Custom Wedding Gown Design Process
I have a new client who wants to have a wedding gown made. She was referred to me by a women I have sewed for in the past. This is the way that I usually get work. Word of mouth is the best advertising and it is free!
I don't make a lot of wedding gowns. It has to be the right bride for the right reasons. It is more common for me to turn away a wedding gown project than it is to accept one. Frequently in talking to a bride about a custom gown it becomes apparent to her, or to me that it isn't a good fit....(no pun intended).
This woman called and we chatted on the phone a bit. It seemed that she might be a candidate for a custom gown, so I scheduled a meeting with her. She arrived, and I liked her right away! She is stylish and friendly, and is marrying a man that she reconnected with after one date in high school which was a long time ago. I have always admired mature brides...their courage, and their giddiness. She is no exception.
We met for over an hour talking about her wedding, and many other things. We clicked, and I started to think that it might be a real pleasure to help this woman prepare for her special day.
I asked her some questions about the venue, etc. The wedding is quite soon in a sophisticated city. (I honor the privacy of my clients, so for this blog I will be rather general about some of the details about this bride.)
She brought a few things along as I had suggested on the phone. She had some photos from magazines, and a top that she loves with an open neckline. As we chatted I observed her figure, and noted her sophisticated but approachable style. She was wearing pretty makeup, and she had beautiful short bright red nails, and bold turquoise earrings.
We moved to my computer and I began pulling up some designs for some cues from her. We got sort of stuck there, so I decided to talk about fabric as a starting point. I went to my favorite online fabric store Emma One Sock http://www.emmaonesock.com/.
I had noted that EOS carries a selection of silks of various weaves in 96 Colors! As I was chatting with the bride I had formed the opinion that 4 ply silk would be a perfect fabric for her. It is elegant, heavy, and drapes beautifully. It has a gorgeous luster, but it is not shiny. Our design discussion was leading us to a modern, sophisticated gown with a nod to the glamorous 40's.
At one point in the conversation we discussed finances. I mentioned a figure that was obviously quite general considering that we hadn't even chosen a pattern. The fabric alone is expensive, and it was only fair to both of us to end this happy planning if a custom dress was not in her budget. There was a pause, and then we went on to more talk about fabrics, etc.
Beginning the design process requires good listening skills, and intuition in guiding the bride in choosing how her dress will look. As a dressmaker I know what is required to execute certain styles, so really I am trying to temper dreams with reality.
We had talked for over an hour, and I suggested that she go home and think about all that we had discussed. I let her know that I had enjoyed my time with her, and that if she decided not to have a gown made that that would be fine. I never want to push a bride on this decision.
The next morning she called and said that she wants me to make her gown. I am happy about this because I like her, and I think we will work well together. She said that she trusts me, and now I feel ready to work with her in designing a gown that will enhance her beautiful features, and camouflage a little figure challenge or two, all within her budget.
Tomorrow we will meet again, and I will take accurate measurements and sketch a design. (my fashion drawing skills are not inspiring, so I always tell clients that I sew better than I draw!)
I will continue to write about the experience of creating the gown for this bride. I am really looking forward to this project!