The Custom Dressmaking Process

We were reminiscing about past clients and creations and we came upon this custom wedding gown. Many years ago, when Jennifer was still working from her home studio, she worked together with the Bride Janice. Janice got married at Maui Tropical Plantation in this beautiful bias-cut silk charmeuse wedding gown. With the new year around the corner and many brides-to-be preparing for a busy 2022, we wanted to share a bit more about the custom wedding gown process at JOA.

At the Atelier, we treat the custom wedding gown process as a one-of-a-kind experience. We curate the process to each individual client we work together with. We want our clients to feel comfortable and confident through every step of the way… all the way to the last dance at the reception. For us at JOA, the custom wedding gown process is about getting to know our clients in order to truly let their personalities shine through on their wedding day in their custom made dress. 

The general structure of our custom wedding gown process begins with an initial consultation to make sure the bride and JOA are a good match. This is an important step as the process is very much a collaborative process and we want to make sure that we are on the same page. Afterwards, we will set up a design consultation to begin the draft of your dream wedding gown. This is always a very exciting meeting as we dream up all of the possibilities and details. Jennifer will then create a visual design for you to review to make sure it fits your vision. Next, the JOA team will create a toile, or sample dress. Once the sample garment is approved by you, we will create the real garment from the chosen fabrics. We will have as many fittings as needed to make sure all fits right and you feel comfortable in your gown. 

Creating a wedding gown is a rich and full process. Your gown becomes embedded with something very intentional and meaningful as you were a part of the process the entire way. For Jennifer, it’s very personal, as the gowns are a labor of love. She is a bit sad to see them go, but happy for the bride. It is a process she would like to share with every woman getting married. If you’d like to know more about our custom wedding gown process click here or email us at love@jenniferoberg.com. At JOA we are passionate about creating and collaborating. We would love to work together with you on bringing your unique vision to life!

Embassy Ballgown Recreation Series – Part 2

Continuing our dressmaking tale of recreating the Embassy Ballgown, we have the elaborate process of researching and discovering many mysteries along the way. After discussing with the bride about this exciting wedding gown assignment, Jennifer immediately set off to find all the information she could gather on this iconic gown. Many hours were spent on research and development for this gown. 

Jennifer had high hopes of finding the actual gown from the 1964 film for inspiration in her recreation. However, tracking down the actual location of this gown turned out to be quite the scavenger hunt. Jennifer tried to locate the gown through her connections in Hollywood from her time working on various films and tv series as a costume shop supervisor. But much to her surprise, no one knew where this dress could possibly be. Warner Brothers did not have it in their costume vault. It was not in any museum. The head of the UCLA Costume Department said the gown had most likely been auctioned off, and was in the hands of a private collector. On the internet, the rumors said that this gown was actually borrowed from a person in the UK and was then returned back to the original owner after the making of the film. To this day we still have yet to find out where the original Embassy Ballgown is located. If you know where it could be, let us know. The mystery is yet to be solved!

Another exciting discovery Jennifer found while researching this dress came from Cecil Beaton, the Costume Designer of My Fair Lady.  He wrote a diary of his experience working on the film.  Jennifer found this entry about the Embassy Ballgown:

Wednesday, 19 June (1962)

“This afternoon, however, Eliza’s ball dress was pinned, in rough form, on a stand for the first time. This is a dress that everyone will see. Agnes has the responsibility of creating this gossamer shift. She started to cut the sequin, crystal and chenille embroidery from a genuine 1910 evening gown which will be an invaluable guide for our embroideries. Absorbed in such fascinating detail, I didn’t realize the day was long since over, yet none of the women seemed in a hurry to get back to their homes.” 

So, it appeared that the gown was modeled after a 1910 evening gown that a dressmaker named “Agnes” cut apart to use a guide.  It seems that the gown Audrey Hepburn wore must have been an original gown made in-house at the costume studio.  Jennifer longed to find out who Agnes was, but never figured that out.  If anyone knows about Agnes, we’d love to hear!

After accepting the fact that the gown could not be seen in person, Jennifer set off to find some high resolution photos of the dress in order to really see all of the intricate details. Jennifer ended up spending hours studying photos from Warner Brothers, still shots from the film, and through watching the film over and over again. After gathering as many details as she could from these resources, she came up with a design for this gown. Having the initial vision of the dress was thrilling! She knew this was going to be a very memorable experience in dressmaking and design.

Researching and creating the first design and sketch of the gown was the exciting beginning of a long dressmaking process. We will pause the dressmaking tale here for now, and continue back in part 3 on the process of creating the gown and the many adventures as a part of the creative process. See below for some photos of the research process… 

James Bond film Casino Royale Inspired Gown

Here comes another exciting dressmaking tale! With the recent release of the new James Bond film, we thought it would be fun to share a past wedding gown we created.

