A Wine Red Custom Wedding Gown, Part B

Following our Part A blog where we shared the adventurous process of creating the wine red custom wedding gown, here is a little behind the scenes into the magical and romantic wedding day of Danelle and Andrew.

Since the beginning of creating Danelle’s custom wedding gown, the color of the dress was always meant to be kept a secret from Andrew. She wanted to surprise him when she walked down the aisle in her wine red wedding gown. She even hung up a mock white wedding dress in her closet to convince Andrew the dress was in fact a classic white. But this wasn’t the only surprise on her wedding day!

Danelle had previously decided she wanted to wear tennis shoes so that she could run down the aisle to Andrew.  That was her second surprise.  And in tennis shoes she would be comfortable during the entire wedding and could easily dance the night away. She was a bit worried about her dress not being fluffed up just right before going down the aisle. Jennifer agreed to be her designated “fluffer” and make sure her dress was just perfect. Danelle joyfully sprinted down the aisle, a fiery dash of tulle gliding past friends, family, and loved ones as she ran to meet the love of her life. 

There was Danelle and Andrew standing at the edge of the infinity pool that dropped off to overlook the Maui valley and the breathtaking West Maui Mountains. The sun slowly setting, accentuating this already sublime moment of the wedding. This wedding was straight out of a fairytale, love radiated from every moment, every corner. 

Later, Danelle and Andrew snuck up to the rooftop and took some unreal photos capturing this very special day. Just a small window into some of the many beautiful moments of this wedding day. 

Here are some sweet words from Bride Danelle:

I am so thankful I put value in having a custom experience. In the beginning my fiancé said if you decide to spend the money and go this route, I don’t want to bring up the money again. This was so helpful in living the experience without unnecessary negative emotions, I could purely enjoy the customization process. During fittings I was heart warmed to realize the dress needed to be adjusted or problem solved, never something about my body that needed changing. I went through all of the fitting feeling completely perfect with my body the way it is. Jennifer and her team gave the dress so much attention. She is so creative, skillful and clever with her process. On my last fitting, I told everyone I was going to be on the beautiful bride list. At 51, that felt so good to be able to say. This is because of Jennifer and her team. I had complete trust in the process. In addition, Jennifer made herself available pre wedding and during the reception that put another connection of care and love into the life of the dress. I am grateful to have these memories as a bride.

Wedding Vendors

Piano: Absalon Figueroa

Officiant: Crissy Kapoor

Bride: Danelle Watson

Groom: Andrew Keenan

Ring Bearers: Connor and Maxwell Watson

Flower Girl: Fiona Watson

Flowers: Bella Bloom @bellabloommaui 

Photographer: Clarissa Hempel @ponophotomaui 

Videographer: Todd Perkins 

Mother and Father of the Bride: Dennis and Theresa Brust

Band: Crazy Fingers 

Red Roses ordered from Maui Floral

Catering: La Pinatas

Cake: Jacqueline Perry

Wedding Planner: Cindy Eiting

Dress: Jennifer Oberg

Make up and Hair: Heather Ellison

Decorations Leader: Nani Cabanting

Decorating: Dear Friends

Tables and Chairs: Let’s Entertain

Floor Painting: Polina Marian

Shuttle driver: Taryn Bernabe

Parking: Ben and Todd Keenan

Event building: Andrew Keenan

Congratulations to Danelle and Andrew on their wedding! We wish you a lifetime of joy and love! Brides-to-be wishing to enter the custom wedding gown process, don’t hesitate to contact us. We would love to work together with you. Email Jennifer at love@jenniferoberg.com for all inquiries.

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!!

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!

Pleats Part Two!

If you saw our blog a few weeks ago, you learned all about pleats, the history of pleating, and a current custom gown with pleats we have been creating. Continuing with the pleated custom gown we have been creating for a bride we have part two: some details on the process and the final design!

For this custom gown, we used silk pleated organza with a pale pink underlayer of chiffon from a seller based in Ukraine. We were able to order 20 yards of the fabric before the war started. We have been in touch with the owner of the fabric store, Natali. Her family is secure, however her business had to shut down for a while. She is trying to re-open her business. If anyone would like to support her, then here is a link to her business:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/SecretSpark

The dress passed through several design plans before we settled on the right one. We had numerous ideas and possibilities for the style, bodice, and sleeves. We wanted to find the perfect look to fit the style of the Bride Holly, who we were creating the gown for. Eventually, we found the look that was perfectly meant for Holly!

Along with the final design, we also created a detachable train for the gown. Below is a video we took during the creation of the train. For this train we ended up using three of our pleated panels to create a cascading train. Usually you would need to add a bustle to the gown in order to pick up the train for the reception, but for this train we made it detachable so the bride could easily remove it after the ceremony. 


