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!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Grandmother's Silks

I recently was asked to use some delicate (meaning very old) silks and jewelry, which belonged to a friend's grandmother, to create keepsake pillows for her 16 grand and great-grand daughters which will be given to them at a family event in June. Most of the fabrics are adorned with lace and in good condition for their age (they were part of her trousseau from 1938), while some had to be treated with interfacing to keep the delicate fabric intact. 

She has had these fabrics in her possession for some time already, so has been referring to them to her daughters as "Grandmother's Silks".

The fabrics and jewelry were brought to me on February 14 of this year.

I don't consider myself a "crafty" person, but do enjoy the creative process, so I knew this would take some time to first, examine all the fabrics, purchase a tool to separate the jewelry into usable pieces, and then think about the design. I used a lightweight, flexible interfacing on most fabrics because they were starting to disintegrate, and I needed to keep them intact.

My friend said they could be different shapes, no heart shapes though. So first I looked to see if I could purchase small pillows to cover. No luck, so I designed rectangles, circles and triangles.

I really had fun designing each one. They are all unique. I was so proud to show my friend the finished results. I can't wait to see the pictures of them with their new owners!!!


What a fun and creative idea for a family treasure!!!


Thursday, May 12, 2016

When to buy your formal dress? Better yet...when to schedule your alterations!

You're a bride, bride's attendant, prom-goer, or going to a another formal event. When is the right time to buy your dress? Good question. No right answers!  However, if you find yourself in need of alterations there are some guidelines (for me, anyway!) If you're a bride, then 6-8 weeks minimum is what I prefer. If you are IN a wedding, the bride will likely go with you to select the bridal party attire, then it's up to the shop to get it to you in a reasonable amount of time. If you are going to prom, any young girl wants to buy her dress as soon as possible, likely, months before prom, to limit the chance of someone else scooping up "her" dress, leaving the dress shop to tell you, "Sorry, we can't sell you That dress, someone else is wearing it to Your prom!"

Stressful for some, not so much for others. Now, you have your gown, what next? Accessories, shoes, appointments made for hair and nails...last on the list...always....always....always....alterations!!!

Now, for bridal, I like to have at least 6-8 weeks, and for prom/formal gowns, at least 2-3 weeks. Hurray for Brides!!! Most brides are really good at organizing what has to be done, so most of my bridal alterations come in at least 6 weeks ahead of time. I can get it done within a tighter time frame, but I never know what I'm going to get, so I like to leave myself some breathing room!
But others, realizing the event you are attending is coming up quickly, you try on your dress so see how it looks just weeks before the event, not thinking that it may fit differently than when you purchased it!

So that dress that fit you to a T when you purchased it months ago, now is too snug or swimming on you. And unless you are 5'10" or taller or wearing platform shoes, it's way too long. So, you call around, with 2 weeks or less, until prom or the wedding, trying to find someone to "fit you in"....the phone (my phone) starts ringing non stop! Yes, of course I'll take you!  But at some point (with only one week to prom, and in one case recently - 3 weeks before a wedding, for wedding gown alterations!) I have had to start saying no...It honestly kills me! I love to help girls look their best on the big day, no matter what the occasion, but please think ahead and schedule that appointment for your fitting, far enough in advance! I do pride myself in pulling through in tight situations, but do like to have more time.

I've had a RECORD season! January to May 2016 - 6 Brides!!!, 19 bridesmaids, 3 Mother of bride/groom, 2 semi dresses, and 16 prom dresses!

So.....I've been burning the midnight oil for the past month to get all these gowns done...knowing that by June, I'll be slowing down and sleeping a little more :) ....until the calls for September weddings start rolling in!

(photos to follow)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Social Media Marketing and the Small Business

Social media marketing works for my business!

