Beth Smith

Custom Dressmaking

In a previous post I kind of did an overview of my sewing experience but I wanted to give a little bit more detail so let me tell you a bit more of my story.

When I was young I was very interested in sewing. I remember a doll I made from fabric scraps when I was maybe 7 or 8 years old. I cut the front and back pieces all as one and sewed her together. I stuffed her and embroidered on a face and sewed on some red yarn as hair. I made a kind of dress for her from some more scraps. If I remember correctly all of the sewing was done by hand. I was pretty happy with her but there were some things I wished I could do better.

I don’t remember many other sewing projects but I know I made some things because when I got to junior high school I took a Home Ec, Class where we learned sewing. I was annoyed by the project we were assigned which was a simple a-line skirt with an elastic waist . I got special permission to make a different project but was warned by my teacher that our projects needed to be able to be worn to school. I know she was trying to explain that I might be embarrassed if I did a bad job.

The pattern I chose was a vest with a hood. It was reversible and had a drawstring at the waist. I was able to find the pattern!

One side was solid green and the other side was a small plaid that was green and red with gold threads running through. I was always a fan of the sparkles. I wish I still had that vest.

skipping ahead, I moved to California when I was 18 and got married when I was 20 and had my first baby when I was 21 and the second one just one year later. My husband was in the air force and we were very poor. So I started sewing again. This time I was making decorative pillows. I would buy satin and taffeta and lace edgings and appliques and make pillows. I made several sizes and shapes including heart shaped.

My husband took a few of my pillows to his work in the jet engine shop on the air force base and the guys he worked with loved them and started buying them for their cars! This was the late 80s in Southern California if that helps make any sense.

I sold those pillows for a couple of years until I left California and that unhappy marriage.

I went back to PA and got a day job and after a little while I noticed my mom had more sewing work than she could handle and so I asked her if she thought I would be able to do the work well enough and if she would recommend some people come to me. She did and she did. So I got into the weddings business. There were weddings where I made the whole kit and caboodle – bride, bridesmaids, flower girls and everything. Some weddings I just made the bridesmaids and some were just gown alterations and bustles (which is sometimes harder than just making the whole dress from scratch.)

I loved it.

I also made some matching dresses for me and my girls while that would still agree to it….

When we moved to Michigan in 1999 I started putting the word out that I could do sewing but I was getting discouraged that all anybody wanted me to do was hem their husband’s pants so the sewing machine went into the corner for just some quick mending for the family and a dress here and here for my girls

And here we are. I missed sewing. I miss sewing for other people and making them clothes that actually fit their own body. And I miss my closet being full of clothes I love and that actually look good on me.

So, I am making skirts and listing many of them on Etsy in my Etsy store. I am posting photos of everything I make on Instagram and Facebook. I can make you a beautiful skirt from fabric you choose to your specifications. If you live in Michigan I can make you dresses for every day or special occasions. I love it and I and good at it! Don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to discuss it.

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