Thursday 4 March 2021

Luxurious Knits & Yarns

 During the second lockdown I started knitting & crochet and developed a new product line . It’s now available on my Etsy shop as well as facebook . Will be updating pictures on my blog too . 

Thank you everyone for your continual support 

Sunday 20 September 2020

Enchanted Silks & Jewels

 Many people say 2020 is a very negative year . So many losses of loved ones and so many things we took for granted are never going to be same. For me it’s also brought huge positives as well: 

In the glooms of the lockdown I stumbled upon a Scrub hub volunteers  group that brought a ray of sunshine in my life . I made so many friends and recieved such kindness from all of them it’s been an overwhelming experience to say the least.The group gave me a purpose and a new spark to get up everyday. 

Since 1st of July I got back to opening my business .Lots of brides who have had weddings postponed has had a hugeknock on effect on my business @ Tailoring & Alterations Ltd. So after the volunteer work and having few weeks of looking around to keep myself occupied I decided to reopen my silk painting from storage and started all over again .

With Covit 19 striking the world and lockdowns now happening in certain regions I have gotten my paintbrushes out and started all over again . I also completely stumbled on the unique opportunity of promoting and selling handcrafted pure silver jewellery. I also used to make jewellery ( as I took jewellery making classes ) and  hair pieces for my brides to be prior to this so I’m going to incorporate it all up.

 I wanted to keep my new businesses separate as I wanted to do justice to each separately .  I then set up a separate  Instagram Account @zen78680. Im in the process of setting up a completely new look of my Etsy shop on the 1st of October if all goes to plan so please stay tuned . 

Sunday 6 July 2014

My blogs most popular post!! Not for the faint hearted :)

People often ask me how I do shortening of a lace bridal dress. I have done massive shortening of lace dresses (upto 5 inches or more!) as unfortunately they never come in perfect length increments to cater to everyone's height.Sometimes the dress has a waist cutline which makes life a lot easier but sometimes you just have to do it the hard way.

If the dress has no cutlines at all ,the trick is to find the narrowest part of the dress. If its a figure hugging dress the best place is just above knee and if its an empire cut line dress then it could be just under the cut-line. Take a picture of the part of the dress where you chose to add the cut-line.
Unpick carefully so the netting does not get any holes. 

Think of an imaginary cut-line that you would put under the lace in order to shorten it, bearing in mind where the zip is placed in the dress.Now start unpicking on both sides of your imaginary cut line this could be in a diagonal on certain dress styles along the back if a zip is present at the back.. but this always varies..(mark it with a thread. I usually mark the amount needed to be taken out with a black thread). Most of  the wedding dresses have lace mounted on the netting with an invisible nylon thread on the outer side and a white thread used in the bobbin.
The extra seam allowance created  after the stitching needs to be cut off .

When you have unpicked sufficient amount of the lace make your cut-line by pining.Tweak the cutline by placing on the mannequin to ensure all is visually symmetrical .Then stitch the cutline as a seam using a nylon invisible thread on one side and a white thread in the bobbin; now cut off any excess fabric keeping the seam allowance 1cm maximum,
 All that is left now is to reattach all your lace pieces looking at a picture taken at the beginning to keep it similar to how it was attached to the dress before the unpicking. The most easy way is to do them by hand as trying to do it by machine is sometimes not possible. Now readjust the side seams according to new hip level if shortening was done above finish off the dress redo any embroidery needed on the lace.Shorten any other layers of the dress as needed .

I find adopting this method is the best as all the lace dresses I have seen always have heavy beadwork on the hem and the hems are so wide. Shortening through the hem is not an impossible job as I have done that as well if the design cannot accomodate a cut-line,but its an extremely time consuming and costly job.

Here is how the dress looks on the body

Friday 27 June 2014

Shortening the Art Couture Downton Dress

I thought cutting lace dresses up in half was enough of  a challenge, but lately I have  had a few dresses where the zip has to be taken out partly or fully to shorten the dresses to the new length by pushing extra fabric put through waist.

Here is an example of a dress I just did.Its the Art couture Downton Bridal dress which has a fishtail silhouette.  This particular dress needed to be shortened by 6inches .

Fist completely separate the top half of the outer dress . Separate the netting layers from the satin layer. then push out all the unwanted length to above the waist. Take out excess from the waist through the zip as well . Trim off all the excess to the desired seam allowance you need to have then stitch the layer together at the waist.

Front and back of the top part of skirt after extra has been pushed out and upwards.

The dress I did had embroidered straps attached .
For the other half of the dress. The petticoat layer has to have the excess netting in the under skirt cut off, the lining layers need to be adjusted to new length . My reason for trimming off the netting from the bottom is to make the dress as true to its original shape as possible as if we raise it from the wasit the fishtail starts to come out at the wrong place in the final silhouette. 
The top half of the outer dress now needs to be atttached to the bottom half. I normally do all the adjustments needed on the upper half ( at the fitting )of the dress when the dress is separated like this as it makes handling easier. Once the dress is again all in one piece you have to level the entire Satin layer so that it balances the outer layers and then reattach the zip to the bottom half. 

Wednesday 16 April 2014

que sera sera

I started the Etsy shop in February and the response ( not on Etsy ) but in private sales has been great so far, but unfortunately due to my personal circumstances at the moment I just feel as I havent been able to commit to my Etsy shop in general as much as I could have.

