Custom Garment FAQ

How does the custom garment process work?
There are three basic steps to making a custom garment. First, we will come up with a design for your garment, using your ideas and inspiration. Second, we make a mockup to test the fit and style and make any needed adjustments. The third and final step is to construct your finished garment, making sure it's what you want and it fits you perfectly. Read more about The Custom Garment Process...

Do you create original patterns?
Heck, yeah! We use a combination of draping and flat-patterning methods to create our garments. If you read the main page of this section, you know our feelings about mass-produced garments. Well, patterns are really not much better. Not to mention, it's illegal copyright infringement to sell a garment made from a commercial pattern without permission from its designer. So yes, we make our own patterns all the time.

How long does it take?
Most custom garments take 3-6 months from the time you sign the contract. More complex projects, such as wedding gowns or ensembles with more than one piece, may take longer. We recommend you allow at least 6 months for wedding gowns and suits, as they tend to require more hours to design and create, as well as more fittings, than other garments. Your contract will include due dates for each step of the process, ensuring that we can complete it on time.

How many fittings will be needed?
Most projects will require at 3-5 fittings. The first fitting will be for your mockup, where we will check the fit, make adjustments if needed, and ensure that they style is what you want. We will also select your fabrics at the mockup fitting if we have not done so already. Additional mockup fittings may be required, depending on the adjustments which are needed. Next, we will fit your garment in progress, before we finalize things. We may need several in-progress fittings, especially if your garment requires a built-in bra foundation or has a sheer overlay. Once the garment is mostly assembled, we'll typically have a fitting to mark hem length with your chosen shoes. Your final fitting will be when the garment is completely finished, after which you'll be able to take it home! Read more about The Custom Garment Process...

How much input do I have, as the buyer?
As much or as little as you want. Because each project is custom, it is made just for you, which means you get to decide what it should look like, how long it is, how closely it should hug your body, and whatever else you have an opinion on. We will make suggestions and let you know if, for some reason, what you envision defies the laws of physics and fabric or if it's beyond our skills. Or you can give us a vague idea of your vision, and we can run with it. Your choice.

How do I know the final garment will be what I am expecting?
We'll work with you through the entire process to make sure our vision is in line with yours. At each step along the way, we'll revise until you're satisfied and we'll get your approval before we move forward.

Do I need to have in-person appointments to have custom clothes made?
In short, yes. While it is possible to make clothing using just your measurements, it is quite the opposite of our mission to do so. Use of this "standard size" method is one of the ways mass production fails to accommodate our own unique shapes. We want your garment to fit you perfectly, and we simply cannot guarantee that without being able to try it out on your actual body and make adjustments. For some garments with simple silhouettes or straightforward mathematical patterning, we may be able to work with you long-distance, provided you have access to a seamstress or trusted friend who can take accurate measurements and assist with fitting the garment. PleaseĀ contact us and we can discuss the possibility.

Will I need to come to you for fittings?
We prefer that you come to use so that we have ready access to the tools and supplies we may need for a fitting. However, we can come to you if you want. We charge our regularly hourly rate for travel time, and can travel within the greater Chicagoland area for fittings.

What are your custom clothing specialties? Is there anything you don't make?
We love to make period/retro styles (especially 1930s & 1950s styles) and corsets for women. We haven't said no to any projects yet, but we will say no to anything we feel is beyond our capabilities. Or we may offer to teach ourselves on your project for a big discount if it's something we're interested in learning.

Do I have to purchase my own fabric?
Nope! We'll do the fabric shopping for you. You are welcome, but in no way obligated, to come along if you like. Should you be in possession of the perfect fabric already, just let us know and we can talk about what to make with it!

How much will it cost? What factors affect the price of the garment?
The most expensive part of a custom garment is usually the labor. The more intricate it is, the longer it takes. Fabric choices also make a difference in the cost. Synthetic fabrics, such as polyester and rayon, tend to be less expensive than natural fibers like silk and linen. We charge an hourly rate for labor plus the cost of materials. While we have no set minimum, we are dedicated to time-honored couture techniques as well as the perfect fit - so our intensely personal process generally requires at least 40 hours of work, and can take as much as 100 hours or more.

Do you offer any discounts?
Generally speaking, no, and here's why - first of all, we strive to keep our fees as low as possible while paying ourselves and our employees a living wage, and we know that Crafty Broads clients believe in fair wages! Secondly, it wouldn't be fair to clients who are paying full price if we gave others the same service at a lower rate. If you have a particular budget that you need to stick to, please let us know upfront so that we can make recommendations that will fit within it.

Cindy and Julia made an absolutely stunning, unique and beautifully handcrafted dress for me. I cannot say enough wonderful things about their design, their work, and their skill. Making a corset that intricate is a marvel and they did it quickly and within my budget. It turned out better than I ever could have imagined. Thank you, Crafty Broads!

- Cory, Chicago IL

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