First: Your Design Itself
Tailors are not designers. They are not interested in a full consultation to delicately discuss your body type, amazing venue, your motif, relationship saga, or educate you on fiber vs weave, when to splurge vs save on which fabrics, how to infuse personal details, or review trends from runway. They need you to tell them what you want.
On the other hand, I want to hear every bit of what I just listed, and then I'm going to make suggestions based upon my design aesthetic and find the place where our styles overlap and squeals erupt. Those squeals are why I do what I do, though.
The matter of fabric.
Do you know your carburetors? (Confession: I just had to look up how to even spell that.) Me either. If you sent me into an auto parts store, I'd be just as lost as most of you would be if sent into a fabric store. Yet, this is standard practice for tailors who offer custom sewing. This leaves the clients trying to translate patterns for yardage and inevitably overbuying fabric...and at a retail premium.
Manufacturers (brands that produce a collection, like us) have wholesale fabric suppliers. The savings for our custom clients to source fabric through us can run $500+ vs buying it yourself, especially when talking laces. Our fabric cost is included in your base rate (with upgrades available for silks and other premium materials, extra yardage for some styles).
Selecting a material that is well-suited for your design is a decision we'll guide you through, factoring in the desired end result. Examples of just a few considerations we may ask when you order:
Would you worry about water spots if it rains?
Do you want the overlay to billow in the breeze or hold a crisp shape?
Do you prefer a rich sheen or a matte finish?
How important is wrinkle-resistance to your design?
Swatches for standard eveningwear fabrics (ie satin, chiffon, taffeta, etc) are in the showroom. Your special design may necessitate sourcing a new fabric, which we are always happy to do as well. Our suppliers' offerings are abundant!
Supplying a PatternIf you've EVER sewn at home, you know the horrors of a commercial pattern. With names like Simplicity and Vogue, you think, "well hey - these photos look pretty good!" What isn't conveyed is that these patterns ought to be considered merely a starting point. By the time enough modifications have been made to those standardized dimensions to fit you, they might as well have just started from scratch. So why don't they? Most tailors aren't investing the time into that level of fit and often aren't capable patternmakers at all. If you're considering working with a tailor, make sure your expectations for fit and timeline are communicated clearly up front. I've heard too many stories of brides expecting an aisle-ready gown, only to receive the equivalent of an off-the-rack size 8.
"Haute Custom" clients proceed through a series of fittings together with our designer overseeing the evolution of the design alongside you.
Our "No Frills" and "Atelier To Go" clients are informed about ordering a standard size (which is a huge part of the price break with those service tiers). Custom sizing and proportion is available as an affordable upgrade, which is highly encouraged. Our preference is always to consider length proportions (not just hem length but bodice dimensions, too) and style details (ie desired width of cap sleeve, waistband width, how deep of a sweetheart dip, etc) from the very beginning rather than leaving it to alterations.
No commercial patterns (the kind you can buy at JoAnns or Hobby Lobby) are used. Ever. Our original designs in the collection are developed from a baseline set of dimensions (in fashion lingo, a "sloper") that define our fit. (I'll blog soon about why I chose to have our sizing run similar to street clothes rather than traditional bridal sizes.) Custom clients' patterns are developed especially for their order.
PS My husband just laughed and explained fuel injection to me.
Don't be the bride in the fabric store trying to decide between poly satin and silk satin on your own. I'd hate for your cheeks to be as red as mine are now.
Sort of awesome irony to end a post, though. lol