Category: custom

Classically Beautiful

Labl Wedding Stories Cristina Li Cristina was a bride that knew what she wanted. It was just a matter of figuring out how to bring her vision to life. Cristina wished to capture her closeness with her sister for her big day and recreate her sister’s wedding gown in a vision that complimented her ideas of classic beauty.

In her private Bridal Consult with Elizabeth, they discussed the vision, the timeline and budget for this project and found they were a match. The existing dress would be transformed by Elizabeth, mindful to maintain the original lines of Cristina sister’s gown, while creating new a new bodice and tulle overlays flattering to Cristina.

The sentimental importance of Cristina’s gown, her open mindedness to its recreation into something uniquely personal and the vibe of optimism and excitement Cristina brought to Elizabeth, made this a perfect endeavour.


Another 5 Star Review

What’s a Wedding Without a Ring?

sound ring 001Custom can be such a daunting idea. So for as much as Labl caters to its custom clients, there are times we become the client ourselves.  One such experience was in getting wedding rings made.  After much thoguht, some disappointment and a lot of big airy ideas, we found a jewelry designer Danielle Crampsie of Made You Look Jewellery:what a fabulous experience.  Danielle was not typical, she offered a twist in her design that we loved.  The process took time and forethought and allowed us to personalize our rings in a manner that went beyond the aesthetic.

We have each other’s voice patterns in the design of our rings.  To think of making your wedding ring while recording your voice.  Or as my husband wanted; my laugh! I can still recall the two of us at the Made You Look studio. My husband making me laugh take after take until the sound waves were detailed enough to get a suitable print.

The experience was fabulous and it did not end with the rings.  Danielle has been great at helping perfect the fit of my husband’s ring long after we bought them. The whole process, as much as the finished product, has been memorable. It has also helped us keep touch with how to support our clientele.  It great to step into your client’s shoes every once in a while.  It was sheer bonus that it was wonderfully memorable too.



Labl ‘s Curling Golden Age

Labl is not just about dresses, we truly do cater to the individual; or in this case, the team.  Labl was approached to design and create a set of vintage inspired curling jackets.  Not your usual request, but Labl proved to be up to the task.  The right choice of fabric to move well and still keep warm while capturing that look of the golden era photos that hang in the Burlington Curling Club lounge was the success of the day. 

Custom Curling Sweaters

Labl Curling Sweaters

 ¨…The jackets are fantastic. They are warm, comfortable and they move well. We get lots of compliments (and giggles) when we wear them….
 Here is a photo from a recent bonspiel we did in Kingston. In fact, people were mentioning how vintage they looked in comparison to some of the team photos hanging in the club from the 1960s.¨

Jane Hamilton

Shania’s Juno Dress – Working with a Canadian icon


When a woman typically states, “the Dress”, she refers to her wedding dress, but if you have followed the Labl blog and Labl studio Facebook page, you might guess the dress worn by Shania Twain. I met Shania Twain the weekend she was inaugurated into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, but it was not to be a simple task; this dress was quite the drama situation.

It all started the Friday night, a day and a half before the big event. The call came in at midnight. On the other end of the phone was a stylist panicking to the point of tears, it seemed, and in a desperate voice asked if I would come with her to fit a client the next morning. She explained that the client did not live in Canada, but had travelled to Toronto two days before, was receiving an award, and needed to be fitted to perfection. She said that she had tried pinning the dress, but with all the beading, she realized that this was a job for the professionals, and so was asking to put it my hands. She asked if I was up to the task: rush jobs, personalized fittings, hand beading, and any other complex tasks. I assured her that Labl studio had been doing this for over 10 years, “but one question”, I asked, ” who would I be working with?”, “Oh, Shania Twain”. The next day bright and early, I was at her hotel, with the stylist, as we waited to be called up to Shania’s room. I had come as prepared as one can be to an impromptu fitting. Not having seen the dress, I sat in the lobby, only to imagine every possible issue a dress can have and the possible solutions. After a 20 minute wait, we received a call from Shania’s manager, Shania’s sister, “We are ready for you.”

Arriving at the suite, I could not help noticing all the people present and the different clothes that had been brought for Shania, some dress options for her big event, others, wardrobe requests from the singer/songwriter for her next travel adventure down south immediately following her Toronto stay.

