The Big Day - Fashion Show on June 5, 2011


Because the show was down in Wayne, MI, which is about a 2-hour drive from my house, I took my Mom and my two sisters down on Saturday afternoon and we stayed at a Days Inn in Canton.  The room had air-conditioning, for which we were very grateful.  We went to the early Mass at St. Joseph's Catholic Church at 7:30 am, then headed over to the school to set up. 

Father Radecki even announced before his sermon that the Fashion Show was after the second Mass, at 11:00 - it was definitely a new experience for me to have that kind of notice given for one of my events! 

After Mass we went across the street to the new parish school, and Father took us on a tour.  Everything is brand new and it is really beautiful.  It brought back good memories of attending Catholic school myself - complete with the Sisters teaching.

We still needed to check out of our hotel room, so my sisters helped me unload the van, then Mom took them back to collect our stuff while I started setting up.

I was actually very glad to have some time to myself to calm down, get the lay of the land, and to organize my thoughts.

The Fashion Show was going to be in the High School classroom, and Paula Storm, who had been helping me arrange everything all along, already had the chairs set up.  So I hung all the dresses in the adjoining kindergarten classroom and got out my decorating supplies.

A few ladies from the church offered to help, so we got everything set up fairly quickly.  When we were done, it looked like this:

I was afraid my hot pink, bright yellow, and lime green streamers might be a little much, but they actually looked very nice and cheerful.

I had flyers, a survey, and contact forms out by the display board, which featured some outfits that did not come along with us to the show.

Then my models started arriving:  Michelle Tibai and Bernadette Skwierc, and we convinced Martha Tibai to join us at the last minute.  Mom and my sisters came back, so Catherine and Christina rounded out the modeling list.

Juliana Skwierc volunteered to be our photographer.

While the models had been getting dressed up and I was figuring out the order for them to appear in, the High School room had been steadily filling up.  Paula Storm came to the back room and asked if we were ready, so I quickly got into the one outfit I was going to model and came out with her.  The Fashion Show had begun!

Paula introduced me, and then I told the audience a little about myself after thanking everyone for coming.  Then I announced the first round of models, while Monica Tibai turned up the music for their entrance.

The first group featured lightweight summer dresses, worn by my sister Christina, Martha Tibai, and Bernadette Skwierc.

We were lucky, because everything fit our models and everybody got to wear pretty much what they wanted.


 Martha was our last-minute model, but she had a blast wearing two dresses that my Mom made for me when I was much younger...I still have the patterns, so I could make similar dresses for other little girls.

The yellow dress has a sweetheart neckline, a slightly dropped waist that comes to a point in the front, and puffe sleeves.  The skirt is ankle-length, and there is a sash in the back that ties in a bow.

The little white dress has a purple floral pattern on it, a Peter Pan collar, and is decorated with a lavender sash and 3 white ribbon rosettes on the front.

The pink dress is based loosely on a Jackie Kennedy look, with a natural waistline, a wide satin sash, puffed sleeves, a scoop neckline, and a tea-length hem.  I line all my light-colored dresses twice in the bodice, to eliminate the need for wearing extra layers in the summer, and the linings are cotton unless someone requests otherwise.


 Hmm, this model was confused about something...no, just kidding!  These models are my sister Catherine and Michelle Tibai, modeling two blouse and skirt sets.

Catherine, on the left, is wearing a white blouse with a round neckline, a lace-embellished front, and very full puffed sleeves edged in lace with elastic cuffs. 

Her skirt is an A-line plaid that buttons on the side.  It is slightly above ankle-length.

Monica, on the left, is modeling a cream blouse with an all-over small floral print.  The blouse has a slight scoop neckline edged in lace and small puffed sleeves. 

Both blouses button down the back.

Monica's skirt is a floor-length navy piece with 6 panels and a small train in the back.  It is made from a historic pattern, and the train could very easily be left off.


 Then Christina and Bernadette came out again, this time in long gowns modeled after those worn during the War of 1812.  This was the style when Jane Austen wrote her books "Emma," "Pride and Prejudice," and "Sense and Sensibility." 

My versions, however, do not have the deep necklines favored during that period.

The most obvious feature of this style is the high waistline.  Both gowns button in the back and feature short puffed sleeves.  They are fairly straight in the front of the skirt, with the fullness being at the back. 



 Bernadette's dress has a matching bonnet, so she modeled that too.  Usually, bonnet patterns do not really allow enough room for a fancy hairdo, which is usually worn with a long dress like these.  So I designed my own bonnet that was much roomier.



The Tibai girls were up next, wearing more current styles geared for summer.

Martha's blue dress was quite long on her - it is supposed to be a mid-calf or ankle-length dress, and it went to the floor!

This blue dress was one of my favorites when I was a girl - it has princess seams, shiny pearl and gold buttons down the front of the bodice, and a white collar edged in lace.  It is a great dress for a young teen or pre-teen, because it makes you feel like a princess!

Michelle's dress is a lovely brown-tone cotton inspired by Swiss and other national costumes and styles from the 1940's.  The skirt is just below the knee, and has a large ruffle around the bottom.

The sleeves have a ruffled cap on them, and the neckline is square.  The defining feature of this dress, though, is the yards of small dark brown rickrack trimming that forms a pattern on the bodice and accents the waist and sleeve bands and the skirt ruffle.

 While waiting for the next models, I passed out the flyers and surveys, and showed the audience a simple nightgown that I had on the dress form.

Then I explained the different common neckline shapes and some sleeve outlines.  I sketched examples on the whiteboard and answered questions until Paula Storm gave me the cue that the last but far from least outfits were ready to make their appearance.

Now it was really too bad that I didn't bring Mendlessohn's Wedding March or anything for this dress....

We did a regular bridal party entrance, with the "bridesmaid" coming first and then the "bride," complete with veil, tiara, and flowers.

Someone asked how much the dress cost, so I told them, then explained how the train bustled up out of sight for dancing or greater mobility.

Then we showed off the bridesmaid dress, which complements the wedding dress nicely. 

I got a bunch of questions then about wedding dresses, so these models were probably up the longest.  Then I called all my other models back in, and we were done!

I remembered afterward some other things I had planned on speaking about, but in general it seemed to go well.  The audience was receptive, and several people approached me afterward about making outfits for them this summer.  So all in all, I think my first Fashion Show was a good success.

Paula Storm and I posed afterward for a picture, since we had done all the planning.  Hopefully we can do another show next year!
Thank you for coming, everyone!

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