Style From a Surprising Source

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July 2021 Issue
by Kelly Hunter  
Photography by Nancy J. Reynolds Photography

What causes a person to turn draperies into clothing? For Fraulein Maria in The Sound of Music, it was a matter of conservation. Those old nursery curtains would have been thrown away if she hadn’t turned them into play clothes for the children. For Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind, it was a matter of desperation. She was broke and just had to have something new to fool Rhett.

For Morella Frederick of Morella’s Custom Making and Alterations, it was pure inspiration. Morella is originally from Barbados, studied fashion design, and lived in Massachusetts and Florida before coming to St. Simons, but Paris, France holds her heart. With more than three decades of experience as a tailor and designer, fashion is in her blood. Since fashion is her passion, it is not surprising that when she saw fabric shower curtains with a Parisian theme, she was compelled to turn them into something fabulous!

The results were beyond fabulous: Morella created two jackets and one jacket/dress ensemble for herself and her daughters…out of the shower curtains! She even used the Eiffel tower shower hooks as faux buttons on the short jacket, which features a hidden zipper.

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Makeup artist Iris Hopgood and photographer Nancy Reynolds met us at Morella’s Tailor Shop in Longview Plaza on St. Simons for a fun photo shoot. Morella’s daughter, Precious, was our model, whose natural beauty was only accentuated by Iris’s makeup skills. Morella told us about her passion for fashion while Nancy snapped photos of two of the outfits.

The creativity, talent and skill it took for Morella to meticulously create tailored outfits from humble shower curtains is awe-inspiring. If she can do that, imagine what she could do with those outdated, ill-fitting dresses or skirts hanging in most of our closets!

Recycling isn’t just for paper or plastic. In our disposable society we have accustomed ourselves to buying clothes that may last for a season or two. However, everyone has a few nice pieces that are just too good to get rid of. Thats where recycling—or upcycling—can shake up your closet and turn drab into fab. Morella is known for turning a beast, like that expensive bridesmaid’s dress you will never wear again, into a beauty. Hello new killer cocktail dress! Maybe your favorite jacket is a little worn at the elbows? Have you considered turning it into a vest, or better yet, switching out the sleeves all together with a contrasting fabric that takes the style to whole new level? A great seamstress/designer can not only give you all kind of ideas, but also make those ideas come true with perfect fit. And what about those “fat” clothes hanging in your closet since 20 pounds ago? Take them in…to Morella, and make your old favorites fit again.

Since opening her shop during the pandemic, Morella has focused mostly on alterations, but she offers so much more, such as custom suits (for men and women), children’s clothing, pet clothing, ladies' handbags (she keeps meaning to use the rest of the fabric from the shower curtains to make a bag), hats, and even clothing made to fit wheelchair users.

Don’t know where to start to give yourself a fashion makeover? Morella can help, offering in-home wardrobe consultations, advising how to use what you already have and telling you what needs to go…for real. Some fashion has an expiration date! Find your style, level up your look and channel your inner Cinderella with Morella, a true fashion godmother.

Morella’s Custom Making and Alterations, 315 Longview Plaza Driveway, St. Simons Island; 912-434-9107. Morella studied Sculpture at Massachusetts College of Art, as well as Fashion, Ladies and Men’s Tailoring, Ladies Evening Wear and Couture Detail at School of Fashion Design Newbury Street, Boston.

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