Several years ago Jennifer had a bride who wanted a replica of a dress from the James Bond film Casino Royale! The bride loved the look of this gown and was comfortable with the sexier look of the dress. So Jennifer went to work and brought this Casino Royale Inspired dress to life for the bride. Bride Saida and Groom Sol had their beautiful wedding celebration in April 2012 on Maui.

Here are some photos of the inspiration from the James Bond Film…

And here are some photos of the wedding gown Jennifer created…

We love when our clients come to us with such fun dressmaking ideas and visions. It’s always an adventurous task recreating a gown, especially from a film. Have you seen our previous blog posts on the adventures of recreating the embassy ballgown from My Fair Lady? Check it out here

Brides-to-be get in touch for all custom wedding gowns, we are happy to take on all sorts of dressmaking projects. From the classic wedding gown to 007 inspired gowns to My Fair Lady inspired gowns, we love creating them all!

Beaded Wedding Gowns

Beading is an exquisite detail in a wedding gown. It adds elegance and grace to a dress. What people may not know is that beaded gowns require a significant amount of time to alter. There is a very specific process we use so that the beads don’t fall off during alterations. We wanted to share this with future brides, as it is always a good idea to give yourself extra time in the wedding gown alteration process.

We recently worked with Bride Lauren on alterations for her beaded wedding gown. She has a beautiful gown covered in tiny seed beads. We shortened the straps and took in the sides to make the bodice fit perfectly. We also hemmed the dress.

Beaded gowns always take more time than non-beaded gowns to alter. On average it takes three to four times longer. This is because the beads are usually held together with a chainstitch. If you cut the stitch, then the beads will all start falling off because the stitch unravels. The technique we use requires us to carefully break the beads that we need to remove without breaking the stitch. We determine where the new seam or hem will be, break the beads that will need to be removed, and then finish the seam or hem. We then need to hand-sew many beads as well to make sure the ends of the chainstitch are secure.

Although working on a beaded gown is a more tedious, we LOVE it! It’s a very zen and relaxing process. We put on music and zone into the beads and do the work. Brides-to-be, please reach out in if you need assistance with your beaded wedding gown. Email us at love@jenniferoberg.com for inquiries.

Real Weddings: Kelsey

We worked together with Bride Kelsey on a custom wedding gown. Kelsey had a beautiful wedding on June 26, 2021. We have many gorgeous photos to share from Kelsey’s wedding day. All of the photography was captured by the talented Amber Caires, you can follow her on instagram @ambervisionphoto. Have a peek into this special day….

Kelsey’s custom wedding gown has 12 yards of luxurious 4-ply silk crêpe on the outer layer. The lining is made from 12 yards of dreamy-to-wear silk charmeuse. The gown has a darling detail of a ½ inch embroidered lace around the waist. We also created a 3-point English Pick-up Bustle for her gown.

A sweet testimonial from Kelsey:

“Jennifer and her entire team were a total dream to work with. After a few crises at other places, I was dress-less just two months before my wedding. I went to Jennifer with my concept and she created my dress from scratch! She has an expert eye for detail and was also very conscious of costs in materials, which I really appreciated. I was prepared for a high-stress experience so close to the wedding date, but Jennifer and her team were so sweet, smooth, and enjoyable to work with! Not a second of stress and I have nothing but gratitude for everyone over there. I truly can’t recommend them enough.” – Kelsey S

It was an absolute pleasure working together with Kelsey. The custom wedding gown process is a very unique and memorable experience. We love the relationships that are created with our clients during this creative process. Get in touch for any custom wedding gown inquiries at love@jenniferoberg.com.

Embassy Ballgown Recreation Series – Part 1

Kendall Jenner’s dress at the Met Gala has us reminiscing on the time we recreated Audrey Hepburn’s iconic Embassy Ballgown from the 1964 film My Fair Lady. This is one of our more adventurous, exciting, mysterious, and elaborate dressmaking stories that we just have to share with you! Due to the length of the process of this recreation, we are devoting a short blog series in order to share all of the juicy details from this dressmaking tale.

A few years ago, Bride Lorri from Austin, Texas, reached out to us about recreating Audrey Hepburn’s Embassy Ballgown from My Fair Lady for her wedding on the Amalfi Coast in Italy.  It had been her dream as a girl to have this dress for her wedding gown.  Her fiance Michael searched online to find the best dressmaker for the job, and came across our website.  We were blown away that they reached out to us, all the way on Maui!  But it was the perfect match. Jennifer had spent years working in professional costume shops in theatre and Hollywood before coming to Maui, so she had the connections to find out as much as possible about the gown.  And of course, she is a master dressmaker.  Sometimes when a person wishes to recreate a piece they’ve seen in a film before, the finished product might appear “costumey”.  But with Jennifer’s extensive background, she was able to make the dress into a true couture gown worthy of a beautiful wedding in Italy.