It was a calm experience being introduced to a personality that I had always seen in a 2 dimensional way. Shania was shorter than I expected, a mature woman in her forties, but very kind eyes and great smile. Once she had tried on her gown, I went to work. The dress was too big in the sequence encrusted bodice and so the alteration had to be equally distributed between the side seams and the centre back seam, where an invisible zipper was placed. Also, the hem was far too long, needless to say.

I made an appointment to return the gown later that afternoon for a 2nd fitting, excused myself, and was off to work. Arriving at my studio, I addressed the work required: in order to alter the dress. I first had to remove all the sequence beading around the side seams and cd (centre back) seam by hand, while also affixing the remaining beads. Because removing one sequence beads leads to all the surrounding beads falling out, this task required firstly that I take a picture, then, deciding which sequence stayed and which were to be removed and then stitching down all the sequences to remain at a 3″ perimeter, then I began the task to remove all the remaining beads, while safely keeping all the beads in a safe place.

This task was very painstaking, I can assure you as the fabrication was a soft netting, so avoiding the creation of holes with my seam ripper was very crucial. Hours later, I was ready to alter the dress, seams were altered and the zipper was removed and re sewn. With minutes to spare, I packed up the gown and made my way back the the lobby I had found myself only hours before. Once again with Shania’s stylist, the minute we got the call up, we were off.

For the second time, standing with Shania Twain in her gown, we both accessed the alteration and the look she wanted and made a few more changes. The dress fit like a glove, would be hemmed perfectly, for her 5 1/2″ heels and to everyone’s delight would be ready for 8am that Sunday morning. Everyone was happy, but I had a dress to hand bead: it was going to be a long night. Back at the studio I tweaked the final changes to “the Dress” , referred to the photo I had taken of the beading earlier and started my task that would last long into the night and into the wee hours of the morning.

At 7 :10am, I placed the last sequence bead in stitched the last stitch. This incredible journey was almost at its’ end. As I packed up the gown, I lamented the fact that I had no time for a shower, new outfit, or make-up. I had little time to make it for 8am and so off I went. On my third visit to the hotel, I knew the drill too well. I got comfortable in my seat, laid the dress on my lap, as to not to crease it, and put my smile on. When we were called up this time, I felt an excitement surge inside me and passing off the dress to Shania Twain was a thrill. I had shared my artistry with a wonderful artist and she was going to show case my work to all of Canada and the world.

Later that day I received a call from a woman congratulating me for my work. She represented the store where the gown was purchased in Cumberland Lanes. What a crazy ride, of turns and twists with a surprise ending.

I loved every minute of it.

Labl makes Blog TO’s – “Best Seamstresses in Toronto”

Today is the way one likes to wake up. A great weekend behind you and the promise of a full and rewarding week ahead. The icing on my cake today is that Blog TO has decided to name me as one of Toronto’s best seamstresses.

Labl Thread BoardIn a blog posted by Bianca Venerayan / JULY 26, 2013
Toronto’s Best Seamstress (excerpt)

The best seamstress in Toronto is hard to find without a little help, and there’s no way in hell you’d willingly approach a dressmaker, hoping to change the neckline of your grandmother’s bridal number, without a little research. Thanks to some readers suggestions, we’ve zeroed in on eight women with the magic touch, none of whom are found in the back room of your local dry cleaner.

So, whether you’re in a panicked frenzy over an ill-fitting dress a week before your big day or you’re looking to bring your dream prom garb to life (multi-coloured sequins and all), these home studios and storefronts are tried, tested, and true.

Here is where you can find the best seamstress in Toronto.

Labl by Elizabeth Oliveira
52 Seaforth Avenue, 416.504.1504
Though her Queen West Style Lab closed over a year ago, Elizabeth Oliveira still offers her custom made, repair, and alteration services by appointment only in Parkdale. Eager to fill the void left by off-the-rack average sizing, Elizabeth studied design in Portugal before diving headfirst into her passion for well-fitting garments. With past clients like Shania Twain and Ron Sexsmith, it’s clear she’s good at what she does.

In addition to this news, the blog review  added further pleasure to my day as the articles photo was taken of the Labl StyleLab – Thread board.

