Have some questions about a custom-created gown?
The questions we’re most frequently asked are below. Feel free to email or call Gayle’s for more detailed explanations or answers to other questions. The creation of a truly unique gown is a complex process and is only for a very few brides.
How far in advance do I have to plan for a dress to be made?
Most brides have either purchased or planned their gown about a year in advance of the wedding. Certainly this is an optimal amount of time when fabrics, laces, and/or trims have to be sourced and purchased. Gowns can be planned in far less time than that, but the time of year influences this possibility.
Do I need to find the fabric, laces, trims, and thread, etc.?
No, you do not have to find these things to have a gown created, and it would be much less frustrating for you if you didn’t try. With the demise of most of the independent fabric stores that cater to the garment sewer, finding quality goods in the Midwest has become a real problem. For that reason, Gayle has developed sourcing opportunities with vendors in New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and other cities. To help you with your selections, she has an inventory of fabrics, laces, and trims for sale in the shop but can easily order other choices from these sources.
What about a pattern for the gown? Do I need to go to a store to look at pattern books?
No, you do not need a pattern. Gayle can create any and all the patterns she will need to create your gown to your exact wishes and measurements. All you need is your vision of what you would like your gown to be. Pictures from magazines and other sources are most helpful, but drawings and verbal descriptions will also work.
How does the process work?
The first step is to set up an appointment for a consultation with Gayle. During this time, your vision for your dress will be discussed, fabrics that will be best suited for the design will be chosen, and a preliminary estimate will be given. A more concrete estimate will be sent to you in a few days, along with a contract that specifies the terms of the agreement. Once these papers have been received, along with a deposit and a construction time-line worked out, your measurements will be taken and a muslin garment of the design will be created. A muslin toile allows us to fit the garment, fine-tune or modify the design elements, and adjust proportions. The muslin is then remarked, taken apart, and used as the pattern for the actual gown. On some occasions, a second muslin of part of the gown will be remade and fitted again before the actual gown fabrics are cut and sewed. The next fittings are when the gown is being constructed and the design elements added. The last fitting is when it is complete.
What do I need to bring with me?
At the first consultation, you will need your ideas and pictures and/or drawings. The fitting of the muslin will require a proper fitting bra, any slip or petticoat if you are not renting one from Gayle’s, and an idea of the shoe height you will be wearing. All other fittings will require the same bra, slip, and the actual shoes that you will use on your wedding day. (If you want to not wear a bra in your gown, a properly fitted one still must be used when the muslin is created. We want the “girls” in the correct place when creating the inside construction of the gown, and the bra will be eliminated later.)
Do you sell any ready-made dresses?
No. Gayle’s sells headpieces, veils, shoes, jewelry, and bras and rents slips and fur wraps, but not ready-made gowns.
What brands of headpieces and/or jewelry do you carry? I don’t want to be wearing the same things that all my friends or relatives wore for their weddings.
Gayle’s carries accessories from vendors who have a very limited presence in Iowa. A bride that comes to Gayle’s is looking for something that will not only complement her gown or that of her attendants, but pieces that reflect her personal style.
How long does it take to get shoes or jewelry in once they’re ordered?
How long it takes to receive a specific accessory depends on the availability of the item from the vendor, but most things arrive at the shop in two weeks or less. As always, ordering in a timely manner provides the best results.