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Custom-made couture

By Staff | Jun 30, 2010

A few weeks ago I fell in love. However, my new “sole” mate has been cooped up in my house waiting for me to come through with the perfect outfit for our first night out together.

I haven’t felt this way about a pair of shoes in a long time, mostly because the styles currently available don’t mesh well with the dress-up standards I’ve created for myself.

It’s been difficult to find classic dress shoes that don’t compromise my ideals or my bank account; and I’ve been settling for less than what I deserve for too long. So, when I found $110, nearly 4-inch black satin ankle strap pumps with rhinestone embellishments for $19.95, my heart fluttered and I couldn’t wait to get dressed up.

Thinking there must a be dress somewhere to match the shoes, I put them in my online shopping cart and clicked “buy.” The plaid farm-girl sundresses and floral-print beach bum wraps weighing down store racks won’t cut it with these shoes, and a $400 dress is out of the question. Searching online was a futile effort, too; but finally I had an epiphany.

Faced with a similar dilemma for my high school graduation and baccalaureate, my mother suggested that I just have dresses made after searching far and wide for perfection. (I couldn’t take the step from high school to college in just anything.)

Finding dress patterns, material in my favorite color and the trimmings, I had the mold for what I wanted for a fraction of the cost. After a phone call to my favorite seamstress, a fitting, a few days waiting, dresses were ready.

With my shoes in mind, I dreamed up and sketched a dress that is sure to complement them and me impeccably. Although I have yet to find the pattern or patterns that will be needed to create a match for my shoes, I’m sure it won’t be difficult, but it’s sure to be fun.

Having an outfit made allows you to embrace your inner fashion designer or get some creativity flowing.

You can start the process by also drawing some ideas, cutting out pictures from magazines or simply perusing dress patterns at the store. You don’t have to go for traditional clothing patterns either; Halloween costumes are a great way to find unique styles.

When picking out a pattern, make sure you buy the one that matches your size. A pattern too small could cause an inconvenience for your seamstress, who will have to add inches to ensure the correct fit.

Next, find the material. Employees of a fabric or sewing store should be able to help you understand which materials are best suited for the pattern you’ve selected. Yard sales are great and inexpensive places to find fabric or some finishing touches, such as trim or a brooch.

If you don’t possess sewing skills, there are some great seamstresses around who have the talent to craft, or possibly design, the right dress, shirt or pants for any occasion. To find one, just ask friends or acquaintances who they’d recommend.

Ultimately, having a dress custom-made isn’t that expensive and it’s most likely to cost less than those you would find in a store.

The best part of having any clothing made just for you: It was made just for you — no more worrying about tailoring parts that are too tight or loose around disproportionate body parts. Plus, having a special-made outfit gives you the chance to get creative and not have to worry about showing up in the same thing as someone else and, of course, set free the shoes that are longing for a life outside the box.

Contact Carra at letters@graffitiwv.com