He's no stranger to creating special outfits for the loved ones in his life.
When Gideon van der Westhuizen and his wife decided to marry 28 years ago, he made both her gown and his suit. And he did the same in April for his son and now daughter-in-law.
His latest creation has nothing to do with wedding bells, however. Gideon has made a masterpiece for his daughter, Amorique (18), to wear to her matric ball.
“Amorique had some ideas of the dress she wanted," he says. "She wanted flowers and the dress had to be pink. But then I started thinking about how we could make it truly special.”
And that’s when he had a light-bulb moment.
“I came up with the idea of fairy lights – the matric farewell was at night and it would look pretty,” Gideon, a carer, tells YOU.
He made the dress before sewing on 450 flowers by hand. He attached 100 LED lights to the flowers in shades of pink, lilac and white. Gideon also sewed two pockets into the dress where Amorique could hide the switches for the lights.
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“I started working at 6am every day for a week to finish the dress,” Gideon says.
Amorique’s boyfriend and date for the big night, Robert Adlam, also looked smart. Gideon made a waistcoat and pocket kerchief for him to match Amorique’s dress.
Amorique, a pupil at Hoërskool Marais Viljoen in Alberton, east of Johannesburg, starts her final matric exams this week. But she’s not nervous at all, Gideon says.
Gideon has had a busy October. Apart from Amorique’s dress, he also made a matric farewell dress for a client. His niece, Boudine, is also getting married on Saturday and Gideon and his mom, Poppie, made two wedding dresses for the big day.
“I’ve been making so many dresses in the past few months, I even had to turn down girls who asked me for matric farewell dresses,” Gideon says.