Step 7: Making the Muslin {Custom Design Process}

What is a muslin?  It is a loosely-woven cotton fabric I use to create a mock wedding gown before actually cutting the Fashion Fabrics (the expensive fabrics).   The muslin is usually similar in weight and stretch of the actual Fashion Fabrics.  Once I sew the muslin gown, I test the fit of the gown on my Guest, work out the proportions, test out design ideas, and make the necessary alterations.  During the fittings, I make sure all this is perfected.

New techniques from the couture class:  cutting 1-1.5″ seam allowance, use large waxed tracing paper to transfer sewing lines and pattern information, thread trace (size 3-4) stitching lines to stabilize and transfer information to other side

Here is a sneak peak of a custom gown I am working on.  It is in the muslin stage.  There is an element of surprise to this gown so I am not able to reveal the full view until the Bride celebrates her nuptials.  The exciting thing (to me) about this process is that I am incorporating techniques I learned from my online class “The Couture Dress” with Susan Khalje.  Remember when I mentioned how impatient I was about my August Sewing Couture School in this {post}?  Well, I heard through my Sewing Fashionista meetings that Susan Khalje had a class available online…of course I registered for it right away.  If you would like to learn new techniques, improve your sewing skills, or even brush up on your sewing, I highly recommend it.  Feel free to check it out {here}.  I also found a BurdaStyle interview with Susan Khalje, you can read more about her {here}.

Fitting the muslin & marking the changes

June , July, August, and September has been and will be very busy months for me.  Several custom projects are being simultaneously orchestrated.  My Couture Sewing School is around the corner.  Appointments are lined up with possible new business ventures — a very exciting time I must say:)  So after my June {LANA} Clutch tutorial, it may be 2 to 4 months until you see a new tutorial.  However, I will keep you posted with all the exciting news.

Lately I have been contemplating about teaching advanced sewing tutorials for formal wear…maybe do wedding gown and formal wear pattern reviews…or even show you the steps I take to make a formal gown in detail.  My tutorials have been very basic and simple so the viewers can build the confidence, tap into their creativity, and just get inspired to start sewing.  Advanced sewing tutorials will take a lot more time and effort so I would like to know how you feel and think about it.  Feel free to leave a comment below or email me at ann@youtiquebridal.com

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susan-khalje-craftsy-class

Custom Design : Lemondrop + Nick

photo credit: Windward Productions

It has been one year since I got to work with this beautiful Bride.  Today is the one year wedding anniversary for Lemondrop & Nick.  I just want to wish them the happiest years of their lives as they grow old together.  Marriage is hard work but it is worth all the time and effort with the right person.

photo credit: Windward Productions

Her wedding gown was a labor of love created uniquely for a sweet and fun loving Bride.  It has a subtle sweetheart neckline with a ruched bodice.  The swiss dot chiffon fabric was layered over luxurious silk

I also created this lovely ruffled custom bridal garment bag in her favorite color.

And when I design a custom hair fascinator, I also create a unique one-of-a-kind package for the hair accessory.  Here you will notice the box was covered with the same fabric as the gown.  The hair fascinator is designed with her theme flower and carefully accented with a beautiful rhinestone brooch.

photo credit: Windward Production

Happy Anniversary Lemondrop & Nick!  And wishing everyone on this beautiful journey of marriage a lifetime of joy:)

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What to expect at your first Bridal Salon appointment: Q&A with Carly

Earlier this year, Carly (my future sister-in-law) had the opportunity to visit a bridal salon and try on wedding gowns.  You can read  of her adventure by visiting the post  “Trying on Gowns.”   From this experience, she gained some knowledge about what to expect at the first Bridal Salon visit.  We thought it would be fun to share her tips so you can have fun, relax, and enjoy your first visit at the Bridal Boutiques.

Here are some additional tips you may find helpful:

* Establish a budget.  That way you don’t get your heart set on something you cannot afford.

* Sample sizes are usually an 8 or 10.  Don’t worry if you’re larger or smaller.  The consultant will clip the dress or hold it in the back to give a better visual of the fit in your size.

*Bring a bottle of water.  Trying on gowns can be a work out:)

*Wear little to no make up.  This will prevent the dresses from being stained.

