho!


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!