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And the Winners Are…

Thanks for joining us at the Finally Forever Wedding Expo!

Without further ado, we’d like  to announce the giveaway winners:

Congratulations to Samuel Green! He and his future spouse have won their choice of a Budget Strategy Session, registration for two to our Wedding Planning 101 Workshop, or having the design fee waived on a Custom Wedding Garment. They’ve also won free admission to The Planning Party on April 1st.

Three additional couples have won admission to The Planning Party – Congratulations to:
Angela & Nicole Bolding
Stephen Lutes
Maribel Arroyo

We had a wonderful time meeting all of you, and we hope you got some great ideas and resources to plan a fantastic wedding! Don’t forget about our Marriage Equality Discount, valid for all wedding planning services booked by March 31st for weddings taking place in 2014.

What is this Planning Party thing?

If you are stressed out with wedding planning and you need a little bit of expert help and/or a big glass of wine, then it might be just the party for you! The Planning Party is a casual get together where couples are invited to ask us absolutely anything about planning their weddings. We’ll be featuring a different vendor each month to talk about their specialty and answer questions as well. At our inaugural Party on Tuesday April 1st, our guest will be Emilia Schobeiri of Emilia Jane Photography. (You may remember her lovely photos of Sarah’s wedding dress and winter coat or James and Liz’s wedding.) And, of course, refreshments will be provided. Follow the link above to register or get more information.

Kate | Custom Pink Silk Dupioni Wedding Gown

Concept

When you’re over 6′ tall, it can be pretty difficult to find anything that fits off the rack. If you’re on the hunt for a wedding gown, you’d like to have straps, you don’t want a pouffy princess ballgown, and you don’t even want it to be white, it’s damn near impossible. And that’s why Kate came to see us.

She was looking for something classy and fitted through the torso with a trumpet flare at the bottom. She wanted her dress to have lots of texture to it. Of the design options we presented, Kate’s top choice was our “starburst” design, featuring seamed panels of fabric angling outwards in all directions from a central point of the dress.

Concept Sketch for Kate's Wedding Dress © Crafty Broads

Concept Sketch for Kate’s Wedding Dress © Crafty Broads

Work-in-Progress & Challenges

We often use padding to make a dress form into the same shape as a client so that we can drape our design on it; however there are some limitations. While you can add material to make a dress form wider, there’s no good way to make one taller in any area except the legs. And though many tall people are tall because they have super long legs, Kate is tall in every aspect – long legs, long torso, she is even long from shoulder to bustline. So for this project we chose to use a flat-patterning method – taking Kate’s exact measurements and using a computer and a lot of very specific math to create a paper patter that we could work from. It worked out very well and needed surprisingly little adjustment at our mockup fitting.

Seamed bodice in progress, as seen on a not-quite-proportional dress form! Photo © Crafty Broads

Seamed bodice in progress, as seen on a not-quite-proportional dress form! Photo © Crafty Broads

Finished Garment

We selected silk dupioni for the seamed portion of the dress from the knees up, and a 4-ply silk crepe to create a flowing skirt on the bottom, both in a blushy pink shade. This was our first time working with the silk crepe, and it was delightful to cut and sew. It has a nice medium weight to it, which made the whole garment hang nicely. The seamed dupioni portion of the dress created a lot of visual texture, and turned out beautifully!

Photos in this and all posts are protected by copyright, and are reposted here with the photographer’s permission. They are not available for reproduction, redistribution, or any other purpose without written authorization from the photographer.

Pet Peeves: That Gap in the Back of Your Waistband

A long, LONG time ago… (we all know by now that I am terrible at keeping up with writing things on this here blog, don’t we?) some fabulous people contributed their hard-earned funds to help us open up our shop, and we offered some perks in return. One of them was a chance to tell us about their pet peeve related to mass-produced clothing. So today, we’re hearing from Trisha (who is shaving her head for St. Baldrick’s this year, go give some money to fund cancer research if you can!)

The Pet Peeve

So here is what Trisha wants to know: What is up with the gap in the back of all the waistbands?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that there’s a good chance everyone reading this knows exactly what Trisha is talking about. I know I do. In case you don’t, here’s what happens: You go shopping for some pants. Or a skirt, it happens there too. You try on a pair. It seems like it would fit your waist perfectly, if only you could get it over your hips… which is not ever gonna happen. So you pick the next size larger. Sweet! It fits your hips perfectly! But now that you’ve got them zipped up, there is a huge gap at the center back. But you buy them anyway, because what choice do you have? And you wear them, and right after you pull them out of the dryer they are fabulous for about 5 minutes and then you find yourself with a terrible case of plumber’s crack. What’s worse is that you may even find you can successfully take them on and off without unzipping or even unbuttoning. This does not bode well for keeping your ass covered.

Why It Exists

The reason for this gap, along with numerous other fit issues, is the way mass-produced garments are designed. For each design, they have what is called a fit model. This is a person who’s job it is to have the garment tested on them. They do this in just one size (6, generally, I believe) and of course the keyword is model – which means they are likely to be tall and skinny and generally not too curvy. And that is the key problem for this issue. A not-so-curvy person doesn’t have a big difference in her waist vs. hip measurements; but most of us have a sizable increase from waist to hip. So when they take that fairly un-curvy pattern and then make it into other sizes (called “grading”), it doesn’t get curvier… it just gets proportionally wider. This is a mistake, if you ask me. (And everyone else who isn’t shaped like a tree trunk.)

What Can You Do About It?

