For nearly all custom work I take on, I insist that we include a mock up as part of the dressmaking process. It’s positively crucial to confirming that the fit, shape and style of our custom design are just right. No matter how thorough a set of measurements I take, there are often little details to fit that are hard to anticipate. No matter how carefully we’ve discussed the design and reviewed the sketch, there’s always a chance my client and I don’t share quite the same vision of what the final garment will look like, and it’s much better to review and adjust the design, if need be, before we’ve cut into the expensive fabrics of the final garment! Even when we are on the same page, sometimes we discover that on her actual body, a slight change to the design may flatter her better than what we originally planned. For all these reasons, I like to make a full mockup whenever possible, and fit it to my client in person so we can fine tune the fit and design.
Hillary’s muslin fitting was a delight. We were both thrilled to see the design taking shape. I got to see her SHOES for the first time that day too. Remember how I said I thought she’d want some surprises? Her shoes were killer, and a more modern element to pair with her vintage inspired gown. Hillary also brought a petticoat she had purchased elsewhere to wear under the gown, and we determined it wasn’t quite full enough or long enough on its own. So, I would add an additional layer or two to the lining of her skirt to give the extra fullness we needed.
In terms of the dress itself, I started with a bit of extra ease in the bodice, and we pinned it out in just the places we thought most flattering. The skirt was all done with knife pleats gathered onto the waistband; some of them were deeper than others and we decided we liked the fullness of those deeper pleats best. The sash needed some adjustments to fit, and we marked them on the mock up. The jacket needed adjustments too, and because the lace was our priciest fabric, I suggested I make a second mock up to be sure the adjustments were just right before we moved forward on the lace jacket.
Another detail we discussed at her muslin fitting was the neckline for Hillary’s dress. I started with a very high neckline on the muslin, one that sat just barely below her collarbone, so that we could adjust downward from there. Once we tried on the jacket mock up, we determined that the jacket would provide the coverage Hillary wanted, which meant the neckline of the dress itself did not need to be so high. I suggested we establish a completely different neckline for the dress, dropped lower down, and that we reserve that “second look” for her and her husband to enjoy privately. She was thrilled with the idea, and we spent some time discussing the shape, the height, and marking out an extremely flattering, distinct neckline for the dress that only the two of them would know. It gives me a great deal of joy to be able to include such details for the bride and groom, that may not be visible to any of the guests at their wedding and might not even be saved in any photographs, but that contribute a little something special to the experience and meaning of that day.
The end result of her muslin fitting was that we both felt we could safely move forward on the *actual* dress and sash with the minor pattern adjustments needed, and that we must make a second mock up for the jacket to be certain it would be perfect.
Up next: beginning work on the actual dress at last!