I described the kind of sewing I prefer to do, stressing that unless there were cost restrictions, I always put back what I find, meaning the garment is reconstructed using the original techniques. She was comfortable enough with my answers that she arranged to bring me some items to work on.
When a customer comes into my studio for the first time carrying a basket full of clothing I'm usually very skeptical of the outcome of the visit. I've had people make an appointment to have one garment altered, which they've described in detail - then show up with all their mending as well, hoping I'll take that on too. This client walked in with a hamper full, but it turned out these were all Lilly Pulitzer dresses, skirts and pants. If you've never seen this designer's clothing, it will be hard to picture the burst of color I could see even before we started unfolding the items. Some were vintage, some current - and all in the brightest, flowery-est prints you've ever seen!
|Just 4 of the prints that came into the studio|
Out of this basket K. pulled dress after dress - all of which needed hemming, some to be taken in; jeans in ice cream colors to be shortened; a couple of knit tops that needed minor repairs. 9 garments in all that first day, and not one of the dresses or skirts was a simple, straightforward job. Many of these garments had been purchased through vintage resellers, so she'd bought the size that was available - meaning they needed to be sized down to fit her. Most have embellishment of some sort: one sleeveless dress with a slim skirt is slit up both side seams and lined to the edge, and has beading on the neckband and over the shoulder where it needed to be taken up. An underlined skirt has heavy venise-type lace at both the hem and the waistline - taking in the sides and shortening the length involved removing and reattaching the lace border.
One dress had originally been worn to her prom, and now needed to be lengthened - but the cotton fabric shows a line at the pressed hemline that would never come out. Adding some border lace to the hem solved that problem.
|Even after pressing, the hem crease shows.|
|Lengthened as far as can be, leaving the original hem lace in place. We jus||t left the lining alone.|
|My client found two kinds of venise-type border lace to add to these hems.|
She also requested that we come up with a new back closure on the strapless design - the back bodice consisted of tie ends that slipped down her back and loosened too much for comfort. Whatever I came up with, she wanted to bring me 2 more in the same design to restyle as well! After experimenting with the idea of shortening the backs to overlap and button, I felt this wouldn't feel a whole lot more secure to wear. I decided instead to leave them longer, connect the ends, then add elastic in a casing to hold the back bodice snug. The end result is long enough to pull over her head.
|Tied bodice back on a strapless long dress.|
|Beaded sleeveless long dress. Notice all the linings are a fun contrast solid cotton!|