Custom Dressmaking and Tailoring
Custom garments look and feel beautiful. Many people have never experienced the magic of clothing that fits perfectly: no matter your body type, a well proportioned garment fitted just for you flatters like nothing else.
Every design begins with a consultation to discuss what the client is looking for in terms of garment occasion, color palette, fit requests, and design details. Some clients already have a very precise idea of what they are looking for, others like to "shop" a bit for inspiration. Once the client decides to move forward with a design, I will begin a personalized muslin fitting before beginning work on the actual garment.
Couture is the French word for sewing, but it also means a little bit more. Couture means attention to detail, precision sewing techniques, and excellence in craftsmanship and artistry. My 30+ years of sewing experience and my interest in developing the best possible techniques to construct and finish a garment mean the garment will be tailored impeccably and last for many years to come.
Have a question about how to transform your new or pre-owned garments from ordinary to one-of-a-kind pieces? Not a problem. Our expertise can assist you with our vast experience & knowledge.
One of the most important parts of the service. Through pinning you can have a glance at what the final alteration will look like, even before we start cutting and sewing (by appointment only).
This is where the magic and scientific engineering comes in. You will find that we are not ordinary tailors. We can alter your needs according to your body shape, and the line of your silhouette.
In the process of getting your dresses or suits made elsewhere, and just need the measurements? This is the service you need.
*Please note, we do not give price quotes over the phone without having seen the actual garment construction.
A muslin is a test garment created with muslin fabric (a simple woven cotton fabric) to check fit and accuracy of a garment before sewing it from the final fabric. While it adds time to the process, it also improves the final outcome of the garment without having as many fittings. This is especially important when sewing delicate fabrics, or other fabrics that may show permanent marks from stitching lines or creases from seams.
Rather than create a test muslin for each garment, I prefer to do a general personalized muslin fitting to create master pattern pieces for each client before beginning the design process (known in the garment world as "slopers"). Essentially, a "blank canvas" pattern is created from a client's measurements for a perfect fit for a bodice, a sleeve, a pant, and a straight skirt. These are then sewn in muslin and fitting changes are marked on the original pattern to create a perfectly individualized master pattern. Once those master pattern pieces are created for an individual client, they can be used to create infinite custom designs. Want a new dress cut with a flared skirt and a cowl neck? Want tapered capri pants with a back seam? Want a classic Chanel style jacket? No problem - a few tweaks and a new garment is at the ready. This also greatly reduces the number of fittings needed to complete a garment for a client, since each pattern is made from a master pattern piece that we already know fits.
The personalized muslin fitting is an up front cost, but it reduces the cost for the client down the road because patterns do not have to be made from scratch each time. If your body shape changes at all, the muslin can be refitted for a low fee, but otherwise it's a "one and done" part of the design process.
Test muslin fitting prices Fitting
Total fitting - $200
Total refitting - $60
*Refitting prices are to create a new muslin when significant body changes occur such that the old pattern can no longer be used.
The price for each garment includes a pattern making fee as well as the cost of construction and the fabric. There is no way to list prices for garment styles online, because there are so many factors to consider. But in short, the fewer alterations to the pattern, the lower the pattern making fee. For example, a sheath dress pattern with a straight skirt and tailored bodice would be very similar to the original pattern, whereas adding tucks, pleats, flare, draping, ruching, and other style changes will be more involved and thus more costly.
Once the pattern is created, the construction costs depend to some extent on the fabric chosen, since some fabrics like cotton sateen and batiste are a breeze to work with, whereas velvet and chiffon require more careful handling.
Construction and tailoring fees start (for garments on the simpler end of the spectrum) at $120 for knit tops, $200 for tailored blouses and skirts, $300 for pants and dresses, $800 evening dresses, and $1500 for bridal gowns. Two garments made from the same pattern will cost less per garment since there is no additional pattern making fee. These are starting prices reflecting simple design choices and construction, and fabric that is easy to work with. An evening dress will cost more than a wear-to-work lined sheath dress, which will cost more than a simple sundress. Fabric costs could range from $20 to several hundred dollars depending on how much is needed and what you want. I do not mark up prices on fabric: whatever it costs at the store is what you will pay me if I do your fabric shopping for you. You can bring your own fabric, or I can shop for you starting at $20. Pre Laundering or steaming and pressing the fabric is included in the garment cost.
I offer fabric shopping as part of my custom dressmaking service. Many clients feel overwhelmed not knowing what to buy. If you have a particular fabric you want made into a garment, the fabric rather than the style can be a starting point for the design process. However, please keep in mind that the fabric must be a good fit for the design - sometimes a design idea needs to be altered a bit to be suitable for a particular fabric.
In general, I only work with high quality fabrics , except for specific reasons. The money saved on poor quality fabrics is simply not worth it in the end for the client, because they are usually more difficult to achieve excellent results with, and they also can be problematic for wearing comfort. High quality fabrics made from natural fibers are a revelation to those who haven't yet worn them. Sadly, most wool or silk garments found in the store are lined in polyester - thus removing breathability and comfort from those beautiful fashion fabrics! Silk or rayon bemberg linings add a negligible cost to the garment while increasing the comfort dramatically. High quality fabrics last longer, wear better, and are easier to care for.
Yes. A custom design includes the pattern making fee, and that pattern can be used to make the same garment again in other fabrics, or you can take it home and use it if you wish to sew it yourself. In this case, I do charge a small marking and transcribing fee to make the pattern more user friendly for the home sewer, as I create my patterns using industry methods which have minimal markings and no instructions.