Friday, February 18, 2011

I cried and cried...

My friend Nkem put up a post about her wedding dress that I made and it had me in tears... Oh no I wasn't sad. They were happy tears :o) She tells the story of how she burst into tears at her final wedding dress fitting four weeks to the "big day"!
Here's a lil excerpt
Femi had to come up to console me; of course I was inconsolable. There was no plan B. This was a disaster. Our honey-tongued designer once again “assured” us that he could fix it. Femi pleaded with me to give him one more chance and I did. After about 3 more weeks, with one week to go, I go for what should have been a final fitting and the disaster had gotten worse (I did not think it was possible for it to have worsened). Reality sets in: I do not have a dress to wear on my wedding day! And I have 7 days to find one.
My rescuer came in the form of friend who makes clothes for me and had come to know my style and preferences. She runs a label called Gbemisoke (
We explained the situation to her over the phone and thankfully she consented to helping salvage the situation. We engaged her on a Thursday, she proceeded to shop for the fabrics on Friday, spent the whole day on Saturday making the dress and on Sunday I went for my first fitting and the dress fit perfectly. It wasn’t by any means what I had previously envisioned but at this stage, I couldn’t be choosy
Read the full story on her blog:
I hade made the gold raw silk dress for their registry wedding a few weeks earlier.

Here's my fav pic from their wedding. That's her holding my son, Nathan (she calls him Prince Edward) He was about 5 months old and he got enough kisses that day to last him a lifetime :o)
When I got the call from Femi about making the dress, I wasn't sure I could pull it off. I knew, however, that they really needed me, so I dropped everything I was working on and went fabric shopping the very next day. I drafted the pattern and cut the dress immediately and started sewing on Saturday morning. She called me from the airport as soon as she got into Lagos on Sunday to ask how it was going and she couldn't believe it when I said she could come for her first fitting. I was positively thrilled that the dress fit :o).. She was soooo happy, and that for me was enough to make up for all the neck-breaking work.

I met Nkem in 06 through Femi and I've made many dresses for her some of which I already shared here and here. She loved my work and encouraged me a great deal, introducing me to many of her friends who have become loyal clients and dear friends. You remember Lebs from this post? I met her through Nkem, as well as Atinuke of Zuri Perle and many others.

As you've probably read from previous posts, I have no formal training in sewing or designing. All I've got is an innate God given gift that I have worked my behind off to turn into a skill. All I know, I have learnt on the job. The encouragement from friends like Nkem who could have discouraged me cos I was less than perfect have played a HUGE role in making me into the sought after clothier that I am today. When I read the hateful and spiteful comments people sometimes leave on blogs about designers work, I cringe and thank God for a support system made up of my family and friends who helped me grow without killing my dream. While I do not expect everyone to like a designers work, there is a HUGE difference between constructive criticism, which points out things that are less than perfect and offers pointers to helping others become better, and vitriol laced attacks that cut people down.... I can imagine how the designers must feel, cos I know firsthand how much work, physical and emotional, goes into creating clothes, especially in Nigeria where it is such a huge challenge to run a business....

I've gone from making dresses like these for Nkem and her friends back in 06/07

To making better ones for her even after her wedding dress
Femi took this pic of me grinning from ear to ear at City People magazine's fashion show competition when they came to support me. See my wiiiide grin? I couldn't believe it when I was called out as 2nd runner up!! You see, I didn't know until that day that it was a competition. I took part just for fun, plus participation was free and all I had to do was bring the clothes. You can view that collection over at It was my first fashion show and there were so many talented designers that had been doing their thing loooooong before I started. I realized that day that there was more to this "hobby" of mine. I met Frank Osodi (He designed Agbani Darego's Miss World dress) that day and that led to an internship with him that has moved me closer to achieving my dream.
I thank God for blessing me with dear friends, too numerous to mention who believed in me when all I had was a dream that one day I would become a "world class couturier", a dream that has taken me on an exciting journey that started from delivering clothes to clients on okada until I could afford a beat up nissan sunny, to having a film crew fly from South Africa to feature me in SABC's documentary Promise Africa and fulfilling my elusive dream of taking courses at the acclaimed London College of Fashion last summer.

I haven't reached my "world class couturier" goal yet, but guess what? I'm closer to it now than I was and I'm going to keep giving my best.

Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential. ~ Winston Churchill

Thanks for coming by again and again.
May your dreams com true xoxoxo

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gbemi's got her cooking mojo on overdrive... and some fab dresses too :o)

So here are the pics I promised :o)

Here's my "Gbemskiluzi" special "obe ata dindin" inspired by 9jafoodie
So, she said to add basil leaves to the dish and when I got to the store, I didn't remember what leaves she said, so I bought parsley *hides face in shame*... just kidding :o)
I garnished the rice with the parsley and steamed some broccoli... Believe me, I enjoyed every bit of it. I usually serve my food with a salad plate so that even with a small portion, the plate looks really full... this helps my mind think I've had a lot. I still went for a second helping though :P

So D didn't want rice, so I boiled him some yam :D... I think I got a pass mark cos he went for more too...
Seeing as this blog's focus is not food, (sorry, fellow foodies)*insert wicked laughter here*.... Here are a couple of pics of yours truly rocking gbemisoke... You remember the dresses I made for the twins for our friend, Ro's wedding? You can find that post here. Well I didn't finish my own dress in time for the wedding, and I promised to post pics later. Today is later :o) It's a tulip dress with pockets. Yeah, I love pockets :o) The sleeves are overlapping and I embellished the shoulder area with some crystals... I love this dress and I've worn it over and over and over and...(ok, you catch my drift)... hehehe. My point is, clothes are solutions. I make pieces that solve problems, so if you ever need a solution provider for custom made clothes, think GBEMISOKE :o)
Here's another dress I really love. We handstitched about 20 dozen crystals around the neckline and pockets. The result, a simple bejeweled shift dress that had me feeling like a million dollars. Feel good clothes are my forte. When a woman looks good, she feels in my own lil' way, I'm making the world a better place, one gbemisoke wearing woman at a time.
PS After I wore this dress, I realized that it was about 2 inches too long!! I have since fixed that 'issue', with the full support of D (my accomplice) *grinning* and will be rocking it soon. Good thing the cold's going away fast :o)

Thanks for coming again and again.
May your dreams come true xoxoxo

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My personal forerunner!


Apartment hunting hasn't been a walk in the park at all at all!! Hmmm...From one place that wanted us to pay a $60 non refundable fee for window blinds that look 10 years old, (rip off!!) to another place that I though was ok, until D pointed out the graffiti on the walls and the three patrol cars parked side by side.... we've seen all sorts!!!

The thing is, cos we have no credit history, no renting history and have no employment, they won't let to us... We found a place that didn't mind. They just wanted bank statements showing we had savings. We happily paid the $350 deposit, but then they called today to say our bank statement needed to show at least three months of recurring deposits!!! If we've been out of the country for 6 months and only just came back a week ago, how are we supposed to have made the deposits??? They'll only let to us if we have a co-signor. The thing is, I'm not a fan of asking anyone to put themselves on the line for me... I'm blessed to have had so many people help us one way or another since we came here last year, but most of the time, they offered by themselves and believe me, we have had a great deal of help. The one person that I felt comfortable asking just bought a new home, so she can't.

I was so discouraged after that call, I told D, you know what? let's get another short let like we did last year, keep putting money in the account for three months, and then we'll re-apply. Not a fantastic option, but better then living out of our boxes and not being able to unpack. Not long after, my friend B called. Her friend wanted a dress made. Nice, but I can only start sewing after we get a place.. Then she said "I completely forgot to tell you". "Tell me what?" I asked. She went on to tell me that her friend offered to co-sign for us. For real??? I had only met her friend a couple of times, in fact, I had completely forgotten her name!! I met her at a wedding I attended with B last year. On our way back from the wedding, B dropped her off. It turned out to be one of the places the apartment locator sent us to, so I called B to ask her if her friend liked the place and didn't have any problems with it. Well, turns out her friend loves the place and is willing to help us out.
Moral of the story? While I was sad and discouraged that one place rejected us, God had already raised help for us somewhere else and we didn't even know. We'll go look tomorrow and I'm positive it'll work out well.

Deutronomy 31:18 is my promise

"Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you."

Azzzzin, He's my personal forerunner!!! That's such a BIG deal!!
Maybe you've got expectations that aren't met yet... He'll sort you out. Remember, no test, no testimony. Not so easy when you're going through, I know... but this too shall pass. He helped me, He'll help you.

