Have you ever wondered how my custom wedding gowns are made? Well this post is all about that process and some tips on how you as the bride can get started and what to expect. Each year I take on 2 to 3 brides that are looking for custom wedding gowns, these are usually colourful wedding gowns because they are harder for brides to find, so Copious has been a haven for the bride looking for something truly unique!

Most brides have a style in mind, but if you don’t, Pinterest can be a great resource to help narrow down styles you like. When looking there, never be afraid to save an image where you like the skirt but not the top or vice versa. The one tip I always let brides know, especially ones who are looking for a colourful dress, when you are saving images, make sure you like the style of the dress and not just the fabric. Often when you are looking for a colourful dress it can be easy to fall in love with the fabric over the actual style. In the end this can make the custom dress making process difficult, because sourcing bridal fabric (especially colourful options) can be hard, so having a colour palette to work within is great, but wanting a specific fabric can usually kill the design process. Also if you want to see my work and reviews from my #copiousbrides, check out My Review section to see my past creations. 
copious custom review page
colourful wedding gown inspirationSecond Step - THE BUDGET
I hear clients say that they assume they could never afford a custom gown, but I can work within most budgets, there may be some give and take on design details, but once we establish what is most important in the design, we will focus our resources there. While we are working through the first step we will discuss budget and I let you know what can and can’t be done for that price. Sometimes it is as simple as changing a couple design points that will make finishing the gown easier to make the budget work! The trickiest part with custom gowns is finding the right fabric at a responsible price, but no matter what the budget, I would always recommend getting in touch so that we can discuss options on your budget.


Third Step - THE FABRIC
It can be really hard to move forward from Step one and two without knowing your actual fabric. A huge part of our designer/bride relationship is based on trust and I do not take this lightly. Finding the perfect fabric can be stressful, I won’t lie, it can take a couple trips to the shops to make the final decision, but I always make sure we find the right fabric for you in the end. Depending on your design we can buy from local fabric shops, if we are designing a simple style, or choose fabric from my wholesaler, if we are designing a fuller gown. I often hear from my brides ‘I don’t know what I want, I just know what I don’t like’ and this can be super helpful. If you know you aren’t a lace fan, or hate beading or if you have specific colour palette in mind all this can help narrow down your options. Either way each bride has ultimately ended up choosing something that fits their own personal style, so the right fabric will find you!


Fourth Step - FITTINGS
The hardest part about the first 3 steps is visualizing your end design with your chosen fabric, but during the fittings you get to see it finally come together. Now is when I design your patterns and make up samples, we do 3-5 fittings (the number of fittings are based on your complexity of your design) and I use a cheap cotton to sew up your samples. We can draw on this fabric, pin it and cut it up to help work out the exact style you are looking for, this is the time to  test out our ideas and make sure everything is perfect before moving onto your chosen fabric. Once the design is finalized, the big moment happens when I cut and sew your wedding gown! This is my favourite time, when we see each step come together and watch our hard work pay off. Your final two fittings are done in your final fabric, I like to do one fitting in your final gown with some areas left unfinished so that tweaks can be made easily, there are always little areas that need to be tighten, taken in and this can be done quickly and easily before hemming and finished your gown. Your final FINAL fitting is done as close to your date as we are both comfortable with so that when it goes in the bag you know it’s ready for your wedding day!
custom bridal fittings

custom bridal fittingbodice sample bridal fittingcustom black wedding gown

custom black wedding gown

The last question I get is timing. This varies greatly depending on your style and how complicated or simple it is. Also sourcing the fabric is time consuming, so I love to have lots of time. I always recommend brides getting in touch at least a year in advance to make sure we don't have to rush our process. No matter what the first thing to do is get in touch with me! I love hearing from brides who are interested in working with me, whether you want a full gown, separates or a more customized version of the Kaja Wedding Gown, my custom brides are so special to me, I feel honour that each of my #copiousbrides have chosen to work with me, it is a bond I always cherish! 

Written by Carissa McCaig

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