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!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Sweet memories...

I was recently asked, by a friend, if I would make a T shirt blanket for her son. I have never done anything like this before, and don't consider myself "crafty", but said "yes". She's a good friend and has been through many changes in her life this year. I wanted to do something special for her.

The blanket is for her son who went off to college this year. We met, and she gave me a blanket of her son's to use as the backing, and 2 bags of T shirts!I went home and pondered...what have I gotten myself into!  This was to be a blanket of memories, not only for her son, but for her as well, and I decided to continue onward with the project....

When the time was right, I began. I sorted through the T shirts, sizing from toddler through adult (he's 18 years old now). How do I do this? How do I get started? I looked up online "T shirt blankets" and had an idea of how they are made. Squares, all the same size, kind of boring actually! And I thought of my friend...and how I know she is, and boring is not in her vocabulary! I was faced with a project involving different sized shirts, and lots of memories....I took a picture of all the shirts...then the creative process took over.

Let me mention that I  have a dog. Let me mention that she has two dogs.

My dog was by my side during the entire construction of this blanket. In fact, I caught her resting her head and paws on it. She knew it was special; for someone special....

When I delivered it, at first one of her dogs didn't take to me very well, didn't even come near me, was very protective of the home....until i presented her "mom" with the blanket. Both of her dogs immediately snuggled into it....I couldn't get over it! They could smell "their boy"who they have missed while away at school....then the dog that barked at me, came over to me, and gave me kisses, and let me pet her...that was really something special to me. She knew I created something for someone she loves...

Finished blanket!
Showing the backing of the blanket with the finished blanket
I folded over the blanket, to finish the edges

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Grandmother's Gift

Contacted early in the summer by a grandmother, excited by the idea of using her own wedding dress to make a christening outfit for her upcoming great grandchild!
We met, and she brought her gown, which had been stored in a box with only tissue paper to protect it.
Satin with lace overlay on the top, lace sleeves and a (kind of funky!) light and airy tulle skirt with appliques, over a satin skirt. No train.

Photos brought were of a romper (for a boy) and ideas of making a detachable skirt. Maybe using buttons to attach to the romper.

Being busy still with prom gowns and the wedding dresses beginning to come in for alterations, this project was put aside for over a month. Late August I finally got started, and in mid-September Betty was able to come see my progress. She was pleasantly surprised and loved the romper. We decided it would be better to have a separate dress, for a girl, given I had (just) enough fabric left to do so. Little cap sleeves and a bonnet to top it off!

  Christening was in November for a baby boy....the first to wear the romper!

Update October 26, 2015:
I used just about every inch of fabric and lace, and lots of the buttons and loops for accents. I also incorporated the cording from the waistline of the gown, around the bonnet and at the collar of the romper. See more photos here!


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Keeping things in balance!

How do you…?

*Manage your time…most importantly
*Have enough time to do your work, love what you do, and still have time for YOU!
*Keep a healthy balance in your life
Recently having become overwhelmed by the responsiveness of potential customers and having to turn some away, because I just didn’t have enough time, made me sit back and think about this, unfortunate, but good!, dilemma I have been faced with. “How am I going to get it all done, done well, on time, and still have time to do other activities that I enjoy?” 

We all need that ME time. Time to do nothing, go for a cup of coffee with a friend, exercise, listen to music, dance, read, play with your dog, spend time with your family!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Small business, big world

…let’s face it.  In today’s world, many small businesses may find it difficult to break into the greater universe. However, in my experience, the right exposure and key words in marketing your “brand” make all the difference!

It all started with creating my very own Facebook page for increasing my visibility – I was able to “invite my friends” to “like” my page. Wow! In a matter of days I had close to 50 likes. Now I’m at 225. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fashions-by-Tamara/229784013701474?ref=hl

 Ok, so then I wanted to create a more professional version of my services, so I created a website, for free. I just got my domain 2 years ago!  http://fashionsbytamara.com/

 Not stopping there, I began to blog about my business, giving it a person spin.  I actually really like my blog…hope you do too. http://fashionsbytamara.blogspot.com/

 Now, many years ago, probably when it began to be the “thing”, I created a Twitter account. I signed up in 2009 and my first “tweet” was an entry about the Jimmy Fund walk I was about to do. Thinking, that all my then followers (maybe 5 at the time) would re-tweet my post and I’d raise a ton of money! That didn’t happen. I didn’t really use it much until recently when I really learned how to use it for my business. It’s still not my favorite form of social media for my business, but I am gaining followers, so who knows where it will take me! https://twitter.com/tamarakenney

Oh yes, then there’s Instagram (yes I have one for my business as well as personal), Alignable – where you can connect with local businesses, and local advertising (which I don’t get ANY business from, but I like to support schools and organizations in my town). I even put myself on YELP, and have been found that way too!

 So with all this going on, and making sure I use the right “tags” on my blog and twitter accounts, and from a recommendation of another small business owner in my town, I make sure I keep my Facebook business page current with at least one post a week, and pictures of my work as well.  I am told, and it’s true because I’ve googled myself, that when certain specific words are typed in a search, my Facebook page comes up as the #1 search at the top of the page!

 Try it! (buzz words: Alterations, Bridal, Melrose, Seamstress)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The infamous purple dress

Jennifer was going to be the maid of honor for her sister's wedding in October 2014. A very special day indeed. And for this day she chose a dress that was a shade of purple, with a lace overlay. Let me back up a few steps....she had taken the dress to be altered at the shop where it was purchased. They had butchered the hem and didn't complete any of the other alterations they said they would do! She left the shop distressed and unhappy, with a dress that was a total disaster. They searched around for someone to "fix" the hemline and complete the rest of the alterations, and found me through an online search. They came to me in hopes that I could repair the damage that had been done, and salvage this beautiful dress. I did!