 Life throws the unfamiliar at you and you just have to get on with things.

Tuesday 11 February 2014

My New Passion - My Etsy Shop!

I have been doing alterations work as well as bespoke dress work for so long, but every now and then I had a creative itch that wouldn't be satisfied by my work. I loved painting when I was in college and I took a course on jewellery when I stopped work for a while in 2006. So to let out my creative self I have decided to open an etsy shop . There are mostly jewellery pieces and hair accessories on it at the moment but there will be more ... just have  to find the time  :)

 Its now  open and online on etsy since 7-02-12014.
( )

Sharing a few favourite pieces :) here!

Logo Designed by me and done by my hubby

Saturday 9 November 2013

Its a Ball ! The jouney and the destination !

 The journey began for this extraordinary evening ball gown on a paper sketch done by my client. Took nearly 2 weeks of non stop work..some really sleepless nights ...some completely sleepless nights !!! and a lot and lots of swarovski bling :) !!!

It had the two of the most difficult fabrics to work with . Pure charmeuse silk and Pure silk crepe chiffon . Lots and lots of hand sewing involved as the fabrics are alive and kicking, with a mind of their own .. The dress had a stole that could be worn with the dress as a stole or with it as a halter by hooking it in with a loop in the corset . The scarf had 6 inches of fringing done on 50 cm each side 5mm apart... by loop method which takes longer to do as its a more finished look.. I used 4mm swarovski crystal beads for extra shine in AB cut in both coloured and clear cryatal 5328

Each panel in the dress had two layers sewn till a split separately doing a rolled hem to the split notch and then mounted the chiffon on the charmeuse silk by hand . It  took 3 hours in total of preparation work just to stitch two panels together!

The dress also had an inner corset (which unfortunately I just didn't have the time to take pictures of) was heavily boned on each seam as well as on individual panels. It was completely sculptured to the clients body! I had to have a calico for this one! :) !

I added swarovski bling in my own way as the client was quite happy to leave that part to me. The entire embroidery was done by hand using a special stitch to keep the ( crystals 3128 5mm AB and foiled) in a chain next to each other . The dress looks far more impressive in reality than in the pictures as I couldnt capture the bling in as photo ....when danced  in.. you can see the lighter cobalt blue fabric of the charmeuse silk peeking through the darker top chiffon layer ( my client gave me a lovely demo) .

The only fly in the ointment  was the zip .. I am not complaining about the clients request of having a chunky zip on the side seam, but really of my own work as I couldn't make it completely seamlesss. I wish I could have made it look completely seamless just like an invisible zip!  I will do it one day all seamless with the chunky zip which didn't particularly suit the fabrics ......(possibly I am being over critical as the client was really happy )

And last but not the least I must mention these special THANKS!!

The dress wouldn't have been completed had a dear friend Oxana not lent me a helping hand at all the embroidery and fringing. A special thanks to Micheal Wrench from  Crystal beads LLP for providing me the crystals at lightening speed delivery, at extremely shot notice.

Dr Anna Marie Brocklebank :)

Monday 23 September 2013

Where do I begin :) !

I have had one of those lace dresses with the shortening through hidden cut line bridal alterations.

I discovered that although in principle I had to do the same alterations as the one I mentioned and wrote about earlier in the year with the title "Not for the faint hearted" but  I had to do a few more steps to ensure that the cut and netting was not visible after the alteration was completed.

This is an alteration I have done on Tamara Bridal dress by San Patrick many times this season. I make the cutline as close as possible to the scallops near the high hip . Then take out excess lace and repatching all around.Then comes the embroidery that needs to be meticulously done again.

Unfortunately all these lace dress alterations mostly turn out to be a loss statement as the hours of intense labour required can never be really charged justifiably but when you see the appreciation and the faith people get in you by seeing the finished result is all really worth it !

Sunday 25 August 2013

With the first hello .......Love Story !

Its been fifteen years ( possibly more) that I have been in the fashion industry. Its had its ups and downs but thankfully the ups have been more than the downs. The more I think of how I ended up where I have ended up (not that this is the end by any means) makes me believe in fate. A purely science student graduate in  BSc Biochemistry to do another 4 year degree in Fashion Design not by choice ending up loving it !

I learnt to be a fashion designer and I was lucky enough (as my course was so thorough) to learn to make things from scratch not just pattern cutting, sewing or sketching and draping but all of the above. I feel very privileged to have had such an experience.  

My work has taught me what I always lacked .. it has taught me patience. I always keep on trying to improvise my own techniques. The more I learn the more I love. Its something I feel I will never tire of. Its been a busy bridal season and just today I felt like writing about my love affair with my work.


Monday 12 August 2013

Thinking Old but new Project.

I hope I get a completely new project soon . All the alterations are going well but I need to cut something from scratch and start a  new pattern for my own sanity. 

I was thinking of falling back for the time being on a bespoke project which I had  started for a client a long time ago but then left it as I was completely swamped with work. Its a pattern and design I did from scratch. Its the knot twist dress. I nearly finished it but then it needed to be lined in the same fabric so the project came to a halt. I will start work on that soon and also work on another pattern that was requested by another client to copy an existing dress with a few modifications. 

Here are a picture of the dress in progress but will put up pics of it finally finished in a few weeks time....