The difference between Bespoke and Couture – What I offer in my services.

The difference between Bespoke and Couture – What I offer in my services.

First of all I want to explain to you the difference between bespoke and couture.

The two are similar and can be classed as ‘made to order’  with custom measurements. They both suggest high quality materials with quality construction.

“Bespoke” is an English and means ‘made to order’ mainly from the customers measurements and alterations to the customers taste. Customers choose the fabric and the design and very much have their personal input into the whole process. 

A bespoke garment is usually constructed mainly be machine but still has the integrity of high quality materials, design and construction, but would not be considered as couture. 

“Couture”  means ‘highly handmade’ and is a French word for sewing or fashion.

About 60% of the garment is hand sewn, not by machine. This means hand finished seams, hand finished hems and possible hand-beading or other embroidery.  

“Haute Couture” is a very specific term and only certain fashion houses are legally allowed to use the term and they all have to meet a criteria list for membership which includes: design made-to-order for private clients with fittings, have a workshop in Paris with at least fifteen ateliers, at least twenty full time technicians on hand and present a collection of at least fifty designs twice a year.

Official top designers include: 

Chanel, Dior, Givenchy, Valentino and Jean Paul Gaultier. 

I see a lot of people throw these terms around without doing the proper research and mainly to make their work seem better, which can be very frustrating for the actual professionals out there. 

With my handy guide up above, it helps to know so it’s easy to research when you’re looking into a handmade garment. 

I pride myself at Born to Thread that everything is made in house form my small studio in Yorkshire with a mixture of bespoke and couture. 

What does this mean? Well, the main body of my garments are made by me using a sewing machine and then the finishing off of the garment is always done by hand. 

If I was to be embellishing anything then that would be done by hand also.

Why go bespoke?

At BTT I love to capture YOUR personality through fashion which is why it makes its such a special experience. 

  • It’s made to fit you, to your exact measurements.
  • It’s higher in quality, which means it last’s longer than fast fashion.
  • It’s sustainably good for the environment
  • It’s and investment piece and made with techniques and care you won’t find in the shops.
  • It’s a one off just for you. 

It may feel a very daunting experience getting fitted for a made to measure garment, especially if you have never had one made before but I trust you its not, in-fact its turns in to a such a memorable experience and one you can remember when wearing the outfit. 

So you maybe wondering now what my services entail and how long it takes.  Here is a small run down of the process of a bespoke service. 

CONSULTATION STAGE

Born To Thread invites you to an informal free relaxed consultation at my home studio where tea and biscuits are on hand or if you live far away Skype appointments are also available. 

We will discuss your ideas on design, fit, fabrics colours and timescale to help me understand how you would like your unique garment to look and give you more of an idea of how the process will all work.

Please note Skype appointments are only for consultations and design stage not fitting stage. 

It’s hard to give an exact price straight away, until I know a clear outlay of your idea and what fabrics you would like to use, I can then curate a guide price which can be finalised throughout the design stage

As a rough guide price bespoke garment start at £300 

If you are completely happy with what we have discussed then a 50% deposit is required. 

DESIGN AND FABRIC STAGE

From the consultation stage I will then work closely with you on the design development of your outfit involving sketches to the ideas we have discussed also fabric samples and embellishment will be sourced to the preferred colour-ways. I strive to find the best high quality fabrics to bring out the best in your garment. 

Another meeting will be set for us to talk over fabrics I have sourced, look over designs/modify any details and choose final outfit. I can also send you samples and meet over another Skype call to discuss all of this.

MAKING AND FITTING STAGE

A made to measure garment takes time with care and attention.

Working with your personal measurements a paper pattern is created from the chosen design.

Once the pattern is all ready a toile garment is made for the fitting appointment – a sample garment which is made from a plain fabric that allows me draw in style lines and see where we need to make amendments. 

The alterations from the fitting will be then transferred to paper pattern and also changed on the toile followed by another one to two fittings if needed. 

Depending on the alterations it will either be in the toile again or actual fabric. This will be discussed along the way. 

Once you are happy with the fit and style I will then go ahead and make/finish off your outfit, a final fitting is required to double check over last adjustments to make sure we get a perfect fit. From this personal experience, you will see your outfit come to life with experienced techniques.

Through all of this I will keep you regularly updated via email. 

The process of a made of a made to measure garment can take 6 to 8 weeks (depending on the garment being made) with a final fitting required to ensure the perfect fit and finish. 

I hope this has helped to give you more of an idea into choosing bespoke, if you have any questions or want to enquire more, please contact me. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQS Just for you! 

