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 love@jenniferoberg.com.

Costume Director!

We are so excited to share Jen’s latest endeavor on Maui… She will be the new Costume Director for Alexander Academy of Performing Arts! AAPA just recently created a brand new website where you can read all about the school.

Alexander Academy’s mission is to build confidence in each student through quality dance instruction while making this education affordable. We are so happy to work together with and support a performing arts school with such a caring mission. We love supporting arts education for youth on Maui. 

Jennifer began collaborating together with AAPA’s nonprofit organization, Alexander Academy Performing Company (AAPC), last year in partnership with her nonprofit organization, The Sewing Hui. Jennifer and the volunteers of The Sewing Hui worked together to create over 80 dance costumes for AAPC’s new annual Nutcracker Ballet Production and their Summer Performance of The Sleeping Beauty. Jennifer is so excited to be continuing this new collaboration and directing the costuming efforts for their productions.

Jennifer has an extensive background in costume design, having worked in costume shops and as a designer/dressmaker for 30+ years. She started in theater, at the Shakespeare Theatre at the Folger in Washington D.C., the Washington Opera in Washington D.C., and the Old Globe in San Diego, apprenticing in the costume shops. She moved to Hollywood to create costumes for film, television and private clients. Now she runs her own dressmaking and design atelier in upcountry Maui. She is thrilled to be continuing costume designing with Alexander Academy!

I’m delighted to be joining the staff at AAPA in the role of Costume Director.  The passion that flows from Studio Director Danelle, and Artistic Directors Absalon and Amelia is contagious and evident throughout the rest of the teachers and staff.  AAPA is a lively, vibrant place, dedicated to its students.  It instills in them the love and joy of teamwork through dance and performance.  Most importantly, every student is valued for what they bring to the dance floor.  It is a pleasure to be around such a lovely, kind-hearted and professional team.” – Jennifer Oberg

Follow @aapamaui @jenniferobergatelier and @thesewinghui to stay up-to-date with costuming projects!

Discovering the Dressmakers of Maui

While ordering a plate lunch one day at Ohana Island Grindz in Makawao, we saw this map posted at the counter. It is Baldwin Avenue in Makawao town from October 27, 1931. If you look closely you can see there was a small dressmaker shop! From the map we believe it is where the Maui Cookie Lady’s shop is currently located. 

Below you can see where the dressmaker’s shop is:

From the map and the layout of town now, we think this shop is where it used to be:

We tried to dig up some more history about this little shop from the 1930s, but we couldn’t find anything. If someone has more information and would like to share with us, please get in touch with us! 

In our search, we did come across a dressmaker from back in the day named Helen T. Ikeoka. She was born in 1911 in Honolulu. She owned a retail shop in Wailuku with ready to wear infant and children’s clothing. She attended Tanabe Dressmaking School and graduated from the Hawaii Dressmakers’ Association. 

We love to discover some of the history of the past dressmakers here on Maui. Feel free to reach out if you have more information and would like to share it with us. We would love to know more!

Real Weddings: Julia + Jordan

We have so many gorgeous photos to share with you from our past clients we assisted with bridal and groom alterations! Plus, we also helped their wedding party too! Bride Julia and Groom Jordan had their wedding on June 4th, 2022. 

In addition to the bride and groom, we worked with the bride’s mother, father, and sister on alterations. We also altered her sister’s party dress for the reception. We just love getting to work with all the different people who are part of the wedding party! It is so fun to get to know the closest family and friends of the bride and groom.      

Below our some of the fabulous pictures taken by Anna Kim:

Don’t hesitate to reach out for wedding alterations for you, your partner, and your wedding party. It is our pleasure to get to work together with you and your loved ones! For all wedding-related inquiries contact us via love@jenniferoberg.com. We are available to assist with alterations, custom wedding dresses, on-site steaming and pressing services, and more. Get in touch!

Real Weddings: Bride Miri

Here we are, sharing another past bride JOA worked together with. Bride Miri had a beautiful wedding on February 26, 2022. Here are some gorgeous photos from her special day.

The JOA team assisted Bride Miri with wedding gown alterations. This was a special case as Miri was pregnant and was not sure how large she would be close to her wedding day. We helped her with last minute alterations to make sure her gown had the right fit before her wedding. 

Some sweet words from Bride Miri:

Jennifer was a great help. I had a unique situation because I was pregnant and couldn’t plan how large I would be- so getting last minute alterations before the wedding was an adventure. However, she made it happen and the dress was everything I dreamed it would be ! Thanks for being a part of our magical evening.” – Miri

Brides-to-be don’t hesitate to reach out to us with unique alteration circumstances. We are always ready and available to handle all types of alteration situations. Email love@jenniferoberg.com for all wedding-related inquiries.

