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Sewing A Wedding Dress In A Mountain Cabin

1 May, 2002

Six Dresses, Three Weeks, And One Mountain Cabin Surrounded By Wildfires -- And You Thought Your Wedding Sewing Schedule Was Hectic

Mahwah, NJ - Sewing your daughter's wedding dress is a wonderful expression of love. But when you sew your daughter's wedding dress, as well as four bride's maids dresses, and the flower girl's dress on a three week deadline - "love" doesn't seem to be a strong enough word. Not only did Judy Fredenburgh manage to pull off this feat, but one of her three weeks of sewing was spent in a mountain cabin under the threat of wildfire.

"It was definitely an adventure," said Fredenburgh, the co-owner of Redlands Sewing Center in Redlands, CA. "I could not have done it without my computerized machines."

The series of events, which seem more like a movie-of-the-week than real life, began when Fredenburgh's daughter surprised her with the news that she was going to be married. Like most mothers, Fredenburgh was delighted with the news and ready to make good on her long-time promise to make her daughter's wedding gown, as well as the dresses for the other members of the wedding party.

Though her travel schedule would only allow three weeks to make the dresses, Fredenburgh was sure she could finish in the time for the big day. She was so confident in fact, that she planned to do some of the sewing during a weeklong stay with her husband in a mountain cabin. The cabin had electricity, and Fredenburgh took along her computerized Janome Memory Craft 9000 sewing machine and her computerized Janome Compulock serger.

"I was putting in 16 hour sewing days," says Fredenburgh. "But without the speed and precision of my Janome machines, it would have taken much longer."

With her two machines, yards of fabric, and sewing notions dominating the cabin, she was busily at work when the fires started getting close.

"I had to use the cabin bed for my sewing table," says Fredenburgh. "But it wasn't too bad . . . until the power started to go. While I was sewing, the power would flicker," she recalls.

Losing electrical power is inconvenient when you're using a sewing machine. But when you're using a serger, which cuts the excess fabric while it makes a finished seam, it can be absolutely nerve wracking. At one point, the power went off completely and Fredenburgh wondered what it might have done to the programming in her computerized machines. But when it came back on they were fine. She estimates she spent 159 hours sewing the dresses.

As a sewing instructor Fredenburgh doesn't recommend either a three week schedule or a mountain cabin for wedding sewing. But she still heartily recommends Janome machines.

"I tell my students that it saves so much time when you do it right the first time," says Fredenburgh. "From the specialty feet for attaching the beading on the veil to the perfect stitching on slippery satin, my Janome machines stood up to the test."

The Janome Sewing Machine Company was the first to introduce programmable computerized sewing machines for household use. Janome machines, which can be seen at, are recognized throughout the industry for ease-of-use and unsurpassed stitch quality.