Bits and Bangs

Back to the everyday workload.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a hard time getting back to the regularly scheduled programming after our Thanksgiving festivities (and then getting sick for a week).

I have orders in, and am hoping to get a couple special dresses sewn up for my nieces in time for a special Birthday celebration–which means some overtime sewing this weekend.


This lovely tunic (technically one just like it in a different size–it was a made to order item) is on its way to the UK.  I hope it has a happy owner in its future.

I have a ready-to-ship one up in the shop right now, and it’s marked down to $56.25 from $75 for my Winter Sale:


New hair-cut yesterday–I’ve been sporting side-swept bangs for years, and just got the itch to go with the full-on blunt bang.  So far I’m in love.  The verdict is still out on how everything will look with my regular curls.  I generally don’t have the stamina to straighten my hair daily, so the only time it’s done is at the stylists, after a cut.

Hope you have a fabulous weekend.  I’m hoping for colder temperatures, good sewing, and getting the guest room cleared out for my sister’s impending Christmas visit!


The final look for my mini RAWards collection was actually the second look I dreamed up, hot on the tail of the first look.  I knew I wanted Mary Andrus to model it from the get-go, too.

Initially, I envisioned a brocade bust with an extremely full chiffon skirt.  I even toyed with pockets.


Paired with the tattered lace collar and the (not-gonna-happen) spats, it looked really cute.

I think I design things that I would wear if I were tall and thin.  Because I would so totally wear any of the things in my collection if I were.  Sadly, being of the oompa loompa persuasion, I must live vicariously through my beautiful models.

I decided to make the closure for this dress lace-up to accommodate a closer fit that wouldn’t have to be hiked up every few minutes.  I switched the chiffon idea over to a beautiful black lace with an attached black mini skirt lining.  The back is bustled and the overskirt is longer than the lining.

First fitting:


Mary looked beautiful, OF COURSE.  The top did need to be taken in quite a bit, so there was some deconstruction and re-construction in the dresses immediate future.

Walking the runway:





From the pre-show photo shoot:





Clothing by me:

Hair & Make Up by:  Amanda Bravender  For inquiries :

Model:  Mary Andruss

Photography by:  Underexposed Photography


My post titles are really gripping lately, aren’t they?  I just can’t come up with witty headers for the RAWards looks.  Ah, well.  You’ll have to settle for little wit, but a whole lotta pretty.

The fifth look is another that underwent a rather extensive transformation from sketch to final product.  That had to do with a few things:

1) my falling out of love with the idea of using that grey pinstripe suiting

2) my realization that the original idea for this look was DULL DULL DULL

3) my recent love affair with bustles

So, the (dull) original (dull) sketch was this (SUPREMELY DULL):


The original idea was a brocade bustier, grey suiting mini skirt, ruffle capri leggings, tattered collar & spats.

I realized one day that it was just boring.  It just felt thrown together, no real inspiration.

As I mentioned, my love affair had begun with the bustle, and I knew that I wanted to do a bustle in that gorgeous brocade.  This time, I decided to do an attached underskirt, rather than just the bustle (as shown in the first look).  The brocade made the most gorgeous bustle.




I ended up going with the bustle and a repurposed mens-wear bustier featuring belt loops at the waist, to accommodate a belt if desired.  This fit beautifully from the get-go.  No alterations needed at all.

The final design walking the runway:




And from the pre-show shoot:





I couldn’t be happier with the look–Marielle really brought it to life, and looked gorgeous.

Clothing by me:

Hair & Make Up by:  Amanda Bravender  For inquiries :

Model:  Marielle Songy/NolaChick

Photographer:  Underexposed Photography

Second Look

Continuing on with my RAWards New Orleans looks, my second look went through a slight transformation from sketch to final design.  After dreaming up my first look, I decided I wanted to play with military-inspired colors (primarily an army greenish-brown), lace and brocade.  I ended up with 3 green/brown & cream looks and 3 red brocade & black/brown looks.  This second look was designed to go along with the first.

My initial sketch included my signature ruffled capri leggings, a lace tunic, spats, & the tattered lace ruff:Image

I’ve already discussed that the spats were the main element to go, due to my inability to make my brain play nice and create a work-able pattern that I liked.