“Happily Ever After” Starts Here – Bridal Beware

Bridal online is big business. For a fraction of the price of retail shopping, a bride can order her bridesmaid dresses for under $200 from the comfort of her own home. More often than not, this seemingly stress free experience becomes its own snow ball of disaster. Here are some realities;

– First of all the fit is the most obvious. Bridal websites offer great prices, but not great fit charts, so typically not only does the hem have to be done, but extra fitting must be done for each dress. The most difficult situation is when the dress is too small. To rectify this is a complex process, that requires new fabric sourcing and extra fittings, as well as a considerable alteration fee.
– The next issue is styling. While the picture on the web site looks quite beautiful on their size 2 model, the reality is that their polyester creation often disappoints and the unassuming bridesmaid often feels a bit frumpy beside the perfection that is the bride, creating an atmosphere of resentment.
– Another issue is timing. I can’t begin to recount how many last minute and hysterical bridesmaids I get calling me, complaining of just receiving their dress a few days before and with the wedding a week and a half away, they need to find someone to help make it presentable.

With all these issues, my tip for brides and bridesmaids is know what you are buying. A custom made gown can be made of more affordable material, in a very flattering style that the bridesmaid can be proud to wear for the bride, and then look forward to wearing it again. A happy bridesmaid is a helpful bridesmaid.

If timing is an issue and the dresses are arriving close to the wedding date, to avoid rush alteration fees, have a set appointment with the alteration professional standing and the project accounted for. No surprises is a good thing in planning a seamless wedding day.

If budget is the concern, discuss the alteration fees with your alteration professional before you buy, especially if you have bridesmaids of extreme sizes, as some dresses may suit the silhouettes of some bridesmaids and not of others, leaving your bridal party looking unfinished. Alterations, while effective, can become expensive and a serious issue, if unaccounted for. Do your homework. Is the cheapest way, really the inexpensive route, or the beginning of a huge expense?

In looking forward to a beautiful day, focus on what matters to you most and ask questions to the professionals. We know our stuff and are here to help

416 504 1504

My Heart Skips a Beat (or two) in Rue Clery

Paris Fabrics 400x300My search has taken me far and wide, but I found my answer in Paris.   In a small Fabric shop, in the wholesale textile district of Paris, I found a very selection of vibrant coloured silk chiffons and organza, but I felt as though I had been there before. Images of beautiful dresses came to me and then all at once I realized that I recognized these fabrics from run way shows and magazine layouts from Lanvin, Chloe, Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel.

My hunger for these treasures had me peruse the store’s stock for over an hour, until I made an incredible discovery: the true gems were kept up above, at their 3rd story warehouse room.

Dear friends, I walked those steep steps with fervor and walked into a land of cashmere and silk, where great designers had gone before me.

When in Paris, I make this sacred journey. I start early in the morning and take my time. I really enjoy seeing the family that runs this store and catching up. While I typically have looked for fabrics by myself, I will have the pleasure this year to bring along my son and show him the 8th wonder of my world.

This year my trip to Paris is scheduled for early June, and I have no doubt that I will bring back all kinds of wonderful, either samples of fabric or full pieces. If amazing is what you are looking for, 

Labl studio will have something for you.

I Love Paris in the Springtime

La Tour Eiffel

There is something about Paris.  It is a brand for all things; chic, romantic, beautiful, mysterious, luxurious (and of course indulgent).  Two years ago, I was introduced to some of this wonderful city’s secrets.  Though my love of art and architecture would possibly have lead me to some secret gallery, garden or museum; this I found a treasure trove of fabrics, the likes of which I have never found in New York, Montreal or Toronto.

Some of my most successful pieces have stemmed from these discoveries.  So each year I return to carress, collect and carry home a selection of these wonderful silks, synthetics, wools and more.  This year is no different.  The first week of June will have the Studio closed for my annual pilgrammage to the City of Lights.  Where in addition to purchasing new fabics for the Fall season I will be; studying tennis fashion at Roland Garros (be sure to catch my blog from the clay courts of the French Open), looking for some further inspiration in the Left Bank’s best vintage stores, and catching the overall vide of what remains one of the best dressed cities in the world.


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