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Asked to sew beach Wedding dress

stitchagain's picture

I have been asked if I could be hire to sew a simple dress for a beach wedding.  My first thought was heck no.  I have not don't much custom sewing and a wedding dress seems so specialize.


Costuming, manufacturing a few wearable art pieces I have done, but the sound of making Wedding Dress is intimidating.


But this woman works in the back office of the wearable art store I used to work at a few years ago.  She said her dress would be very simple for her barefoot beach wedding but she wanted something custom.  She has also planned plenty of time.


I think I should consider it.  I don't know if she has a pattern or fabric picked out.  It seemed like she had a idea of what she wanted (because of the way she said simple, simple, simple dress)


What happens if she wants a dress made out of chiffon? (not a fabric I've had experience with)  Any suggestions or comment would be appreciated.  Do I just relate to this job as a  $/hour job?


 


Thank you


stitchagain 


 


 

Teaf5's picture

(post #25245, reply #1 of 15)

There is a current thread on this forum about charging for wedding gowns; many posters have offered very wise advice that will inform your decision.  The most important issues are protecting yourself and accurately valuing your time.


Since I just finished reading a news article about how brides are scaling back wedding expenses, I'm inclined to think that "simple, simple, simple," really means "cheap, cheap, cheap."  However, since she works at a wearable art store, she might understand the true value and price of custom work.  (But then again, why doesn't she have a currently affiliated artist from the shop make the gown--because of price?)


Wedding gowns have the terrifying element of bridezilla and wedding mania added to what is already a complicated task--custom designing, fitting, and sewing any garment.  Even close friends have come to grief over seemingly small issues surrounding a wedding gown; if you have any reservations at all, heed them now and save yourself major problems later.


 

Ralphetta's picture

(post #25245, reply #2 of 15)

It sounds like she's seen your art work. Could you ask her what it was about your work that made her think of you for a wedding dress? That might help you make a decision. Maybe she's wanting something similar to something you've done before. Who knows, maybe she really does want simple.

mainestitcher's picture

(post #25245, reply #3 of 15)

Last time I heard this request, I asked the woman why she wanted a dress made...she said to save money. I gave her an estimate for a very simple dress, and she was a no-show for our appointment.

You might begin by asking what the budget is for the item, then you'll have an idea what you can do for her. Fabric is not cheap these days. "Very simple beach wedding" could translate into "burnout silk, cut on the bias, strapless, and lined."

Customers are making out very well at my day job by purchasing the sale dresses. They are not all puffy - princess - ten layers of tulle.

All that being said, if you want to do it because it sounds like an interesting project, because it will fulfill your soul as an artist, or because the bride's a hoot and you'd like to work with her, those are good reasons, too. I'd tell her that up front, though, so she wouldn't get the idea that "home made" = "inexpensive." I already deal enough with people who believe that one-off items should be inexpensive because little old ladies love to sew, and it's easy.

I feel it's okay to tell a potential customer that I'll think it through and call her back, rather than give her an estimate right then and there. That gives me time to consider how much work is involved, and how long each step will take.

It doesn't really take all kinds. It just turned out that way.
MaryinColorado's picture

(post #25245, reply #4 of 15)

Sounds as if she is more interested in an art to wear type dress than formal so it may be right up your alley!  You might want to explore the possibilities with her.  A barefoot wedding on the beach doesn't sound so intimidating. 


You might want to check out www.kaylakennington.com and see some of the beautiful clothes she has made from basic rectangles and shapes.  I've emailed her a few times and she is great about answering questions too.  I really admire her work,  her patterns are easy and so fun to create one of a kind looks from her designs. 


Let us know what you decide.  I look forward to seeing where you might take this potential adventure/opportunity!  Mary

rodezzy's picture

(post #25245, reply #7 of 15)

Oh my goodness, I loved the designs and patterns at this site.  I've seen the goddet jacket pattern before (don't remember where) and I loved it then.  Ms. Lakennington is an awesome designer with the type of feminine flare I love.  I can be very froo froo feminine.  I love laces, tulle, silk, lots of material and yet, I don't sew enough for myself.  I'm so encouraged.  I'm old now, but still young enough to be frilly.  I don't think you ever get to old for frilly.  I just think that you get old enough not to care what others think! (giggle)


Rodezzy, Fiber Artist


Edited 5/20/2008 12:56 pm ET by rodezzy

Rodezzy, Fiber Artist

stitchagain's picture

(post #25245, reply #8 of 15)

Thanks so much for the suggestions.