Ok, so from the comments of my last post, I went back to research Michelle's "pregnancy".... I first heard the gist on twitter, then I read it Here and upon further research, I found out here that it's not true. Thanks to those who pointed it out. I stand corrected.

I took some pics of my own "Gbemskiluzi" special mouth watering "obe ata dindin" (fried stew) complete with shaki (tripe), liver, kidney, prawns and tins and tins I would like to share with you, but I don't know where to start searching for the phone to laptop cord this midnight! I'll dig it out when I wake up.... watch this space hehehehe ;o)

May your dreams come true xoxoxo

Friday, February 11, 2011

No one will grant your wishes, you better make them happen

Thanks for all your kind words and prayers... You will never know how much your support has blessed me. May you never be without help in Jesus name.

So we've all adjusted our internal clocks and are getting used to the weather. The coward in me didn't dare brace the cold until yesterday when I absolutely had to buy diapers and wipes for Alexis. I was also able to get supplies for this mouthwatering delicacy from 9jafoodie, whose blog I've been stalking since I found her 3 days ago :o)
I love that the parts of meat like tripe, kidney and heart that are more expensive than beef in naija are actually cheaper here :o) As you've probably figured, food ranks really close to sewing on my list of things I love, so I'm in heaven!!! *note to self-renew gym membership sharpish* hahaha...

I found this lovely lovely image/quote on Diane's blog and I thought to share
Imma give my best and make my mark in fashion, even if it means I have to work my butt off! I don't expect anyone to hand anything to me on a platter of gold, so I'm goin' seize it! Yes baby!!

You've probably seen this pic of Michelle Obama's $35 H&M dress. Her stylist added sleeves and changed the sash to a belt, probably because of her pregnancy.
She's positively glowing and I think she looks AMAZING..I'm not sure about the colour of her shoes though... Her stylist(s) (she must have a huge team, I'm sure) must know what they are doing, so I guess it's fine. For her? yes. for me? errm no...

We're off to look at some apartments...
Thanks for coming by again and again. May your dreams come true

ps.. To everyone that sent me an email enquiry about the clothes I have for sale, thank you. I'll post the pics of the clothes I have for sale soon... my stuff is already taking so much space in my kind host's home, I'll hate to be a nuisance by scattering everything. Thanks for your patience :o)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Success isn't a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire!!


So we're here!! We got here safe and sound thank God. Thankfully, our journey was stress free. The munchkins slept for the most part of the journey, in fact they both slept all through the connecting flight from ATL to Houston, saving me from the temptation to go chemical on them :o)

We got some stress from naija customs and immigration cos they claimed that my fabrics and trimmings were not "exportable items"... there was no way I was going to leave about 5 boxes filled with Ankara, Sequins, Stones, Laces, Raw silk, thread and zippers that cost me a fortune to buy behind, so I paid 'tax' as they called it.....thankfully I got waivers on excess luggage fees on a couple of boxes :o) You should've seen our luggage! 13 boxes or so... D was like "are you sure you really need all this stuff?"hmmm... to think that I even left some stuff behind!!! I packed just one box for the munchkins, One and a half for myself...err make that two and a half ;o), one box of food... did I hear you ask what was in the other boxes??? Fabric, thread and everything else I would need to start my fashion business! I brought some ready-to-wear shift dresses and patchwork skirts too, so if you're reading this and you're in the US, send in your orders and I'll give you a "blogspot" discount.

I need to figure out how to make my website more "e-commerce compliant", so if you have any suggestions, please share. In the meantime, I'll put up pics of the stuff I have here as soon as we move into our place and I can unpack properly. There's lots of stuff you'll love. I"ll also be taking custom orders, so drop me a line at if you want anything.

We're all seriously jet lagged though, so we've been drifting in and out of lalaland... there's a thousand and one things to sort out... car, apartment, appointments with paediatrician and dentist to name a few... I'll have my hands full for sure. I expect things to go really well though, cos God's grace is sufficient. My plan is to throw myself straight into my work, so I can channel all the creative energy I have into making 'feel good clothes' for women who are not afraid to live out loud :o)

America, Gbemisoke is here!!!

Success isn't a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.~~Arnold H. Glasow