When planning your special day you are faced with soooo many choices! And now with online shopping so popular, its no longer as easy as going down to your local bridal shop and choosing your dream dress...so just a few tips on whether or not to purchase a dress online or find a local seamstress....coming from.... well...the local seamstress that also sells online! :)
I have worked with brides for over 20 years...I used to have a cutesy little sewing shop in the quaint town of Niles...a town where everyone knows everyone...so for years I just had face to face contact with my brides, which of course is a wonderful way to build a relationship with your client and get very involved in making this her special day. But in recent years I have learned that its not the only way. You can have the same type of working relationship with your bride online as well.
With email and the ability to interact using pictures etc. it is very easy to get to know your bride as well as for the bride to get to know you. When I decided to take my business online last year, at first I was a bit nervous, not just for me, but for my clients...I thought "but how are they going to get to know me and trust me enough to put this extremely important and special day in my hands" ?
So a couple of suggestions for you brides...put as much information in your emails as possible, send pictures of everything you want your seamstress to know. Its okay, as seamstresses we understand what you are faced with. (or we should, so make sure you find one that you feel "gets you" that is super important!) Good communication prior to your purchase of a custom made gown is essential. If you feel like you are not getting your point across to your seamstress after many attempts...then find another...trust me there are plenty out there...and one that will understand you and your dreams.
This sash above for instance...the bride was in a bind, a bit of a last minute for ordering this sash due to an order from another gone wrong. So she emails me, explains her situation and time frame, sends me pix of the sash Nicole Richie wore in her wedding and said "can you help me?" We went back and forth, me asking lots of questions and her answering until I felt we had a good understanding to where we both felt comfortable...then the next day a swatch of fabric and a button were sent to me, I matched it...got alot of measurements from her and Voila! I received an email from her last week saying it fit perfect! She was a happy bride and I was a relieved seamstress! I am in California and she was in New York. But we made it work in a very short time. And now I get to get pictures of her and her ensemble soon!
Accessories are a little less scary to buy online...if you are afraid of getting the correct match...ask if you can send a swatch or if the seamstress can send a swatch. Also ask if she has a return policy. Although on bridal accessories many dont allow returns, but it is worth the asking. Pictures online can sometimes be deceiving as to the exact color, so if swatch exchanges are not a possibility, ask for more pictures in natural lighting.
This dress above took a year to complete. Not the work, but the interaction with the client so that I could really get the idea of what she had dreamed up in her head. Then it took me forever to find the exact bird we were looking for...we ended up copying it from a small plate she had in her house! It was perfect because she obviously loved her plate so it was a good fit...and with the use of a copier I enlarged it and made a template. The Flower was the flower on the paper for her invitations and the red fabric we used to applique it and do the binding came from her bridesmaids dresses. So it all came together and it really was a good representation of her.
Now if you are afraid of spending alot of money on a dress online for fear of receiving it and not being happy, and no return policy...then before hand, ask what the "process" of the dress is. What kind of measurements are required? I always tell my brides to take the list of measurements that I want to a seamstress and be measured. Or I will outline the measurements on a human figure as a visual and send that to her. Visuals are best. Also what I like to do for my bridal gowns is make a mock up in a muslin fabric of the basic outline of the dress and send it to her prior to cutting out the real one. That way she can see for herself, the fit...and if she is happy with the cut. Although if the bride is not happy with the design, there may be additional design changes fees. But it just seems to put alot of fears to rest when she can actually try something on.
Also since I realize big online purchases are intimidating, I require half of the total amount up front. That way if something happens and the bride backs out of the sales...at least fabrics and initial work has been covered. Also it seems to be a more practical option for brides who are weary of buying online. The remaining balance is due when the dress is ready to ship and a picture has been sent.
Well these were just a few tips to help you in making your ultimate decision of how you go about getting your dream day completed...do your homework, spend time searching around and remember....with all your dreams are possible with the right seamstress...my sign at my little sewing shop (called Seams Dreamy) used to say...."Seams Dreamy....where all your seams come true" so yes we can make it happen for you :)
one of the funnest weddings I worked on....50's rockabilly inspired dresses...this is me with the girls at the wedding!!! fun!