How long does it take to make a custom costume?
Petticoats and shifts usually ship out within 2 weeks. Stays and gowns take 3 to 4 weeks, and entire ensembles may take up to 8 weeks. Please order well enough in advance of your event so that you can receive your costume in time.
Do you offer fabric choices?
I offer fabric choices on most items. When you place an order, I will email you a selection of fabric choices. I try to keep my selection as historically accurate as possible, but I choose fabrics based on availability, practicality and cost.
Why do I have to submit so many measurements?
The ideal situation for custom made clothing is for the client to be measured in person, then have multiple fittings to fine tune the fit. If you are unable to come to my studio (like most of my clients), then you'll need to provide all the measurements requested. I use a combination of flat paper pattern drafting and draping on a dress form to achieve the proper size. In some cases, I may send you a mock up of the garment for you to try on and assess the fit. You would mark on the mock up the areas to be altered, then return it to me.
How historically accurate are your costumes?
I try to create costumes which are as historically accurate as possible, but with more modern methods of construction to speed up the process. Interior seams may be machine sewn, but all exterior seams or visible stitching is done by hand. I use natural fiber fabrics, threads and trims unless the use of natural fibers would be impractical. For example, I may use faux fur trim instead of real fur.
I draft my own patterns based upon extant garments in museums and books. It's important to note that no matter how hard we try to achieve historical accuracy, the fact remains that our present day fabrics and threads are made with present day technology, from plant sources grown with current agricultural technology. This is a different world from 250 years ago, and although we can come very close to replicating a garment, we will always be slightly shy of our goal.
Why are your costumes so expensive?
My prices reflect the cost of high quality materials such as 100% linen, silk, wool and cotton. Laces and trims are obtained from special sources which provide period appropriate options. Sometimes, antique laces are used, and those are very expensive. Fabrics range from $15 to $65 per yard, and a typical gown requires 5 to 6 yards, so that cost adds up quickly. I do not use polyester silk or cotton-poly blends. Only natural fibers give the most authentic look and feel.
Construction of my historical garments involves mostly hand-sewing, with machine sewing used primarily on interior seams. This ensures that the garment looks entirely hand-sewn to the viewer. Small amounts of embroidery are done by hand, and larger areas of embroidery may be machine embroidered with silk or wool thread.
Because most of my garments are made to measure, I have to draft the pattern to fit. Drafting a pattern requires some paper and pencil work and computer assisted design. The pattern is usually made up in muslin to test the fit on a dress form. In some cases, I may mail the muslin test garment to the client for her to try on. All these extra steps add to the cost but result in better fitting garments.
Do you offer a guarantee or refund?
I guarantee that you'll fall in love with your new garment, but if, for any reason, you are unhappy then contact me immediately so we can solve the problem.
What if I have more questions?
If you have questions not answered here, then please contact me via email or call (603)533-6651.