It is a psychological relief to come out and ask the question and have some of my worries reflected in the responses.


I have sewn for so long that I always assume that non-sewers will assume that it is always a cheaper options and also assume that it is easier.  When in reality you have to go through the process of picking out the fabric, pattern and/or creating the pattern for that matter. 


Best not to assume.  Good to be reminded though.


She is a hoot, so that's a plus.  I would think she would want something curvy, an assumption I think I can live with.  She might have seen a few things I have done: scarves, an creative jean jacket.  They don't have much to do with a beach wedding dress.


Nice mention of kaylakennington.  I have seen her and her work in person.  Really creative.


I left a message with the bride expressing some concern and asked if she had a pattern or fabric in mind.  It would be nice to be apart of her happy occasion, and a simple dress I am sure I could make, if that is in deed what she wants.  But if she finds someone else to help her out -c'est la vie.

MaryinColorado's picture

(post #25245, reply #10 of 15)

I've been wanting to go to one of her retreats for years, especially the one on the Oregon Coast!  It's so beautiful there. 


What state or ? will the beach wedding be at?  I've seen some beautiful photos of beach weddings.  So romantic! 


My son's outdoor wedding was in a beautiful mountain setting with an indoor reception.  It was very formal, but lovely. 


I would love to meet KK in person, you lucky lady!  She's such an inspiration! Mary


Edited 5/20/2008 9:02 pm by MaryinColorado

MaryinColorado's picture

(post #25245, reply #9 of 15)

I have most of her patterns, haven't gotten around to making the jacket yet (cause I'm chicken if you must know).  I encourage everyone else to "just do it" but will be the first to admit I have my issues too.  The creative part of me is okay, but being under 5' tall and a bit round in the middle interferes with what I think looks good on me.  I love that jacket, but don't think it will look good on me so haven't made it yet.  Maybe when I see that "perfect" fabric, it will all come togeather.   


Kayla Kennington has had an interesting life so far, from what I've read about her through the years.  Isn't her website cool?  Mary

rodezzy's picture

(post #25245, reply #11 of 15)

Oh Honey, you would look fantastic in that pattern with a really soft silky material and a soft colorful print.  "Just do It!"  giggle.  Did you look at the other versions she made of that pattern?  the one where she lengthen the waist and used soft flowing fabric.  That would be perfect for you.  I want that pattern.  I'll get it.  I love that jacket.  And the way she made it a wedding coat was delicious.  Oh that site was eye candy to be sure.  I was searching yesterday for the site with the link, I have it now.  I am saving that link in my favorites, because as soon as I can, I am going to buy that pattern.  He He.  Thanks.

Rodezzy, Fiber Artist

Rodezzy, Fiber Artist

MaryinColorado's picture

(post #25245, reply #12 of 15)

www.equilter.com has some great rayon Bali Batiks that are great for her patterns.  If you go to thier website, on the top LEFT is a search box, put in rayon and you get alot of choices.  I have been really happy with everything I've ordered from them and thier customer service is great.  You can call and ask questions too.  They have alot of quilting cottons too.  The owner is a fabric and quilt designer, travels the world for fabrics too.  You may have heard of her, Luanna Rubin. 


Happy stitchin'!!! 

Pattiann42's picture

(post #25245, reply #5 of 15)

Ask her to look through the pattern books (at all dresses and not just wedding gowns) and pick out what she considers suitable for the event.  Then decide if you really want to do this.


She may pick out a mu-mu, who knows!


 


 


 


I strive to learn something new each day.

kaitydid's picture

(post #25245, reply #13 of 15)

HAHAHAHAHAHA! the whole mu-mu thing just made my day. especially since i just found out what they were last week....lol

stitchagain's picture

(post #25245, reply #14 of 15)

Turns out she has a ready to wear brides maid dress in mind.  She may order it in a larger size and have me alter it and make a wrap.


This is a stunning woman and she would look good in anything she wore.


Thanks for your imput.  I admit just the title "wedding dress" intimidated me.  But it would be cool to do some sort of wearable art pieces for her.  Perhaps the wrap!

Ralphetta's picture

(post #25245, reply #15 of 15)

That would be great because she could continue to use it with other dresses.

jjgg's picture

(post #25245, reply #6 of 15)

It's ALWAYS just a "simple dress". And. it's the simple ones that you have to be extra careful with. Lace can cover goofs in the seams, but with a simple plain dress, any flaw in the sewing or fitting will glare out at you.

Good luck