All Images and Text © 2019, Ellen Dayan

Do Not Copy, Print or Distribute Without Explicit Permission.

Permission Requests to: edayantlds@gmail.com

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About Ellen...

I've been designing women's and girl's clothing and costumes for about 25 years. Most recently, I relocated to Beaver County, PA from Phoenix, AZ where I worked as an independent designer. I was active at the Fashion and Business Resource Innovation Center (F.A.B.R.I.C.) as a volunteer, instructor, and local designer. In 2018, I was proud to earn the Gold Level Phoenix Green Business Leader credential.

2017 Arizona Apparel Foundation & Yandy.com Costume Contest Winner

Tiger Lily Dress Shop

Reviews & Awards
Recent Professional Activities
  • Volunteer Event Coordinator for Arizona Apparel Foundation's Local Designer Benefit Sale, 2016

  • Volunteer Instructor of Digital Pattern Making Software at FABRIC (Fashion And Business Resource Innovation Center)

  • Volunteer Program Coordinator and Participating Designer in FABRIC's zero waste clothing project, reFABRICate (Project Launch, 2018)

  • Participating Designer at Phoenix Fashion Week Community Night, 2016

  • Participating Designer at Brave Wings Fashion Show, 2017

  • Featured Designer at Downtown Tempe State of Downtown IMPACT Awards Celebration, October 17, 2017 at FABRIC

  • Featured Designer at Tempe History Museum's Third Thursday Local Fashion Design Event, January 18, 2018

  • Opened first "brick and mortar" studio/retail sales location established in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, 4/6/19.

  • Participating as a featured designer at the Fashion & Beauty EXPO in Pittsburgh, PA on 11/16/2019. Event info and tickets here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2387227511552977/?active_tab=discussion

  • Member of the Beaver Falls Community Development Corporation 2019/2020

I'm a custom clothier using Eco-friendly materials and processes, an accomplished seamstress and sample maker, digital pattern maker/grader, and instructor. I also have pre-production project management skills that I offer to new designers embarking on small batch manufacturing.

Tiger Lily Dress Shop Eco-Couture is my semi-custom and ready-to-wear brand. Please come by if you're in the north-of-Pittsburgh area on Saturdays from 10 am - 2pm for our Open Studio and retail shopping events.

 

The Grand Opening of TLDS's first brick and mortar studio and store was held on April 6th, 2019. We welcomed over 100 local fashion enthusiasts --a great show of support and interest! Thank you to all who attended!

(A Lot) More About
Tiger Lily Dress Shop...

Some History...

 

In our grandmother’s day, having custom clothing made for special occasions was a luxury that only some could afford. Dressmaker’s shops, skilled clothing designers, and sewists were not hard to find (for the right price). But most small custom clothing businesses died out when the cost of manufacturing in developing countries became impossible for American small businesses to compete with successfully. By the late 1980s, almost all apparel manufacturing companies had moved their production to other places, factories closed, millions of American jobs were lost, and students no longer had much confidence that preparing to become a skilled sewist or clothing designer was a smart career plan.

The consequences of losing our clothing making businesses have been serious. It’s become very difficult to find skilled designers and sewists able to create high quality professionally fitted and constructed clothing at a price that anyone can afford. We’ve become used to buying cheap clothes made in faraway places that we don’t mind throwing away, and that are desirable for only a short time in the fashion trend cycle that becomes ever more fast and furious.

You can buy a $10 dress at a drugstore, now. If it falls apart in the wash or goes out of style a few months after you’ve purchased it, it doesn’t seem so awful. You can toss it or donate it to a thrift store. But our resulting textile waste problem has grown so serious that it accounts for a major percentage of the planet’s most damaging pollution.

For a powerful explanation of the fashion industry’s impact on the environment, please check out True Cost, a documentary film explaining the problems we’re facing together as a consequence of “fast fashion.”

 

Custom Clothing in Beaver Falls, PA: What’s Changed?

How is it possible to make high quality custom made clothing and original fashion design possible in a small rust belt town in Western PA? The details are important not only to see how our business model works, but also to appreciate who we are as neighbors, friends, and skilled makers. Fortunately for us, this geographical location has a rich history of resourcefulness, fine craft skills and talents developed over generations, and a practical commitment to doing good work. We may have been lucky starting up in Beaver Falls at a natural tipping point, but the culture and sensibilities of this community have been strong and steady for a very long time.

Tools of the Trade

Some of the tools now available to home sewers and amateur designers have dramatically changed what we can do, how quickly we do it, and of course, how cost effectively we can accomplish work that was expensive in the past. For example, we can use computer assisted design software that helps us create a master pattern for any individual in about 1/10th of the time it took our grandmothers’ contemporaries. That saves the customer hundreds of dollars in the end—and that one practice alone probably accounts for the greatest savings for our customers.

Materials

The second most important practice we’ve adopted originally came from a desire to reduce the environmental impact of our clothing making. Currently, we collect large amounts of fabric from individual hobbyists clearing out their craft rooms, from estate sales and thrift stores, and from vendors called jobbers who scoop up mill ends, dead stock, and manufacturing leftovers. These fabrics would otherwise end up in enormous discard lots, and we feel good about finding ways to divert textiles with small irregularities or that are just too small for most makers from the scrap heap. These fabrics are not always easy to find, and we do a lot of driving, searching, hunting, and negotiating to find pieces that will make the very best quality clothing. Fortunately, the financial investment is not burdensome and we’ve been at this for quite a while. We now have a wonderful collection of unique fabrics that our customers can choose from without great cost.

Skilled Labor

At the head of our creative team as designer, seamstress, and business owner is Ellen Dayan. Ellen developed her sewing skills over decades of hobby sewing, costuming for children’s musical theater, alterations & mending, and amateur design of women and girls’ clothing. In 2013, Ellen began studying fashion design and professional clothing construction seriously at Phoenix College in Phoenix, Arizona. It was there that she learned to use computer assisted design software as part of her process. She also enjoyed a few years’ time at FABRIC, a successful fashion incubator and small batch apparel manufacturing project in Tempe, AZ established by Angela Johnson and Sherri Barry. She was able to both contribute her skills there as a volunteer instructor and to learn essential skills in pre-production project management, fashion entertainment, fashion photography, marketing and costing, tech pack preparation, and more.

Ellen is unusual as a designer because she has skills across the creative and technical process that are usually held by a team of professionals. Ellen can design a garment, draft the sewing pattern, construct a sample, create multiple size patterns, select fabrics, sew ready-to-wear one-of-a-kind pieces, and make changes to the original designs to suit individual customers’ fit needs and preferences.

 

Happily, Ellen has met and joined forces with several skilled sewists in Western PA who help her with all of the aspects of production. Her hope is that they will be able to earn enough to provide for their families and enjoy a better quality of life doing what they love in the comfort of their own homes. Ellen’s commitment to a “cottage industry” business model makes it possible for her assistants to set their own work pace and volume of labor, use their own tools, and spend very little time away from their families which, in some cases, made it impossible for them to work at traditional jobs. She is also committed to providing them with free training and learning opportunities that will help them become even more skilled as clothing designers and sewists.

Tiger Lily Dress Shop is proud to display designs and accessories by its special team members. For example, please come by to see lovely authentic African designs by Dzifa Chaney, originally from Ghana. You'll also see collaborative projects by Ellen Dayan and Laurie Furnival of Woven Wanderings, and wearable art treasures by Jeannette Chamberlin, long time local icon in one-of-a-kind wearable art in the Pittsburgh area.

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