Many of my brides look for a wedding dress maker because they love the control and freedom of having their gown made to measure to fit them perfectly, to their own design, in their own choice of fabric. It takes around 4 months, but I tend to become booked up a year in advance, so please get in touch as soon as you’ve discovered me. Your custom gown is entirely made for you here in Britain, and I can only make a limited number of wedding dresses per season. Here’s how it works…
The first stage is to try out my simple web app, Couture Kit, which works like a bespoke mix and match collection. This enables you to create your own personal dress design , and receive a quote, before coming to my Surrey bridal boutique to try on samples and look at fabrics. If you can’t create your ideal gown using the silhouettes on the app, you can just email me with ideas and images of the sort of design you’re looking for.
I then get in touch and help you develop your ideas, answer questions, and make an appointment for you to come and see me. This is where the fun really starts! At your free design consultation appointment, we look at fabrics and talk about the pro’s and con’s of buying new, or using harvested fabric from an heirloom or pre-loved dress, or from my selection of overstock silk, satins and laces. You can try on samples as separate silk tops and skirts (which we have in a range of sizes), although your real gown will be made as a dress. This system allows you to explore different combinations of bodice, strap, sleeve and skirt styles until you find the perfect and most flattering wedding dress silhouette for you.
When you are happy with the design and fabric you have chosen, I can confirm your booking during your appointment, and you leave with a hand-drawn sketch of your gown. You then sit back and relax until 4 months before your wedding when you come for your measuring appointment.
The next stage is for you to go bra and shoe shopping, yet another fun part of the made to measure experience.
I recommend Rigby and Peller, if you are looking for an experienced lingerie specialist, offering the very best advice on bra fitting, and a fabulous selection of bridal lingerie. This plays an important role in achieving the beautiful silhouette on a made to measure gown, and you will have your design sketch to take with you to your lingerie appointment and ensure the underwear works beautifully with your gown.
As an experienced dress maker, I am dedicated to ensuring your custom wedding dress fits you beautifully. All my tailor made dresses are constructed to the highest standard and lined in silk, with an internal corset when appropriate. If you find you are experiencing weight change, just let me know and I can recommend a fittings schedule which will accommodate this. If you are able to reach your target weight by 4 months before your wedding, that is ideal, but I understand this can’t always be predicted, so you don’t need to worry. The beauty of made to measure is that I can adjust your gown as we go along.
The first of your appointments will be for measuring, usually around 4 months before your wedding, when I use a calico “toile” (prototype), to ensure the fit of your gown will be perfect. From the measurements I take on that day, I create a custom made pattern for each bespoke bride, from which to work on your real gown. For this appointment, it is essential that you bring your shoes, and a properly fitting bra even if you’re intending to go without, on your wedding day. Even if your weight changes a little after this appointment, that’s fine.
Usually I take this opportunity to re-visit your design and ensure you’re 100% happy with the silhouette, fabric and details. The beauty of having your wedding dress made to measure is that I can still make changes to the design, even at this late stage.
At your wedding dress fittings, you will try on your real gown in your fabric, and I will ensure that your gown fits you beautifully, by pinning away any excess fabric, and then making the necessary adjustments, so you are 100% happy with your beautifully fitted custom gown. As before, you will need to bring the bra and shoes to these appointments.
I often find at this stage, that ideas can evolve, and you can rest assured that I incorporate your ideas and feedback along the way. These appointments are a lovely opportunity to explore the option of a veil and hair accessories, for which I have some luxurious samples to try on, from Joyce Jackson and Clare Lloyd . These can then be ordered as individual bespoke pieces for you, and hand crafted here in Britain, to ensure your whole vision is created.
In the event that you experience weight change in the run up to the wedding, I can still adjust the dress to fit you beautifully, at your first fitting, and it is straightforward to do so. I encourage you to reach your target weight by this time (we are now around 10 weeks before the wedding), in order to avoid making major changes to your gown later on.
Usually, having your bridal gown made to measure involves 3 or 4 appointments, but sometimes more fittings are needed in order to accommodate weight change or design amendments. I am guided by your preferences, and I keep you completely informed throughout the experience.
My creative brides do have a certain amount of vision to be able to picture how they would like their wedding dress to look from the beginning. I have the experience to guide each bride through the made to measure journey and ensure her gown not only fits beautifully, but also reflects her vision. Occasionally, this vision changes along the way, and that’s fine too. I have enough years of experience and resourcefulness to adapt my approach and ensure your ideas are incorporated and explored together, so you know you will love your dress when it is finished.
I take every step possible to ensure that you begin with a clear vision of how your dress will look when it is finished, and that you are confident in our ability, throughout your experience. It is not until you are 100% happy with your made to measure, bespoke gown, that you will collect your dress, usually around 4 weeks before your wedding. You may be reassured to read my google reviews.
Please see my REAL BRIDES GALLERY for inspiration.
I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line with your thoughts and questions – I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!
© Copyright Caroline Arthur 2020