WELL. Somehow we should all band together and demand that designers and clothing manufacturers start considering the bodies of actual people when they come up with these things. But given the likelihood of that happening, let’s talk practical solutions:

  1. Have them altered. Honestly, this is kind of your only option. You can learn how to do it yourself (it’s pretty easy) or you can have it done professionally. It should take someone who knows what they’re doing about an hour, and shouldn’t be terribly expensive. Ask your local tailor and then factor in the cost when you’re picking out your next pair.
  2. Custom jeans! Made from scratch to your measurements. Obviously, this is a more costly option… but it may be worth it, especially if your jeans get a lot of wear. Most mass-produced versions have stretch in them, even if they aren’t marketed that way, and the elastic wears out really fast, much faster than strong, sturdy denim. Perhaps you’ve noticed how they seem to get holes much faster than they did 15 years ago, before stretch denim existed? With a custom pair, you can request non-stretch denim, reinforcement in the areas that you personally wear through the fastest, and as a bonus, they will also be hemmed the right length.

Questions? Rants? Speak up in the comments!

Where The Hell Have We Been?

Who knew that October was going to be a crazy busy chaotic month of madness? We sure didn’t. Julia was without a show to do, and our calendar held one wedding dress and one mother-of-the-bride dress (same wedding!) and I had two day-of-coordination gigs (one in Michigan, one in Chicago), plus my usual 45-hour/week nannying job. This seemed completely reasonable when I looked at the calendar in September.

It still seemed possible when we added two wedding dress alterations. And two more day-of-coordination spots in November (which yes, require work in October, because it’s really far more than just a day-of service.) October was even achievable when we booked two more alterations for bridesmaids. And when we added a corset (which is really cool – it’s for a man to do an impression of Cher, and the design is based on her costume from the Turn Back Time video – can’t wait to tell you about it… someday) that we donated as an auction prize to About Face Theatre’s annual fundraiser. As well as when Julia got a show, because that was just four nights a week, leaving her daytimes free.

But then, a fantastic and terrible thing happened. Julia got offered a job stage managing a month-long run of Route 66’s A Twist of Water. In New York City. Starting October 28th. With rehearsals the week prior in Chicago. And then? Then doable, booming-business awesomeness started to look a little bit impossible.

And I honestly don’t think I’m lying if I tell you that we will probably spend MORE time with each other while she’s in NYC than in the entire month of October, because I am going to visit, and I’m not going to work at all for five whole days while I’m there. For real, I am turning the auto-responder on my email and everything.

So, if you’ve missed this blog having any actual posts, or you’re still bummed that I cancelled my birthday party to sew things (true story), or you haven’t seen me around the twitters lately… I hope you understand that it’s just been impossible to do anything but work for the last month and a half. The next few weeks aren’t looking good either, but I tell you what – I am free on Thanksgiving (Day only, I have a wedding the day after), so if you are interested in hanging with a sleep-deprived crazy person who has no intention of getting out of her pajamas all day, you know where to find me.

Advertising on A Practical Wedding

[Don’t forget to update your links/feed to our new blog address: www.craftybroads.com/blog]

It’s getting real over here. We spent some actual dollars to become official sponsors on A Practical Wedding. Let me tell you why this blog was our first (and is likely to be our only) choice for advertising our wedding-related services. It is as simple as the tagline in the blog header:

A Practical Wedding blog header

weddings. plus the marriage. minus the insanity.

This philosophy – that the marriage is what matters and the wedding, while important and wonderful, is just one day (or a few) of celebrating the promise of years to come – is something that speaks to us. As fairly reasonable people ourselves, and with a starving artist limited budget, we had to decide what was essential for our wedding, and ditch or make do for the rest. In addition to lots of practical advice for wedding planning, this site is a community of people actively discussing marriage, what it means to be a wife, marriage equality, an ongoing feminist-leaning book club, and all sorts of other things that go beyond the big day. It’s fantastic and full of awesome people, some of whom I am delighted to call my friends.

Beyond that, everyone who advertises on the website is required to take a Sanity Pledge! And you know what the wedding world needs? That’s right, a lot more sanity. So, with our sponsorship, we get to be surrounded by other like-minded vendors. Here’s the pledge we all agreed to:

… A wedding is an awesome party, but it’s the marriage that really matters.
… It takes two people to get married. It’s not all about the bride (and sometimes there isn’t a bride to begin with).
… We support LGBTQ couples right to marry, and we are delighted to work with them.
… We don’t charge a premium just because we heard the word “wedding.”
… We will be upfront and fair about our pricing. We won’t surprise you with a secret fee because you want frosting on the cake, not just the cake.
… You don’t have to have cake at your wedding.
… However you decide to tie the knot, we’re on your team.
… Weddings come in all different shapes/sizes/colors/budgets/etc., but as long as you two end up married to each other, it will have been a successful wedding.

Excellent, right? We’re hoping this will help the most awesome engaged couples find us for wedding planning and coordination. Or for wedding attire creation or alteration. Or both. (And we’re hoping, since they tend *not* to be reading this particular blog, that it will keep the bridezillas away. Because no.)

We’ve got a little ad with our logo that’s in the right sidebar throughout the site along with a listing in their brand-spankin’-new Vendor Directory, which looks like this:

Crafty Broads in the APW Vendor Directory

Sneak peek of our directory listing (click to view it on APW)

So that’s the update on that. We have already worked with a few APW readers, and we look forward to working with many, many more. All the details about what we do are over on our main website, www.craftybroads.com, if you want to check them out.