Custom wedding dress maker Rachel Kurland shares her process of designing and making custom bridal gowns in her studio in South Strafford, Vermont.
When I was three years old we moved into a house with a treadle machine and my mother taught me to sew. They say you'll be happy if your work relates to the way you played as a child. I made period clothes for my dolls and grew up to be a costume designer. Years in regional theater and in New York costume houses taught me vintage sewing methods and couture techniques, all of which inform my custom wedding gowns. My job is to get a sense of who you are, to help you look your most beautiful while feeling like yourself. You need to be able to hug your guests, to dance without worries, and when you look at your photos twenty years from now you should recognize the person smiling in the photos.
The creation of a custom wedding dress is a collaboration. At our first meeting we will discuss your ceremony, your venue, your favorite clothes. Bring photos that show dresses or elements of dresses that you like. I will show you swatches of natural fabrics and a portfolio of gowns I’ve made in the past. Your gown will be different from any of these because it will be adapted to flatter your figure, your complexion, your personal style.
Once we agree on a design, I sew a muslin mockup of your dress for you to try on. In your muslin fitting I will tweak the design, lowering or raising the waist or neckline, adjusting the fullness, etc. until your face lights up in the mirror. Then we’re ready to proceed to the next step, cutting out the actual fabric.
The number of fittings will vary with the style of the dress. Usually there are three. I do fittings in my home studio in South Strafford, Vermont. If we need to work long distance I can call on a fellow member of the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals in your area to do a fitting. Feel free to call with questions or to schedule an appointment.