There is noting like stating the obvious in a blog post but I do get asked these question  and if you haven’t read my FAQ page then I thought I would iron out the answers for you. 

Grab a cuppa and lets get stuck in. 

I’VE FOUND MY PERFECT DRESS; DO YOU DO REPLICA’S?

I do NOT make direct copies and this is something that I am not comfortable with doing. I know it sounds harsh but I’ve spent years and sleepless nights! (at uni) developing my skills and learning my craft. However, I am happy to take ideas and elements as inspiration to help me design your dress or outfit. 

HOW LONG DOES A BESPOKE GARMENT TAKE?

Handmade leather jacket:

If you are looking at a personalised jacket please allow 6 weeks to get in touch but it can be made within 3 to 4 weeks, depending on design.

Jackets that are ready to buy from my shop can take 2 to 4 weeks depending how busy I am.

Bespoke clothing:

The process of a made to measure outfit can take 6 to 8 weeks (depending on the garment been made) with a final fitting required to ensure the perfect fit and finish.

Wedding dress / Bridesmaids:

A custom wedding dress takes time and skill and can be completed in 5 months but if you were looking for a lot of detailing I would recommend 8 to 9 months as this process cannot be rushed. 

You can read more about my services here 

 

HOW MUCH IS A BESPOKE DRESS/ OUTFIT?

It’s hard to give you a exact price when it comes to bespoke as prices can differ depending on style, fabrics and design details.

As a guide price:

bespoke garments from £300

leather jackets from £218

wedding dresses: from £800

I take 50% deposits after the quote has been finalised and I do offer payments plans for the final payments. This can be discussed in the consultation 

I offer a free consultation where all of the above will be discussed.

DO I NEED AN APPOINTMENT?

Yes, all my bespoke work is by appointment only.  You can contact me here to arrange a free hour consultation. 

WHEN WILL MY ORDER BE READY?

I aim to have your dress or outfit ready 2 weeks before, if you have a specific date please state this in the consultation.

HOW MANY FITTINGS WILL I NEED?

It all depends on the design and style of the dress, but as a guide it can take 2 to 4 fittings.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I CAN’T MAKE MY APPOINTMENT?

Please let me know if you cannot make you appointment and we can reschedule.

Please arrive on time for your appointment so we have plenty of time to go through everything, if you are running late please contact me ASAP as we may have to reschedule.

DO YOU OFFER REFUNDS?

As all my garments are individually made to measure, I do not offer refunds on dresses or deposits.

 

I hope this has helped give you an outline of any questions you may have but as always please drop me a messgae if there is anything I haven’t mentioned. 

 

Bridie x 

View my lookbook

How I learnt my skills to pay the bills, Meet the maker

How I learnt my skills to pay the bills, Meet the maker

Hi, Hello, Bonjour, Hola …. 

I get asked a lot about how I go into making clothes so I thought it was about time that I wrote a little post about the maker (me) behind Born to Thread and how my skills have led me to pay the bills. 

Ever since I was little I was always draping fabric around everything, drawing pretty dresses and even cutting holes in the middle of the fabric to make something! (sorry mum, at least I know how to cut out properly now)!

I always admired my mum and grandma making clothes and every opportunity I got to help I would, so I guess my passion stated young.

My one memory of sewing was sitting with my grandma on a rainy Saturday afternoon creating little craft pieces, its something she loved to do and I was always excited when she suggested making something and nothing was a problem.

I think it also gave her an excuse to watch kids tv and films too!  

It was always exciting going to visit fabric shops too there is nothing better than getting to see and touch fabric in real, which is quite annoying that most fabric is online now as much as they have an amazing selection it’s just not the same as visiting a fabric shop. 

I started my fashion journey at Harrogate college where I did a year of art and then went on to do an ND in fashion and textiles.

Through the 2 years I learnt how to work on different briefs and design collections around them. I also had my first try at pattern cutting which was very confusing when I first started and many mistake was made! I wasn’t amazing at maths but I persevered and the more I did it the more it got easier.

Here is one of my first creations! I’ve struggled to find photos of these as it was such a long time ago.

Insert cringe face…

My next venture was to University, I wasn’t all that keen on going to be honest but my teacher pushed me to go and I’m so glad that I did because my I got to advance on my skills so much. 

I studied at Cleveland college of Art and Design for 3 years, I did a 2 year FDA Fashion production where I learnt advanced pattern cutting and sewing techniques. 

This course was mainly about the making of the clothing so you focused on all the production techniques used to make and finish off a garment. 

