The Custom Garment Process

So, you're thinking about hiring us to make you something truly special. How, you wonder, does that work? Let us tell you!

Design Phase, $200

We start with a consultation. You tell us what you’re looking for. Bring us pictures of things that make you drool. Tell us all about the ways things usually fit or don’t fit you. We’ll talk about your ideas, brainstorm a little bit with you, and let you touch some fabrics that might work well for your project. Of course, we will also answer any questions you may have.

In this first phase of the process, we'll brainstorm and sketch and come up with several design options for you. We will also put together estimates of the cost for each design. This will include the estimated number of labor hours we anticipate your garment will take us to complete and our best guess of material costs – fabric, lining, zippers, buttons, thread, and any other notions we’ll need. Together, we'll go over the ideas and costs, get your input, make changes if needed, and settle on a final design. At the conclusion of this Design Phase, we'll collect 50% of the estimated cost to begin work on your garment.

Mockup, 50% deposit

Here’s the part where we take the design and turn it into something three-dimensional. With inexpensive fabric, we'll use a combination of draping and flat-patterning techniques to make a trial version of your garment. Since the point of this is to make sure we have a great fit, as well as to tweak the design if needed, it won’t have perfectly finished seams, trim, or decorative details unless they are crucial to the fitting process. You’ll try it on, and we’ll make notes, stick some pins in or let seams out here and there, and talk to at length about the fit, style, and materials. When we all agree that your garment is tailored perfectly to your measurements and body shape - and that the style is exactly what you want - we'll be ready to begin creating your final garment.

Final Garment, 50% balance

In the final, and perhaps most exciting phase of the process, we'll select the materials needed for your garment. We work with only the finest fabrics - primarily silks - for every inch of your garment. You'll have the opportunity to touch swatches of the proposed fabrics and pick the exact color and feel you want to wear. Your garment will be then made with time-honored couture techniques, which are hallmarked by extreme attention to detail and hand-executed techniques. Every stitch will be put in by a Crafty Broad, right here in our Chicago studio.

Garment Pricing

Because all of our work is custom, our prices are determined individually for each garment based on the labor and materials needed for the design. Here's what you can expect:

  • Design Phase, $200: This fee covers the time we'll spend brainstorming in our consultation, and then generating, sketching, and pricing out our ideas for your garment. It also includes a second meeting to review the designs and answer your questions. We typically spend 8-10 hours on this part of the process.
  • Labor, $40 per hour: We'll estimate the number of hours your garment will take from start to finish. Most custom garments require at least 50 hours of time to create a pattern to your measurements; cut, sew, and fit the mockup; and then create the finished garment. Many garments, particularly suits or gowns that include lace/beading, take 100 hours or more.
  • Materials: We'll recommend materials and notions we think are best for your project and provide you with an estimate of their costs. There is a lot of variation in options, as you might imagine, but we find most garments require $500-$800 in materials.

So, to simplify it a bit - most of our custom garments cost between $2,500-$7,000 total, including labor and materials.

Timing

We prefer to have 4-6 months from your initial consultation to complete a custom garment. The design phase usually takes us 2-4 weeks; your mockup and final garment deadlines will be based on the date of the event you'll wear the garment. Unless there is a rush situation, we'll schedule your final fitting date approximately 6 weeks prior to your event in order to get the best fit on your body; your mockup fitting will be about 6-8 weeks prior to that.

If you need a garment in less than three months, please inquire about our availability as soon as possible, so that we may try to accommodate you in our calendar. Rush fees will apply to garments required in shorter timeframes.

I had a vision for a yellow wedding dress, and I knew that it was something that I wouldn't be able to find at a bridal boutique, so I started googling ways to have a dress made in Chicago. This is how I found Crafty Broads, and I am so glad I did; a week later I had a consultation with them about what I was looking for, and that started the process. A few weeks after the consultation they gave me some design drawings, and we discussed the finer points and details of all of the options. It felt like I was on Project Runway! At the next meeting they measured me, and showed me many fabric options. A few fittings later, the dress of my dreams was a reality! They understood exactly what I wanted, and had the skills to make it happen.

I loved all of my meetings and fittings with Cindy and Julia, they provided so much support in the 9 months leading up to my wedding. The fittings felt more like hanging out with two close friends rather than an appointment.

The dress that Julia and Cindy made was much more special than anything I could have bought at a bridal shop. On my big day I could feel the energy and love that went into making my dress, and it made me feel even more amazing.

- Louise, Chicago IL

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