After discussing with the bride about the vision and details of this wedding gown recreation, Jennifer immediately dived into the long process of researching and investigating this famous beaded gown. And this next part of the story is where the mystery and searching began! But this is to be continued in part two of the series. For now, check out the photos below of Kendall Jenner’s Met Gala gown, Audrey Hepburn’s Embassy Ballgown, and the Bride Lorri’s wedding gown. 

Kendall Jenner at the Met Gala

Audrey Hepburn’s Embassy Ballgown in ‘My Fair Lady’

Dressmaker Jennifer Oberg with Bride Lorri

Lorri and Michael on their wedding day

Bride Lorri in her wedding gown

Real Weddings: Jada & Kurt

Jada and Kurt were scheduled to get married on June 1, 2020 at the Hui No’eau Arts Center on Maui. They had to reschedule their wedding for a year later, and they tied the knot on June 1, 2021! Congratulations to this gorgeous couple! And brava to all the couples finding ways to make their weddings work amidst the pandemic. We are happy to see our clients finding safe ways to tie the knot. 

We worked together with Jada and Kurt on alterations for their wedding clothes. We always enjoy working together with both the Bride and Groom. 

We altered Jada’s gorgeous beaded gown. We love working with beaded dresses. Check out our last blog about working with beaded gowns here. For Jada’s gown, we lengthened the straps, and made them cross in the back to provide more support over the shoulder.  We took the dress in around the bust and took the zipper in on the back.  We also hemmed the dress, a very nice and meditative process when it comes to working with the intricacy of beaded gowns. The beading was delicate and lovely and we enjoyed putting our heart and soul into the process.  

For Kurt’s wedding clothes, we tailored his shirt so that it fit better through the body.  We find that many men’s shirts fit through the shoulders and are too full in the waist area. This means you end up with a lot of bulky fabric to tuck into the pants.  So streamlining the fit makes a better look overall. We also hemmed his pants.  

We love working on both the bride and groom’s clothing! Get in touch if you and your partner need wedding attire alterations, we would love to work together with you!

All About Bustles: The Folded Fan Bustle

Next up in our bustle series is The Folded Fan Bustle. A very fun bustle to accentuate the curves of the silhouette. The shape of the bustle compliments gowns that are more fitted at the hips and bodice. We adored working with this bride on her gorgeous wedding gown. 

The idea behind this type of bustle is that the bustle points create a folded fan-like look. This particular gown we worked on had so many gorgeous details on the center back, from elegant buttons, lace, and intricate embroidery. We wanted to maintain all of these beautiful details when we created the bustle. 

We added clear snaps on the undersides of the center back “fan” to snap that fan into place when the bustle is all buttoned up. The center fan stays open in place so everyone can see all of the beauty and articulate detail of the back. At JOA, we love finding unique solutions for each bride we work together with. From bustles, to custom wedding gowns, to wedding gown restyles, we are always finding creative approaches that are personally curated to each client.

Inside the Process: Fabrics

Fabric shopping!! Probably one of my favorite things is visiting the incredible Mood Fabric store in Los Angeles and wandering through all of the aisles. As you may know, being able to see and feel a fabric in-person makes all the difference. I love when I get the chance to make a trip to California and gather some unique fabric for our JOA clients.

For my most recent trip, I was searching for beautiful beaded fabrics for a very special gown we are designing at the Atelier. Here are some of the gorgeous beaded fabrics I stumbled upon…

And then I was also very inspired by the feathers, beautiful buttons, boucle fabrics, silks, trims, and more!! Check them out below.

   

Mood Fabrics is a designer’s paradise! I can’t wait to share with you the dress we are designing with some of these fabrics. Stay tuned for a peek into this gown soon!

Inside the Process: Draping

A peek into some behind the scenes at the Atelier. Often we are sharing gorgeous photography of the different clients we worked together with and their wedding attire. However, before we arrive at those gorgeous garments and photos there is a whole process that we go through. Today we want to share with you the early stages of the dressmaking process.

Here we have the Bride Kelsey we recently worked together with. These are images from when we first started making the muslin for her wedding gown. Usually when you create a wedding gown, you want to create a sample out of muslin first. The reason we do this is to make sure the size and fit is right before cutting up the final fabric. 

Master Dressmaker Jennifer was mentoring Sophia in the draping method process. Jennifer was teaching Sophia how to drape a gown from scratch. This involved taking careful and precise measurements of the bride, sizing the dress form to her size, and then draping the muslin on the form. It is almost like making a sculpture!

Below you can see more details of this process…