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Friday, August 30, 2013


I decided it was time to make another cathedral length veil; the last time I made one was in the '80's.  I made the veil along with the bridal gown, bridesmaid dress and the three little flower girl dresses.  It was a real treat to make the entire wedding party for sure.  I just learned that one of the flower girls was a bride herself this how time flies!

Anyway, here is the finished product.  It is made with white illusion and has two different types of laces.
I know....have you ever seen a veil look so sexy??!!  The scalloped lace is a venice lace which goes all the way around the edge of the veil.  The appliques are alencon lace; I added some pearls and sequins after I had sewn the appliques into place to give it a little sparkle.  The sequins will catch the sunlight or reception lighting and shimmer.   Finally, I added some horsehair braid to the bottom edge and sewed a strand of pearls over the top which created a light flounce.  

I took a course on lace when I was in college; can you imagine an entire semester of lace?  It became a bit of a snoozer of a class, but I learned to appreciate the hours of labor and years of tradition that go into laces from various regions around the globe.

A cathedral veil looks so regal paired with the right gown. I hope to find a bride in need of this very one for her special day!  A cathedral veil can also be bustled the same way the hemline of a gown is bustled, that way if the bride wants to, she can wear her veil all night long.   Visit the SheaMarie Designs shop

Sunday, August 18, 2013


I love fruit!  Veggies on the other hand, I have to work on...but fruit-absolutely love it!  Especially summer fruit; the variety is awesome.  So, I thought I would share some of the things I do with fruit.

First, I love a simple fresh fruit salad. Just slice up a variety of fresh fruit and sprinkle on some cinnamon.  It adds a unique flavor to the fruit and is oh so yummy!  I've been using this technique for years and whenever I make it for guests, they love it and are surprised it's just a little cinnamon that gives it that extra flavor.  This bowl is filled with blackberries, strawberries, grapes, cantaloupe, raspberries, kiwi and mango.  Makes my mouth water just writing about it.

Next, I add fruit to my tuna salad.  For this open faced sandwich I added: low fat miracle whip, grapes, apples, sweet pickles, dried onion bits,black  pepper, dried cranberries and almonds (the packaged kind that you toss on salads). Oh, and of course a side of bing cherries.
Last weekend, I made a chicken salad.  I picked up some shredded chicken in the deli section of King Soopers, added some low fat miracle whip and sliced mangos.  It was so good!  No bread needed for that one.

Another favorite is green salad with fruit.  I've thrown all sorts of fruit on my salads like strawberries, blueberries, pineapple.   But, my all time favorite is blackened salmon, romaine lettuce, dried cranberries and feta cheese. Just top with your favorite dressing and toss on a few almonds and you're good!  (McCormick salmon rub is awesome)
I go crazy during the summer with fruit since the variety becomes very limited in about September/October in Colorado.  Although, I have noticed in the last year or two a bit more to choose seems the grocers are bringing in fruits from other countries.  As Martha would say, "that's a good thing!".

Monday, August 12, 2013


I wanted to share my technique on this wedding gown bustle, since frankly I was stumped for a bit trying to come up with the solution.  I figure, if I can help someone else after losing some sleep over it....then I should share right? After all, why should we both have insomnia over this?  ;)

When I look at a gown, the type of bustle usually comes to me very easily; meaning under bustle or over bustle.... the gown design itself generally dictates which bustle version it should be based upon the silhouette of the gown and/or the design features on the back of the dress.

A good example, was the gown bustle I did last year that I wrote a blog post about.  This bride's gown had a beautiful beaded border around the bottom of the gown with a delicate ribbon and bow that absolutely needed to be seen when the gown was bustled.  Knowing that, it was needed an over bustle!

The gown I made my daughter, on the other hand had many design elements higher up on the skirt (1800's style bustle, rose fabric flowers, shirring) that needed to be shown off, so an under bustle was in order.

The last two gowns I've worked on have been lace overlay gowns both of which had very form fitted bodices all the way to the hip; to me the silhouette called for an under bustle.  Show off the beading and lace, and create some design flair at the hemline.  The unique thing about this most recent gown was the embroidered tulle overlay extended a good 10 inches beyond the taffeta gown underneath.  That meant a double under bustle; the first bustle to get the majority of the gown up off the floor, the second to pull the tulle up and show off the embroidered border at the hemline.