I absolutely loved the making side so I found this course really interesting and really helped that I had amazing teaches with incredible skills to push me. 

We also worked on live briefs with fashion companies which was a real eye opener and the timescale had to be spot on. I actually won a placement with Tesco’s childrenswear through one of these briefs which I was super proud of myself. 

I created a final collection for this course, at the time I was obsessed with couture and always have been inspired by vintage fashion. This collection was inspired by Marie Antoinette, French Frou Frou and the costumes from the film Sweeney Todd.

An array of mixed culture all rolled into one collection.

 I then went on to do a 1 year BA Fashion enterprise which was hardcore I’m not going to lie!

In this year I had a dissertation to do which when you’re not a writing type of person was HARD, lots of all nighters and early morning starts were involved in this. A business plan to create and a whole collection to go alongside of this, so many things to think about! 

But it was great organisation skills and learning how to keep a good time schedule especially when making clothes.

My advice to anyone on there 3rd year of uni… get organised and get prepared.

Also side note the fashion industry is not at all glamorous, it s gruelling, hard work, stressful but if you can push through all of that then your reap the benefits. Just keep going!

I had taken a year off in-between this so I when I went back it was amazing how much my inspiration had changed and style of collection I wanted to create. I fell in love with tailoring, British heritage and suits from the victorian era, especially the dandy influence.

For this collection I also took inspiration from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland film because I just think the costume skills that are used in these films are blummin amazing. You can get so much inspiration from the details and colours that are used.

The fabric I worked with was Harris Tweed to push the boundaries of the typical tweed jacket, I was obsessed with all the bright colours that they did and why weren’t people wearing them and just sticking to the boring green tweed! 

Yes, I’m a sucker for colour, but I mean life’s better in colour isn’t it?

I was super proud of this collection and I really pushed my skills with tailoring, it was no walk in the park but it was totally worth it.

Im kinda going back to that now with my jackets, I’ve always loved making them and I find it really satisfying creating a good fit and style to them.

I’m so grateful for all these skills I’ve learnt from the amazing teachers I had because their knowledge was incredible . I always knew that I wanted to start my own business creating fabulous clothes for people to make them feel empowered by what they wear, so that’s where BTT started   

Which brings me to today I’m 32 and I’m still loving creating, I’m also still learning in fact I’ve probably learnt more running my own business than what I did learning at college and uni? 

Education can give you the skills but nothing can prepare for going out there on your own and trying to make it, in whichever way you choose.

All you’ve got to do is keep upping your game especially when it comes to business, You’ve got to keep on top as its forever changing. 

It’s not easy and self employed life can be very stressful lonely place at times but the one thing that gets me through all of this is my amazing customers. When I see your face light up wearing something I’ve created for you, it feels incredible and thats what success is for me. 

Want to know more about my services or interested in starting out in fashion and would like some advice please contact me here.

Bridie x 

Let’s talk sustainability

Let’s talk sustainability

Let’s talk sustainability…

I’ve been speaking recently over on my social media about what sustainability means to me and why I’m so passionate about why I do what I do in my business.

It’s important to me to get the message across that Born to Thread is all about sustainable clothing.

I want people to start to invest in good clothing as fast fashion is having a huge impact on our environment and people’s physical lives, it’s shocking.

This isn’t just a recent thing it has been happening for years, recently I’ve reading a few articles about what’s happening and have also watched the very powerful documentary on the BBC by Stacey Dooley – Fashions dirty secret (a must if you want to learn more)

I have always been aware of this as we learnt about a few things at university, but this documentary definitely opened my eyes to how disgusting, wasteful and the harmful effect it is causing.

This is why I am so proud of my business been built on sustainable clothing. I try my hardest not to waste and everything you see on my website is made by my fair hands and only me, well maybe a little hand from my mum when things get busy! But you won’t find any major big factories here.

Born to Thread is all about slow fashion and creating a brand that people invest in rather than throw away.

When you shop well and support independent brands it makes the experience so much more memorable and when you think about it you are actually buying a piece of art that somebody has created just for you.

So please have a little think today, have a read of the articles and start to make a change.

It will be so worth it in the end.

Essential sewing starter kit

Essential sewing starter kit

So, I’ve been thinking over the past few weeks what interesting skills and creative tips I can share with you that would help you if you were looking into starting to sew.

If you follow me on Instagram, then you would have seen my first top tip Tuesday where I share some useful info every week in my stories and I thought I would share the ones that are most important on here too.

You want to start sewing but don’t know where to begin, well first of all you will need a sewing kit. It doesn’t have to be all bells, whistles and fancy gadgets, just the basic good essentials will do and last you a lifetime if you look after it.

