Made to Measure Wedding Dress Journey | Andrea Hawkes
Read Courteney’s made to measure wedding dress journey with Andrea Hawkes. From discussions to tailoring, see how the perfect wedding dress was made
When we meet with our brides for the first time it’s always important for us to really take time to understand what you want from your dress which is why we have our Made to Measure wedding dress service. You may have a particular neckline you feel amazing in or a fabric you love – the wonderful thing about how we work here at AH is that you can customise our designs to make them perfect for you. There is absolutely no need to compromise on your dress, we can adapt our dresses to make sure you feel 100% comfortable and confident in your dress on your wedding day.
Adaptions to our designs is one of the most common services we offer here at AH. You may love one of our dresses but prefer the skirt of a different style, you may want to add sleeves or amend the neckline shape. This service is called Made to Measure. With the ability to adapt designs, our lovely real bride Courteney chose this service for her stunning wedding dress.
This blog is going to take you through Courteney’s journey as a lovely example of how this service works and the steps taken to achieve the final look!
The Initial Meeting
We first met with Courteney back in August 2020, we had a couple of made to measure appointments over this time to work on the design. Our initial meeting was to try a range of shapes, styles and design elements within our Collection to really understand what worked for Courteney. Courteney immediately knew she wanted to have a wedding dress with sleeves but we had to be mindful of the time of year. A solid silk sleeve felt a little too heavy for the warmer months so this led us to the sheer light silk chiffon sleeve of our Clarice dress. After trying on a few styles we knew that our Clarice bodice was the one, the delicate straps underneath, deep v-neckline and light chiffon overlay were just perfect!
However, our Clarice dress comes in two parts (a slip with a full overdress) which felt a little too relaxed for Courteney’s special day. So we tried some alternative skirt options that were fuller, had longer trains and were more classic in their feel. We landed on our a-line Kirsten skirt in silk satin with an extended train.
“Andrea Hawkes provided an extremely professional yet friendly service. It was the first bridal shop I visited, and I was so impressed with how clean everything was – especially the dresses – so pristine. I found that every shop after Andrea Hawkes was a disappointment – nothing seemed to compare to the luxurious silks and fabrics at Andrea Hawkes, and I knew after day 2 of shopping that I would be back.”
The Second Visit
On Courteney’s second visit to the AH Showroom, we focussed on the finer details and bought together all of the elements into a cohesive and inspiring design…
Clarice bodice with Kirsten skirt made in heavyweight silk satin with Chiffon overlay on bodice only, extended train and waist belt in matching silk. Fully made to measure with a toile fitting.
When making a dress like this, a beautiful blend of our designs, it is important that this is created through our made to measure service. This means Courteney’s dress was fully made to her body measurements but also that we would make a prototype (toile) for Courteney to see these design adaptions before we continued to make in silk. This allowed Courteney to have full confidence moving forwards, knowing she could see the design and make amendments before being made in her chosen silk fabrics.
“I was drawn to the styles of a few dresses, and thought I may have to choose one, but Siobhan reassured me that I could take the top of one dress and have the bottom of another dress, add buttons here and there, change the neckline etc.”
“Anything was possible, and nothing too much trouble.”
Design Spec & Sketch
Once Courtney confirmed her dress order our team then moved onto our Design Specification and Sketch. At this stage Andrea wrote up Courteney’s order with every single detail included – fabrics, bodice shape, sleeve shape/length, skirt silhouette, train length and finishing details. We call this our ‘Recipe’ – a clear, detailed write up of all of our brides orders that will then be used by our entire team throughout the fitting process
Andrea will also create a beautiful sketch to start bringing the design and vision to life. This is used by our fitting team but also sent to our brides to help visualise the end result.
Here is a sketch of Courteney’s beautiful design.
Measurements & Toile Fitting
The next stage of Courteney’s dress journey was to start fittings with our team. Our client manager, Siobhan booked in these dates with Courteney. Due to the pandemic Courteney’s fittings were slightly closer together and we completed the entire dress process between April and June 2021. We had 4 fittings with Courteney over this time to assess fit and perfect the design.
The first fitting was measurements. At this appointment, Courteney met with our fitter and pattern cutter Laurie who took over 20 body measurements. When we create a made to measure dress we take all size and proportional measurements so that a pattern can be drafted specifically for our bride’s body.
Laurie then used these measurements alongside the design specification to create Courteney’s very special and unique dress pattern. From this, a Toile is made. A toile is essentially a prototype of your dress made to your body measurements, this is made from cotton and fabric offcuts and allows our brides to see their dress before making in silk.
Courteney’s toile fitting was wonderful! The design looked incredible and we made a few amendments to the fit, as you can see we lifted the shoulders and worked on the back of Courteney’s dress. We also carried out a final check through all of the details to ensure Courteney was happy to move forward to the next stage of her dress being made in silk.
After Courteney’s Toile fitting our team then got to work on the actual dress. Once the final adaptions from the toile fitting were made, Courteney’s dress was cut in beautiful silk satin and silk chiffon. These pieces were then meticulously and carefully sewn together in our London studio by our experienced in house seamstresses. Once the dress had been made, we saw Courteney for her 1st silk fitting.
At this fitting, we pinned the centre back to ensure a close fit and altered the hem to sit perfectly with Courteney’s gorgeous shoes!
Final Fitting & Collection
Our team then finished Courteney’s dress with all fastenings in place, a perfect fit and a perfect hem. All ready for their special day!
I think you will all agree that this design is just stunning! The combination of the silk satin and chiffon work beautifully and the fuller skirt/extended train added the perfect amount of drama and elegance to this customised design.
“I loved how comfortable my dress was. The way the fabric moved. It was a heavy silk satin, and the light made it appear ethereal. I wore a chapel length veil with ladder lace edging from Andrea Hawkes too.”
Courteney’s Dress On The Big Day
A close up of Courteney’s Clarice Bodice and Hattie Veil
Courteney’s Gorgeous shoes from Emporio Armani
Courteney in customised AH
The happy couple!
A beautiful shot of Courteney’s silk satin skirt
COURTENEY REVIEWS HER EXPERIENCE WITH US
Wedding Photography by Carrie Lavers
START YOUR MADE TO MEASURE JOURNEY
If you’re ready to start your made to measure journey with us, have any questions or want to know more information, simply contact our friendly styling team here. We’ll help you as best we can to make your perfect dress.
From wedding dress ideas & inspiration to how-to guides and expert know-how. You'll find everything you need in the run up to your big day and beyond on our bridal blog!