Pink Bridezilla

If you’ve read my previous blog, “To Pink or Not to Pink,” you understand that I am not a fan of brides choosing pink for their bridesmaids. I have an example currently in my studio that is probably the most hideous example of this that I have ever seen.

I will start first by saying that the bridesmaid in question (I will call her Samantha*) was a bride of mine. Samantha’s sister is now getting married, and she has chosen this awful rose gold metallic dress with a herringbone pattern that has a knotted feature at the middle for her bridesmaids, including Samantha. The only person this would look good on is a size 2 or less. Never mind that there isn’t anyone in her lineup that is a size 2 or less. Samantha, for instance, is definitely Rubenesque in figure, and a knot in the center of a Rubenesque figure is certainly not an asset.

Samantha brought the dress to me and explained that she bought the biggest size they had. Unfortunately, this didn’t begin to fit her. The dress, in addition to having a knot in the front, had a U-shaped back with a bar across to hold the straps in place. So, not only did the zipper not go up all the way, but the bar didn’t even make it halfway across Samantha’s back.

What I ended up doing was taking the scraps I cut off the bottom of her dress (because it needed to be hemmed) as well as the scraps from another of the bridesmaid’s dresses to fill in the back for her. I got rid of the U shape, made it a V to match the front neckline, and put in a longer zipper so the dress was at least more supportive of her curvaceous figure.

Miraculously, also with the help of a pair of Spanx, the dress looked reasonable on her post alterations. It was never going to look fantastic, as the design elements didn’t go with Samantha’s figure. Samantha even confided in me that ALL of the bridesmaids hated this dress.

I understand that, from the bride’s point of view, this is HER day and she should be able to do whatever she pleases. HOWEVER . . . for the love of all your friends, sisters and other relatives who have to wear these often hideous frocks, PLEASE have a care for what these wonderful folks will look like in the photos. If you can’t make them look fabulous, at least don’t make them look hideous.

After this kerfuffle is done, I fully expect to get a video from Samantha with her and the other bridesmaids burning all these dresses in effigy in her friend’s outdoor fire pit. I also plan to drink to their fiery demise as I watch said video J

Cheers y’all! Until next time!


*Name changed to protect the innocent and to avoid pissing off the bride in question LOL

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 Saga of Heather, Ashley, and Harvey

There is a popular idiom that says, “when it rains, it pours.” Four years ago this August, that idiom came true in too many ways for comfort. To begin, in Houston, where I currently live, hurricane season runs from June through November. Additionally, “wedding season” for me runs from about the second week of August through the first week of October, as October is the #1 month for weddings in Houston and November is #3. Basically, I don’t sleep during those 8-9 weeks, and there are anywhere from 15-30 dresses in my studio queue at once.

I remember watching the weather channel constantly that year and actively tracking the progress of Hurricane Harvey, which would eventually claim the lives of more than 100 folks and cause $125 billion in damage, qualifying it as one of the worst hurricanes on record for the Houston area and earning the retirement of the name.

It was the Wednesday before the storm hit the Houston area when the hubster and I made the decision to evacuate. We loaded BOTH cars with the contents of my studio–wedding gowns, Santa suits in various stages of construction, supplies, machines, and other accoutrements–and headed off to Fort Worth where my in-laws lived at the time. I’m SO glad we left early. My in-laws left the news on constantly, and I was regaled and terrorized with images of long, slow-moving traffic lines and horrific storm videos.

I’m extremely grateful to my in-laws. They yielded their dining room to me so I could continue to work. I even put the hubster to work now and again, although he mostly ended up doing honey-do list items for his folks. I texted every single one of my local clients every few days to make sure they were all okay and to assure them that their dresses or suits were safe.

There was one wedding coming up that was a question mark until the very last minute. It was to be held on Labor Day weekend, and much of Houston was still in pretty bad shape. I still had two of the bridesmaids’ dresses for that wedding in my possession, and I still needed to do alterations on a VERY pregnant bridesmaid at the last minute.

We had been in Fort Worth for nine days. For nine days, I watched horrific yet heart-warming images on the news of all kinds of folks helping one another. (I was VERY proud of how my city came together during this crisis.) For nine days, I read Facebook posts from my friends about all the damage their houses or cars or both had sustained. For nine days, I checked on my bridal clients and friends to make sure they were safe. For nine days, I assured my mother and other family members that I was safe.

Then, I finally got a call from the bride in question. She had confirmed that their venue had survived the storm and could go forward with the event as planned. She asked if I would come back to Houston to finish the event. We loaded the car, cleaned the house for my in-laws, and hit the road.

We arrived home the Friday before their event. I reached out to all her bridesmaids who still needed attention. The one I was most concerned with was the VERY pregnant one, as I only had a day to make her alterations happen. She met me Saturday morning before the rehearsal and accompanying lunch to get fitted. I completed the alterations while she was gone and then she came back after the festivities to pick up her dress. After that appointment, the bride called me again, asking if my husband and I would be their honored guests at the wedding. Considering all we had been through together, it was a no brainer to say, “Yes.”

