Out of my wheelhouse

Ella goes to my shul. She is a terrific sensible and funny kid.  I made her tallit for her bat-mitzvah, and when she was younger I repaired her beloved stuffed bunny.

Ella is graduating from high school in a few weeks. She is going to two proms and is attending a family wedding. Ella fell in love with a dress on Etsy. The seller asked that the buyers send their measurements in because the dress would be made to measure. Ella asked me to help her take her measurements. I did. 

The dress Ella wanted came in a rose print on ivory chiffon. It was no longer available. Ella chose a celadon green instead. 

A few weeks later, the dress arrived. Ella's mom got in touch with me. She asked me if I  could make the dress work.

The color wasn't celadon, but more of a dreary grey. I have seen exactly that color of grey on the faces of people with terminal cancer. The color was depressing and the fit was really off. The neckline stood far away from Ella's body showing much too much skin and looking dowdy at the same time

My first task was to play with the fit of the bodice. My alteration skills are what my son's special ed teachers used to describe as "developing".  I hid gathers that pulled the bodice towards the body.

Once I had improved the fit, we then had to address the unfortunate color. Ella and I discussed sever possible options. She loved the idea of adding faceted glass beads in bronze to the neckline. I thought that a bit of a darker color close to Ella's skin would help matters a great deal.

I put Ella to work stringing the beads and then I sewed the beads to the neckline. Once that task was complete the dress was less bleak but still to depressed to wear to a prom.

Ella came over this afternoon for our next work session.

She loved the idea of hot-melt crystals. We attached a bunch, but then Ella asked if we could also use the teeny gold sequins she had seen in my stash. All of the bits of glimmer helped a whole lot.

One thing that really bothered me about the dress was that the waistband was just a little too skimpy and out of proportion. I MacIvered a gold sash out of some pleated gold fabric. Ella had been lobbying for a ruffle so more of the gold fabric was turned into a ruffle.

Ella needed a big blingy necklace to wear with the dress and I had just the thing.

Weirdly all of the bling that we added and the necklace seem to make the dress read as greenish rather than just death grey.

Yes, the dress does need to be professionally pressed. But it is better, lots better than it was. The dress looks particularly beautiful in low light when the crystals and the sequins bounce the light back to the viewer.


  1. Sarah, GREAT save! Your client is a beauty, now she has a worthy dress for her occasions!

    1. She's a beautiful kid...inside and out...We had fun working together.

  2. Looks much better than plain grey would.
    All the best for wonderful memories when she wears it.

  3. Another beautiful save! I doubt if most of the people you help realize what a blessing your skill and creativity are, but we certainly do!

  4. Ella's family is a very dear one to me....over the years as fellow community members thhere have been many many acts of kindness done back and forth between our families....I am right now remembering the Yerushalmi kugel a noodle pudding that is both sweet and peppery delivered for the Friday night we came home after we buried my mother. The bus took forever...arriving in New York more than two hours later than scheduled. I had so wanted to go to friday night services and be welcomed back by my community.. My mother was dead, I had missed services I was just feeling crummy. That kugel helped make things better. There are so many acts of blessing and love that go back and forth here...too many to keep track...


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