We were so happy to create this wedding gown for the bride. The pleated fabric was so fun to play with. It inspired many different design ideas. Brides-to-be, get in touch if you would like to schedule an appointment for a custom wedding gown consultation. We would love to bring your vision to life!

The Magicians of an Atelier

In a professional Atelier, there are many different people who help make the sewing and creating process run smoothly. Often when people think of getting alterations or custom garments they will usually search for a seamstress or tailor. We wanted to break down the different roles and people of the Atelier.

We are grateful for our skilled and diverse team of sewing professionals at JOA. Our Atelier consists of Jennifer Oberg, Master Dressmaker, Sophia Gallegos, First Hand, Elaine Gima, Head Seamstress, Lynne Donaldson, Alterations Specialist, and Micah Oberg, Sewing Assistant. Our wonderful and collaborative team makes every project an absolute pleasure to work on.

Below find the descriptions of the various roles and what their responsibilities entail:

Seamstress: Typically they have a strong knowledge of sewing, cutting, mending, and adding details to garments. A seamstress sometimes may only specialize in a few of these areas, while a Dressmaker or Tailor will be well-skilled in the construction of original or custom garments, as well as, alterations for garments.

Dressmaker: Historically dressmakers were women creating custom clothing for women. Today, a Dressmaker can refer to any sex and can work on all types of clothing. Typically a dressmaker designs and creates bespoke garments from scratch but they also are highly skilled in altering clothing.

Alterations Specialist: Focuses on the alteration of garments to give clothing the best fit possible. They are highly-skilled in dealing with all types of alterations, from the most basic to the most complex. They usually have a sharp eye for articulate details.

First Hand: The First Hand advises the team in the sewing and construction of garments. They usually assist the Cutter/Draper or Costume Manager in constructing new costumes and patterns. And they will also supervise the other sewists in the shop.

Tailor: Historically tailors were men creating men’s clothing from scratch or altering clothing. Today a tailor can refer to any sex and can work on all types of clothing. They can create both menswear and womenswear from scratch or alter clothing.

Patternmaker: They usually create the patterns used for making clothing or for making the base design of a garment. These patterns can be used to make the same garment over and over. Or if it is specifically for one garment, it would be the pattern created on paper or muslin before it is cut out of the fabric to be used on the original fabric or muslin test garment.

Cutter/Draper: Their main responsibility is the creation of the costumes. They work with the construction and preparation of the garments. They also interpret the design of the garment created by the Designer and the Patternmaker.

If you are in need of any alterations, custom gowns, or restyling, then please get in touch with JOA. You can email us at admin@jenniferoberg.com to schedule an appointment.

Bridal Trends of 2022: Pleats

Pleats are becoming the latest trend in Bridal Fashion and Design. Many designers and brides are going towards pleats to add the details and textures their wedding gowns are missing. A fun style from the past making a return with a modern twist.

A brief history of pleating takes us back to ancient Egypt where this technique originated. The pleated fabric was used to decorate the garments of very high class, royal, or wealthy people. The pleats were all completed by hand and when the fabric was washed the pleats would come out, so the process would need to be repeated again and again each time. The demanding process of pleating fabric resulted in pleats becoming a symbol of power and wealth. 

In modern pleating, new techniques have been developed to keep pleats from washing out. ‘Permanent Pleats’ were created after World War II. By using chemicals and heat setting methods the pleats can continue to remain in a fabric. Ultimately, this new process has allowed pleating to become accessible to everyday people, not just royalty. 

At the atelier, we recently worked together with Bride Holly on a custom wedding gown. For now we can only share some behind-the-scenes photos but in the coming months we will share the final design. The bride was very interested in having a gown with pleating in it. We worked through several design ideas with her and settled on a silk organza to create the pleating.

We reached out to several pleating companies in Los Angeles to get samples made of the silk organza. We wanted to make sure that it was exactly what the Bride was looking for. We ordered a couple of 3 yard panels, one in an accordion pleat and the other in a sunburst pleat.  We all fell in love with the sunburst pleat, because it was so flexible in creating different shapes and designs. 

The JOA team then continued to work on the gown to create the Bride’s custom pleated wedding gown.  There was no way to do the traditional mockup process with cotton muslin on this dress.  So we ordered extra pleated panels to work with as the mockup. Below you can see some work-in-progress photos when we received the first round of pleated fabric and started draping it on the dress form. Stay tuned for more photos where we will reveal the final design of the wedding gown!