Wedding Vendors

Photographer: Robyn Penn @poppetpenn

Florals/Event Coordination: Wyatt Piro @___opia

Dress Alterations: Jennifer Oberg Atelier @jenniferobergatelier 

Cake: Cyrus Baking Co @cyrusbakingco

Pie: Roark & Rye @roarkandrye

Locally grown flowers: @harvestdreamgirl @peoplewhotalktoppants @kellydayflowers @lauren_michellemarchand

Charceuterie: Amanda Leipuanani Robson @feasthawaii

Dinner: Maui Cones @mauicones

In-Studio Stories: Tea Dyeing

At the Atelier we all love our afternoon tea. It is one of our favorite daily rituals. In the Atelier, we use tea for more than just tea-time. We use it as a way to dye garments in order to reach a desired shade of a color or to match other garments.

Recently, we were working on a wedding gown that needed extensive repair and restyling. The gown was originally a sample gown. It had been severely damaged from being tried on so many times, but the bride loved it and wanted it brought back to life.


The sheer tulle on the back of the dress had been completely shredded.  Fortunately the tulle sleeves were in good condition. We were able to remove the sleeves and carefully take appliques off of the sleeves.  We used the sleeve fabric to remake the back of the dress. Then we needed to find more appliques for the bodice. We found new appliques that matched the ones on the gown, but the only problem was that they were too white. So with one of our favorite tricks, we tea dyed 35 white appliques to reach the perfect shade of color to match the dress. We also used the appliques to make a stunning custom veil for the dress!

Below is a video of Jennifer tea dyeing the appliques with some earl gray tea.



Tea dyeing is a nice solution for matching different shades of white or off–white fabrics together, as well as, naturally dyeing a garment to a more off-white color.  It also works well when we are restyling a vintage gown that has a unique coloration to it. 

Brides-to-be if you come across a sample wedding gown you love that needs some repairs and restyling, don’t hesitate to reach out with your questions. Some people find a gown and think it will be impossible to fix, but you would be surprised at how much can be mended, restyled, and repaired with our highly skilled team of specialists. For all wedding gown related inquiries please contact us at love@jenniferoberg.com.

Real Weddings: Bride Violet

We love highlighting the past brides we have worked together with! This week we want to feature Bride Violet who had a beautiful wedding on May 14, 2022 at Prince William Forest Park. What a dreamy wedding nestled in the forest! 

Our wedding day was beautiful. There was a lightness in the air, and a sweetness to every moment. The few weeks prior to the wedding were very full of finishing details and we were both a bit nervous that we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the special day… but time slowed down for us. The predicted rain held off for us. And committing to each other that day was full of life and joy! “ – Bride Violet

The JOA team assisted Violet with alterations for her wedding gown. Her dress was a size too big so we altered the gown to get it to be the right fit for Violet. We love getting to see the transformation of a wedding gown when we work together with brides. It is amazing how much you can change a dress with the right alterations, special tricks, and an incredibly skilled team of sewists.

We are so thankful for the people that helped make it happen, and want to highlight Jennifer Oberg Atelier for going above and beyond to make my dress fit me. It was a dress that the company discontinued, so the only size I could find was too big, but she worked her magic and helped make my wedding dress dreams come true! I would recommend her and her team 100%. She cares about the details, and I felt heard and understood throughout the whole process. Thank you, Jennifer, for helping me feel beautiful on my wedding day!”  – Bride Violet


Below are more photos taken by Emma J Harling (@emmajharling) of Bride Violet’s wedding.


In-Studio Stories: Fancy Dress Day!

We have too much fun in the Atelier! We had to share one of our fancy dress days with you. Occasionally we choose a day in the week to get dressed up in our favorite outfits. It is so fun to dress your best on what could be just another day. 


Here is Jennifer, Lynne, Sophia, Micah, Patty, and Elaine dressed for fancy dress day.

Jennifer is wearing her own design made with chiffon fabric from Mood in LA. Lynne is wearing a plum sequin gown for dancing when she goes on cruises.  Sophia is wearing a Marilyn Monroe inspired gown that she purchased from Makawao Union Church’s thrift store for $8.  Micah is wearing his favorite mango colored jacket with one of Elaine’s hand-dyed scarves. Patty is wearing a ruched stretch black gown that is perfect for attending formal weddings.  Elaine is wearing her own design made with her hand-dyed silk, and a stunning beaded necklace.

Our team is so creative and unique. We love the different styles, creations, and aesthetics everyone shares in the studio! We are all about finding and experimenting with your personal style.

Check out some more photos from our fancy dress day below…