We offer no-obligation, free custom estimates. If you don't see what you're looking for in our catalog, simply send us an email with a link to an image of the garment you would like us to make for you and we will be happy to work up a price for you.
With this quote in mind, we would like to say that our customers are the most important people to us. Every person we have worked with has been an absolute delight and we have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know each and every one of them.
We look forward to meeting all new customers and invite emails, comments, suggestions and questions. We take a great deal of pride in our customer service policies and work to ensure all transactions are completed to perfection. Historically costumed customers are, without a doubt, the nicest (and MOST fun) customers in the world.
Very Merry Seamstresses:
Heather Brown-Piper was born and raised in Oswego County, graduated from Altmar-Parish-Williamstown school district, and in her spare time, she was trying to develop her artistic portfolio by working on a series of unique fairytale paintings. She designed and created Renaissance and Medieval-styled gowns for her models to pose in, then she would paint them wearing the garb. At first she gave the extra garments to her family members and friends to wear at Sterling's annual Renaissance festival, but after a while, they stopped accepting the clothing donations, saying, "Enough is enough!"
As her closets began to overflow with historic costumes, Piper decided to photograph a few of them and sell them on eBay. When the auctions received multiple bids, Piper was pleasantly surprised, but decided to design, sew and sell four more gowns. All four sold and requests for customized orders began to roll in.
"One customer requested a cloak, and another requested an Italian gown. It hardly seemed fair to charge people for something I enjoyed doing so much," commented Piper. "But people were thrilled that they could finally purchase custom-made Renaissance garb somewhere other than at the faire, where clothing can be extremely expensive."
Within a few short months, Piper was receiving more orders than she could keep up with while working her full-time job, so she made a life-changing decision to quit her job and start her own business, designing and manufacturing custom Renaissance clothing. At the time, Piper was also attending SUNY Oswego, majoring in theatre design.
"I was learning so much about costuming and scenic design at SUNY Oswego. I loved every moment of it, and knew that this was something I would enjoy doing as a career. I owe quite a debt of gratitude to my professors at Oswego. Their lessons have been invaluable, and I've used everything they taught me in creating my garments, " said Piper
For the first few years, Piper sold her Renaissance clothing only through eBay. She was one of the first eBay members to open an eBay storefront, staying up late the night that storefronts first came available to the eBay public, making sure all of her pictures and descriptions were ready to upload. After her storefront opened successfully, a contact at eBay asked her to participate in their "Voices" forum. Piper agreed, and flew out to San Jose, CA for several meetings with eBay staff members. They were particularly interested in the success of Piper's eBay storefront, and when eBay staff member Jim Griffith began writing the eBay Bible, he included the Piper's success story in the book.
After a year of successful selling on eBay, Piper was having a difficult time keeping up with orders and managing the eBay storefront, which continuously required updating. Piper decided it was time to build a website. www.verymerryseamstress.com went live in January of 2002, and has been a successful online storefront since then. The Very Merry Seamstress site receives, on average, between 2000-3000 unique visitors per day and has become a popular site offering historically accurate and historically inspired clothing for re-enactors, LARP-ers, theatrical companies and wedding parties, catering to customers all over the world.
Anyone who has attended a Renaissance festival has likely seen one of Piper's original creations. She has clothed actors, actresses and faire patrons alike, from peasants to kings and queens. Piper provided her unique Elizabethan neck ruffs for the dancers in Christina Aguilera's touring company. Piper was shown wearing her Jane Seymour Tudor reproduction Showtime's "The Tudors, Royal Stylemakers" program, which was a fashion companion program to their miniseries "The Tudors." Piper was recently approached by National Geographic television to work on costumes for a series about ancient Egypt and in January-February of 2010 worked with The Biscuit TV for National Geographic Television to design and create a Victorian gown for an actress portraying Laura Keene in a documentary about the Lincoln assassination. She most recently created several princess gowns for Extreme Makeover Home Edition.
Piper was also approached by the arts and crafts director from Simplicity Patterns, and was asked if she would be interested in working with them to create a line of patterns based on her own original designs.
Over the years, Piper's Very Merry Seamstress business has undergone several changes. She realized she was no longer able to keep with the large number of orders coming in, and had to make a difficult decision to either stay on course as a very small one-woman show, or give up some of the control and hand over some of the work to other seamstresses.
"I'm definitely a type-A, need-to-be-in-control type of person, so I knew it would be really difficult to have other sew for me," admitted Piper. "Ultimately my family members convinced me that this type of business growth would be crucial to the success of VMS, so I gave in and asked a few more professional seamstresses to join the team." The new Very Merry Seamstresses live all across the United States.
"The way this business is set up, I don't need to have people working with me on site. I can work with seamstresses who live anywhere, which allows me to hire only the best in the business," explained Piper. "I'm not limited to seamstresses who live within a ten-mile radius. With the internet, I can work with seamstresses anywhere in the world."
The only seamstress she has ever met in person, is her sister. While it requires a great deal of trust to work with people she has never met, Piper says that the women who sew for her have extremely impressive backgrounds in costuming and research, and she has never doubted their ability to follow through on all the orders she sends them.
Heather lives in the Rochester, NY area with her two children, Elizabeth and Adam. When she isn't sewing, she enjoys reading, writing, drawing, painting, bog gardening/growing carnivorous plants, gardening and pestering her mom to come visit her more often..
Our Guarantee to you:
our customers, are the most important aspect of this business.
About our boning:
Most bodices and corsets are boned using 1/2" wide synthetic whalebone boning or, for channeled bodices and for curved garments, 1/4" synthetic whalebone boning. Both are equally strong as steel, but the synthetic boning is significantly less expensive and never risks snapping or wearing out (after time, the coating on the steel will wear off and need to be replaced). If you have questions about boning, please ask. We'll be happy to explain anything you'd like to know.
If you would like us to use steel boning in your garment, let us know and we will be happy to use it for an added fee of $3 per bone.
We use double-sided corset-grade grommets on all garments that have grommets.
garments are created in a non-smoking workplace.
About our Customers:
We welcome customers of all sizes, ages, interests and walks of life. Please don't be intimidated by ordering over the internet. Drop us a line and ask as many questions as you like until you feel comfortable. We can also provide you with references from past customers. Remember, sending an email never obligates you to buy a gown. It only opens the doorway to a new friendship. We're looking forward to hearing from you and we will never share your personal information with anyone else.