Originally, when I was asked to be part of this wedding, I’d known both women from the local art community in Houston. The art community is close knit here; everyone knows everyone. I’d had them on my radio show and been to several of their concerts. (They are both in a local band.) I was honored that they’d asked me to help prepare their wedding garments. One thing they’d asked me to do–in addition to keeping both outfits secret from one another–was to add something in common to both ensembles. I had a lot of fun being creative with that and enjoyed teasing both of them that their partner was going to look amazing on their special day.

The day of the wedding, we sat in the third row (one and two being designated for family), and I elected to watch Ashley’s face as Heather made her way down the staircase and took her father’s hand to walk down the aisle since I had seen Heather previously during the bridal shoot. I think I’m going to make this my normal practice when I go to weddings from now on. Watching the “receiver,” for lack of a better term, is far more fun than watching the “aisle walker,” in my opinion. The look on Ashley’s face was sheer amazement and love. I believe gobsmacked would be a good term to use here. Her jaw literally dropped, her eyes bugged out like one of those silly cartoons we all used to watch, and then she dissolved into happy tears. It was glorious to behold.

Since then, I’ve been honored to be a part of many more weddings where the two joining forces were of the same sex. With all the hate and division going on right now, it brings my heart joy to know that love is out there in its many varied and beautiful forms, and it brings me hope to know that “Love wins,” regardless of the obstacles–whether they be human-made hurdles, hurricanes, or other natural disasters. Love always wins.

Much love to you, my loyal readers. Until next time!


10 things to think about when purchasing your wedding gown – from a Seamstress’ perspective

Purchasing a wedding gown is an exciting excursion (although it can be scary and stressful for some). A lot of brides have dreamed of the perfect princess gown à la Cinderella for years, but there are all kinds of ladies out there who look at a dress maybe once a year and have no clue regarding what they are about to undertake. One thing that is common between these two groups of women is that neither have any idea about what is required in terms of alterations. The following list contains several things prospective brides should keep in mind while they are shopping.

1. Expectations–Unless you look like the model in the picture, presuming the gown will look on you as it does on her is unrealistic. Classic example . . . I had a bride come to me with a gown that would look much better on someone with a Jessica Rabbit figure full of curves, but said bride was extremely slender. As there are no refunds on wedding gowns, I did the best I could for her, but there was no making her look like the model in the picture because their body types were just too different. Keeping your expectations as realistic as possible when selecting a wedding dress will definitely help you escape this type of heartache.

2. Trends–Oftentimes, just following the popular craze in bridal gowns will cause you to err when selecting your dress. I can’t tell you how many times over the years I have had prospective brides who shouldn’t have done so bring me strapless mermaid dresses because they were currently fashionable. Most of these women were either too skinny to fill out the curves or too heavy to look good in this style. Be honest with yourself about your body type. Choose what really highlights your best features rather than adhere to the trends.

3. YOUR dress–Letting your friends, family, or salesperson talk you into something may cause regret. For instance, I had a bride bring me a ball gown with a super high boat neck that her relatives had convinced her to purchase. She had a great figure, but the gown was hiding all of it. I ended up cutting the ball gown into a tulip skirt and the boat neck into a deep V. She would have avoided my alterations fee if she had gone with the dress she wanted instead of the gown her mother and sister talked her into buying. Remember that this gown is YOUR dress. You’ll know when you find the right one.

4. Alterations–If you are purchasing a new gown, plan on a third to a half more than the cost of the dress for alterations. That way, if it comes in less, you are pleasantly surprised and have more for something else on your list. If you are purchasing off the rack, it’s anyone’s guess, unfortunately. I’ve done $100 in alterations on an off-the-rack dress, but I’ve also done $1,300 in alterations on the same type of gown. The latter was for a bride who bought the dress two sizes too large and then lost fifty pounds. Everything I did to the dress shifted something else. In the end, she still came out ahead though, as the retail cost of the gown was $5,000.

5. Size–ALWAYS buy a dress based on your hardest area to fit. For instance, many of my plus-sized brides are pear shaped, which means that the hip will be the hardest area to fit. If this matches your body and you are purchasing anything other than a ball gown, buy the size that fits your hips. If you’re buying a ball gown, then go to the next hardest area, which would be the waist in most pear-shaped women. It’s important to remember, anything can be made smaller. It’s a LOT HARDER to make something bigger. Caveat: if you are purchasing off the rack and you fall

in love with something a lot larger than you are, be prepared for a large alterations fee (see #4). If you can, purchase an off-the-rack dress only a size or two larger than you are for best results.

6. Skirts–Unless you buy an off-the-rack dress that’s already been altered or special order a dress, any gown you buy will be long enough to fit an Amazon. The most I’ve ever had to cut off a dress was 15”, but the young lady was barely five feet tall. In contrast, my tallest bride so far was six feet; however, I still had to cut 4” off her gown. Remember, it’s MUCH easier to make something shorter than it is to make it longer. Unless you plan to wear 6-12” platforms, expect to shorten the skirts.

