Jane Cely was the youngest person in her hometown of Anderson, SC to be taught how to sew & to purchase a sewing machine from her local Singer shop. Since the sixth grade, Jane has continued to sew for herself, her grandchildren & beyond!
After retiring from teaching math, Jane took on a whole new career. When challenged by her friend to sew a special dress for a prestigious kindergarten graduation, Jane was up for the challenge. Her attention to detail, good taste and having a mind for numbers has produced stunning creations that will be treasured for generation after generation. Through word of mouth & exquisitely sewn dresses worn by little girls at graduation, Jane has now ventured into the very busy land of custom sewing “heirloom” garments.
The picture below shows Jane’s handiwork worn by several happy kindergarten graduates! Each dress is unique and special!
We wanted to know what it takes for Jane to create these one-of-a-kind masterpieces like her most recent flower girl & first communion dress (shown below).
- Phone call from customer requesting dress – Jane asks them to get together pictures of dresses that they like. She suggests the customer look over laces at FarmhouseFabrics.com and start their list.
- Meets at customer’s or Jane’s home – looks over dresses & decides what style the customer is wanting. Jane takes old issues of Sew Beautiful and Australian Smocking Magazines to give examples of heirloom gowns..and help give direction, if needed.
- Jane starts with sketching of the bodice & lace placement & creates a detailed list of desired materials. When she adds the yardage of all the selected laces, fabrics, buttons, ribbon, she writes each item on a separate post-it note.
- Jane attaches all sketches & notes on a push-pin board as a design board for each customer.
- Time to bring list of lace & fabric to Farmhouse. Jane has already “done the math”, figuring exactly where every piece of lace will be placed. She predetermines the width of the skirt, which is necessary to know the exact amount of lace to purchase. As seen in the photo of the 7 little girls above, there usually are many rows of lace going around the circumference of the skirt!!
- Before cutting into the expensive garment fabric, Jane makes a “muslin” bodice with one sleeve to try on the child for correct fit.
- Final step – Jane sews the dress and measures hemline for final fit.
- She is VERY happy when her lace calculations are EXACT!! She is always looking out for the best for her customers, keeping the lace yardage as close as possible. On her last garment, Jane had only an inch of insertion remaining after the garment was constructed!
You’ve never met a kinder person. We call her the “Queen of Heirloom”. She is a busy lady – traveling out of town to her grandchildren’s sports games, baby sitting, substitute teaching, maybe squeezing in a trip to Europe, taking sewing classes around the country and tackling the heirloom world.
We love Jane Cely, and we hope you have enjoyed a little introduction to this beautiful lady and her gorgeous creations! Her “exacting” techniques of planning an heirloom garment can make it as easy as 1-2-3!!
9 thoughts on “Jane Cely ~ Exactness in Expertise!”
What beautiful pictures and a nice article. This story should be sent to Phyllis for Classic Sewing Magazine. So glad to be friends with this wonderful Lady
Jane dies beautiful work always and is very inspiring for us! Thank you for sharing this about her work!
Oh, my! What beautiful, unique dresses and an even more lovely family! Wish I knew Jane. I’m sure her creations will be treasured for generations.
Jane – you are unbelievable! Your workmanship is exquisite! These are truly works of art and will be wonderful Heirloom garments for generations!
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Que preciosidade! Meninas vestidas de meninas. Perfeitos, magníficos! PARABÉNS!
Jane, I congratulate you on your “new” business and hope the very best for you in the future. Also, your work is impressive and I’ll look forward to seeing many more of your beautiful designs.
These are amaythey look beautiful