Fitting Woes

3 May

Though I’m hardly dealing with as many dress orders as Kleinfelds, I still have my fair share of ladies to make happy, and every single thing that I make is treated with as much love, care, and sometimes frustration as a parent feels for a much-loved and infuriating little child.

Every time I bring a client into my little workroom and we start talking about what she wants, I have to find the perfect balance between reality (strapless is pretty but you’ll be tugging on it

this is terrible pic, but you get the idea.

all day) and fantasy (you want to look like Kate Middleton on a $700 budget?  Sure, we can figure something out!).  Half the fun for me is getting to know each person who puts on one of my dresses – I want to find out what makes them tick, what they hate, what they are excited about, everything – and so when I can’t go through that process with a bride it presents an extra challenge.

An even bigger challenge is not being able to have multiple fittings. One thing that every designer simultaneously loves and dreads is the try-on. Anyone who sews can tell you how terrible the moment can be when you take something you’ve been toiling away on off of the dress form and actually put it on a real person. Suddenly you see that the straps are too long, the neck is too wide, the hem is wonky and the whole thing should just be set on fire. Since my ‘atelier’ has two cats, one wife, and no magic sewing bluebirds or mice, I take it extremely personally if they try something on and it doesn’t fit exactly right the first time. There are tears, cussing, foot-stamping, and things thrown at walls, and that’s just me.

A friend from college recently got married in Geneva, and since it isn’t in my budget to just jaunt to Switzerland, and also since I love a good wrap dress, we decided to make her a simple stretchy one with a colorful slip. We compared Pantone color swatches on Skype and looked at different styles from the Mignonette website. Anne and the lovely folks at Fishman’s Fabrics here in Chicago helped me choose between silk jersey and a miracle fabric called Hollywood Stretch, and then we grabbed some Tiffany-blue silk shantung and a more muted silk jersey in dark teal to make two different slips.

Therese, Oro, and Heidi Wrap Dresses from Mignonette

I eventually decided to combine elements from the Oro, Heidi, and Therese dresses to make a simple dress with a little bit of movement at the sides to make the dress a little more Euro – timeless but still fun, like my dear friend.

She went to Geneva to study polio at the WHO, met a lovely man, and three years later is not only a wife but also stepmother to an 11 year-old daughter. The couple wore matching outfits for the day (she wore the dress I made and he wore a bright turquoise shirt and white pants, very Swiss).  She has the biggest smile  – I can’t wait to get some really good photos to post here.

Update – some pics did arrive, and I won’t post too many of them here, but I couldn’t resist putting just a couple up – they are the cutest pair, even with their faces blacked out, don’t you think?

K and C at their Geneva Wedding

I can't believe the dress fit so well considering there were no fittings!


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