I actually, pinned it two different ways at the fitting and let the bride decide which look she preferred.   Once the decision was made, I needed to figure out what I was going to use to hold the second set of bustles securely in place.  The challenge was the tulle was extremely delicate and the embroidery was very subtle.   What could I use that wouldn't be seen through the tulle when the train was extended?  I actually shared that with my bride; I told her "I'll get it done....I'm not sure how yet...but, I'll figure it out"..and we both chuckled. The bride suggested clear snaps, which I've used on gowns before....good reservations were a) the number of snaps I would need, b) the fact that they are so hard to see/find (I didn't want this to be a chore for the bridesmaids) and c) will they hold? in my experience, sometimes they do and sometimes they don't.  I hadn't ruled them out...but, I decided to walk away and give it some thought.

So, as I was working along, pinning and fluffing, pinning and fluffing....I finally had a revelation! Tulle....use tulle ties!  They'll blend in underneath the tulle overlay, right?  So, I sewed a pair into the gown, one tie sewn to the wrong side of the tulle overlay; the other to the right side of the taffeta gown.  I tied them into place to see if they would do the trick...Yes! and then I extended the train to see if they were hidden...Yes!
This particular gown has a total of 13 bustle points; it definitely takes the record in my books so far! The upper bustle has three bustle points; one at the center back and another at each princess seam.
Since this bustle carries the majority of the weight I chose to use buttons and loops.  I make my loops with double fold seam binding. I re-fold the binding and sew it by machine to make them extra strong like a belt loop. The loops are sewn to the wrong side of the train and the buttons are sewn to the lining.
Bustling the tulle was the challenge (that's the "G" rated term)!   The tulle overlay was actually a double layer, and was not stitched together at any point below the heavily beaded area which ended at the bottom of the zipper; so the two layers weren't always playing nice together...aarrrgghhh.   Anyway, I got through it, and I think it looked so pretty!   There are 10 bustle points (pairs of ties) to create this look.  I especially like the way the tulle poufs at the top and then falls into folds to the hemline.

To make things a bit easier on the bridesmaids I wanted to somehow offer a "road map" as to which pair of ties went together.  You know;  #1 ties to #1, #2 ties to #2 and so on....  But, you can't successfully write on tulle, and I couldn't color code because of it showing through the tulle.  Hhhmmmmm...what to do?  Again, this solution came to me after a 2.5 mile walk around the lake after dinner one night.....scotch tape.  Secure the tape to the end of the tulle and then use a pencil to write the numbers on the tape!

So there you have it.  I apologize for the saga.  I thought it worthy of sharing.  I'm sure there are other solutions, and I may look back and think...why didn't I think of that?, but I'll stand by this one for now.   The tulle ties will definitely withstand a night of dancing and I know the tape will do the trick to at least get the gown bustled; if they come off while the girls are tying them-no worries at that point, they've served their purpose. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013


I got a kick out of this project.  My daughter's birthday was approaching and I was asking her about gift ideas.  She mentioned that she likes the longer dresses that are in style these days.  She currently has two, but would love more.  So, I was putting away some receipts in my office (which was at one time her old bedroom) and in the closet I saw a dress hanging there that she had left behind when she moved out.    I always thought the dress looked cute on her back then, size wise she hasn't changed at fact, she's more fit and trim then she was then....and the style wasn't dated.  So, I thought how fun would it be to turn this into a long dress and surprise her with it for her birthday?!
   BEFORE                                                                  AFTER 

The dress itself is a jersey knit, so I picked up a white knit fabric for the first layer and a see-through weave for the bottom layer.  A couple types of ribbon; black and white polka dot and a matching green for the bow, with the final touch being a rhinestone button.  Total cost under $15.
The original dress was a halter style tie; I chose to criss-cross the straps and sew them into place.      Yesterday was her birthday.  It was so fun to give her the package with this dress in it and watch her expression.  It was comical actually, she had a delayed reaction thinking it looked like something else she once had....then she realized it's the same dress, only updated.   She loved it!  Now maybe she'll wear this when she goes to the spa to get her facial (that was her other birthday present).