Jennifer was so happy with the work that I had done, that she asked if I would be able to alter the dress again, after her weight loss surgery, to be worn at another wedding in June 2015. Sure, I'd love to!!! I asked her to wait until about a month before the wedding. Fast forward to April 2015. She emails me - subject line "the infamous purple dress" -  I had been waiting for her email, and so happy to have finally gotten it!.

She arrives for her first fitting, excited and noticeably (50 pounds!!!) lighter from when I saw her last! She looks fantastic! She tried the dress on, I'm already pinning the waist in 4 inches at least! Take the length up too, she asks...Her next fitting, I'm taking in the waist some more! I am so proud of this girl and her determination. Finally she comes to pick it up just days before the wedding and it looks amazing on her! She's gonna rock this party dress!

Here she is, before and after!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Photo op...

This past Saturday I received a phone call. It was a request to make a curtain for a photo booth. Sure! Sensing some hesitation in his voice, I asked when he needed it by. The event is "tonight" he said, and that he'd need it by late afternoon. OK. So he came by at noon.....with 13.5 yards of black satin fabric plus another large piece of fabric! This separate piece he needed for a photo backdrop. From the yards of satin he brought, he needed not a single curtain as I had thought, but 6, for the photo booth! All 6 feet long, by various widths. When do you need this? I asked again....So I worked diligently on Saturday, first measuring, then cutting...by that time it was 1:30, for  a 3o'clock pick up time, and I hadn't even begun pressing the seams and sewing. I texted him that 4 would be better.  After working over 4 hours on these, I received a text at 4:15, that he'd pick up on another day....oh my....and with that, I turned off my sewing machine, and turned out the light...to be finished on another day!

After several attempts to schedule a convenient time pick up the finished curtains, we decided that shipping the curtains would be easier! So off they go to the photographer....I can't wait to see a photo of the photo booth!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Emergency alterations!!!

Well, this has been one busy couple of weeks with quick turn-arounds! Let's see. I was contacted on April 8th to do a hem on a prom dress.  But wait, the prom is the 10th, which really means she needs it on the 9th. One day. Sure - no problem! Next, contact was on the 12th, a Sunday, for a prom on the 16th, to be picked up on the 15th - so I had a few days for that one! (phew!). Then there was a zipper replacement. Customer came to  my house at 8AM on the 20th and was leaving for NYC for a destination wedding, on a train at 3:20 that day - picked up at noon! Next in line, that same day, comes someone who had already had her dress altered for a wedding, but hadn't tried it on until getting home. Realizing that she had lost weight since trying the dress on just 2 weeks before, it was now too big, and needed to be taken in. She needed the dress by the 23rd. Done! Lastly, on the 23rd another dress for a wedding was just a bit tight, so I needed to add gussets to make it fit better. Trip to the fabric store on my lunch break to find a color that matched; no easy task but I got it done. That one was needed for the 24th! One thing all these wonderful ladies had in common, is that they were so grateful that I was able to do the work in such a short period of time, and all were extremely happy with the results!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Prom & Graduation 2015!

Springtime, girls looking lovely in their fancy gowns, handsome boys sporting tuxedos,....it's that time of year! It's so exciting to see "kids" you once knew as very small children, grow into such wonderful young adults! And to celebrate this part of their life, comes prom and graduation with parties, dances, and all kinds of celebrations and reasons to get dressed up. For these occasions, and other special times, let me help you and your party-goer look your best ! 

Click here for more information!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

It was a magical day!

 Custom wedding gown

I really enjoyed working with this bride to create her wedding gown. Based on the design she had given me, and adding custom Romanian accent pieces made by Romanian designer Ioana Avram, she looked simply amazing on her wedding day! Yet another major snowstorm the evening before, she said "even with the elements going crazy, it was simply a magical day"! Custom design

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Classic style for a modern bride

Classic and Chic!

Custom wedding gown designed for a local bride. Originally contacted by phone in late fall 2014 , for the possibility of a gown for a September 2015 wedding. I was happy to accept the project!  Then we followed up by emails. The date had to be moved up - the bride and her fiance have several weddings to attend throughout 2015, so they moved their date up to February 2015, so that everyone they wanted could attend theirs, and they could attend their friend's weddings. Again, I accepted the task. Although, having a project such as this during the holiday season, would be a first for me. We met in November to discuss the style, and she already had the fabric, so I was able to get a good start before the holidays. First fitting was just after the first of the year, and the dress has had several transformations since then!

Click on Classic and Chic (above) for more photos on my facebook page ! And let me know what you think!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Tootsie Role!

I was contacted by email on my Facebook page for something a little different, a lot of fun, and requiring lots of sequins!!! Yes, I was asked if I could make the red sequin dress that Dustin Hoffman
wore in the movie Tootsie! He needed it for an "Oscar" party he was going to at the end of February. Wow, what a fun request!  We emailed a few times, then he said that a family member had offered to make it for him. Well, I didn't get the Tootsie role, but how fun would that have been!!!!

Sunday, January 4, 2015


On this typical wintry day in New England, I decided to visit a shop to pour over their silk fabrics and lace....that's all they carry are silks, and I am working on a wedding gown which is made of 100% silk fabrics, including the lining. So I wanted some special adornments for the gown, and an internet search brought me to Delectable Mountain Cloth in Brattleboro, Vermont. A quaint town in southern Vermont. The service was exceptional and the selections incredible. I was able to find a few things that I thought might work for the gown (awaiting the bride's approval) and couldn't leave without making a purchase of fabric for myself, of course!

No doubt I will find myself visiting this town  and this store - just 2 hours away, off the scenic Mohawk Trail - many more times!