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Ask David | What is Custom?

If you've never had the pleasure of having something made, you are missing out! It's quite the treat and experience.
It's funny, many women come into the experience being super nervous about the process. Why you ask? because they can't see the finished garment. It never fails that in the end, almost every person who goes through the process wonders why they have never done it before and say it's the only way to go. 
I realized that for as much custom work as we do, I have never dedicated a full blog post to exactly what it is and what you can expect. So, here you go, a quick guide to what getting something custom made is like! 

What is custom? The custom experience is the process of making a specific garment to your specifications, including fit, style, and colors. When you get a gown custom made for you, the whole process is literally tailored to make the gown specific to your body and personality. 

You may wonder that if something is custom if it will it be the only one ever made. Yes and no. To be honest, there are only so many ways to cut a dress, so you are bound to see that there are certain types of silhouettes or colors that get repeated because they work. However, we do make sure that we never make a gown in exactly the same way in the same fabric as another customer order. That means that you may see another gown in the same fabric as yours, but the design and the details will never be exactly the same.

Custom made clothing also differs from ready made gowns sold in traditional shops and department stores. When you shop off the rack in a traditional store, the garment you choose is usually one of many (if not hundreds or thousands) of that style that were made by the designer to be sold around the world. You may alter or modify a preexisting gown, but there will still be other gowns out there that are "your" gown. We are different in the sense that even our ready-made-gowns on our racks (excluding a few classic styles) are one of one. You'll never see exactly the same gown in the same fabric from us, ever. 

For our customers that want to make sure that they are the only one using their fabric for a specific period of time, we have a selection of Haute Couture fabrics that can be reserved exclusively for a period of 1- 2 years for an additional fee. For most customers, this isn't necessary, but we know that exclusivity is important! 

We are here to guide you through your custom design experience. The below steps are a general guideline of what you can expect the process to look like. Keep in mind that each garment is unique to you so there can be variations in the process.

Design Consultation: At your design consultation, we'll discuss ideas and inspirations for your custom dress or garment. Personal measurements will be taken, you will try on samples if necessary, and review fabric and embellishment options before approving a final design. It's important to bring any inspiration that you may have, i.e. Pinterest pictures and existing garments!

Many times we find that we have an existing style that is very close to what our clients are wanting and we just need to make a few changes to get it to be exactly the right gown for the right occasion, it's usually a matter of modifying a neckline or adding sleeves along with the perfect fabric. 

Fashion Illustration by David Peck with colored pencils and fabric draped on a cutting table

Muslin Fitting: During this appointment, you’ll try on a prototype or muslin of your dress to get an idea of the shape and silhouette on your body. A muslin is a mockup of your design in a simple fabric, usually cotton. It is at this fitting that we can make any design changes that need to be made before cutting the dress or garment in the final fabric.

Muslin Draped on a dress form to create a pattern by David Peck

Fabric Fitting: At your fabric fitting, you will get to try your dress/garment on in the chosen fabric from your design consultation. If you have the actual shoes or shoes of similar height you plan to wear with your garment, you'll want to bring them so that we can make adjustments to the hem length, as well as the proper undergarments so that you can see the exact fit. Any alterations or adjustments will be made at this fitting. The number of subsequent fabric fittings will vary depending on the complexity of the design.

David Peck sketching in his factory atelier with a wedding dress in the background

Final Fitting: This is the very last fitting before you take the garment home with you. You will wear your actual shoes you plan to wear with your garment as well as the proper undergarments so that you can see the accurate fit. It is important to us that your dress fits you perfectly and that you feel beautiful and are in love with the end result once you leave us.

The best part of our job is making you feel like the best version of yourself!

How long does it take? Allow for 8-12 weeks for most custom gown orders. Certain fabrications may take additional time. This will be discussed at your Design Consultation. Orders can be rushed for an additional fee. If we are rushing your garment, the timeline below will be shortened to match your deadline. 

Rough Timeline (for non-rush orders):

Design Consultation

Muslin fitting: 4-6 weeks after consultation

Fabric Fitting: 3-4 weeks after muslin

Final Fitting: 2-3 weeks after fabric fitting

Things to bring to fittings:

- Proper under garments

- Shoes you plan to wear for the event

(Optional) Jewelry or accessories

I hope this gives you a better idea of how we work and what the custom process is like! If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below. Who knows, maybe we'll do a follow up post! 

 David Peck Signature




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