Forever, and ever…! (The bridal choice.)

I always really liked the classic “couture house” idea from the turn of the last century. Meaning when everything – almost everything – is made under one roof. It makes the garments created there extremely coherent and very personal indeed. The customer and the tailor(-s) and other craftsmen involved will jointly and passionately work together on a vision, where all have a say. Never “oh well, this is what we could get”. And never “oh well, this is what we got”. Instead, always, “this is what we want, and will create”!

Custom embroidery is a huge part of this “couture house” feel and process. To being able to create an absolutely unique look and pattern in beads, pearls and stitches that fits exactly to the customer’s body and the dress created – where every bead and pearl is thoroughly and separately fastened one-by-one on a fabric, before it’s cut and stitched together into a garment. It gives an amazing effect when it sparkles discreetly whilst still looking effortlessly made. And yes, it takes forever and ever to make! And is also therefore, remkebly durable.

One of the fascinating things with custom embroidery is, that you can make the embroidery seem to transcend the edges and seams of the dress. This is of course made by hand-stitching extra beading on top of seams after they are sewn, or, by making the entire embroidery on a see-through tulle that continues over the full dress fabric, as an ekstra layer. It gives an unbelievable light effect, and again, giving the illusion of effortlessness. Although being a multi-layered garment underneath.

So what’s really the biggest difference then, between ordering a “ready-made” dress or a custom/bespoke one? Question asked since the pricetag could be hugely different? Well, I can’t speak for every tailor and/or design studio, but for me it all comes down to comfort. You should feel comfortable and free in your dress. Not restrained – unless that is exactly what you want, of course. (But then it would be a “comfortable restraint” at exactly the area you would like it to be!)

The other thing usually focused on is, what we call understated luxury. The feeling of richness had by you. Things others not nessessairly see or know about. Comfortable lining, good quality fabrics that breath, good boning that follows the body, and of corse, quality closures that can restrain both dancing and dinner!

And what about that “couture house” idea then? What was so great about that? Well, again, it all comes down to be a part of a process! A process where you know the person who made your garment, and where it was made. A process where nothing is or were hiddden – where you know and understand your garment inside-out. A place where things can be allowed to evolve into new ideas and other new garments. A whole. Isn’t that fantastic? Instead of fitting into a dress – the dress just fits you. It’s actually as simple as that!

But, if this process attracts you – be sure to be planning ahead in good time! These garments are not made over-night. Or even over a week. They can take months of intense work. Just so you know. But then, again, the reward for the wait… is tremendous. An original design, made for you! Just you.

– Sten Martin / DTTA


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Going grand! When more is more, and less is not an option.

Sometimes you just want it all! Everything! The full skirt, train, corsage, lots of fabric! Or a fully bespoke suit! Yes! The luxury look! Couture! Bespoke couture.

But how to go about it? Will it be a wear-it-one-time-only thing? Who should make it? What’s the cost? And can things really possibly be reused afterwards?

Difficult questions! Because they are so personal. But don’t be discouraged! There are some practical guidelines. And these are the ones which I usually share with customers who ask.

First, decide on your budget. Very important indeed! There will always be solutions to find, be sure of that, but all involved really need to know the limit. Would you like to invest in something made in good quality, that can be used over and over again? Or are we remaking a vintage dress (or some other garment)? Anyhow, it will probably cost a bit more than you expected, so make sure to have a solid calculation made before diving in into the full experience. It will save you a lot of trouble later on!

Second, find a crafts-person or tailor that you really like, someone that “gets you”. If they’re not really that into you, don’t waste your time. You should feel in perfectly good hands and secure, since it sometimes can be a bit of a bumpy ride to embark in a larger projects. Don’t just go for the smooth talker. Instead try to listen for factual information and solutions, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. And, if in any doubt, try to get a smaller order done first, to check for interest, quality and treatment.

Third, have a vision! But also listen to advice. Important. The best tailored work done, in my opinion, are true collaborations. Where the tailor or crafts-person learns about you, your life, your personality, wishes and desires – and you learn about possibilities in garment making. Don’t try to control the other person. Instead, be helpful and open!

Fourth, plan ahead. Always make super-early deadlines. Why? Because when making original (one-off) garments, unexpected things do happen, almost always. And that’s not even anyone’s fault, or usually a problem, if you just schedule a good buffer. So do that. Be sure to do that! And be open about it. Hey, did I mention you should plan a buffer? Alright then. Buffer planned.

Fifth, keep your budget. And help keeping the budget. Remember that any differ from the originally planned path for the project will probably add lots of extra work. And/or remakes. Try to stay with the plan, and if in doubt, be early and open about it. But also, try to embrace the process, and get used to taking decisions and sticking with them. The options are plenty, and some of them needs to be eliminated for getting the best of results. That’s just the natural process of getting things done. Be helpful with that!

Sixth – remember all additional processes and items. Acessioaires. Hair. Underwear. Shoes. Embellishment. Overcoat. Transportation solutions. After-treatment. Ask and be in good time with planning, always.

And last – enjoy it all! If you follow these rather basic overall directions, I’m sure you will have a grand time!

And who knows – maybe it will even be addictive? Go for it! Yes!

– Sten Martin / DTTA


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