The first question every bride has, where do we even start? It is a totally logical question, especially if you have never had clothing custom-made. Below is a breakdown of what the Custom Gown process looks like, and tips on how you can get started.
First Step - THE INITIAL DESIGN
Most brides have a style in mind, but if you don’t, Pinterest can be a great resource to help narrow this down. 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 design process difficult, because sourcing bridal fabric (especially colourful options) can be tricky, so having a colour palette to work within is great, but wanting a specific fabric can usually kill the design process.
Second Step - THE BUDGET
I hear clients say that they assume they could never afford a custom gown, but I am always happy to work within a budget. There may be some give and take on design details, but once we establish what is most important to you, 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 elements to fit your budget. The trickiest part with custom gowns is finding the right fabric at a reasonable price, but no matter what your budget, I would to chat with you. The Kaja Wedding Dress was designed for clients on a budget. It is a classic fit and flare with a pop of colour at a reasonable price.
Third Step - THE FABRIC
Once we have the design and price set, next big decision is 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, our options for fabric are local shops in Toronto, my wholesaler or I might even have fabric on hand. 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 dislike beading, or if you have specific colour palette in mind, this can all help narrow down your options. Each Copious Bride has ultimately ended up choosing something that fits their own personal style, so the right fabric will find you!
Fourth Step - FITTINGS
Between Steps One-Three, I find the hardest part for clients 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 will be based on your design complexity) 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 last two fittings are done in your final fabric, this allows me to make the last minute alterations that are needed. Once this is done we have reached the day where you get to leave with your dress. All bagged up, steamed and ready for you to rock on your wedding day.
The last question I get is timing. This varies greatly depending on your style. 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!