Being a small business, working out of my home, and still working full time to pay the bills, I don’t need a lot of advertising, so I focus on what works:


  1. Referrals and repeat business from satisfied customers
  2. Social media marketing
    A few years ago, with sons in high school and attending prom, I was referred by them and their dates, for prom dress alterations! I noticed the demand and the need for someone providing this service locally,(and really loved what I was doing!) so I began to step up promoting my business online.
    Once I “put myself out there” I started getting calls from people finding my business through an online search!  Even contacts from as far away as Cape Cod and Texas!
    Someone had searched on LinkedIn, of all places, for a Seamstress to repair a treasured family christening gown! Well, I have had my business listed as one of my “jobs” for a number of years now, but this was a first. I also was contacted last year by a Tailor on Newbury Street in Boston, who found me on Indeed.com through a similar search, because it is also on my Resume. She was looking for someone to hire for her shop! I have found that with the right “buzz” words, people will find me.
    I have been mostly focused on formalwear – prom and bridal, but I ramped up my marketing a bit a few years ago after being contacted to make an heirloom christening gown. One made from the mothers’ wedding gown. I had such a great time creating something one-of-a-kind to be treasured and passed on, that I included that on my website with photos, and on LinkedIn profile (under my company summary) as something I enjoyed doing.
    So, I now have visibility on multiple platforms for my business: a Facebook page where you can see photos of my work and promotions offered throughout the year, my Blog which I try to keep current, a website, twitter account and Instagram. But I’d have to say, the biggest boost was when I put my business on Yelp! I always ask a new customer how they heard of me, and over the past year, at least 75-80% said they found me through an online search, and my reviews on Yelp are what led them to me!
    Paid advertising vs FREE
    I like to support my community, so I have paid to advertise in local program booklets, support local causes through advertising on their site, even a church bulletin. I have also tried a few Bridal site listings: The KNOT, Wedding & Party Network, just to name a few. And I joined the Chamber of Commerce in my town for one year to see if that would increase visibility in my town. All of these ran for several months, some ran close to a year. All with absolutely NO results. 
    Now, my Facebook page, LinkedIn, Blog, Website and Yelp are all FREE, and here is what I have discovered. Although those paid ads went to good causes and I’ll probably continue to support some of them through paid advertising, it’s the NON paid advertising that work the best for me.
    I recently received a voicemail  from a CSR at Yelp, telling me that I recently have had a “huge influx of activity” (no kidding!) and to call him back. No doubt it is to sell me an “upgrade” which I don’t need. Thanks Yelp ! It’s a FREE listing, and it works just fine for me! J


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!)

I was recentently "tagged" in a Facebook post, as reference to a young girl who is in an entrepreneur program (YEA!) at a local high school. She needed someone to produce her prototype. I responded that I was interested in hearing more, so was put in touch with her mentor. The student had come up with an idea for a product. Her idea was athletic wear, specifically, leggings, with a twist.

Next thing I knew I was talking to the student on the phone and we made an appointment to meet in person to discuss the details! We met at local Starbucks and I took notes as we spoke. She said many times she would wear yoga pants, then wish she had shorter leggings, so her idea is to have a zipper below the knee, to make them convertible. Genius!
But I had lots of questions about the design. What did she want them to look like, did she have a sketch, what was her business plan, what about a contract for my services, what was the intended use of the garment (casual or workout wear), what was her targeted market, who would manufacture them, etc, etc, etc...

Many of these questions she didn't have answers to yet, and the fabric she had already purchased, was all wrong, because it is to be sold as workout wear. It was too thin, more like dancewear. She said, " I want a good quality legging, I don't think I want to use this fabric". So I suggested going back to the fabric store and proceeded to accompany her. I educated her on the amount of stretch needed for a good workout fabric and the importance of the weight of fabric. I offered a few suggestions, such as an alternative fabric for the lower part of the legging that zips off, since the top part of the legging would be worn all the time, and the lower part only some of the time, so the fabrics would wear (and fade) differently. And most importantly, I asked her if she wanted the zipper to show and where to place the tab (front, side, back)!

She did return the original fabric, and purchased a newer, slightly heavier weight, more useful fabric for the leggings, and also the zippers needed and waistband elastic and handed it over to me. I have 3 weeks to produce the product that she will then present to a panel of "investors" (like Shark Tank).
She graduates in May, then will be going to school in CA to study business, with a focus in entrepreneurship.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

A new year...a new YOU!!!

When a new year rolls around, many of us try to better ourselves, make ourselves "new". Whether it's getting outside more, making more time to spend with our families and friends, or just trying to handle situations better, we all, whether we know it or not, make some kind of resolution for the New Year. For any of this to work, the resolution has to be reasonable and within reach.

With that said, I wish you all the best for YOU in this new year, of 2016.

Celebrate life and all those around you. Happy New Year! Cheers!