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August 26, 2015  TAGS:  GOWNS  RESOURCES  INSPIRATION

Vendor Spotlight | Sewly Yours

Sewly Yours Bridal Salon | Vermont Bride Magazine

Sewly Yours Bridal was a fixture on Church Street in downtown Burlington for over 20 years, delighting and enchanting brides (and every little girl that walked by the windows) with their exquisite selection of vintage and modern-day gowns and accessories. This past year owner, Debbie Wells, decided to close up the shop on Church Street and open a more intimate studio on her property in Milton. Tucked away among her colorful gardens, Debbie's new space gives her the peace and creative flow she yearned for during the many years on a bustling downtown marketplace. We spoke with Debbie about the transition, what it has meant for her business, and what the new studio space is like.

How long has Sewly Yours been in business? I helped my first bride 34 years ago - in 1981.  Officially became "Sewly Yours" in 1992

What is the story of how you became a seamstress and bridal gown boutique owner? I grew up a "Navy-brat" and moved very often growing up.  When we were close enough to visit Vermont, spend my school vacations visiting my grandmother and great-grandmother here.  I was obsessed with their crafting and sewing, and they were endlessly patient with me.  I made all my own clothes through school and very early started sewing for friends.  A very dear, and still a best friend, refused to "let" me continue sewing for free and insisted on paying me!  Through shopping in a local fabric store, became well acquainted with the owners and staff, and started making display dresses for the store and gained referrals for work, including local bridal salons that need seamstresses for alterations.  In the early 90's opened my first retail boutique, featuring my own designs, restored vintage gowns from my collection and a small selection of designer gowns.  In 2001 had the opportunity to move downstairs into my former location on the corner of Church and Pearl Street.

Sewly Yours Bridal Salon | Vermont Made Wedding Gowns | Vermont Bride Magazine

 

Why did you decide to open a studio at your home, after owning a brick and mortar store for so long? It is difficult to put into words how much I love what I do, but in a very busy setting that continued to get busier each season, I felt it was becoming increasingly difficult to take the best care of the brides who trusted me with such a responsibility.  In the last several years, found myself working about 90-100 hours a week, keeping up with running the salon and providing services to my brides.  After 34 years of growing my business,  it was time for a change.  This was truly one of the hardest decisions I have ever made, but very much needed to figure out what was next for me.  I have been working since 2008 on creating my own brand of bridal accessories, "Miss Allaneous". The hope was that it would help me eventually transition from mainstream retail - but as Miss Allaneous grew, I knew I didn't want to leave retail completely and started looking for a more private "studio" location. Through much searching for the perfect location, found out I had the potential to build exactly what I needed right in my front yard and broke ground in the summer of 2014.  To now blend all that I love about my work with a quality of life that will also give me time to be a mom to Megan, partner to Bart and enjoy my life in Vermont, is completely a dream come true.  

What is special, or unique, about your studio and the experience brides will have there? In the new studio, it has been amazing to be able to provide undivided, complete, one on one attention to each bride who visits.  One fitting room, one appointment at a time.  

What designers will you be carrying in your studio, and what are the other items and services that you will be offering? I am continuing with 3 of my designers; Amy Kuschel, Judd Waddell and Claire Pettibone. Each of these designers craft their gowns in the USA, which maintains exceptional quality control and service. I will continue, as well, to offer complete custom designs. One of the most exciting aspects of the new studio, is that my very large collection of original antique gowns are now again on display - for sale and for inspiration.  

What are your favorite items to design and create? That is a very hard question, I think the most exciting thing is to collaborate with a bride, to be able to see her vision of her perfect gown or accessory, and bring it to life. I recently worked with a fabulous bride who imagined a dark green gown, and finished her with a black veil, hand appliqued with french lace. I was so proud of the final product, and happier that she was so thrilled, as was her husband!

Sewly Yours Bridal Salon | Vermont Wedding Gowns | Vermont Bride Magazine

Do you have a favorite memory of a bride, or gown, that you worked with? The list is long, but 2 years ago I created a gown for my own daughter, Megan.  Nothing will ever top that experience - it has forever changed my perspective and was a great part of the reason for this huge change in direction of my business. Megan dedicated all her spare time, between school, college and early career to work in my salon and help with all aspects of Sewly Yours and Miss Allaneous. She is now a very busy teacher and wife, and I am looking forward to having more time to be her mom and not just her boss.  

So many emotional family weddings over the years, I had the honor of making my baby sister's wedding gown, for my other sister I created all of the attendants gowns. My brother's wife trusted me to restore and redesign her mother's gown for her.  

The friend who refused to let me "work for free", was the first bride for whom I created a complete custom gown. I am now preparing the gown to be worn again by her daughter!!   

What advice do you have for brides just starting to think about their wedding gown? The internet will be your best friend and worst enemy. Weddings have changed greatly over the years, the influence of social media has forever changed the wedding planning process and everyone's expectations. Use this wonderful tool wisely!!  

Chose to visit a reputable salon, bring a very small group of people with whom you wish to share this experience.  So many people will offer advice, but in the end, the most important voice in choosing a gown, is that of the one who is wearing it!

Click here for more information on Sewly Yours Bridal!