Deborah Barry is an accomplished designer and dressmaker, as well as tailor, artist and author. Deborah’s family lives in the Wildewood neighborhood of Columbia. She graciously shared her thoughts about the money-savings advantages of dressmaking, sewing, tailoring and alterations.
When asked how cost effective dressmaking actually is, she immediately spoke of her own wedding gown. The fabric, including crinoline, petticoat, lace and all detailing cost approximately $100. A somewhat similar gown purchased at a bridal shop would undoubtedly cost in the area of $1,000.
Deborah prefers midi and maxi skirts, believing them to be more feminine, graceful and appropriate for her body type. Her better skirts cost about $25, while comparable retail priced skirts run from $50 to $100.
A very thrifty tip for those who might be interested in dressmaking and sewing is purchasing drapery panels and even printed sheets at Goodwill or the Salvation Army thrift stores for two to four dollars and using the fabric for dresses, skirts and children’s clothing. As the mother of two, Deborah makes many pieces for her own family, including shirts, pants, and even tailored men’s suits with lined jackets.
Dressmaking began for Deborah about twenty years ago when she was in her late teens and early twenties. At first she relied on patterns and followed them quite closely. Now she prefers to create her own patterns, often using wrapping paper, such as birthday or Christmas wrap, from the local Dollar Tree to plan them on. The white side of the paper works extremely well and is very inexpensive. Occasionally she uses ends of newspaper rolls that can be purchased very reasonably.
When asked about her greatest accomplishment, Deborah again spoke of her wedding, where she designed and made her own gown and those of her matron of honor and flower girl. Her dress featured an empire waist, five-tiered skirt, delicate ribbon and lace trim, and a petticoat with four layers of crinoline.
Thank you, Deborah, for sharing your talent and experience with us. If you are interested in learning more about dressmaking and sewing in the Columbia area, taking classes or purchasing fabric and accessories, the names and addresses below might be helpful:
- Penn Foster Dressmaking and Design
- Stratford Career Institute – sewing and dressmaking
- Ellen Manson 30 Thunder Circle in Santee – Sewing with Ellen – classes $25.00
- Iris Hall – Elgin Sewing Teacher – classes $25
- Deborah Brosdahl – all levels of sewing – Lexington – classes $50
- Michaels Arts and Craft Store
- Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores
- Hobby Lobby
- Hancock Fabrics
- Your local high school or technical college
- Your local extension service
As always, maximize your style and minimize your spending~