Heirloom Gowns & Pandemic Weddings – Part 3

Photography by Madelynne Lorraine

Continuing our blog series with Bride Kristin and Groom Sven, we have the final part, part three! In this blog we will share more about the couple’s love story and how they navigated their wedding plans during the unpredictable moment of the pandemic.

Photography by Madelynne Lorraine

Photography by Madelynne Lorraine

Kristin and Sven had a long engagement and meanwhile were traveling the world together. After three years of being engaged they had some exciting wedding plans in the works for 2020. They decided to get married underwater by the President of Palau (Micronesia) in May 2020 and then to come home to a lively New York City 350-personal black tie wedding party on June 20, 2020, Of course, the pandemic completely wiped these exciting plans away. 

Photography by Madelynne Lorraine

Photography by Madelynne Lorraine

The couple ideally wanted to wait to re-plan the wedding celebrations until the pandemic was a thing of the past. But sentimentally, Bride Kristin, felt it was important to find a way to move forward with some type of celebrations. Wearing her grandmother’s wedding gown and honoring all the women who had worn it before while also inspiring future generations of brides was very important to her. As the pandemic continued to carry on, Kristin began dreaming up a “deconstructed wedding” where special parts of the wedding would all be celebrated individually. And then, their plan B for the wedding began to take form.

Photography by Madelynne Lorraine

In the end, the couple opted to do a small elopement, traditional Tahitian “ring” ceremony, at a small island in southern French Polynesia called RURUTU (Australe Islands north of Antarctica) in October 2020. Then they came home to Maui, and Bride Kristin worked together with Jennifer to finish the restyling of her grandmother’s dress. She then began planning a bridal portrait celebration and a blessing which would take place on their island home of Maui. Kristin wanted to include some special women in her life, junior and senior bridesmaids. They held a lovely procession at the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center under a rainbow and then were blessed with a rain shower as the officiant did a traditional Hawaiian blessing. They did a pikake lei ceremony which was common in Hawaii in the early half of the 1900s. They also shared their vows on their 81st month anniversary in the fast ice of the Weddell Sea near Snow Hill Island on the continent of Antarctica! 

In the end, the couple had a very beautiful and memorable wedding celebration. We were so happy to get to work together with Bride Kristin and we are very happy that they were able to find a way to make their celebrations special even amongst the chaos of the pandemic. Congratulations Kristin and Sven! We wish you endless love and happiness in your new life together!


Photography by Madelynne Lorraine

Photography by Madelynne Lorraine

Wedding Vendors:

Dressmaker/Restyling: Jennifer Oberg Atelier | www.jenniferoberg.com | @jenniferobergatelier

Jewelry: Vintage Yves Saint Laurent limited edition | www.ysl.com | @ysl

Shoes: FENDI | www.fendi.com | @fendi

Photographer: Sean Michael Hower | www.howerphoto.com | @seanmhower

Photographer: Madelynne Lorraine | www.madelynnelorraine.com | @madelynnelorraine

Venue: The Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center | www.huinoeau.com | @huinoeau 

Makeup: Jessica Waite | www.jessicawaite.com | @jessicawaite 

Hair: Catalina Drouillard | www.threesixteenhairhaven.com/catalina-drouillard-hair | @catalinadrouillardhair 

Floral Designers: Jeanne Givens | www.dellables.com | @dellablesfloraldesign 

Officiant of Blessing: Euta Lightsy | www.kahulightsy.com | @maui_officiant_lightsy

Heirloom Gowns & Pandemic Weddings – Part 2

Photography by Sean M Hower

Continuing our blog series with Bride Kristin and Groom Sven, we have part two! In this blog we will share how this gorgeous 1940s heirloom wedding gown became strapless and all of the extra pieces added to complete the look.

Jennifer has always been passionate about heirloom pieces. When working on heirloom dresses she is careful to maintain the integrity of the gown. For this particular gown, there were a few tweaks made to the dress in order for it to be more comfortable for Bride Kristin and to give it the personalization it needed to fit her as if it were a custom wedding gown. 

The back of the new strapless dress.

The Bride decided on going for a strapless dress. Jennifer cleverly tucked the bodice inside, and retained the sleeves, so that the dress could be completely reconstructed if needed in the future. The dress had already been worn by several women in the family, and it was very likely it would continue to be worn by future family brides.  It was exciting for Jennifer to work on this gown, knowing its history over the past 80 years and knowing that it could be worn again 80 years in the future.  

The ties for the 3 tier French bustle. The ties are color coded.

The addition of a built-in corset and petticoat under the dress gave the gown shape and fullness. A silk charmeuse ruffle was added to the bottom to provide the length needed for the bride. These few tweaks completely transformed the gown on the bride while maintaining the elements that made this family heirloom piece uniquely one-of-a-kind. 

