My Blog


view:  full / summary

50% RULE

Posted on December 11, 2015 at 11:16 AM Comments comments (35)
Need help deciding if you should have your item repaired? 
Learn to use the 50% RULE. 
If the repair cost is less than half of the replacement cost.
Your winter coat needs a new zipper.  Repair labor and zipper are about $20.00 - $25.00.  A new coat is $95.00 and up.
Your favorite jacket needs a new zipper.  Repair labor and zipper are about $20.00 - $25.00.  A similar jacket is on sale for $39.00, ………...............but this is your favorite jacket! 
Your favorite perfect fitting slacks or jeans need a new zipper.  Repair labor and zipper is about $13.00.  You spot a sale where slacks are only $20.00.  BUT.....Finding the perfect fitting pants could take HOURS! 

Tell us what you think about the 50% rule. Would this information help you make a decision about repairing or replacing a clothing item? 
We'd love to hear from you!

Heart Pump Holster

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 4:37 PM Comments comments (116)
Many heart pump users hold their monitoring apparatus in a back pack….but the pack has to be taken off to see the information or someone else needs to read it.

I had the privilege of making a prototype “carrier” for a heart pump monitor user earlier this year.  This gentleman was a person much more comfortable having his statistics and battery strength indicators at easy access.  Thus the Heart Pump Holster as I named it, was created. 


              Center front button detail.

Split and Velcro closure on side front for easy access to the pump to heart cord.

Back view shows the elastic panel that allows a comfortable yet snug and secure fit.

There is a front center "pocket" for the monitor and two side "pockets" for a battery and a back-up battery.  These holsters are currently custom made for each individual.  We use 100% cotton fabric that you may choose yourself or we can surprise you!   They are machine washable, hang to dry. 

A few measurements is all we need and you will have your data at a glance.  Measurements are taken over a tank top or t-shirt.  The holsters are then created to wear under your stylish loose fitting shirt or blouse and hardly noticeable to the general public.

For product questions, pricing or to arrange a custom order, please call 570-321-9298
and ask for Deb.

Payment is quoted in US Dollars and is subject to change without notice.  Continental US, APO and FPO shipments only..... at this time.

"My girl" is leaving.

Posted on April 22, 2014 at 11:17 AM Comments comments (1)
I’m a grown up woman but I still have great attachment to special dolls I’ve dressed for clients.

This story is about a doll that is super special because I not only altered the bridal gown but restored her vintage headpiece. 

Instead of buying a new doll, I started searching for a doll in thrift and vintage shops.  The gown and veil had that vintage look so why not have an older looking doll as well.  Fashion changes, sometimes doll faces change as well!  I found a gently used doll that had a small waist just like the bride.  She was beautiful and her hair and face were in great condition. 

I still had the wedding dress so I was able to take measurements like the length of the train.  I studied pattern drafting and am good at math.  Creating the pattern was fun because of the small scale.  I also used the pattern pieces to draw out the decorative details to show this plan to the client. 

Every time I went looking for zippers, fabric and notions for clients, I looked for lace and tulle for this project.  After several months and trips to local fabric stores, supply stores and the internet, I finally found everything I needed.  I first tested my pattern pieces on a printed fabric from my stash.  The sleeves on the actual wedding gown were snug.  A snug sleeve on a doll that has no working elbows is fairly difficult.  The netting of the sleeves and neckline were tricky but I managed a good fit, trimming several times and sewing by hand.  Then, minor trimming of the waist was really the only other change that I needed for a perfect fit.

In the meantime, at the home of the client, a surprise emerged.  bride doll from her childhood.  Her grandmother had purchased it when she was a child.  It was the most perfect doll to wear this wedding gown replica.  This doll had survived a long time hidden in a closet.  She surely deserved to make an appearance and be multi-meaningful to the bride.

I was so pleased to get a call from the bride about finding this treasure.  Yes, I said the call was from the bride.  Her mother was so excited about them finding the doll and with the dress replica in progress; she could no longer keep her secret.

I received the doll when the bride came for one of her fittings.  I did not say anything about the size of the doll but I knew there would be a small problem.  I confirmed that afternoon.  Yes, the dolls were different sizes.  OK, we have alterations on a doll dress pattern!  I work on real clothing patterns all the time.  This was the first time I would alter a doll pattern. 

I was actually very busy when this doll arrived.  I did however, take the time to remove her old clothing, give her a bath and shampoo.  Then I set her hair with pin curls.

At the time, I had two young grandsons visiting my sewing room so I dressed her in a new slip and blouse.  She stood with a couple other dolls overlooking my workstation for several weeks.

I finally had time to work on the pattern.  This doll was a little shorter and thicker in the waist.  The adjusting the pattern was not too difficult.  I got a chuckle out of altering this doll pattern.

It is impossible to make an exact replica of the original gown trying to imitate the embroidered flowers and leaves.  I had purchased a few styles during my searches. I choose the most similar looking ones, cut apart the pieces that worked best together and attached them to the gown.  The most important detail to gown was the Swarovski crystals.  The bride's gown had over seven hundred (700) crystals.   The replica; I just know there was plenty. 

