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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