I’ve taken a picture of all the tools that I think will help you get started, going from left all the way round:

+ Pins – help you pin fabrics together and hold in place. Don’t place pins in your mouth when sewing, it’s a terrible habit of mine but trust me it’s worth not doing it, so if you can start without that habit your on to a winner!

+ Tape Measure – A must! Helps you take your own measurements, measure the grainline on a pattern and a handy tool around the house, also a little extra tip keep one in your handbag if you spot anything in a shop and want to measure all those little deets!

Then you can take that info home and make something yourself.

+ Cotton – No brainer here, you need it to keep the stuff you make together, make sure you don’t scrimp on cotton though buy a decent one like Gutterman or Moon.

+ Stitch unpick – This is my best friend when sewing, helps you take out all those thread mistakes you make but I don’t doubt for a second, you’ll use it much because you’ll ace it. Make sure you buy a sharp one.

+ Needle threader – helps you thread the cotton through a needle and saves so much time.

+ Tailors chalk – you use this to chalk around your pattern onto fabric, which I highly recommend rather than just pinning.

+ Needles – Good quality hand sewing needles is what you need, they do come in all different sizes so it best to ask in the shop or read about them online when you’re buying.

+ Thimble – Saves those fingers when hand sewing and helps you push the needle through when hand sewing.

Now I’ve gone through all of those essentials I’ll move on to the scissors.

+ Paper scissors – use these to cut your patterns out and any crafts you’re doing.

+ Fabric scissors – these are perfect for cutting those fabrics out but only fabrics!

Seriously though don’t use your fabric scissors for cutting anything else, it will blunt them and send them out of line and if you’ve paid a decent amount for them you really don’t want that to happen.

My pink ones are from Ernest Wright  and supports breast cancer.

+ Thread Scissors – small ones are perfect for when you are working at a machine, I also find it handy to pop them on a bit of fancy ribbon, so you can place it round your neck.

Saves time looking for them when you want to snip.

+ Metric set square – Mainly used for when you want to create your own patterns, but it does come in handy when you want to measure anything. You can get these from Morplan.

When you have all your super-duper kit just keep practicing with it and you’ll be a pro in no time!

So, there we have it my essential guide to a sewing kit, I really hope that helps when starting out.

Tailoring Skills

Tailoring Skills

Winter Coat – Linton Tweed

A few years ago, I made myself a winter coat using a black and white dogtooth check fabric from Linton Tweed (the original fabric suppliers of Chanel) I shared a photo of this coat on Instagram the other day for throwback Thursday and the response was amazing, so I thought why not do a blog post on it to show the process of how it was made.

I wanted to push and teach myself tailoring techniques along the way, which was a learning curve to say the least but I am so grateful I did.

Fabric Stage One

First step was to source the right fabrics, as soon as I saw the black and white on Linton Tweed I knew that is what I wanted straight away and ordered it without even seeing a sample first! the black thread running through it has a sparkle to it so that suited me even more.

Cutting Out Stage

For me to create the tailoring effect on the coat I had to source a tailoring canvas which would line the inside of the coat to create a weight and structure, thanks to MacCulloch and Wallis for their fine selection of canvases I couldn’t go wrong.

The design of my coat was straight loose fitting, knee length with roll collar but I wanted the collar to be the statement piece so when cutting the pattern, I made it quite wide. The coat was quite a straight forward style but I knew the hang and pattern matching had to be spot on to show it off to its full potential.

Hand Sewing the Canvas

Cutting the actual pieces out of the fabric took careful time with making sure the pattern matched. I like to start with my two front pieces down the center front of the coat to work out how the pattern will run, then I would cut those two out to help when matching and cutting of the other pieces.

Pattern Matching

Canvas in Place

Once all the pieces were cut it was then ready to sew together, the time had come to use my hand sewing skills and sew the canvas to the inside of the coat, which was timely but so worth it and thanks to the many tailoring websites and YouTube to help me along the way! When this was all in place I matched up all my checks and hand basted the seams together ready to sew, one final check of the pattern matching and I could sew it altogether.

 

Adding the Lining to the Coat

Next step was to cut out the lining, I used a heavy black and white polka dot satin to complement the colours, it also added weight and gave the coat a nice hang. I’m used to putting lining’s in so this part was a walk in the park compared to the coat fabric.

Polka Dot Lining!

All in all, the coat itself took me a good week and half to make and I am so happy that I took this challenge on as it’s defiantly become one of my favourite coats to wear when it’s cold and I know it will last me lifetime.