A Greater London Bridal, Tailoring and Tutoring Business, Answers…
Since my last blog post, in March which was a video and text on how to start the design process. I have been very busy and challenged – from this April to June, 3 month period, I will/have been working on my main work areas such as helping the potential customer make a wise choice, be informed and aware of my services – so this involves a lot of marketing tasks, building my sewing courses which I offer, maintaining time for business training, taking on more contractor work hopefully and general day to day working on and in the business doing alterations and bridal hair and make up appointments to come, I think, I’d also need to work some more on my online gift shop. Such a load of work takes time and are essential for business. This post is all about the ordering of a bespoke bridal dress – a bigger job which I do and also specialise in!
Ordering a Bespoke Wedding Dress:
The first stage is to find a dressmaker/designer – not all bridal boutiques use or know a dressmaker they would usually use and know a tailor but that’s not the same. A dressmaker is used to working with all different designs and styles and fabrics from a creative sketch/design and then is someone who makes/uses patterns regularly to be able to know how to have dress or garment be constructed the way it should, and therefore to look exactly like the sketch/design they have at the first stage. They normally have a degree in the subject and then a few years at least of experience working in a role of a designer/dressmaker role.
A Tailor is someone also who could have a degree and years of experience in working in the industry. They work with a finished garment and work on unpicking seams and details already finished on a garment and that’s how they know how to adjust a finished item, they get to understand about final details on a garment such as edging, hemming, buttons and fastenings and are able to after measuring and adjusting something can finish it off usually to a very high standard too.
Once you have found this dressmaker/designer, Its important to see whether they have they got an online (modern day presence) for easy viewing of their work history and accomplishments; usually a website or and social media platform.
If you feel generally happy and confident with this persons aptitude and skills and hopefully warm to them too. Then you would need to tell them what you would like, usually you would sit down with a bunch of pictures and get the designer/dressmaker to help you design the ideal dress inspired by what you have already seen, however remember the designers/dressmakers know how will be important too as they would generally know what fabric and shapes and styles would fit which type of body or skin colouring for example. They can guide and direct your design also giving good advice. This is usually called an initial consultation and will involve having some body measurements taken down also.
The next stage is where the dressmaker / designer goes off and buys the materials already discussed or even sampled at initial consultation. You would usually be given a document explaining more about the service including terms and conditions by now, this would also let you know that communication lines need to be kept open and that you would need from 2-4 fitting appointments in the whole process for that exact, precise and clean fitting and finishing on the garment that you want.
The Price is going to be depending on who you commission, what they’re experience is like and what area they are located also what your specifically wanting. The prices for my bespoke made to order bridal dresses start from £500 and a ladies suit would cost from £350 and an occasion dress from £250 – 300.
After materials and / or samples are bought the customer would usually be contacted to make sure they are happy and make final choices on any samples that have been considered, all the while a cotton muslin or cotton calico will be used to make the toile (a mock-up). The patterns would have been made prior to this too and made to measurements and include all design lines and style features.
The next stage would be another fitting but done in the final dress fabric, finishings and fastenings. This is where final adjustments would be made and measured and pinned up with notes taken to make sure that the next fitting is usually the final fitting where the dress should be fully completed and hanging nicely on the frame of the body, however depending on designs and styles and even body shapes some things may still need to be rendered fit for final realisation.
The whole process is a demanding one and it would take between 8-10 weeks for this bespoke made to order dress or suit to be complete.
The future may see this process made easier with online shopping and online activity being bigger however, it would only mean you could design digitally rather than by hand and all the other processes and steps would be practically the same since coming in for a physical dress fitting is key to getting a garment made to fit and look right.
Its been exciting and hopeful for businesses coming out of the pandemic, and the todo lists are still there, with extra demand now because its really about capturing the imaginations of the public and having them come and connect, engage and buy from you.
This helpful guided blog would be good for engaged women or those at least coming closer to the wedding date, any maid of honors or mother of the brides to seek that information they need to make decisions about what kind of dress they want and who would do that and how to go about getting that done.
Business isn’t to be taken lightly nor is it to be mishandled because you must be a responsible person knowing that you are on the firing line whether it is a good or bad decision made. I know what I do has ripple effects and I will need to have drawn on my life experiences and wisdom learnt, prayerfully all the way through. However, thankfully its something I naturally enjoy and seem to take to, after many years of experience in sewing especially and through general life experience working in many service based roles and a few small businesses before, It does run a bit, in my family too and it also is a creative and risky way of life something I do enjoy! So, that’s all for now and hope to write again soon!
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