Heather Baldridge helps brides alter and reimagine the wedding gowns of their dreams.
As they say, necessity is often the mother of invention. And, in this case, it was necessity—plus a lot of love and passion—that inspired Woodbury’s Heather Baldridge to launch her boutique sewing business, Custom Sewing by Heather. She’d been sewing for years, having learned at age 8 from her own mother, who was a sewing instructor. Baldridge says, “My oldest child was about to enter daycare. Just a few months into my nearly full-time job away from home, I realized that what I really wanted to do was stay at home with my daughter.” She adds, “I decided I would figure out a way to make money another way. I turned my knowledge and love of sewing into a new career.”
Fast-forward a couple of decades later, and Baldridge is now a sought-after seamstress, who focuses on wedding gowns. (Baldridge has been a seamstress for more than 35 years but has specialized in wedding gowns for the last 12 years.) After years of doing a variety of alterations, she connected with Bella Bridal Boutique in Woodbury, which started referring clients exclusively to Baldridge for work on their gowns. “I realized what I really liked most was working with brides,” she says. “I decided to go exclusively bridal and have never looked back.” Now, multiple boutiques across the Metro refer their clients to Baldridge.
Baldridge helps brides with everything from small size alterations and bustling to more substantial dress redesigns. “A bride falls in love with a dress she has dreamed about for years,” she says. “But most dresses need at least some tweaking for the dress to be a custom fit to her body for her special day.” Baldridge works out of a studio at her Woodbury home and makes each client feel welcome and involved in the process. “There’s nothing more rewarding to me than seeing the joy on a bride’s face when she tries on her dress for her last fitting, and she catches a glimpse of what she will look like when she walks down the aisle,” she says.
One bride who still remembers that feeling is Savannah Brausen, who worked with Baldridge on her gown for her July 2021 wedding. She says, “I nearly cried when I left my last appointment, because I enjoyed my time with her that much … She always made me feel special, and I felt like she became family.” Brausen says the ambience of Baldridge’s studio is part of the experience. “There are large windows, allowing natural light to shine on your dress while she works, love songs playing in the background and elegant details throughout … It’s a space where you instantly feel so special and get all of those wedding day butterflies every time you enter,” Brausen says.
We asked Baldridge about the advice she’d give to newly engaged brides who are starting to plan for their wedding dresses. “It takes six to eight months for a dress to come in from a designer, so order your dress as soon as you can,” she says, noting that she works on 550 dresses per year. And as soon as you order your dress—or as soon as you purchase it off the rack—schedule your appointments with Baldridge. “We are often booked out about eight months, so booking right away will give you more options.” Best of all? Brides can trust Baldridge to share every inch of her expertise. She says, “After working on thousands of wedding gowns, I have a pretty good idea of what can be done.”