 Aquamarine on the bodice and sleeves, Peridot on the hem.

The most difficult feature of this entire doll outfit was trying to create a tiny replica of the vintage headpiece.  It took me two tries but I finally settled for my second try.  I focused on just a couple of details instead of all of them.  A much better choice.   

Several of my regular clients have made known their great appreciation of her story; the timely discovery and now her beautiful dress.  I have gotten the most delightful comments from them, doll lovers both young and old. 

It was over a year ago from the first meeting with the bride. The Wedding has taken place.  "My girl" finally went home with her rightful owner.  I will miss her.


Posted on March 3, 2014 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (8)

OMG…the bridesmaid is pregnant and we already purchased the dresses!

As soon as you know you are pregnant, consult your local seamstress to arrange the future alterations. With some bridesmaid dresses, the manufacturer may have used the same fabric exterior and interior as lining.  If this is the case, you are in luck.  You can use the fabric from the inside skirt and replace it with a closely matching lining fabric.  No one will be the wiser.
If a purchase is required, locate similar fabric at your local fabric store using your seamstress' yardage recommendation, or have her do this for you.  This fabric should match the dress as closely as possible.  Dating this blog at March 2014, expect to pay about $30.00 for one yard.  Information on the dress tag will tell the manufacturer, the color number and type of fabric you need.  This option may be a little expensive added to the cost of the dress because the manufacturer will most likely only sell a minimum one yard.  If only a small amount is needed ask your Bride to help with the cost; she may be able to use the leftovers and add perfectly matching decorations to the reception venue.

We highly recommend ordering the manufacturers fabric if the pregnant bridesmaid will be 8-9 months along on the wedding   The alteration could be a length of fabric inserted from the armpit to the hem on each side.  This method is surprisingly easy and not really noticeable since the maids are usually viewed from the front or back.   

6 months along may take a lot less fabric!  At this point, the dress may be 1-4 inches to small at the bust and 1-3 inches at the waist.  A "v" shaped panel can be added to the back of the dress, or at each arm pit.  Depending on the fabric match, this alteration can be barely noticeable at all.  Most of these alterations can be easily returned to the original size after the pregnancy if desired.

Is there anyone wishing to tell us about your similar experience!  We'd love to hear YOUR story!

Completed Vintage Headpiece Restoration.

Posted on February 20, 2014 at 4:02 PM Comments comments (3)
 YES....I've finally finished the restoration.  It took some time because I was also working on three wedding gown alterations and various other projects at the same time.  It was good that each project took a rest while I worked on the others.

 I gave the headpiece time to flatten out without using the heat of an iron.  Even though this beautiful vintage piece withstood a fire, I was taking no chances of damaging the pearls.  I pressed it between two towels and a book on top till I was ready to work on it again.  

 I'm not sure if it was age or the fire, but this "tierra" headpiece was flimsy despite the original wiring on the back of the pearls.  I added more wiring so it stood up firmly on the brides head.  I then covered those wires with a layer of  100% cotton.  I was pleased with the look and proceeded to work on the silk cap.

  I was so surprised and pleased at the condition of the cap.  there was only a small tear and I mended that with a piece of netting.  It is barely visible now. 

 Assembly of the tierra to the cap was a little difficult.  Tiny stitches and a beading needle were used to sew them together.  I made sure none of those stitches showed through on the pearl covered front side.  At each end of the tierra I re-attached the wax flowers that were so commonly used in 1910 through 1920.

 The bride requested a hair piece comb to secure the piece to her head.  While I was adding the attachment loops for this comb I realized the original brides may have secured this headpiece with hair pins.  I imagine the small tear was where those pins were placed.   I also added small loops under the cap ends so hair pins could be added there for more security without damaging the cap. The veil was attached across the back of the silk cap. This simple but elegant two layer fingertip length circle veil with satin trim is the perfect compliment and will allow the restored headpiece to stand out.  I can picture now, our bride as she proudly walks down the isle wearing the beautiful headpiece her grandmother once wore.

It’s a BOY

Posted on July 24, 2013 at 12:59 PM Comments comments (4)
This time the baby is a BOY!  We created a custom one of a kind Baby Boy Christening outfit sewn from his Grandmother’s wedding gown.
At the beginning of our planning meeting, we had no idea if the baby was to be a boy or a girl.  I carefully planned layout for the pattern pieces for both outfits.  This task was kind of like working  a puzzle. The layout had been checked twice to insure no errors or missing pieces.  (Measure twice, cut once) This old saying usually refers to lumber, but it's a wise move when working on a project such as this as well. 
The client eventually wanted both garments anyway, so our extra time spent was well justified.  With barely enough fabric from this once beautiful wedding day reminder…….our creations were born.
I’m so proud to display this baby boy outfit.  It is the first boy outfit Deb's Sewing Service has styled from a wedding gown.  I' m especially pleased with the results. The more masculine style with the little vest and bow tie scream   "I’M A BOY".
We can't wait to show you the pictures.
The Christening date is coming close and we’ll post some pictures just as soon we can.

