About Me

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Melrose, MA, United States
Hi there, and thanks for visiting my Blog! How did I get started? Well, when I was pretty young, my mom taught me all the basics of sewing. It seemed to come natural to me, and by the time I was in middle school, I began to make lots of my own clothes. I did some sewing for people I knew, (including my mom!)and then bought my first sewing machine in 1986 when I decided that I would make my own wedding gown! I live in Melrose, MA with my husband and our 3 boys. When expecting our first, I started to make dolls, just in case I had a girl. I continued making and selling them as they were fun to make and customize for a special girl. I work out of my home and have had the great experience of making gowns, home fashions, dolls and doing many alterations over the years. My work has been largely word of mouth, with very little advertising. I think you will find my work unique and would like to create something special just for you!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The light on the horizon

It's been a while...

So, this COVID-19 thing has done a number on us all, as people, parents, healthcare workers, restaurant owners, and small businesses. ALL businesses, even essential ones, as cutbacks in employees and social distancing rules are in place having a limited number of people in the stores to keep people healthy.

On February 21, 2020, I received an email about contributing to a new blog that one of the writers in my building thought would be a nice way to show others what the artists at Follow Your Art Community Studios, do. Brilliant! But I cordially declined, for the moment, being the beginning of prom and wedding season, and knowing that I was going to be getting really busy, with little or no time to write, much less think of what to write!


Stay at home - less than one month later

All at once, I could no longer have appointments and meet with my happy brides and excited prom girls. I was confused as to what to do, how to handle it. I was panic striken at one point, not about my business, but about the health of the country and its people.

Anyhow, I did find some extra time on my hands, enough, to write my blog contribution. So, here it is. There is a light at the end of this extra long tunnel...it's dim now, but it will get brighter the closer we get. 

Stay safe!


Monday, July 22, 2019

Times are changing....

....and like it or not, we all have to change too sometime. It's my time....

What do you think you want to do next? Do you want to increase your business? Make it your full time job? Can you? I could...Will you hire people? Advertise? Move to a larger space outside of your home? All valid questions others have asked me and that I've considered myself over the past 2 years.

Monday March 12, 2018, I found myself at City Hall in Melrose, MA applying for a business certificate. It was time. I've had my home-based business in my town for a very long time (over 20 years!) and my name gets mentioned in several social and online forums as: "Tamara's my go-to", "I highly recommend Tamara", so I wanted to do the right thing by making my business "official".
I went to the bank that same day to open a business bank account. I needed the business certificate for that. You know you're doing well when someone says "you better make an appointment with her before she gets booked up!" and when repeat customers refer their friends, etc...

What do I do? I help people look and feel good in what they are wearing. I specialize in Bridal and formal wear alterations. I am creative. I design and redesign. I am a Seamstress!

When I was going to networking events a few years ago, I'd say "I'm an accountant", but not really embracing that role and not even wanting to delve into what I did at work. I'd often segway into my seamstress title during a conversation. It's my passion. Accounting is what I went to school for, trained many years and put in lots of tax seasons - almost 3 decades! So it has served me well for many years. But as I have grown in life, I realize it's not where my true passion is. Sure, it's where the steady paycheck is, but is that all I want out of life? I like making people feel good in what they're wearing to a special event, or on their wedding day. I like creating a one of a kind christening gown from the mom/grandmother's wedding gown. When a bride gives me a hug and says "it's exactly the way I want it", "it's perfect!", that to me, is pure joy, and I thrive on that! I have had some time to build my sewing "business" from my home and have focused on things I LIKE to do, and am passing up work I would rather not do (like fixing a rip or hemming curtains, replacing a zipper - no more!). I LOVE working on bridal and formal-wear, and absolutely can't get enough of making a christening gown or first communion dress from the mom's wedding gown. That's my passion! I absolutely love the creative process. I noticed in certain work situations, some people hum and tap their pencil when they're focused on their work or reviewing other people's work, and I thought, wow, that person REALLY loves what he/she does. I think staying in the same field I've been in for so long, is not only getting stale to me, but as I am learning, I have to do something in my next job, that I REALLY enjoy. Why be stuck at a job, for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for only a paycheck. Done with that! I was so unhappy at my last job, towards the end of that job I found myself climbing the stairs (51 of them!) in the morning repeating to myself "I hate my job", and knowing that change was evident. Either I would make the change, or I'd be helped along that path. So, my next job search will be a little different from past ones, that's if I actually engage in a search. I want a job where I can be creative, or at least have a lot of moving parts to it.

