Client Name: Romy
Case study: Design and add detachable sleeves to gown shell, insert cups to slip, replace shoulder straps to slip, take up skirt hem of beaded gown, design a white veil.
Total Amount of Fittings: 5 fittings. Each fitting: 45minutes - 1 hour.
Gown type: Beaded lace mesh gown with a separate slip,
Silhouette: Fit and flare
Romy brought in a bridal gown for alteration. For a religious wedding ceremony, sleeves were needed. Since Romy wishes to enjoy the gown without sleeves for her reception, she highlighted a preference for detachable sleeves. She also requested for a shorter skirt hem and a new veil in white.
First fitting. Time: 1hr
An assessment of the gown was carried out. The gown consists of an outer beaded lace mesh shell and a satin slip. We found that the spaghetti straps on the slip is too weak to support bust and needs to be replaced. The slip and main gown shell is also too long. Romy requests for detachable sleeves. We informed Romy that by adding detachable sleeves, visible gaps between sleeves and beaded gown are obvious at the shoulder and under arm seam. Having buttons and loops under the arm may also compromise comfort and visual aesthetic.
We proposed that a long sleeve bolero is made in white mesh to match the mesh of main gown shell. This bolero will be worn under the gown, with clear press studs as easy fasteners at the centre back. Bolero sleeves sit above slip so she could take it off after ceremony easily without removing gown. The length of bolero will cover from neck to just above bust. Having the bolero fasten at centre back neckline of gown enables Romy to remove the bolero comfortably; achieving function for her while ensuring the bolero blends seamlessly into the main gown.
Cups: We proposed custom made cups to fit her bust size to ensure comfort and maximum support. Cups will be sewn in between the slip and slip lining so they will serve its function and will be invisible to the eye.
Hem: Since hem of gown is too long and consist of two different laces (one main lace and one trim scallop lace at the hem), we explained to Romy that the scallop lace on the edge of hem has to be meticulously cut and reappliquéd to hem front after it has been prepared and cut at the ideal length. The scallop lace will be cut only on the front and leading to nothing at the side seam. This recommended option ensures the train of gown remains untouched at the back and cost is conserve for the client.
Building Cups (Detail) Time: 5hrs
Two Standard Padded cups were first hand sewn together, then machine sewn to form one cup. Cups are then graded to form a finer even template. A fitting with client is required to achieve ideal cup shape. Client wears beaded gown and slip while cups were inserted and pinned to slip, shape of cups are then molded and cut according to bust shape and neckline. After bra cups are graded, shaped and cut, mesh tulle were cut to the new cup shape, sewn and hand finished to form envelopes for the cups. This ensures cups are beautifully covered in mesh when inserted between main slip and lining. These cups are then machine sewn on the side seams and under bust to assist them to float inside the slip.
Straps (Detail) Time: 1hr.
The original spaghetti straps were removed due to lack of support. You may recall the gown was too long and had multiple layers. They straps were replaced with thicker straps made from off cut materials from the hem of satin slip to provide consistent trim to the gown.
Slip Hem Alterations (Detail) Time: 4hrs
Romy had to wear the slip and stood upright with desired shoe height for ideal hem length to be determined. Pins were used to illustrate desired hem length. Romy’s feedback is requested to ensure she is completely satisfied with proposed new hem length before we cut it. We had to removed horsehair trim found at hem, before we cut. After the hem has been cut, we had to prepare channel for the hem and re-encased the horsehair trim onto main slip. The Hem is ten sewn and hand finished.
Designing and creating a mesh bolero with sleeves (Detail) Time: 4hrs
Measurements of client’s figure is taken on initial meeting. At the subsequent fitting, a calico toile cut from a bodice and sleeve pattern is presented to the client and worn under her main gown. The sleeves were slim lined and bodice lengthen to ensure that when Romy lifts her arm or dance, the bodice would not slip out out of the main gown. Neckline was then cut back to match main gown neckline. Pins were inserted on the main gown to illustrate ideal bodice length. The main mesh gown is later laid on the table, superimposed over the calico toile to assist mapping of the bodice length and shape. Once all these adjustments have been made, the calico is ready to be cut on white mesh. Romy were asked to returned for another fitting to test for fit of sleeves and bodice now cut and made in mesh. At the fitting, press studs were marked on centre back. Sleeves were tested for movement and comfort. Romy was encouraged to raised her arms and simulate movements to test bolero for comfort and stability. Once Romy approved the new mesh bolero’s fit and shape, the bolero is finished with cotton biased bind and clear press studs were applied to the centre back.
Shorten Main Beaded Lace Hem Time: 9hrs
Scallop lace was first removed from side seam front to side seam front. Gown was cut to desired length on a mannequin. The scallop lace was place and pin onto new hem length (4hrs) to ensure we match and honour the print pattern of the lace of gown. We then re-appliquéd the beading lace back on the new hem length. In doing so we also have to reapply pearls and crystals onto the scallop hem (5hrs).
Romy’s original veil was ivory, she requested for a white veil, similar to her existing one. We imported the white tulle mesh, cut her veil and machine sewn the layers together using gathering technique. We then hand finished the veil on the comb.
Button and button loops for bustle Time: 45 mins
We hand sewn two buttons and two loops, one on the slip and one on the main mesh gown. Romy can enjoy the gown and hook up her train to form a bustle for the first dance.
General Touch Ups Time: 1hrs
Centre back elastic loops and buttons had to be tighten, we replaced buttons that were missing and tighten crystals and sequins on her main gown.
Final Fitting Time: 1 hrs
For the final fitting, Romy came in with shoes and undergarments and tried on the slip, gown, bolero and veil. Her feedback regarding the fit, workmanship and quality of the finishing is requested. She tested the bolero and could easily removed the bolero without removing main gown. After the fitting she paid for the final payment.
Romy Sperling's Google review: 5 Stars
I can’t thank Helen and Roderick enough. I bought a ready to wear wedding dress that was really beautiful. In the shop it was clearly too long for me and needed a few alterations to make it fit better. The shop assistant insisted it would be a quick fix. Helen immediately saw that the dress was quite complicated to fix, with lots of layers of lace and beadwork. I also needed a removable sleeve for the ceremony. Helen clearly explained what the issues were and how she would make the changes, even suggesting things I hadn’t seen like a better shoulder strap to make the dress more secure and comfortable. She has such a keen designer’s eye and her changes were perfect. The dress fitted better than I could have imagined and the bolero she made for the ceremony fitted seamlessly into the dress and looked like it was part of it. She’s an absolute perfectionist, never happy until things were exactly as they should be. She insisted she wanted the dress to be perfect for me and she made sure it was. Roderick’s work was masterful – he shortened the dress and moved the lace so that it looked like it had never been touched – absolutely perfect. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this amazing team who looked after me every step of the way.