It’s ok to buy a too small dress if...

Posted on March 24, 2013 at 8:33 AM Comments comments (4)
The next time you are shopping, you find a dress that you can't live without but it’s too small, use these tips to give you confidence to make the purchase. Then plan to bring your dress to Deb’s Sewing Service for alterations!   

When you are trying on the dress, zip it up as far as it will go without causing stress on the zipper.  Have a friend or clerk measure the amount of fabric gap at the top of the back dress between the two zipper tops.   If there is less than 2" we can sometimes let that much out of the seams. If it is 2” - 4" and the gown needs hemmed say 6 inches we could add triangular gussets under both armpits using the cut off hem fabric.  If the dress doesn’t need hemmed but still needs the gussets, have the clerk call the gown manufacturer for availability to purchase matching fabric. These manufacturers will make you purchase a minimum of 1 yard and I'm remembering the cost to be about $25.00 US dollars plus shipping.     Unless the gown has detail like a large appliqué under each arm to cover the seams, I generally do not recommend adding gussets to total more than 5".  (2 ½ inches each side) They start to be too noticeable even without lifting up your arms. 

The final option for enlarging a gown is the corset back. This alteration is common for too small wedding gowns and prom gowns.  The one yard minimum fabric purchase will be plenty of fabric to add a corset back.  Also, if the gown is to the floor and you would consider making it knee length, this fabric would work perfect for the corset addition…without additional fabric expense. 

There’s always a good reason for an exception.  One time, using the matching 1 yard of fabric from the manufacturer, we added to an above the knee length gown to make a brides maid dress into a brides maid maternity dress!  It was a little obvious that we added panels to both sides of the front skirt panel. The bridal party did not care that her dress was a little different....the woman was still able to honor the bride and be in her wedding! 

Please note: If you are using a service other than at Deb’s Sewing Service, please check with the seamstress prior to your purchase to make sure they are willing to execute this type of alteration.

Add a "corset back"

Posted on February 15, 2013 at 10:28 AM Comments comments (9)
 Sometimes a bride finds the perfect off the rack wedding gown only to try it on and find that it is too small.  It won’t zip up the back. What a shame because she just loves this gown ........…’s the one.  

 Deb’s Sewing Service to the rescue.  It’s a great fix to add a corset back to this gown.  Up to 7 additional inches can be added to the bust area, replacing the center back zipper.

  Often additional matching fabric can be purchased from the manufacturer.  One yard is plenty to make the lacing and privacy panel.  If this purchase is not an option, similar fabric can be found at a local fabric store. 

  The corset’s lacing back and forth creates some shadowing and so much interest to the back of the dress, even if the fabric is not a perfect match, it won’t be noticeable. 

Vintage Headpiece Restoration

Posted on January 12, 2013 at 4:18 PM Comments comments (8)
Something old for your wedding can also be something new again. 
I am currently restoring a wedding headpiece c.1920.  The bride actually wore the headpiece in 1941, but the style and  tiny wax flowers indicate it is from much earlier decade.  This beautiful headpiece could have belonged to the mother of the 1941 bride.  That 1941 bride could have been using this headpiece for something old as well.  
Although the box with veil and headpiece were rescued from a home that had a fire, the package did not burn.  The great heat from the nearby flames melted the wax flowers a little.  The grosgrain ribbon edging the head cap is in great condition.  I was pleasantly surprised during disassembly; the actual cap had only a small tear where the crown center was most likely attached..  Considering the time line and the heat of the fire, this fabric could be holding up so well because of possibly being made of silk.   The lace edging on the veil is in good condition as well.  The tulle veil however is completely deteriorated. 
The actual work is tedious.  Careful stitches to attach support for the softened crown.  Re-attaching all the pieces and adding a new tulle veil is the fun part.  After several hours of hand sewing, the headpiece finally comes to life. 
             Voilà.  Restoration is complete.

Sewing alterations on your sheets!

Posted on December 4, 2012 at 2:32 PM Comments comments (1)
So many of us would like to surprise our sports fan with window curtains of their favorite sport team. Often the fabric stores do not have our desired team or the print is not what we like. Sheets come in so many colors and patterns and can be easily made into other items.
Recently we added a project close to heart of many Pennsylvanians.  From a Queen size flat sheet, we created curtains and pillow covers for a tried and true Pittsburg Steelers Fan.  This "man room" also had only a full size bed so from the fitted sheet, we took off several inches from the length and width and now the sheet fits the full bed perfectly.  No need for a topper, this fan has several Steelers blankets and throws.
If you have a partner who takes all the covers, you can up size when you purchase your next sheet/comforter set and have the fitted sheet made smaller.  This would give you about five inches extra width as well as length in the top sheet and comforter.  Of coarse, a King fitted sheet can be cut down as well.