Design & Fit Process
Whether you're ordering an elaborate wedding gown or a simple dress, the process for designing, making and fitting a custom-made garment is the same.
For a wedding gown, the process can last between one to three months. Contact me three to four months before your wedding day. I can create simpler garments, such as skirts, shirts and pants, more quickly. For a mother-of-the-bride dress, I need about two months notice.
The Consultation — Creating the Design
Bring along all your ideas, including sketches, photographs, fabric and trim. I also have books with lots of fabric samples we can look through.
As we work together to create a design, we’ll discuss the styles that best suit your body type.
Throughout this process, I will address any concerns you might have. Don’t be afraid to tell me what you want or don’t want. I’ll draw a sketch and give you an estimate, based on the fabric you select, the amount of fabric and the complexity of the work. You can bring your own fabric, or I can order it for you.
This is just a consultation. There is no pressure to decide right then. Take time to make the decision that is best for you.
Once you have decided to have your gown custom made, a 50% deposit is required for my labor. The balance is due at the time of pickup. Also, I will need full-payment for any fabrics you buy. At this point, I will take your measurements.
Within a few days, I will begin work by cutting the fabrics. I cannot change the design after this point without buying more fabric, which will add costs. If you wish to change the design, you must call me within a few days after our consultation meeting. Fitting adjustments, however, can be made at any time in the process.
Before the first fitting, most dressmakers create a pattern and then create a mock-up of the gown sewn in muslin, a process that requires four fittings. Because of my experience and advanced training, however, I can skip these steps and work immediately on your chosen fabric, saving both of us time. I usually require two fittings, although three fittings is sometimes needed for complex designs.
For each fitting, please bring the appropriate undergarments you plan to wear with your gown. Also, bring the shoes you plan to wear.
Any minor adjustments are marked.
Picking Up Your Gown
Your gown is finished. You may try it on one more time to double-check the fit, but it should be ready.
My husband, Thomas Bell, can take a studio photograph of you in your new dress and provide you with high-resolution digital photos. There is no charge for this service. I might ask you if I can display your photograph on my web site. Let me know if you are interested so that we can arrange for you to pick-up your dress when he is available.