Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Azalea Trail Maids- Behind the Scenes with Dressmaker Susan Finizola

Photo is property and courtesy of Susan Finizola. 


Meet Susan Finizola. She is an official dressmaker/seamstress for the Azalea Trail Maids organization in Mobile, Alabama and has been involved with the group for the past 22 years. Starting as an adviser in 1996, Susan has served the trail maids as well as the Mobile community by volunteering her time and many talents.  I see no signs of Susan slowing down!

Photo is property and courtesy of Susan Finizola. 

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak with Susan over the phone and believe me when I say, she is delightful! She is so forth-coming and eager to share her knowledge and experience about the trail maids but also the history of Mobile. Susan has a fun and bubbly personality and has a very creative life and  career. My original schedule of a twenty minute interview quickly went out the window. I think we ended up talking for almost an hour!

If you aren't familiar with the Azalea Trail Maids or how the organization works, click here to read my most recent blog post about the trail maids.  An earlier blog post about the maids can be found here. 

The Dress-Making and the Details

Susan usually has two or three girls per year but has had as many as six. Depending on the details of the dress, it takes up to five weeks to make/fit and finish a dress and the accessories. Each dress is custom for each maid and has specific criteria that must be met regarding the basic design and color according to the organization's standards and policies.  For example, the final/finished dress must be exactly 4 inches off the floor and the ruffles on the sleeves must be 6 inches in width.

Trail maids are required to purchase the dress from a seamstress affiliated with the organization as well as matching accessories which include: gloves, bloomers, cape, hat, parasol and of course, the hoop. The average cost for the dress and accessories is north of $5,500. it goes without saying that a trail maid as well as her family/support system must be dedicated to the process and overall program.

Here is a picture of Susan with two of her girls during the hoop fitting a few weeks ago.

Photo is property and courtesy of Susan Finizola. 

During our conversation, Susan informed me of rules, regulations and procedures for the organization but you could hear the smile on her face when she talked about getting to know "her girls", traveling with them and being a second momma to each during the year. She spends a large portion of her free time volunteering with the organization and helping these young ladies develop character traits such as charm, enthusiasm, leadership and responsibility.

I hope to bring you more behind-the-scenes Azalea Trail Maid info soon! In the meantime, visit the official Azalea Trail Maid Facebook page and get to know the 2018-2019 court. Each week, a different girl is featured including current achievements and future professional goals.


From our home to yours,

Wendy Q
CEO, The House of Qs

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