January 21st, 2016 | Rachel Parry
Though there are thousands of off-the-peg wedding dress designs out there for brides-to-be to choose from, some ladies still struggle to find that ‘one’ perfect gown for their big day.
As such, many brides often look to an independent dress maker to create them a completely bespoke design, tailored to their exact shape, fabric and detail specifications.
Sound appealing? Well today we’re introducing bridal wear designer Sue Laverick of The Limegate, to the blog who can help to make brides’ dream dresses a reality. Better still she can also cater for bridesmaids and mother-of-the-bride/groom, giving you the opportunity to dress your entire bridal party all in one place! Take it away Sue…
How did you first get dressmaking?
Sue says: I have been dressmaking for myself, and my family, since my mother taught me to sew as a child. In fact, I come from a sewing family, my great-grandmother was a tailor and brought up her family on that income! I also learnt to sew at school and, of course, have done many advanced / specialist sewing courses since.
Why were you specifically drawn to making wedding dresses?
I started making bridal wear in the mid-1990s when I was asked to make some dresses for a friend and that led to evening dresses and bridesmaids’ dresses. About the same time I also made my sister-in-law’s wedding dress and two of the bridesmaids’ dresses.
The first bridal party I made dresses for was for my own wedding, my mother and I made my dress and the bridesmaid’s dresses, quite a while ago!
Although I specialise in wedding dresses, I also make evening dresses and other couture style garments too.
What is your favourite part of being a dressmaker?
It’s a little geeky but I love how a ‘flat’ piece of fabric can be cut, moulded and sewn into a beautiful item to wear.
What are the main benefits of having a bespoke wedding dress?
The main benefit is that a bride gets a beautiful dress in a style, colour, detail and fabric they chose and represents their individuality.
Contrary to what some people may think, a bespoke dress is not necessarily a very expensive service, because the bride is in control of the design, in control of the fabric, the time and their budget.
What process will a bride go through if she picks you to make her wedding dress?
When a bride first contacts me, I imagine they will have checked out my website which will have told them a lot about me, so I need to know a little about them! After an initial phone conversation I will send them a fun questionnaire designed to help me figure out how I can best serve them and get them inspired about having a bespoke dress made!
There will be an initial appointment, to discuss ideas. A design appointment to discuss everything that could influence a brides dress choices and after this appointment I will send images and design ideas to the bride. There is no obligation at this point.
If the bride decides to go ahead there will be further appointment(s) to finalise the dress, two or three fittings and a final fitting about a month before the wedding, the whole process would usually take six to eight months.
Where do you advise brides to source inspiration from for a bespoke dress?
Anything. Everything. Anywhere. And ideally take their time! Collect pictures of dresses they like and ones they don’t like. Pictures of design features they like, fabric ideas, magazines, the internet etc.
What other members of the wedding party can you cater for?
I am happy to make dresses or outfits for all members of the wedding party. I can also make ties, cravats, waistcoats, corsets, veils, and favours.
Are you married? Tell us about your wedding day, including your wedding dress?
Yes I’m married, and as previously mentioned, my mother and I made the dresses for my wedding. My dress was a classic, strapless, straight fitted dress with a taffeta bustle. The dress was satin with a sheer overlay with lots of embroidery and diamante.
What sets you apart from other dressmakers?
I’m a perfectionist! I have a lot of experience making all sorts of shapes and styles, so I can be very flexible. I like everything to be the best it can be, I use couture techniques in all my sewing and I like to deliver early!
I can also give expert advice about all sorts of things a bride might not have thought about like hidden soft support or a full corset, there are dressmaking techniques that make a huge difference to a dress.
What would you say to bride who is worried about the price of a bespoke dress? Those on a budget?
The price is set by the design of the dress, the fabric chosen and the time taken to finish. So if the bride wants to keep the budget down on the dress, I would let them design their dream dress quote them the price, and if it is too much I can sit with them and find alternatives to get the costs down, whether that is fabric, embellishments or style of dress.
Can you do a discount for Brides Up North readers?
I can! I am offering a 10% discount for the first 5 confirmed clients!
How can Brides Up North readers get in touch with you or see more examples of your work?
Anything else we should know?
There is lots of information on my website, and I have two Pinterest boards with lots of ideas for dresses and weddings. I have a blog too, this is wedding dress orientated but also has other sewing themed posts. For example, at the moment I am working on two projects; one is a Chanel couture jacket for a client that involves lots of hand sewing and techniques specific to the Chanel atelier-made jacket. I’m also going to be making a sample wedding dress, I’m actually using the same base pattern as my own wedding dress!
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Rachel joined the Brides Up North editorial team as Features Editor in February 2015. Rachel draws on her news reporting background, experience in features, bridal & lifestyle editing for previous regional titles and time spent working for Yorkshire’s most successful PR agencies. Yet to tie the knot herself, Rachel's own wedding looks set to be very, very pretty...
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