Saturday, June 03, 2023

The bride has her dress under control. How about the flower girl, and the little sisters of the bride and groom? If you’re the mom, how do you find just the right dress, in just the right color for one or more girls in the wedding party? And what if the wedding is just a couple of months away?

Instead of pushing the panic button, call Pegeen. Marg Hyland, whose name is Pegeen in Gaelic, makes custom girls’ special-occasion dresses in four to six weeks—and sometimes more quickly when necessary. Pegeen is located in Orlando, but has a process to work with customers anywhere in the world for a perfect fit. With a wide variety of styles and over 260 colors of silk, you will get just the dress you want. Too often, the search for the perfect dress is not just about color and style, but other requirements like sleeves, neckline and length. Pegeen makes the dress to your specifications, and can add any special touches you request. Size is never a problem. When there are many little girls in the wedding party, Pegeen can make dresses for all of them. She will coordinate with the bride and a representative of each family involved to keep everyone on track.

Bat mitzvah girls are another Pegeen specialty. Pegeen styles are classic but with a variety of designs and embellishments. Add rhinestones, jewel looks and sequins to satisfy any pre-teen fashionista.

Marg works her magic through a combination of old-fashioned conversation, creativity and technology. The gallery at https://pegeen.com has many photos, and Marg recommends looking through them first for ideas before giving her a call. “I like to talk to customers,” said Marg. “I find out what color they’re thinking of, and an accent color. If there are several girls, I get their ages. I find out what styles the mom likes. Each girl can be different. Then I’ll show her some dresses that are similar.”

Measurements are key to a custom-made dress and Marg explains how to take them accurately. If a customer needs guidance, she’ll arrange a FaceTime call. A size chart on the website details the measurements for sizes from newborn to girls’ size 16 and plus sizes. For girls whose measurements might be different from standard sizes, Marg makes a bodice, or top portion, and sends it to the client. The mom fits it on the child and pins it in place using the lines on the bodice. She takes photos from the front, side and back to send to Marg. The photos go into a computer program Marg had made that will tweak the measurements. The dress is made from the bodice fit.

During Covid, Marg came up with the idea for The Pegeen® Dress Dreamer™, an online tool that lets customers completely design the dress. It’s useful even for those who have limited comfort with technology to start playing around with ideas. Marg emphasized that the Pegeen Dress Dreamer is an option for those who want to use it. Conventional conversation and emails work just as well.

When Shirley Bitton of Englewood needed a dress for her soon-to-be 12-year-old daughter to wear to the wedding of her older daughter, she looked at the usual sources and wasn’t happy. She didn’t want to spend a fortune on a dress that would soon be outgrown but still wanted something beautiful. After researching online, she found Pegeen, and saw many styles she liked in the gorgeous photos. She didn’t feel confident enough to do the entire process of making the dress online so she used the chat feature to call the company. After describing what she was looking for—floor length and not too poofy for an 11-year-old flower girl—Marg started building the dress. She sent pictures of different colors and styles and explained how to dress it up with a sash or rhinestones and extra tulle. Bitton made a decision on the dress she wanted and moved forward by sending payment. You can use a credit card, Zelle (and get a 5% discount), PayPal or Venmo. When payment is received, Marg sends the instructions for sizing. Since Bitton’s daughter was on the borderline between a child and adult size, Marg sent the bodice to fit along with color swatches. Bitton expects the dress shortly, a process that will have taken about four weeks start to finish.

“The experience has been so positive; she’s so responsive,” said Bitton. “I’m getting a personalized and unique dress in record time and I don’t have to worry about alterations. I almost settled for a store-bought dress. This one is prettier and less expensive.”

Marg has been making girls’ special-occasion dresses at Pegeen for over 40 years, but her interest in fashion started in childhood. Most girls enjoy dressing their Barbie dolls. Marg went a step further and made dresses for hers. Her mother encouraged her interest and took her to weekly sewing classes. Marg made her own clothes all through school. She took a different direction by getting a master’s degree in dance and theater arts, but after a few years realized that was the wrong field for her. On her 25th birthday her father asked her what she wanted to do instead. She knew—start her own fashion company. She called the company Pegeen as a nod to her Irish heritage. Her mother was a big support, going to trade shows with her and to all the suppliers she needed. When the president of the advertising agency who printed her brochures became her husband, he joined the company.

Pegeen started using the internet in the mid-1990s and the couple soon realized the power of the emerging e-commerce sector. In 1995 they had their first online wedding order and switched from retail to e-commerce only. Today Pegeen has customers all over the world who know they will get a gorgeous dress, made to their specifications, at a cost not much different from buying at a good department store.

Visit https://pegeen.com and view the gallery of Pegeen’s beautiful collections. Design a dress yourself with The Pegeen® Dress Dreamer™. Or use the online form, chat or phone number to ask Marg how she can make an exquisitely crafted dress for your little flower girl, sister of the bride or bat mitzvah girl.

By Bracha Schwartz

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