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! 

Embassy Ballgown Recreation Series – Part 3

Continuing our dressmaking tale of recreating the Embassy Ballgown, we move on to the production process.  After spending roughly 50-70 hours on research and development on the gown recreation, Jennifer was ready to begin.  The dress was deemed to be in two layers.  One – a slim underdress to be made of 4-ply silk crepe, lined in silk charmeuse.  Two – an overlay to be made of diaphanous silk gauze with custom beading and embellishments.  Jennifer began draping up the layers according to the bride’s measurements. 

Jennifer hired colleague Patty Robison, a Master Bridal Tailor from Washington State, to consult on the beading and embellishments for the gauze overlay.  They met through the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals, of which they are both members.  They had many discussions via email and phone, trying to decipher the complex design from stills from the film and archival photos.  Patty created samples of the beadwork, including the beautiful beaded fringe on the edge of the collar and sleeves.  She recreated the small silk embellishments found on the skirt and helped in so many ways. After several weeks of communication, sample making, and mailing samples to Jennifer, Patty flew out to Maui for a week to assist with the sewing process.  

A paper pattern was created to determine the layout of the beading and embellishment.  All the work was original, meaning every bead and detail was sewn on by hand.  There was no existing beaded fabric for this project.  It had to be created from the ground up by applying the beads and embellishments on the silk gauze overlay.  The only piece that came ready-made was 5 yards of a vintage beaded embroidered trim that Patty had in her stock.  That piece was placed on the hem of the dress. 

Maui-based Cindy Wilson assisted Jennifer in creating this gown as well.  With over 20,000 beads, crystals, sequins and other embellishments needed for the gown, we needed some extra hands to help sew these on. Three friends, Melinda Neuwirth, Cheryl Tipton, and Kathy Baldwin, volunteered their time to hand sew beads onto the dress.  It was a labor of love with friends and colleagues who value beautiful design.

In our final blog in the series, we will see the finished gown.

The Custom Dressmaking Process

We were reminiscing about past clients and creations and we came upon this custom wedding gown. Many years ago, when Jennifer was still working from her home studio, she worked together with the Bride Janice. Janice got married at Maui Tropical Plantation in this beautiful bias-cut silk charmeuse wedding gown. With the new year around the corner and many brides-to-be preparing for a busy 2022, we wanted to share a bit more about the custom wedding gown process at JOA.

At the Atelier, we treat the custom wedding gown process as a one-of-a-kind experience. We curate the process to each individual client we work together with. We want our clients to feel comfortable and confident through every step of the way… all the way to the last dance at the reception. For us at JOA, the custom wedding gown process is about getting to know our clients in order to truly let their personalities shine through on their wedding day in their custom made dress. 

The general structure of our custom wedding gown process begins with an initial consultation to make sure the bride and JOA are a good match. This is an important step as the process is very much a collaborative process and we want to make sure that we are on the same page. Afterwards, we will set up a design consultation to begin the draft of your dream wedding gown. This is always a very exciting meeting as we dream up all of the possibilities and details. Jennifer will then create a visual design for you to review to make sure it fits your vision. Next, the JOA team will create a toile, or sample dress. Once the sample garment is approved by you, we will create the real garment from the chosen fabrics. We will have as many fittings as needed to make sure all fits right and you feel comfortable in your gown. 

Creating a wedding gown is a rich and full process. Your gown becomes embedded with something very intentional and meaningful as you were a part of the process the entire way. For Jennifer, it’s very personal, as the gowns are a labor of love. She is a bit sad to see them go, but happy for the bride. It is a process she would like to share with every woman getting married. If you’d like to know more about our custom wedding gown process click here or email us at love@jenniferoberg.com. At JOA we are passionate about creating and collaborating. We would love to work together with you on bringing your unique vision to life!

Embassy Ballgown Recreation Series – Part 2

Continuing our dressmaking tale of recreating the Embassy Ballgown, we have the elaborate process of researching and discovering many mysteries along the way. After discussing with the bride about this exciting wedding gown assignment, Jennifer immediately set off to find all the information she could gather on this iconic gown. Many hours were spent on research and development for this gown. 

Jennifer had high hopes of finding the actual gown from the 1964 film for inspiration in her recreation. However, tracking down the actual location of this gown turned out to be quite the scavenger hunt. Jennifer tried to locate the gown through her connections in Hollywood from her time working on various films and tv series as a costume shop supervisor. But much to her surprise, no one knew where this dress could possibly be. Warner Brothers did not have it in their costume vault. It was not in any museum. The head of the UCLA Costume Department said the gown had most likely been auctioned off, and was in the hands of a private collector. On the internet, the rumors said that this gown was actually borrowed from a person in the UK and was then returned back to the original owner after the making of the film. To this day we still have yet to find out where the original Embassy Ballgown is located. If you know where it could be, let us know. The mystery is yet to be solved!

Another exciting discovery Jennifer found while researching this dress came from Cecil Beaton, the Costume Designer of My Fair Lady.  He wrote a diary of his experience working on the film.  Jennifer found this entry about the Embassy Ballgown:

Wednesday, 19 June (1962)

“This afternoon, however, Eliza’s ball dress was pinned, in rough form, on a stand for the first time. This is a dress that everyone will see. Agnes has the responsibility of creating this gossamer shift. She started to cut the sequin, crystal and chenille embroidery from a genuine 1910 evening gown which will be an invaluable guide for our embroideries. Absorbed in such fascinating detail, I didn’t realize the day was long since over, yet none of the women seemed in a hurry to get back to their homes.” 

So, it appeared that the gown was modeled after a 1910 evening gown that a dressmaker named “Agnes” cut apart to use a guide.  It seems that the gown Audrey Hepburn wore must have been an original gown made in-house at the costume studio.  Jennifer longed to find out who Agnes was, but never figured that out.  If anyone knows about Agnes, we’d love to hear!

After accepting the fact that the gown could not be seen in person, Jennifer set off to find some high resolution photos of the dress in order to really see all of the intricate details. Jennifer ended up spending hours studying photos from Warner Brothers, still shots from the film, and through watching the film over and over again. After gathering as many details as she could from these resources, she came up with a design for this gown. Having the initial vision of the dress was thrilling! She knew this was going to be a very memorable experience in dressmaking and design.

Researching and creating the first design and sketch of the gown was the exciting beginning of a long dressmaking process. We will pause the dressmaking tale here for now, and continue back in part 3 on the process of creating the gown and the many adventures as a part of the creative process. See below for some photos of the research process…