*Stay true to your style and personality.

What are some of your experiences?  Do you have any tips for other Brides?  Please share:) 

Also, to help you get familiar with the Six Classic Silhouettes (via Martha Stewart Weddings), please see below:

Ballgown

Ball Gown
Introduced by Queen Victoria, reimagined by Dior in the 1950s, and never long out of fashion, this is the most romantic of all bridal silhouettes. It features a small waist (natural or dropped) and a voluminous skirt with petticoats. Most flattering to women of at least average height with hourglass or full figures, this style’s skirt will overwhelm a petite or particularly buxom bride. Depending on the fabric, the skirt can appear weightless or heavy.

Aline

A-Line
This enduring style’s name comes from the triangle (or “A” shape) between the narrow bodice and outer edges of the wide, ungathered skirt. Suitable for a variety of fabrics, the A-line is versatile: It may or may not have a seam at the waist, which may be higher or lower than the natural waistline; and the close-fitting bodice may be strapless or have any type of neckline.

Empire

Empire
After the French Revolution, Napoleon’s wife Josephine popularized this neoclassical dress with a very high waist; the sheer materials she chose caused a sensation. The cropped bodice of the Empire style flatters the small-breasted woman but not a more buxom bride; the raised waist creates a long line, ideal for a petite bride. The skirt may be straight, slightly flared, or even as wide as an A-line.

Sheath
If you are comfortable with showing off your curves, consider the slyly constructed sheath, popularized in the 1950s by Marilyn Monroe. This body-hugging profile is artfully sculpted with darts, tucks, and seams. The effect will differ depending on the weight and drape of the fabric. A great choice for a tall, slim-hipped woman, the sheath is equally becoming to a petite, slender bride. Avoid this style if you have wide hips but narrow shoulders.

Trumpet

Trumpet
A trumpet dress hugs the body at the top and through the hips but jets out into a fuller skirt at the bottom. This style is also referred to as mermaid.

Short

Short
Short dresses have a hem that is above or just slightly below the knee, and they typically aren’t found in any of the other categories.

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Step 3: Finding a Designer/Seamstress {Custom Design Process}

Now that you have an inspiration board, tried on dressses, and decided you would like a custom wedding gown made-to-measure, the next question is “How do I find a Designer/Seamstress?”  Here are some ways:

1) Ask friends and family for referrals

2) Do a search online and look in the yellow pages

3) Sewing organization or sewing groups in your area

4) Fabric and textile shops

5) local college/school with a fashion program

6) costume department of the local theater

7) cast and patrons of a nearby renaissance festival

8) local Society of Creative Anachronism (SCA) group

9) local corset maker

After finding a Designer, you should:

a) Write down some questions you want to ask

b) gather your sketches and pictures to show the Designer.  Organize them and label them clearly with changes you desire

c) Ask about policies: look at contracts, ask about turn around times, forms of payment, fitting schedules

d) Find out what the deposit is and when it is due 

e) Take a look at their portfolio

f) Ask how the custom process works:  ask about the fittings and how they will be scheduled and when, ask when the gown will be finished. All this should be on the work agreement once you choose someone.  

g) The Designer may not be able to quote you a price on the initial visit. Most will need time to carefully research fabrics/embellishments, calculate the materials and the time it would take. Every Designer runs their business differently so read the pricing policy before signing the contract.

h) If you find a wedding dressmaker who meets your expectations then find out what the next steps would be to get into her schedule

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Step 2: Trying on Gowns {Custom Design Process}

At this stage, I believe it is important to learn your body type and what gowns would look best on you.  I highly encourage this step…try it on🙂  Try on the different silhouettes to get a better visual on what will flatter your body and go with your personality.  Sometimes you will be surprised once the gown is on.

During this step, you may find the perfect dress of your dreams.  Congratulations!  You can now check this off and move on to the next task on your wedding ‘to do’ list.

However, if you are the Bride who tried on several gowns and realize you like the bodice details on one dress but the skirt of another or the lace of this dress but the neckline of the other one…ask the consultants what they have available.  If the selection is limited, you may want to consider the Custom Design Process.

