Frequently Asked Questions
Is this dress Couture? Or Made to Measure? Or Off The Rack?
I refer to my style as ‘custom made’. After we design your gown, I take your measurements, and draft patterns to those specifications. A lot of my techniques are costume techniques – where everything is made one-of-a-kind. I have too much respect for the true Haute Couturiers in the world to use that term loosely to describe my own work. Haute Couture is a controlled term, and only certain fashion houses meet these criteria. It also means that you wont have to sacrifice your honeymoon to be able to afford a wedding gown from me. Made to Measure refers to you choosing from a limited range of styles and the gown being made in your measurements with minimal changes. Off The Rack refers to trying it on, and buying that exact one.
When are you open?
I take appointments between Wednesday – Friday 10am-6pm, and Saturday 9am-2pm. I’m often in and out of the studio throughout those times, or I may be in but working hard and have the shop front shut. I always recommend calling ahead and booking an appointment to ensure you’re arriving when I’m available.
How long will my wedding dress take to make?
However long we need it to! Depending on the complexity of the design and construction, there is a lot of variation. Theatre has taught me to work fast, and I’m not afraid of a deadline. However, please give me more than 2 weeks notice for your wedding!! That’s not a healthy level of stress for anyone.
Where do you buy fabrics from?
Most of those secrets I hold close to my chest. I have a great range of suppliers, across Australia and the world. I know their stock and their style well, so I usually know which one to go to to get the perfect fabric for your dress. Equally, as fashion trends change, and seasons progress, I have to keep a firm eye on what’s happening on global fashion runways, and search for new suppliers who are all keeping up with the trends.
Have you made any costumes I’ve seen? Where can I see your work?
Due to publicity and copyright issues, I can’t publish most of my costume work. I’ve made costumes for My Fair Lady, Anything Goes, Strictly Ballroom, Only Heaven Knows, Turandot, South Pacific, Madam Butterfly, Love Never Dies, and many more. I will show you some photos of things I’ve created, and will be able to tell you endless stories of adventures I’ve had while working in workrooms on various theatre shows.
What do you think I should wear?
Whatever you want! Weddings these days are tending away from the classic white wedding, to include rustic, bohemian, vintage or glam inspiration. The important thing to me is that you are open and honest. Its your dress for your wedding day after all. I’m just here to bring your ideas to life. I can provide style advice and help you work out how to bring your ideas together.
Will this design be flattering?
Always. The intricacies of seam placement and how we fit your gown will ensure it is always flattering. Moving a waist seam even as little as 1cm higher or lower will change the balance of the gown, and how it makes you look. There are simple changes that can be made as we go that will make sure the gown will flatter you.
What if I want to make changes to my design?
I will explain this as we go through the fitting process. There is always some room for little variations within the design, without the cost changing. However, there are a few details that will always incur a cost change. For example, adding length to a train after we start; or changing from short sleeves to long sleeves.
What are your payment terms?
We discuss this in detail at your design consultation. Once I know what the dress design is I can present quote options for your consideration. If you choose to accept the quote, I send through an invoice. I request a 50% deposit to secure the booking, and allowing me to purchase the materials. The remainder can be paid off at your discretion, though most brides are choosing to pay instalments in line with their fittings. The dress must be paid in full prior to collecting it. Nothing walks out of my store that hasn’t been paid for.
How many fittings do you do?
Often, between 3-5 fittings. Our first is a toile (pronounced TWARL), and this is usually a mock up of the dress in a cheap substitute fabric. This allows us to get the general shape of your wedding dress right before we start cutting into the real fabrics! As we progress through the fittings the dress will slowly come to life – each time I see you a new detail will be presented. All fittings are included in the price of the gown.
How much will my dress cost?
There are many variables in cost, and everything gets taken into consideration. The design has the most importance, followed by fabric choices (lace, silk, cotton, taffeta) petticoats and underpinnings, simple or extravagant. It most frequently will be between $2500-$6000. Every dress I make, I start the same – with a design consultation, a set of measurements, and an open mind. This is a purely unique experience, and you shouldn’t expect the same price as something that has been mass produced offshore. All fittings are also included in the cost. Once I commit to the price, there are no add-ons, no hidden extras or unexpected changes, as long as the dress design doesn’t change.
How much does a design consultation cost?
Design consultations have no upfront costs. Generally, we will sit down for 60-90 minutes, discussing all elements of your wedding day, including location, time of day and time of year, as they all play a roll in deciding what kind of dress will work. Aside from the wedding day itself, we discuss what designs you’re interested in, incorporating colours, textures and fabric types as we go.
How far in advance should I book?
It’s a good idea to book your first consultation approximately 6 to 12 months ahead of your wedding. Dresses can be completed in less time than that if there is availability in my calendar. If you’re pregnant, losing weight, or having a destination wedding, then these can change the lead time required to make your dress.
Can I bring my Mum, Bridesmaids, friends? What else do I need to bring?
Yes, please! Bring your trusted loved ones, they know you better than I do. They can give you good, honest advice, and help with the big decisions (ivory, mother of pearl, egg white, or oyster?), and keep you on track. It’s great to have them get excited with you too, as you all see your dress come to life. Please advise me if you will be bringing more than three people, as I will need to make sure adequate seating is available. As fittings progress, we will talk through deadlines for shoes, underwear, and accessories, as they can play a part in how your dress will come together. During our final fitting, I always love to teach the bridesmaids, or mum, how to assist the bride dress for her wedding day. The order of the hooks and zips, and how to set the bustle, are all really important details so its best we get them right.
What does “Trousseau” mean?
Trousseau is a French word, describing the all encompassing word for the accessories, undergarments, and other pieces worn by a bride on her wedding day. Garters, veil or other millinery, corsetry and underwear (practical or wedding night) all count as part of your trousseau, and most of that can be made by me and incorporated with your design. I have an exclusive milliner who is available to come in to your fittings if you would like something made up for you especially, designed to compliment your gown.
Are you available after hours and on weekends?
My standard appointment hours are Wednesday-Friday 10am-6pm, and Saturday 9am-2pm. Appointments can be requested outside these hours, though charges may incur. All consultations and fittings in my studio is by appointment only, to ensure the focus is on you exclusively, without interruptions. Please don’t hesitate to call if you are running late or early, as my schedule varies and timing can be tight.
Do you supply the fabrics?
I don’t keep a lot of fabric in stock, as I never know what each bride will want or love. This keeps running costs down. I have a select range of limited edition materials. I have a range of wholesale fabric suppliers in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and overseas. I prefer to buy what I need, when it is needed. I am happy to work from fabric you provide if requested, and will give advice accordingly. There are some lovely shops we can go to together or that I can recommend, but there are also some wonderful places I have access to that are not open to the public. We will decide what is best based on your design requirements.