Garbage Bag Gala: Meet My Designers

Meet the women who designed a wedding dress and a party dress totally out of garbage bags and duct tape.

Meet Sue and Karen, two of the dedicated, creative, inspiring, loving and talented women behind my garbage bag couture.

Sue Thomas, of Webster Groves, and Karen Vehlewald, of Mehlville, jumped at the chance to volunteer and create two outfits out of garbage bags and duct tape for the .

Now, if you think sewing garbage bag dresses sounds a little, well, loopy, you’re not alone.

“My kids and grandkids are all laughing,” said Karen, smiling. “They think grandma’s gone goofy.”

When Sue and Karen heard about the Garbage Bag Gala at an American Sewers Guild meeting, they jumped at the chance to try a new challenge.

“We didn’t know what we were getting into,” Sue said. “But I’d do it again.”

“Oh, yeah,” Karen agrees fervently.

In one month, Karen, Sue and another American Sewers Guild member, Mickey Leyfert of Shrewsbury, put in more than 100 total hours of sewing, taping, shopping, watching YouTube videos—anything that would help them create dresses out of a very unfamiliar fabric.

“We did do our research, and boy, did we learn a lot of things!” Sue said. “We’ve laughed and said, ‘Oh, will this work?’”

“And we’ve done a lot of talking and a lot of eating,” Karen added.

This week, Karen and Sue unveiled , the fun, flirty complement to my . The inspiration behind the party dress? Ruffles!

“We just had the idea of the tiers,” Karen said. “And polka dots! Because you can’t really do a print.”

Figuring out how to make duct tape polka dots—or duct tape anything, for that matter—took some trial and error.

“It really has been a ball…or a dot!” Sue said.

To see Karen, Sue and Mickey’s dresses in action, come to the at 7 p.m. July 27 at the Moonrise Hotel.


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