As I mentioned in an earlier post (Step 1: Get Inspired), I will document Carly’s journey of finding the perfect dress.  Here she is trying on the different gowns:

When Carly tried on the gowns, many were absolutely beautiful on her.  However, for her taste and personality, some dresses had too many details and others did not have enough.  She did find a dress she liked but it wasn’t EVERYTHING she wanted.  So stay tuned for a vlog on what she decides to do.

Here are the different body types as defined by The Knot:

Hourglass

You have a big chest, big hips, and a thin waist (that is, curves in all the right places).

  • Wedding Dress Dos: An A-line wedding dress with a dropped waist will show off your figure; pair it with a sweetheart neckline to show off your chest. Or for something a little more curvaceous, try a fit-and-flare gown like a mermaid or trumpet style
  • Wedding Dress Don’ts: A ball gown or Empire-waist silhouette may make you look disproportioned.

Short Waist

Your body is naturally proportioned, except for the small distance from your ribs to your hips.

  • Wedding Dress Dos: A Princess-line silhouette — fitted at the bodice and opening up gradually to a full skirt — elegantly elongates your figure; if you love your shoulders, try a portrait or halter neckline. A slightly dropped-waist gown will also lengthen your torso.
  • Wedding Dress Don’ts: A sheath will make your short waist more obvious.

Thick Waist

Same as above, but instead of a short waist, yours is undefined: The line from your shoulders to your hips is straight.

  • Wedding Dress Dos: An Empire-waist wedding dress will deemphasize your waistline and give you a long, lean look.
  • Wedding Dress Don’ts: A Princess-line or basque waist will draw too much attention to your middle.

Full Figure

More voluptuous than most, you’ve got full breasts, a bit of a tummy, and round hips and butt.

  • Wedding Dress Dos: A ball gown wedding dress will hide quite a bit, and an A-line silhouette looks great on everyone.
  • Wedding Dress Don’ts: A sheath will make you look heavier than you are; avoid spaghetti straps.

Pear Shape

Just like the fruit, you’re small on top and heavy on the bottom.

  • Wedding Dress Dos: A basque waist or strapless ball gown will cover your bottom half and put the focus on your better half; an Empire dress will hug the tiniest part of your body and disguise your lower half.
  • Wedding Dress Don’ts: A sheath, frankly, will be unflattering. A trumpet- or mermaid-style gown will draw attention to your bottom.

Thin

Short or tall, there’s not a whole lot of meat on your bones. You boast that certain kind of ballerina beauty.

  • Wedding Dress Dos: A ball gown will make you look like a fairy-tale princess, and a sheath would be perfect for you.
  • Wedding Dress Don’ts: Almost all silhouettes will flatter your figure, but stay away from portrait, off-the-shoulder, or halter necklines if your collarbone is too bony.

Petite

You’re probably not the star of the basketball team — you’ve got a tiny frame.

  • Wedding Dress Dos: It’s best to keep it simple — when you’re small, a big, elaborate gown can sometimes look as if it’s wearing you rather than the other way around. A sheath or A-line dress will work well.
  • Wedding Dress Don’ts: Almost all silhouettes will flatter your figure, though a big ball gown may overwhelm.

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STEP 1:  Get Inspired

Custom Flower Girl Hair Bows

Custom Flower Girl Hair Bows

If you met this adorable three years old Flower Girl, you will agree with me that she is a Little Fashionista.  Little “L” already has a collection of hair bows to match every fun and colorful outfit in her closet.  Now being a Flower Girl just gives her another reason to have more pretty hair accessories.  I created these four custom flower hair bows from organza ribbons and embellished silk flowers.  “L” will get to choose the one she would like to wear with her dress.  At three years old, this little girl has great sense of style.  Which one do you think she will choose?

Pink Embellished Flowers and Organza ribbons

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Custom Bridal Garment Bag: MARCELLA + MICHAEL

I love love love doing custom design accessories.  It gives me the opportunity to incorporate the Bride and Groom’s wedding theme into the design.  

MARCELLA + MICHAEL {Two Love Birds}

I realize the birds look dark, but it is a pretty purple in person.  I am still trying to work on my camera skills:) 

My inspiration?  MARCELLA + MICHAEL’S  wedding invitation:)

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