Onto the first incarnation of the design–again, I don’t work in muslins, so I went right for the fabric:


I re-purposed some mens dress-slacks (wool) for the very top of the tunic.  There is an under-lining to the tunic, and I used a really lovely cream moleskin–so soft–that kind of gets lost under the beautiful lace.  I cut this so that I could take full advantage of the scalloped edging on the lace.  The tunic has a zip-back for closure.

At the first fitting I realized that the ruffled leggings just didn’t work–I hated them so much with this that I didn’t even nab a picture with them on.  Plus, hello beautiful legs! (I sound like I have a leg-fetish!)Image

You can see one of the (five or so) incarnations of the spats here.  I love the idea, but I’m glad I opted for sanity and gave them the boot.

The fitting went well–just ditched the leggings and put in the zipper.  Done.

Final design walking the runway:



Above photo by:


And, from the pre-show photo shoot:





The dress will be listed soon in my shop–contact me if you’re interested.

Clothing by me:

Hair & Make up by:  Amanda Bravender
For inquiries :

Model:  Jennifer Culicchia

Final images by:  Underexposed Photography


So, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I found myself honored (and shocked) to be in the final 3 fashion designers of the year for RAW New Orleans this year!  Coming as it did during the last of my Halloween rush, it’s all a bit of a blur to this day.  Being a finalist meant putting together a 6-look mini-collection for the awards show, which was on November 14.

I immediately began brainstorming, sketching, imagining.  Most of my ideas seem to come as I’m drifting off to sleep, or as I lie awake in the wee hours (I have a bad habit of waking for 2-3 hours every night).  The first look I imagined came around 3am one night and stuck with me for a few days, so I knew it was going to HAVE to be part of the mini collection.  First up, sketch:


Military-influenced bustier, bustle, spats & a tattered lace collar.  I originally envisioned a pompadour-mohawk for the hair, but later changed my mind since those pompadors are being used entirely too much lately.  The spats ended up taking a hike, too, as I just couldn’t get the pattern quite right and needed to streamline things a bit (mainly for my own sanity).

I don’t generally make mock-ups in muslin.  This is ridiculous, I realize, and can have terrible consequences (hello, wasted fabric!), but, *knock on wood*, I rarely have a problem with my methods.  So, this was the next step:



I was pretty obsessed with that bustle.

The bustier is reclaimed cotton (from mens khakis) with metal buttons and cotton twill trim, lined in cotton twill.  The bustier is cream taffeta.

Since my model has legs for days, I decided to go with no skirt under the bustle–it opens at each side as she walks, so I did, for modesty’s sake, make a pair of ruffled boy-shorts to be worn underneath.

First fitting went extremely well, with no real alterations needed:



(excuse the lighting–it was dark outside and my studio photographed rather yellow–photo editing washed it out too much, so I stuck with the yellow)

Onto the show!  This was my opener for the show:







I told my models to have fun with this show–why take fashion too seriously?  The music was a remix of “In the Mood” and was perfect.

I was lucky enough to have Underexposed Photography do a mini shoot pre-show, as well:


trapped-in-time-designs-amandabravender-amber-underexposedphotography2 trapped-in-time-designs-amandabravender-amber-underexposedphotography3 trapped-in-time-designs-amandabravender-amber-underexposedphotography4

Hot, right?

Clothing by me,

Hair & Make up by:  Amanda Bravender
For inquiries :

Model:  Amber Carollo  (

Photography by:  Underexposed Photography (

The bustier is already listed for sale in my shop:

I’ll have the bustle up at some point in the future.  If you’re interested in ordering, contact me–remember, I primarily work custom/made to measure, so can make one in your size and color choice.


First off, I plan to be around a bit more.  Today was the official First Day of being self-employed full-time–no more part time gig to fall back on!  No more hours spent doing things that are, quite frankly, deadly dull.  No more wishing I was home, sewing.

Now for the panic.

Noooo.  I’ll be fine.  Pass me that paper bag, would ya?

I’ve been sewing, tearing, ripping, painting and dyeing my little heart out for the past week.  I’m working on costumes for an upcoming Halloween shoot with AHB Hair and Make up.  We shoot Thursday!

