Friday, September 28, 2012

Flashback Friday: Saving an Unsalvagable Dress

Today's Flashback Friday comes from another article Marilyn wrote for the Prince George's County Women's Journal:

I worked with a bride who very much wanted to wear her mother's 1950 wedding gown on her wedding day.  Since her mother had passed away, it was a way to bring her mother's presence into the wedding.  The gown had been stored for years and so it was sent to a local dry cleaners who damaged the gown in the process of cleaning and pressing.  The bride's sister worked through a list of local dressmakers but none were interested in working on the gown when the damage was explained.  Finally, she got my name on her list and I agreed to assess the damage and suggest what could be done.

The damaged dress

Note the stains; they were everywhere!

After a burn test to determine fiber content and a close examination of the damage I felt that the gown could be returned to its glory.  We developed a multi-step plan that included cutting out the original lining and horsehair, replacing the original lining and horsehair, replacing the original trim along the neckline, some minor alterations and sending it to my preferred dry cleaner [Editor's Note: It's TRS Dry Cleaners, and we recommend these life-savers to anyone who comes through our doors!] for stain removal and pressing.  I was also asked to remake the headpiece and veil with as much of the original parts as possible, replace missing covered buttons, and, using some of the new neckline trim, add accents to the wristlets, purse and shoes the bride was adding to the ensemble.

When it was all done, the gown looked fabulous, the bride was happy, looked beautiful, and I was able to take quiet pride in contributing to her dream of wearing her mother's wedding gown.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Moms in the Studio

A few Saturdays ago, Meghan's and my moms came up to the studio for an afternoon of tea and wedding talk.  I made cucumber sandwiches, Meghan made lemon cookies, and Marilyn created a teascape worthy of the queen.  This was the first time either of our moms would be touring the studio and meeting Marilyn, so we were really excited to show off our work... and our dresses!

Both Meghan and I are going to update our mothers' dresses for our own weddings, but we will not be doing any major updates until after our current studio projects are finished.  We wanted our moms to see us in their dresses, cleaned and in their full glory before we changed them in any way.  We had a blast trying on our mothers' gowns and talking in depth about what we were going to do with them to update the dresses for our own weddings. And of course we took pictures.

***ATTENTION: SPOILER ALERT! If you are the fiance of either Meghan or myself, you should not go any farther in this post. I'm looking at you, Nick and Steve!!***

Now, then.

My parents got married on August 2, 1975, and Meghan's parents wed exactly 11 years later (to the day!)   Both gowns are long sleeved, and with ruffles and long, wide trains.  However, the differences in style and cut between 1975 and 1986 are immediately clear.  Meghan's dress has intricate beading and lace with a chiffon overlay to give it a "dreamy" effect; very Princess Di!  The lace on my mom's dress is of the large 70s style flowers seen so often in flashback reels, and the belled sleeves and empire waist popular of the time.  Both dresses have a flowy vintage feel that is very different from the structured bodices that are so popular right now.  We will be documenting our progress as we merge old and new to create something perfectly suited to our personal styles, without losing the deeply personal effect of wearing our mothers' dresses.

With the dresses on, we talked about our initial ideas for each update, which you can see a bit of on our Pinterest pages for Meghan and me.  We will discuss more details as we go, and share our updates here.

And without further ado, The Gowns!

Meghan; note the high collar, sweetheart neckline, and basque waist. 

The train

Meghan and her mom

Me: note the wide neck, belled sleeves, and empire waist.  

The train

Me and my mom (don't be fooled, I'm wearing obscenely high heels)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sponsoring Looks for Life

This year we are official sponsors of LOOKS Salon and Spa's annual Looks for Life fundraiser for the local non-profit Grassroots for Suicide Prevention.  The fundraiser was started by the salon's owner, Marilyn Petersen, after her son Patrick committed suicide in 2002, and has raised over $100,000 for Grassroots over ten years.  Grassroots provides an emergency and transitional shelter, a 24-hour phone and walk-in crisis center and an educational resource for all.  Suicide is a painful and personal topic for many of us, and what Marilyn Petersen has achieved in the face of such a tragedy is praiseworthy.

From Sept. 9-23rd you will be able to see materials relating to the studio set up at Looks, and on Sunday, Sept. 23 from 10am to 2pm Looks Salon will host its fundraiser.  The staff will offer traditional salon and spa services at discounted prices: $40 haircut and styles (one-price-fits-all women's, men's, and children's cuts), $25 blow-drys, $15 manicures, $12 eyebrow waxes, and $25 half-hour massages.  There will also be refreshments, a DJ, and a silent auction.  ALL proceeds from this event will be donated!!

If you can't attend on the 23rd or just want to help out even more, on Thursday, Sept. 20 from 7pm to 12am, Sonoma's Bar and Grill will host an event for this fundraiser, with a nominal cover charge donation, a DJ, bar specials, and 50/50 raffle tickets available.

We will be at both events; we hope you are able to join us in supporting this great cause!


LOOKS Salon and Spa
6822 Oak Hall Lane
Columbia, MD 21045

Sonoma's Bar and Grille
7284 Cradlerock Way
Columbia, MD 21045