Archives for September 2022

A Wine Red Custom Gown, Part A

Custom wedding gowns are truly something special! We love getting to dive deep into the creative process of design and construction as we shape and mold the dress to fit our client’s personality and vision. 

Over the last several months we had the pleasure of creating a custom wedding gown for Danelle! We are going to share this story in two parts. In this first part we will share behind the scenes of creation and in the second part we will share the actual wedding day! This was such a fun experience working with Danelle. She wanted a red wedding gown, but she didn’t want to tell her husband Andrew. She wanted to keep it a surprise for the wedding day! We loved keeping this little secret throughout the process. Danelle even talked about hanging a white wedding dress in her closet before the wedding to keep the surprise! 

The dressmaking process began with some imagery that inspired Danelle. From these images we began designing the dress to combine the different elements that were important to Danelle’s vision. It was solving a puzzle as we began to play with different bodice cuts, applique designs, layers, volume, color accents, and more. 

For this wedding gown we started with a ballroom silhouette petticoat made of three rows of gathered tulle, and a luxurious silk charmeuse lining. Danelle wanted to run down the aisle to Andrew,  so we put a slit in the petticoat to allow her to run without catching the skirt.

For the bodice, we sourced many different embroidered appliques to find the perfect shade of wine red – focusing on blue-reds, rather than orange-reds.  Then we worked with different colors of tulle for the outer skirt layer, to blend the colors together to create a richer tone. Working with tulle is like painting with watercolors – you can blend different colors together to arrive at new shades. 

The appliques on the bodice and skirt was the real puzzlework!  Our amazing Lynne Donaldson was tasked with arranging the appliques in an organic fashion.  She did a stunning, meticulous job.

To create an organic looking applique design she had to cut all of our individual appliques into smaller pieces so she could create appliques that were all subtly different. From each applique you’d have some connecting pieces, larger more decorative pieces, and then more medium sized extra pieces. It became complex as you worked your way to create a one of a kind applique from all of these little parts. And on top of that, we needed to lightly sew these onto the tulle to test if the weight of the parts would alter the flow of the skirt. And then when all was good to go we had to individually sew all the little pieces of the applique onto the skirt and bodice. Quite the task!

Our incredible JOA team put their heart into this gown. We were all hand sewing different sections of the applique together. Talk about teamwork! This dress became a collective endeavor as we all worked together to find the perfect design and to get all the pieces assembled. Teamwork really does make the dream work! Stay tuned for part B where we will share more about the day of the wedding and share some gorgeous photos!!

Au Revoir & Bon Voyage Sophia!

We said au revoir & bon voyage to our lovely Sewing Assistant & First Hand Sophia Gallegos! At the end of August she was on her way to the other side of the world to study Fashion Design in Amsterdam! We could not be more excited and proud of her! We celebrated her last day in the Atelier with a Fancy Dress Day and kanelbullar (Swedish cinnamon buns)!

We wanted to do a little Q&A with Sophia to reflect upon her years at the Atelier and to share more about her future plans. Find out more below:


Q: Sophia, can you share more about your experience working with Jennifer the last three years? 

A: I have absolutely loved working for Jennifer! I was a very inexperienced, self-taught sewer when I first got the job and Jennifer taught me a multitude of professional techniques which I’m so grateful for. Jennifer’s studio is so pretty and peaceful and everyone is so so kind which made work wonderful and I looked forward to it every week. I loved having afternoon tea every day and being able to learn how to sew in a safe and caring environment. I really appreciate how much Jennifer trusted my sewing ability as I often felt super nervous but her trust gave me reassurance that I could do it. 

Q: What was the most valuable lesson you learned?

A: The most important thing I learned was how to efficiently problem-solve. The studio gets very busy, especially during prom season and each dress has its own quirks. There’s not a lot of time to sit around and think, so you just have to be creative about how to alter the dress, and get it done. This skill makes me plan ahead and be able to find the most practical solution in my own designing and sewing without feeling stressed or flustered. Jennifer set such a good example as I rarely saw her get worried and no projects ever stumped her.

The photos above are from Sophia’s prom dress she designed this year!

Q: What was your favorite project you worked on over the years?

A: Definitely helping design the Mother Ginger costume for the Nutcracker. I had so much fun getting to be the designer for a moment as I did not have to do all of the sewing but I got to make the decisions. It was also so wonderful to help with a show again as I love how over the top the costumes are for live theater and the hectic but thrilling feeling of getting everything done before opening night.

Q: What are you most looking forward to as you enter a career in fashion design?

A: I’m really excited to be challenged by having to work around/with other fashion students who I can share ideas with and be inspired by. I also feel like I know very little about fashion history and how the industry works so I’m interested in becoming more educated so that my designs can become more complex. 

Q: Can you share a bit about your plans for the future?

A: This fall I am going to Amsterdam for three months for a gap year fashion program at the Amsterdam Fashion Academy! I’ve never been anywhere in Europe so I’m overwhelmingly excited to explore the city and be influenced by all the fashionable people there. In the spring I am going to the Academy of Art University in San Francisco which is a four year college that I am going to try for fashion design! After that, who knows, but whatever I am doing, I hope it will be fashionable!

It has been a pure joy having Sophia being a part of the Atelier the last few years. She has seen JOA grow in a number of ways and she has been a part of that growth every step of the way. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for this talented and passionate fashion designer! We will miss your sun-shining, contagious energy! We are beyond excited for you to enter this new chapter! Congratulations Sophia! “Oh the places you’ll go!”

Real Weddings: Ilana + Matt

Bride Ilana and Groom Matt had their gorgeous wedding on July 2nd, 2022! We assisted Bride Ilana with wedding gown alterations. As usual, we love to share photos from our past clients. It is always so helpful to see how past couples styled their garments and curated their wedding days. To see other Real Wedding Blogs, click here

We had previously shared a blog about her Oscar de La Renta wedding gown. You can find that blog here

Here are some of Illana and Matt’s wedding photos. Photography is by Joanna Tano  (@joannatanophotography).

Here are some sweet words from Ilana:

“​​Jennifer did an incredible job altering my off-the-rack Oscar de la Renta dress. Her craftsmanship was flawless, the price was very reasonable, and she did her work efficiently and communicated well.” – Ilana 

Thank you Ilana! Congratulations on your beautiful day! We were so happy to be able to assist you. Brides-to-be get in touch to schedule your first fittings via