First up, Voodoo Queen from the swamp.  I first made a beautiful gown and underskirt–mismatched on purpose, as a voodoo queen living in the swamp probably doesn’t buy matching gowns.  In fact, she probably takes what she can get.  So, after sewing it all up, brand new and lovely, it looked like this:


The material for the overdress is actually a home decor fabric that I’ve been hoarding for years.  I purchased it with the express intent of making this very type of dress.  The tatted apron/draped portion of the skirt was made by my grandmother.  It’s stained and torn, but I’ve kept it around, knowing I’d come up with something some day to do with it–and that day finally came!

Since this character lives in the swamp….well, she couldn’t be too clean, could she?  So, it was with an aching heart (and, lets be honest, a little bit of glee) that I set to the dress with dye, fabric paint, scissors and a cheese grater.  Hours later:




I’m extremely proud of the outcome.  I’d have to put this in my top 5 favorites of all time that I’ve created.  I really cannot wait for the shoot!

I still have some accessories to create–some necklaces and hair bits.

This will be up for sale after the shoot, and I’ll be offering it as a custom order, as well (though I’ll never be able to re-create it exactly).

What do you think?

TnT Tuesday


This slinky number was made specifically for a photo shoot.


I have to admit, it’s a little sexier than I normally go for.

I’m kind of a costume nerdy girl…..more Helena Bonham Carter in regular life than Victoria Beckham.


So, I went back and forth and back and forth and back and forth on the neckline.


I did compromise a wee bit–the original idea was for it to be cut to the navel….


I used the dress in my RAW runway show, too.

And, WOWZA, Mary brought that baby to LIFE.


I recently listed it in the shop.  (yes, it’s been cleaned)


The belt is part of the sale–it’s actually made from a re-purposed leather purse strap.


I hope to make more of these in other colors and fabrics.


One of these days….


You can find the dress here:

Modeled by:

LouAnn Eads

–Mary Andrus

Images featuring LouAnn photographed by:  Gustavo Escanelle

TnT Tuesday

This week I’m featuring an item that was out of stock for quite some time–and also happens to be one of my best sellers.


My velveteen capelets are, if I do say so myself, rather fabulous.

My solid version was featured on a couple of years ago, and I still get traffic from the site.


These were unavailable for awhile.  I’ve recently re-listed them as custom/made to order options.  Not sure why this didn’t occur to me sooner.

This one is customize-able in color and trim options.


A lot of brides have ordered these.  I love learning what people are wearing my creations for–and I love getting pictures even more! 😉

I initially created these as part of my Little Red Riding Hood costumes, but had so many requests for just the capelet that I went ahead and started making them a separate option.


The inside of my serger in always filled with red fluff from these.  Always.


You can order here:

Model: Sarah Brittney-Ann (
Photographer: Underexposed Photography (!/brittsmithphoto)

This Week

Happy 4th of July!


I’m celebrating by working. 😉  Gotta grab the time when you can.

I’m cutting out a pretty cool costume, actually.  I have the awesome task of making this costume:


Into a women’s version!  So cool!


Blueberries were out this week at my grandfathers–yum!  I froze these babies, and have been nibbling on them periodically, savoring and saving them as long as possible.


Some leggings went out early this week.


Over the past weekend I got the urge to paint–I do this every once in awhile.


I’m never as happy with the outcome as I want to be, but I love the process.

I have a whole haunted theme going, and a few paintings to complete.  Two are in various stages of completion right now, none are completely done.


I reorganized my pens/pencils/markers.  I’m a little too pleased by it.


Hope you’re enjoying a lovely day off.  If only a BBQ were in my future….sadly, the husband was called out to a job yesterday and will most likely be gone through the weekend.  And the kitties don’t grill.

Short and Sweet

Just a few images to share from a recent photo shoot.


Busy week–still adjusting to the 4am wake up call….


I’m so tired.  So very, very tired.


But these pictures are pretty!  Very, very pretty!

All images by Zoom Photo Studio:!/zoomphotostudio?fref=ts

Hair/Make up/Styling by Hellianna:!/pages/Hellianna/148152491924882?fref=ts

All clothing by me:


–Ashley Darbonne

–Marcella Moss