I have been actively looking for a new "space" for my sewing work for about three years. I started writing this blog more than a year ago. Since then, I now have a local bridal shop referring customers to me, and if you do a Google search for wedding gown alterations in Melrose, I am at the top of the page! So that in itself, has driven the bridal traffic to me. Not only brides, but bridesmaids, Mothers of the Bride and the Groom and Flower girls. Since I now have such a large volume, it makes sense to move it out of the house and lessen the family (and dog) interruptions. It's time. It's MY time!

Update: July 8, 2019 - I have FOUND my space! And it's right down the street! A "studio". It's a good size room on the 3rd floor of a Victorian home, RIGHT DOWNTOWN, and walking distance from my house! They are only leasing to artists, and welcomed me right away! I am so excited to finally have my own space to work in. There are opening and closing hours, so I won't be tempted to stay up until midnight anymore working on a prom dress!!! (thank goodness!) I have no doubt that this move will increase my productivity as well as visibility in my community, and I'm absolutely thrilled about embarking on this new journey in my business expansion!

"Do what you love, and never work a day in your life"....Mark Twain - words to live by

Sunday, September 9, 2018

A gown all her own

In my years of doing bridal alterations, I have taken in, let out, added/removed a belt/sash, added/removed straps, added/removed tulle and bustled, bustled, bustled!!!

Earlier this year (March 2018) I received my most unusual request. To add color ,and in doing so, also redesigning the style, of her wedding gown!

Interesting, I thought. "what color?", I asked....."lime green", she responded....oh my! I thought...
Then the bride sent me photos of her in the gown with some scribbles drawn on to where she would like the color added, and of gowns where she saw green added. Those photos were more of the style that she liked, the green was not the right shade for her.

Ok, this made sense. When she first came to me, she had on a lime green fitbit, a lime green phone case, and her dress had white, black and of course, lime green in it. It was obvious that it was her favorite color, and looks great with her dark skin.

I was intrigued. I LOVE a challenge, especially given enough time to bring it to fruition. Her wedding is September 9, 2018 - the date I decided to write this blog.

Story behind the gown - bride had been previously engaged and bought a beautiful lace gown for her wedding. The engagement was broken off, but she kept her gown. Fast forward...engaged to be married in 2018, she wanted to use that gown, but because it is for her new love, she wanted to make it special, redesign it. She had seen photos of wedding gowns with color added, and decided to search for someone that would be able to do that for her. She found me.

March 11, 2018 Alexa came to my house to discuss her design ideas.
April 12, 2018 I received some fabric samples from her, and a deposit in the mail
May 12, 2018 She brought her gown to me
June 1, 2018 I was able to order tulle in the color she wanted (to match bridesmaids) from Azazie!
July 30, 2018 First fitting - decided to add another layer of the green to the train to enhance the color, placed the bustles and the band at the bustline, ruffled the lace/satin layer in front and back (forgot her shoes!)
August 11, 2018 Fitting with her shoes - adjusted placement of the side ruffles - brought orange tulle with her - wanted just a small amount added at center of "flower" at top of ruffles, pinned green tulle to train so it stays nicely in place, Length was perfect with her shoes.
August 26, 2018 Gown was picked up!!!!!

One layer of Tulle added - gathered at top to avoid having a seam


Front of gown she liked
Original gown - back
Back - newly styled and color added!
See how it matches her inspiration on the left!
Her inspiration

Ruffled side - bustled

Ruffled side and train