Since my last blog post, Michelle’s dress is really starting to take shape.  It seems that when I get on a roll, I forget about blogging!

Once the design was decided, the dressmaking process began when Michelle came over to the studio and I took an extensive set of measurements of her body.  Accurate measurements are imperative to getting a superb fit.  I’ve created my own measurement chart that works well for me and is much more than just the average chest/waist/hips measurements that are used in ready-to-wear sizing.  Most women’s shapes don’t fit perfectly into one “size” (aka “size 8”), therefore I don’t work in sizes.

I take the bride’s very specific measurements and draft my own patterns by hand, rather than buy or work from a pre-made pre-designed pre-sized commercial pattern.  I took approximately 50 measurements of Michelle as well as some body pics in order to create a pattern (and ultimately a couture dress!) for a “size-Michelle”.

After that quick meeting, I used the information I gathered at our measurement session to recreate Michelle’s unique shape on one of my standard professional dress forms (also known as a dressmaker’s mannequin).  I do this by starting with a form that is smaller than the bride and then padding it up using strategically placed strips of quilted fabric.  (I decided not to post a picture of this on the blog, since it is almost like posting a picture of my bride with no clothes on!)  Once I’ve “sculpted” her unique body shape, I cover it with a neutral fabric.  This just makes the padding smoother, less distracting and more like a real body.

This resized dress form and these measurements are the foundation for my patterning and dressmaking process which are now well underway!

2 Responses

  1. Hi Brooks Ann! I am currently in the process of making my own wedding dress and therefore have been totally binging on your blog posts since I heard your interview on the Love to Sew podcast. I am wondering if you have ever posted any more details about how you custom pad your dress forms. I would love to know more about your process when you customize the form for your clients. Thanks!

    1. I post about it with each bride, but since it would be sharing the (basically naked) shape of a real client, I don’t go into a lot of details. The newer the blog series, the more detailed I get (the post you are reading now is over 8 years old). This post from my most recent series might be the most detailed: I plan to teach the process in an online class someday! Congratulations on your engagement and good luck with our wedding dress!

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Hi there! I'm Brooks Ann.

I’m an independent designer and couture dressmaker for one-of-a-kind bridalwear located in Hillsborough, North Carolina. I also teach the sew-curious both in-person and online.

My blog follows along with the couture process of how each heirloom-quality custom wedding dress is made from idea to wedding day, as well as other interesting tidbits related to sewing, weddings, and body positivity.

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