7. Lace Borders–This is one of the more complicated things we seamstresses have to do. Some borders are easy to move, and then there are those that behave like an art restoration. In my experience, most lace borders take 1-3 hours to move all by themselves. My craziest alteration in this category was a border that was 7” tall at its tallest and 1” tall at its shortest and had a gazillion tchotchkes in between. It took me FOUR HOURS. In some cases, we can shorten the skirts from the waist—unfortunately, I couldn’t do that with the aforementioned example–but it all depends on what’s going on there. Either way, anticipate lace borders on skirts ADDING TIME to the alteration.

8. Beads and Other Bling–These things get in the way of our needles. Many times, we have to remove a swath of beads or bling in order to be able to put the seam through the sewing machine. THEN, we get to put them back on. One bride brought me a gown that was solid crystals from neck to hem. The thing must have weighed fifty pounds! It was quite the challenge to take in the bodice seams on that one. Assume that this will add to your alterations cost, as hand work ALWAYS takes more time than machine.

9. Fittings–Bring shoes and special undergarments to ALL your fittings. Things like strapless bras, shapeware, and petticoats change the way your dress will fit. Do not change what you bring mid fitting stream as this will cause confusion and possibly add to your alterations total. I had a bride bring a soft petticoat to her first fitting and then a hoop skirt to her final fitting. The skirts did not look the same, AND they were shorter with the hoop skirt on. I had to talk her into going back to the soft one because I couldn’t easily add fabric back on.

10. Professionalism–We vendors are here to help make your event magical. We understand how stressful this process can be as we’ve worked with hundreds of brides—or more. We understand about traffic, family, and work issues. We understand that life does get in the way sometimes. Please do us the courtesy of communicating professionally with us when things change, and we will do the same.

Stay tuned for my future blog series, “How to Pick Your Best Wedding Gown,” coming soon! Feel free to post additional questions.

Thank you for being a loyal reader!

Until next time,


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.


Something to Warm Your Heart on a Cold Day

If you’re local, you know that this morning we actually woke up for the first time since last year with frost on our windshields, frozen dew on our lawns, and a shiver in our bones. Winter finally came to Houston. If you’re NOT local, know that this is a rare event indeed, a literal cold splash in the face the inform us that the year is about over.

True, I started the day with a blanket to warm my body and a cup of hot cocoa to warm the insides, but something recently happened that actually warmed my soul. You see, I’m very happy having two main clienteles – brides and Santas – but rarely do the two mix. Until now.

One of my clients is a wonderful gentleman named Adam Sinclair-Greenwood, the official man behind the Robin Hood Experience in Nottingham, England. For years, he has played the leader of his Band of Merry Men at the Experience in the shadow of Nottingham Castle. He may not rob from the rich, but he’ll happily take people’s admission fees and give them an entertaining time they’ll never forget.

Well, back in 2009, Robin met his Maid Marian in the form of Sarah, whom he met in The Netherlands at Elf Fantasy Fair Haarzuilens. In 2018, she became the woman he was determined to marry, and they were happily betrothed. Unfortunately, Sarah was not allowed back into England, as she was originally from The Netherlands and had a US passport. Adam and Sarah – just like the lovers in the Robin Hood tales – decided it was worth it to face the obstacles and overcome them together.

The fairy tale wedding finally happened just last month. Adam flew out to The Netherlands and – with Sarah’s two daughters – celebrated his wedding to the love of his life. They livestreamed the ceremony so that family and friends all over the world could enjoy the nuptials.

So, what’s my part in this? Well, as the wedding date neared, Adam and Sarah contacted me and asked if I could create their wedding costumes that would befit the Lord of Locksley and his beautiful bride. While I’m always proud of my work, I was especially heartwarmed at the “Robin and Marian in a Winter Wonderland” motif. Subjectively, it was quite the experience to craft two custom-made outfits when both of the clients were in different parts of the world from each other and me. Objectively, they were one beautiful couple. I hesitate to say this because I obviously can’t do it for ALL my clients, but I did make sure my wedding gift was a little cash to help them defray the wedding and travel expenses.

The fairy tale, unfortunately, is not quite at its happy ending, however. Sarah needs a visa to get back into England so she can take up residence with her husband. Until then, her Robin will just have to keep catching a ferry back and forth until the bureaucracy is untangled.

They’ve set up a crowdsource account to help them with the accompanying costs, and are on the lookout for any attorneys with immigration experience to help them at a reduced or pro bono rate. To learn more about them and their story, check out this newspaper article:

It’s so rare that I get to be part of a real life happily ever after, and this is one time that will stick with me for many, many holidays to come. What about you? Do YOU have any special holiday wedding memories you want to share? Sound off in the comments below!

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!