Discover the Process - Judith Craig Couture
Purple dupion silk wedding dress. Waterfall on rear of skirt and corset bodiced laced up the back

Couture ~ how does it happen?

Choosing A Style and Fabrics.
The latter is dependent on the former – so the first thing to decide is the style. This is where the combination of your ideas and your designer’s experience come into their own. At this stage your designer will be able to make preliminary sketches noting details and you can then move on to the vast and exciting world of beautiful fabrics.

The decision making process now becomes much more difficult – very pleasant but difficult! Certain decisions are very easy because it is obvious for example that a fairly stiff dupion silk will not be suitable for a bias cut drapey little number. Your designer will be able to guide you in the slightly more difficult areas of fabric choice and she or he should be able to source a wide variety of fabrics for you to choose from.

From Measure Up To Toile.
The other thing that happens at this stage is the dreaded measure up! All those broken promises of going to the gym and eating healthily suddenly loom very large in your mind! Don’t panic!

A good designer and sensible choice of fabric covers a multitude of sins. From these measurements a toile is made. This is a mock up of your dress in a cotton fabric which, when it has been fitted to your designer’s satisfaction, becomes the working pattern for the dress. Then and only then will your fabric be cut.

I think it is fair to say that this is the stage when you most need your courage. If you have never had anything made for you before then you are in for a shock. It is not the most flattering item you ever tried on but I assure you it is essential.

You can now begin to see why I said earlier that you need to invest a certain amount of time in a made to measure garment. This is only your first fitting and to be realistic you will need at least two, possibly three or four more, so as I said on the home page, do take into consideration travelling distances to and from your dressmaker if time is precious to you.

From First Fitting To The Finishing Post.
This is the nice bit! After the shock of the toile your dress will really begin to take shape. The next time you try it on it will look completely different. The first difference, of course, is the fabric and you will also notice how comfortable a made to measure garment really is.

Depending on the simplicity or complexity of your dress the next fitting may be very close to the finishing line subject to final adjustments for hems etc. or it may be that some form of detail shouts at you to be added on and you need another fitting or two. As the dress or outfit progresses you fast realise that it is very comfortable, this is simply because it FITS! This is something, unless you are very lucky, that no off the peg garment, no matter how expertly it is altered, can ever do like a couture gown.


is your once in a lifetime dress short and sassy, straight out of the 1950s, tailored and figure hugging or a froth of delicate tulle?

Whatever it is that is in your mind we can turn the dream into reality.


Alex Howarth

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T: 0161 440 0118