Questions and Answers
Yes, in fact 90% of my clients ask me to replicate dress designs they find on websites or in magazines. But consider this; replication is not duplication. For instance, acquiring the exact same fabric is near impossible and usually the client's own body type and personality will nudge or steer a design into it's own variation. Ironically, this typically results in design improvements. Ultimately, my clients walk away with more of a personalized take on a dress that was intended to be a mere replication.
Like anything custom made, costs can vary depending on the gown’s fabric, detailing and trimmings. Generally speaking, material costs range from $375 for a simple all silk floor length dress with a modest train...and up to $1200 for a much more elaborate piece with multiple skirts & beaded lace. Labour cost can range from $1200 - $5400.
The answer to this question is twofold.
1. Typically, material costs per bridesmaid can range from $175 - $400 depending on the choice of fabric, detailing and accouterments. Labour generally starts at $500 depending on design and materials however, sometimes exceptions can be made for simple items. (ie. having a floor length skirt made for each of your lovely ladies and pairing it with a ready to wear top purchased from a store) Keep in mind that there are some stunning silks and laces out there which come at a higher premium and most often are more labour intensive = time = money. (ie. this service includes me checking all of our lower mainland suppliers in person.)
2. If you’re keen on coordinating your maids and would like my stylistic experience and professional guidance in determining cut, design and theme, then there will be a separate charge for this specialized service. I will work directly from the color palette you have chosen for your wedding.
The fee for this service can range from $160 – $600 and of course, is based on the number of bridesmaids in your bridal party as well as the degree to which it is customized. (ie. this service can also involve tea staining fabrics to improve color matching)
- Meet personally with each of your maids either via internet or in person.
- After determining individual personality and style preferences, each of your maids will make a final choice on dress design and fabric under my guidance.
- Armed with this information, I will do the leg work in scouting out the most beautiful quality fabric that Vancouver has to offer. The goal is, to suit each individual and yet complement one another as a whole while incorporating a fine balance of texture & print.
The cost is divided into 2 parts...
1. Labour: I have a minimum charge of $500.
2. Fabrics and Notions: you can expect to pay between $150 - $350 depending on their quality.
There is a significant amount of time & expertise involved with every dress I make.
Each dress, regardless of how simplistic a client believes it to be, must inevitably go through these five stages….
- fabric sourcing
- pattern making
1. Once the decision has been made to move forward with commissioning a custom handmade wedding dress an invoice will be written up detailing the dress design, quoted labour cost and estimated material costs. A 15% non-refundable deposit on quoted labour is required to secure a fitting schedule/completion date.
2. Material costs are in addition to Labour, these will be covered by the client at the time of purchase.
3. At your first fitting (the muslin or mock-up stage) 25% of the remaining quoted labour cost is due.
4. The last two fittings see the remaining 60% of labour apportioned out based on construction stage.
Fittings may by scheduled Monday-Friday from 9-5, with advance notice early afternoon appointments are available on both Saturday and Sunday.
At each stage of payment, the invoice will be credited and re-emailed for your records, payment by email transfer is preferred.
Our initial consultation is always free without any obligation to hire me. I will invite you to my home/studio where we will have a chance to get to know each other and discuss possible ideas or wishes. You will get to see where your dress will be created and take a closer look at dresses that I am currently working on or have finished. We’ll ask and answer all of each other’s initial questions and will hopefully make a perfect bride/dressmaker match.
Yes! There is much value when you consider that the fit, the construction and even the fabric of my handmade wedding dresses, are typically superior to that of a store bought wedding gown. The higher the price point of the dress you are wishing to replicate, the more savings you can expect to gain when compared to the retail purchase of the same dress.
You can also save money investing in a handmade wedding dress, if you factor in that retail purchases have shipping fees and even more importantly, expensive alteration costs attached which often amount to hundreds of dollars over and above the initial retail investment.
Yes, most definitely! In fact not only do I adore everything old, but “reclaimed vintage” is one of my specialties.
I have an affinity for designer vintage; whether this is your mother’s wedding dress or just the result of your latest treasure hunt at Value Village. Often a vintage dress, if the fabric is in excellent condition, is worth putting some money into. Having it altered to fit, re-lined, replacing zippers or buttons and such, brings a beautiful piece back to life for years to come. The combination of vintage fabric and design, combined with modern reworking will have you boasting about the uniqueness of your one of a kind dress.
This service starts with a no charge analysis of the dress here in my studio. Together with ideas you have no doubt gathered in your search, along with my experience and favorite vintage/modern design elements we will work through the re-design with you in the dress. This service has a wide price range which is determined by the scope of the project. A simple fitting with minor alterations & cleaning can be as little as $200. A complete remake with added materials could reach up to $2400.
I encourage you to contact me 6-8 months in advance of your planned event date to ensure your completion date. If you don’t have the luxury of advanced notice, you can still contact me anyway, as occasionally my schedule permits last minute accommodation.
Your dressmaking schedule begins by completing the first step of my “6 step process”. We will then decide on a fitting schedule for your dress, between 3-4 fittings over the span of 4 weeks. An elaborate design (ie. beaded lace, lace applique, multiple skirts etc.) would take a minimum of 12 weeks. A bridal party of three or more should book no later than 1 year in advance.
We will follow a 6 step tried & true method that I have developed in the last 20 years of designing and dressmaking…which has a 100% success rate.
1. We will collaborate on your chosen design, usually via email but often in person. Based on these details I will give you an estimate, which is separated into two parts; labour and materials.
2 Given your approval of the estimated labour and material cost, I will assess your fabric options (a service that is built into the labour portion of the quote). We will make the final decision in store together at which point you will be required to pay for the chosen materials. (see Payment Schedule) The materials come home with me; I begin the pattern making process.
3. The muslin stage – 1st fitting, we fine tune. This is where you try on the simplified version of your dress in muslin form, all of the adjustments to fit and any changes to the pattern are made in this stage.
4. Dressmaking – 2nd fitting, the dress is together in your chosen fabric but unfinished, and we will determine any adjustments needed.
5. The most time consuming stage of all!… Finishing with fine attention to detail – this is all me.
6. Completion! … There could still be minor adjustments, it has to be perfect! If they are indeed minor I can do them while you wait… if not there will be a finale appointment for pick-up.
(For those considering a custom dress that do not live in Vancouver, you must be physically present for steps 2, 3, 4 & 6)
Yes, I will occasionally do alterations on other designer’s dresses if my schedule permits.
I proudly work out of my cozy home studio on the south east side of Vancouver in an area called “Champlain Heights”. I book fittings throughout the week from 9-5. With advance, notice I am also able to accommodate evenings & weekends.
Yes I can, and given the opportunity I have many ideas to make your bridal party as special & unique as each person participating. It must be booked anywhere from 1 year to 18 months in advance depending on the size of your bridal party. My services are individualized, the process is couture, you work with me and me alone from start to finish. This process takes time, time, time.... and more time!
Absolutely. But keep in mind, that there is an additional cost for materials and labour based on the choice of tulle and lace trim.
Yes. I often get requests for beading. However, it is a very time consuming process that adds a considerable cost to the estimated labour of your dress.
Yes. I will provide you with lovely custom garment bag so you can transport your dress clean and safe.