fashion, lifestyle, vintage


tea dress in vintage fabric

Hello my lovely chickaDees!

I’ve been meaning to write about the bespoke side of the business for some time as I’m not quite sure the process is crystal clear for everyone. I get this, we’re used to going on line or in a bricks and mortar store, choosing what we like in our size, trying it on, deciding if we like it and voila, new piece of loveliness in the basket!

Now this is a service I offer, we have some lovely pieces in our Etsy store and these are updated quite regularly. You can also come along to one of our pop up events (if you’re in the neighbourhood) or a local stockist to browse the goodies ‘in the flesh’.

BUT what you may not know is you can also have something made especially for you either from one of our standard patterns or in a made to measure style. And what better way to make this clear than a rambling precise and succinct blog post. I will set this post out in 4 or 5 easy to understand steps because it really is a simple process, I just think I maybe, ahem, didn’t explain it properly from the outset. Maybe the next blog post will be *Lessons i’ve learned so far* 😉 .

paper patterns for blog

1, Select a style.

When you make initial contact about our bespoke designs, I will take a bit of time getting to know you and preferences. What colours you like, what your personal style is, what kind of design you prefer, what occasion you want the garment for (if any, you really don’t need to have to have an occasion, it’s absolutely not a condition of purchase). We will also discuss your body shape and what features you would like to highlight and which you would like to flatter.

At this stage, I will talk about prices for this service. The final price depends on all the different factors but I will give you an initial ballpark figure, from the fixed price of any pre-work (steps 1 to 3which will be invoiced before work begins) to an estimated cost of the post-work so we are both on the same page before proceeding further. This may sound ominous but don’t worry, while this is obviously a more costly process, I am determined to keep my prices reasonably affordable for what is being offered in return. Once we he have established all of this and keeping this information in mind, you will be asked to choose a style from our design library of dresses, skirts, tops… I will be on hand to advise and guide your choice. This is bespoke after all!

Dress designs from The House of chickaDee

We can make many variations of the same style as we also have a patterns library in standard sizes. For example, if you want a tea dress, you can choose the neckline, a gathered or pleated skirt, sleeve length or sleeveless, pockets or no pockets… All of this information will be given to you with sketches and photos making it visually so much easier to make a choice.

2, Select a fabric.

Once you have decided what kind of bespoke garment you desire, we can get on to selecting the perfect fabric for you and for this style. Not all fabrics are suited to all styles but I will be with you every step of the way to advise on this. Fear not.

Update: I have done some insta stories to explain that if you are not sure about committing to a bespoke make so don’t want to make contact just yet, you can also browse our fabrics in our fabric library account over on instagram. These get changed and updated quite regularly as orders are made and fabrics reserved so if you see something that grabs your eye, pop me a message and I’ll give you availabilities 🙂

You can find the account here.

vintage fabric from our fabric library

3, The nifty design part.

From this selection, I will create a CAD sketch for you with the fabric included so that you get as real an idea as possible of the final outcome. If you hesitated between a few fabrics, we can CAD all of them and then decide from there.

dresses with fabrics blog

blouse for blog

4, Sizing and measurements

This is the part people think will be tricky. They’re not sure how I will ever be able to get the dress and proportions perfect if I have never met you in the flesh. Now, this is not an exercise in blowing my own trumpet but I am putting this (quite trumpety statement) to reassure you. Ahem, I am an expert in my field. I have worked in the fashion design industry as a senior designer and design manager for a very long time. I have drafted patterns for a very long time. I can usually tell what size you are and what will suit just from looking at you. I know, it’s a gift 😉 I have yet to get it wrong from the many, many dresses I have made for clients. Not one return, size issue or disappointment. *touches every piece of wood in the near vicinity*.

Of course I don’t expect you to rely on just my eye before committing to a bespoke make. I also ask for some key measurements which are fairly easy to take yourself but if you have someone willing to help, even better. All that is required is a tape measure and I’m sure we all either have this or can beg, borrow or steal one. Actually maybe don’t steal one.

bespoke measurement requirements

Once I have this information, we can decide together if you would like a custom order or a made to measure order. Let me explain, a custom order means using our standard size patterns to create your garment. You would still have an amazing, unique piece of clothing made especially for you, but it will not be made to your exact measurements. We carry sizes UK/EU 8/36, 10/38, 12/40, 14/42, 16/44 as standard. This is the less costly option but as we have very good standard sizing, the garment will still be a beautiful fit.

If you choose the made to measure option or wish to tweak a design which means patterns being created just for you, then the service will be quoted in function.

5, Leave it with me.

Now that all this has been decided, the final quote and lead times will be sent to you. I will give a break down of all costs as any pre-work (steps 1 to 3) will already have been invoiced. Again, sounds scary but with the hindsight of experience, clients who have decided to go bespoke are not usually going to back out at the last minute especially when you get to see our lovely fabrics! Once this is all confirmed and a deposit paid, I will get to making your order.


As a general rule, a bespoke make with pattern drafting has roughly a 3 week turn around time and a custom order using existing patterns, 2 weeks. This can vary slightly at busy times so if you are thinking of this service for a specific occasion be sure to order well in advance.

And that, my friends, is Five steps to Bespoke Fabulousness. I think it’s clear but that’s maybe because I know the process. Was it clear to you? If anyone has any questions or would like to know more about this service, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d love to talk!

‘Til the next time….<3