When I first opened my business, one of my first custom dressmaking clients was a young woman named Hillary. At the time, she was interested in having a specific dress made for her, and I was one of a number of Etsy artisans who responded to her custom item request. Because we were local to one another, and I could meet with her for fittings, Hillary chose to work with me. We loved working together, and have continued to do so in the time since!
Hillary has a very well defined sense of personal style. At the same time, modesty is an important expression of her faith. She does not care to sacrifice either of these things for the other, and so in addition to the custom designs we have made together, Hillary has also brought me ready-to-wear clothes to alter. We let out hems or add ruffles to lengthen skirts as needed; we add darts to tailor clothes that are not only modest but also shapeless and unflattering. The result is a polished wardrobe that always reminds me of what I’d expect a young professional of the late 50’s or early 60’s to wear – impeccably tailored and well cared for, feminine, at times understated, of course figure flattering and always demure. At the same time, she often incorporates modern elements, and frequently she makes use of architectural elements like collars, cuffs, belts, and big buttons. I adore her taste.
And so for years I have looked forward to the day when she would eventually marry. I knew she would want a custom gown; I could not imagine anything off-the-rack satisfying all her requirements. During our first project together, I let her know I’d be happy to be the one to make her gown when the time came. When the love of her life proposed to her, Hillary tells me I was the first person she emailed! (After, of course, phone calls were made to all the family).
I had dozens of ideas before we began to speak about her dress. So many, in fact, that it was hard to know where to begin. She’s slender with an hourglass figure, and pretty much any silhouette, properly tailored, could flatter her. Her taste draws on both vintage and modern elements. I knew she’d want a more traditional gown than some of my other brides, but I imagined she’d want some surprises too. We scheduled a design consultation, and I tried to keep an open mind for the right inspiration to find us. Thankfully, open minds and a number of conversations lead us to something simply perfect.
Up next: the inspiration we drew on!