“Whether it is a new gown or the fine tuning of an existing one, I will create the perfect look for you.”
I specialize in the following services:
- Formal dressmaking
- Restoration and redesign of existing gowns
- Wedding gown consulting
- Bridal styling
- Expert alterations
- Made to order accoutrements (including sashes and veils)
Our first meeting will give us a chance to get to know one another and go over what you have in mind for your wedding day look. We will discuss your dress inspirations, as well as my process and policies. We’ll each ask and answer questions; this is our chance to interview one another! If we seem like a good bride/dressmaker match, a follow-up meeting will be scheduled to begin designing your custom dress!
Design Consultation, Sketches & Proposal:
During the design consultation, we will look at all of your favorite inspirations for your dress-to-be. I want to hear about every detail of your wedding, in order to ensure that your dress is an appropriate reflection of who you are and what you want to look and feel like on your wedding day. I have a passion for dress design and therefore have quite a lot of inspirations to share, as well as expert advice about what will work best for your unique figure. After editing down our choices, we will have an excellent idea of what your dress could become and we can begin to choose fabrics that are in line with your vision.
Since you will be wearing the dress all day, you need to love how the fabric feels. I always encourage my clients to accompany me to the fabric stores during the design process in order to gather inspiration and select their favorite fabrics. This is not only a fun experience, but will be extremely rewarding. It also helps keep us in budget and allows me to provide you with an accurate estimate.
Using the ideas and inspirations from our design consultation, I will create a proposal for the design and construction of your custom-made dress, including a breakdown of the cost.
Fabrics Finalized & Measurements:
It’s now time to finalize all of our fabric decisions! We can go together or I can purchase materials that we’ve agreed upon. It is important to purchase the real fabric prior to draping the muslin in order to accommodate its distinct drape and texture.
Finally, I will take an extensive set of measurements, as well as a few body pictures, so I can begin your dress mock-up.
First Mock-up Fitting:
Once most of the major design decisions are made and fabric has been purchased, I will begin draping a mock-up (or muslin) out of inexpensive fabrics for you to try on. In front of the mirror, we will adjust, cut, pin and draw all over the mock-up to fine-tune the design of the dress so it flatters your unique figure.
The custom dressmaking process is organic and collaborative; so we will continue to brainstorm in order to fine-tune and improve upon the original idea, as well as discuss any changes you might want to make throughout the process.
In most instances, the original mock-up can be altered but sometimes a new muslin must be made for our second mock-up fitting. At every fitting, you have the opportunity to change your mind on any detail; the emphasis is always on feeling comfortable and being happy with how your dress is evolving. Continually improving upon our original ideas, this process will repeat until the sample dress is close enough in fit and design to move onto the real fabric.
Once you are completely satisfied with the design, a one-of-a-kind dress pattern, exclusively from your measurements, will be drafted. I will then use this pattern to construct your gown.
Couture Dressmaking Begins/ First Fabric Fitting:
Finally, I will cut and construct your custom wedding dress in its real fabric! Once it is ready, we will have our first fabric fitting. This is the most exciting fitting because it is the first time that you will try on your actual wedding dress! Different fabrics act differently; so much of the dress will be hand-stitched to allow for slight adjustments if needed. This will be an opportunity to fine-tune everything before completing the process. Since most of the alterations were made on the mock-up dress, the real gown will need minimal adjustments.
I will now finish your very own custom wedding dress! Once complete, we will meet for our finish fitting. We may still need to mark a hem or add a final piece of decoration; or your dress may be 100% ready! Regardless, at this point you will really be able to appreciate all the work we have done together to create your unique and special dress.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are your specialties?
I thrive on a collaborative design process, working with non-traditional looks, adding color and texture, and using creative ideas. I love appliqué details, unusual mixes of fabrics, and hand stitches. I work well with personal requests, and I enjoy incorporating design elements that might not be traditional bridal details.
My true specialty is making sure that your wedding dress represents the one-of-a-kind person you are!
How much is my custom dress or ensemble going to cost?
This is a great question since you are investing in not only your finished wedding dress, but also in personal professional design, patternmaking and dressmaking services. There are many variables I consider when pricing each dress; the material used, amount of hand appliquéing, etc.
Gowns begin at $2,500. Unless an heirloom is being incorporated into the dress, I always use all natural fabrications which tend to cost about $500 for each gown. The first $300 of your dress is due at the design consultation, 50% of the remaining balance is due in order to begin the mockup dress, and the remainder is due when your dress is complete.
How long does the dressmaking process take and how far in advance must I book?
The process takes approximately 3-6 months from design consultation to finished garment. Due to the high demand during the busy season not all orders can be met, therefore advance booking is encouraged. Contact me as soon as possible to make sure there is a place for you in my calendar!
Rush orders can be accepted on a case by case basis as well, so don’t hesitate to reach out.
What should I do to prepare for my design consultation?
The instant gratification that you get when trying on a variety of finished dresses is an experience that some brides really love, yet one that you do not get when commissioning a custom dress. Visiting a gown shop or two will also help you see what styles, silhouettes and fabrics you are most comfortable in. Most brides are usually surprised to learn what flatters you in a regular dress doesn’t do the same thing in a bridal gown.
Take what you learned from your dressing room experiences and collect pictures of dresses and wedding day inspirations in magazines, movies, books, websites… anywhere! Collect anything and everything that you can share with me about your style and your wedding day. Together, we will come up with something that is perfectly you!
I don’t know anything about fabric or sewing. Can you help me?
Absolutely! I want my brides to make the most informed decision about their dress. I will even take you fabric shopping if you would like to help pick out materials for your gown.
Where will we have our fittings/meetings?
Currently I work out of my home in the historic neighborhood of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, NY. It’s not huge but it is very cozy and welcoming, and there is plenty of room if you’d like to bring along a trusted friend or family member to share in the experience. Please know that this experience is a process and might become overwhelming with too many opinions though.
What do I need to bring for my fittings?
Feel free to bring any undergarments and accessories you have purchased to try on with your gown. If you are wearing a strapless dress, I recommend purchasing a corset or bustier unless your gown has one built in. You will not need your wedding shoes for the hem until we begin working on the real gown.
Do you make veils and/or accessories?
I would be happy to create a veil, headpiece, or hair accessory to match your dress, as well as pretty much any other handmade accessory you can dream up. I offer this service to all of my brides, and gladly extend the service for a custom headpiece or other small accessory for your bridesmaids, or other members of your wedding party too.
Do you do alterations on gowns bought elsewhere?
Depending on my schedule, I am happy to work with clients in need of alterations for gowns bought from various designers. I have experience doing the alterations on gowns by Reem Acra, Monique Lhuillier, Pronovias, Claire Pettibone. I also have experience redesigning and modifying vintage heirlooms.
How much do Alterations cost?
Most Bridal shops charge a flat rate to do the basic alterations on a wedding gown. My prices range from $300 – $750, though I itemize and charge by the amount of work needed; taking in the sides of the bodice, doing the hem and bustling the train. Fitting samples that are not close to your size or adding design changes (ie modifying the neckline, buildups) will push the cost to the high end of that range or above