Mpressive Threadz Studio Blog

Sharing my love of sewing

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Iron Comfort

Today I finished the second piece of the collection of wedding tops and skirts I am creating for my Etsy shop. Yesterday while I was stitching, clipping and pressing seams I felt at peace. Many people don’t bother with pressing and clipping seams as they sew.  They think it a waste of time.  I enjoy it.  I like the sound of the steam coming from the iron.  I barely let the iron touch the seams.  Suddenly I am transported back to high school.  I can visualize the long tables, dress forms and muslin everywhere, industrial machines humming, and plenty of young ladies talking and laughing.  I can hear the teacher admonishing someone not to press the seam to death or to slow the sewing machine down.

I am a graduate of the H.S. of Fashion Industries in New York. Four years of intense study, spending several days each week in 2 periods of fashion art and 2 periods of fashion design draping and construction.  As students we complained a lot. “Why do we have to baste the seams? Why can’t we just pin the seams together and sew them?”  “Why do I have to take that seam out?  It’s straight.” Now I know why. Our teachers were trying to bring the best out of us, trying to give us a solid foundation.  I just watched a repeat of a fashion design show that aired recently.  The designer had safety pinned the skirt of the dress to the bodice and was trying to defend that crap.  He doesn’t sew; he has people who do the sewing for him.  He thought the show was about designing, not about sewing. I think that’s a big problem.  How can you truly create if you don’t know how a fabric will react when you use certain construction techniques?  What type of seam will bring about the best results?  Which grainline will produce the best drape?  Should you interface, line the garment, what?

Today I finished the French binding on the top by hand.  It was quiet and I named the top “Quiet Beauty” and thought about my high school teachers.  Many may be dead now.  I won’t say what year I graduated, but my yearbook is gold because it was the school’s 50th anniversary.  I want to say thank you to all of my teachers.  You taught us well.  You polished raw diamonds.  While we went on to other things in life, the skills we honed in those classes are still with us.  Rest assure, even your worst student won’t be on national television putting a dress together with safety pins.

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Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is almost over.  Today I finished and posted another item to my Etsy shop.  While I finished the wedding skirt, took the pictures and added the skirt to the shop, I thought of my mother throughout the day.  She would have been one of my biggest fans, encouraging me as I design and create my things for this virtual store.  She has cheered me on since I stitched my first outfit when I was 11-years old.  She admired my illustrations when I majored in fashion design, promoted my fashion shows, helped me hand bead lace for clients’ wedding dresses, and proudly wore my designs.  This is the fourth Mother’s Day since she died.  I miss her. 

wedding skirt for Etsy shop

wedding skirt for Etsy shop


The Last Dress

I recently made a wedding dress for my niece.  It brought me a lot of joy to make the dress. As she stood there in full regalia (dress, jewelry, veil, and shoes), we both cried. She had suddenly grown up.  She was beautiful and she was ready to take that journey down the aisle, heading into her future with the man she loved.

I have many young women in my family, nieces, cousins and a daughter of my own.  Throughout their lives I make those important dresses: holiday dresses, graduation dresses, debutante gowns, prom dresses, college formals, bridesmaid dresses and wedding gowns. I never thought about it before but I guess, as you get older you become more sentimental.  I suddenly realized that the wedding dress is the last dress I ever make for them, and suddenly melancholy came over me.

I understand now from where the sadness comes.  It comes from the relationship that deepens over the weeks in which the dress is created.  You see, when they are young girls, their mothers bring them for their consultations and fittings.  It is a time for the mothers and me to catch up on family news. When they come for a gown for a college formal, they may spend the weekend, but I am so busy picking fabrics, making the muslin fitting shell, altering the pattern, and making the dress for the first fitting before sending them back to college, that there is no time to really catch up on their lives.

When they come to me for their wedding dress, it’s different.  They come alone.  At the consultation I get to peek into their personality and see who they have become.  When they tell me what they like and dislike, I get to see who has become the girly girl and who has become the rebel.  Throughout the weeks and months before the wedding, during the shopping trips and fittings, we talk a lot and I learn who they are.  They express their views on the world, their jobs, fashion, relationships, etc.  They fascinate me.  At the final fitting, it’s over.  It’s not that we will never talk again; it’s that their married lives will keep them so busy that there will be very few opportunities for the intimate conversations. There will be the group discussions at family dinners and cookouts, but not those intimate ones.

Lucky for me, there is a bright side.  While making that wedding dress, I also made the flower girl dress for my great-niece.  As well, my granddaughter is in kindergarten, so I know the graduation dress is just around the corner.  THE NEXT GENERATION IS COMING!  I have a lot of dresses to do.


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What to say about THE wedding dress

Last night I watched one of the many bridal reality shows that has flooded television, bombarding the viewing audience with unrealistic ideas.  Appearing on the show was a woman who had just lost her job shopping for a $5,000 WEDDING DRESS!  That was her idea of being budget conscious.  On the advice of the sales person she could cut back on other areas of the wedding in order to purchase her dream dress.  The problem: her dream dress made her look like a squat blinged-out nightmare. I believe the dress should enhance your beauty.  I don’t want to see the dress wearing the bride; I want to see the bride wearing the dress.

Most dress designers and wedding consultants want you to believe that the more you spend, the better. Historically, brides wore dresses in the richest materials money could buy, reflecting their social status and their family’s wealth.  Even the poorest bride wore their best dress on their wedding day.  For most women, there are many occasions to dress up, but only one day to wear the wedding dress, so the wedding dress should be special.  It’s one of the biggest days of your life, so go for it.  But remember, money doesn’t buy you style, and style is available in all price ranges.  It should not mean paying for the dress many years after the wedding.

 I always tell my clients that the most important thing about their wedding day is that they (the bride and the groom) exchange wedding vows.  Nothing else matters except that they exchange wedding vows.  This prepares the bride for the unexpected, which always happens on her wedding day.  It also helps the bride to prioritize things, putting the wedding dress in its proper place, which is not first.