the Inside Story

Well, it’s nearly June, and we’re currently hard at work on our brand-new summer line!

In the meantime, we thought you might like to see some of what goes on inside a Melody Valerie dress. Here are some shots from our most recent custom order…

This dress, like many of our creations, was fully lined. Here’s a photo of the bodice, inside out, showing the hand-understitching (which keeps the lining from rolling to the outside).


This is one of my favorite parts: the skirt and its lining! I love the wide, luxurious hem on the batiste lining, and adding the cotton lace to the main layer was just too much fun to resist. It’s a subtle detail that actually reduces hem bulk.  Hooray!


All the bows were meticulously sewn on by hand. We aim for completely invisible hand stitching, but you can usually find it if you know where to look. =)


That’s all for now, but we’ve got more interesting posts in the works (and more info about the summer line coming up!)



how much fun is this?

Well, we finally made it to the fabric store and got the ribbon we needed to finish this dress. I have to say, the bows really are the best part!



the delight of handmade

I love this trim. Not just that it’s tatted, which in itself is awesome (tatting is fascinatingly contradictory; delicate and solid, airy and defined, all at once!). But the full story, or at least what I know of it, is that this trim began in China around 25 or 30 years ago. Little old ladies hand-worked picots and rings in abundance, using fine and delicate thread. Tatting is very labor-intensive, so to make a long story short, this is not your average ‘made in China’ product!

But wait, it gets better! Look closely at the two lines of trim in this photo — the top one is tighter, smaller, and has three main rings, while the bottom is looser and has four rings to a motif. Would you believe they’re part of the same trim?

Yes, it’s true — partway through, the trim switches from the smaller to the larger motif. (Or is it the larger to the smaller? We’ll never know…) I discovered the switch as I was pinning the trim to a dress. Thankfully I have enough that it won’t be a problem.

That’s just not the sort of thing that happens when you buy machine-made lace. Three cheers for wonderful vintage trim!


so close!

Happy Monday! It’s beautiful, sunny and unseasonably warm today…. just the right sort of day to finish up this adorable little custom sundress.

Everything was going smoothly until we got to the very last step: the little bows all around the waistline. Two short bows from the end, we’d used up the last of the ribbon. (!!)

So now we’ll just have to make another trip to the fabric store. Thankfully that’s not a very difficult problem to solve =)


better 2gether!

Pearl and I had a lot of fun during the photoshoot this morning. We were so eager to get going that we whisked these two new matching custom dresses away as soon as Melinda put in the finishing stitches. I snapped this shot of us together while we were waiting for Lisette to come (she was the one behind the camera most of the time; click on the link below to see her lovely shots!)


A Really Eyecatching Dress

Dated 1958-59, I couldn’t help thinking how much it looks like a transitional style between the fitted, hourglass dresses of the 1950s and the roomy sheaths of the 1960s. And isn’t the treatment of the sheer at the center front so clever? You can read more about it here:

FIDM Museum Blog: “Bubble Silhouette, 1958-1959”

Actually, if you’re fond of a regular dose of interesting old garments, this blog is definitely worth checking out — the authors post thoughtful descriptions, along with some historical background, links to related subject matter, and (of course) gorgeous photos…