The dress and veil ready for steaming.

In addition to restyling the dress, a beautiful peacock feather train was created. Bride Kristin wanted to honor Queen Kapi’olani and the historical monarchy of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The train was inspired by a famous peacock feather gown worn by Queen Kapi’olani, commissioned for Queen Victoria’s Grand Jubilee in 1887. Lastly, a 1940’s antique veil and headpiece completed the look.

Sophia sewing the peacock feather cape.

And below is the final look with Bride Kristin. Stay tuned for even more photos from the wedding day in the next blog!

Photography by Sean M Hower

Photography by Sean M Hower

In our final blog, we will share the exciting twists and turns the couple went through in the planning and changing of their wedding. Stay tuned for the final blog!

Heirloom Gowns & Pandemic Weddings – Part 1

At the Atelier, we have enjoyed meeting the many brides courageously finding ways to make their weddings possible during the pandemic. One very memorable Bride and Groom we met was Kristin and Sven Lindblad. Their love story, their eloquent navigation of their wedding celebrations amongst the constant changes, and of course, the 1942 heirloom wedding dress worn by the bride, left a very large impact on us. This is a story we just had to share with our clients! As this is a longer story, we will share it in three parts.

Kristin and Sven are travelers, environmental conservationists, and passionate about philanthropic causes. Kristin Lindblad is a former PR and communications consultant.  She now focuses on managing philanthropic efforts and serving in an advisory capacity to NGO’s focused on cultural and environmental conservation. Sven Lindblad, is a second generation Swedish explorer and founder of Lindblad Expeditions. Sven’s father, Lars-Eric Lindblad, is known globally as one of the “fathers of eco-tourism”. Together, Kristin and Sven, have traveled all over the world. Naturally, their wedding plans were just as exciting as the life they live.

Kristin came to Jennifer in 2019 with her grandmother’s gorgeous heirloom ivory satin wedding gown from 1942. The dress had since been worn 4 times by other women in the family.  It was in amazing shape for being worn many times, and the satin was clean and intact.  It was a very special gown and Kristin wanted to find a way to wear it for her wedding but with some new additions to personalize the dress. Jennifer collaborated with Kristin to restyle this vintage gown into something truly special and unique. 

The first issue to be solved was that the wedding gown was too small for Kristin, both in the bodice and in the length.  Apparently the women in her family were extremely tiny!  So Jennifer started the process by taking fabric from the long train and adding panels in the sides to make the bodice larger.  

The next decision to be made was whether or not to keep the sleeves.  They were typical 1940s style long sleeves with covered buttons at the wrist.  Kristin and Jennifer went back and forth on this decision for a while, taking time to sleep on it, thinking about it.  In the end, they removed the sleeves, which resulted in a strap over the shoulder.  Then they discussed whether or not to remove the strap and make the dress strapless. 

Kristin was concerned about making too many changes to the dress, and consulted with her family.  They gave their blessing to whatever she wanted to do.  In the end, that was the final decision – to make the dress strapless.  What a change from a traditional 1940s style gown with long sleeves to a modern strapless wedding gown!  

Stay tuned for part two where we share how the gown became strapless and the extra items that were added to complete the look.

Embassy Ballgown Recreation Series – Part 4

Wrapping up our dressmaking tale of the adventures in recreating the Embassy Ballgown Audrey Hepburn wore in the 1964 film My Fair Lady, we have the final blog with the finished gown! 

From hours of research to hours of production, the finished gown was finally completed after numerous fittings and consultations.  The team spent over 400 hours creating this gorgeous piece.  A long, yet extremely enjoyable and rewarding process of creation for a magnificent gown.

Amidst all the creation came the complex coordination of fittings, consultations, and flights. The bride flew from Austin to Maui twice for fittings, staying multiple days each time.  Jennifer flew to Austin for a fitting, working on it at the home of the bride.  Jennifer needed to take it with her back to Maui to do the final work.  When the gown was complete, the bride flew to Maui one last time to pick up the dress.  Jennifer held an Open Studio for friends to view the gown, have pink champagne and meet the bride.  It was a glorious time with friends who appreciated the fine work and the story behind the gown.  The story was written up in the Maui News, too!

The final gown was exquisite and eloquent. Over 20,000 beads, crystals, and sequins were hand sewn onto the outer layer of silk gauze. Handmade silk flowers adorned the gown. The under dress was made out of a luxurious 4-ply silk crepe, with a buttery-soft silk charmeuse lining. The vintage trim that Patty Robison provided was the perfect decoration on the edge of the gauze hem.  

Jennifer is still looking for the original Embassy Ballgown and will fly anywhere in the world to see it. If you know where the original gown is, let us know!