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Part of the beauty of custom designing clothes is being able to create relationships with the women I work with. I was recently asked to create a dress for the Kentucky Derby, as my client and now friend was nominated to walk the runway with women from all over the country for breast cancer survivors.

Meet Jessica, a power house woman who I had the pleasure of dressing a few months prior for a Cancer League Breast Cancer Awareness Fashion show.

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During our first consultation, we picked out the perfect fabric for her summer frock, took measurements and I sketched a design appropriate for the Kentucky Derby.  Fast forward to look at the fabric draped on my mannequin to see the grainlines:

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Jessica had picked out several hat options and we chose one in particular that would be a subtle contrast to the color of the dress. I chose silk organza in that color for the lining which would show because of the high low hem and would be a subtle design detail.

The first fitting was a muslin to get the bust point and neckline in the exact place necessary.  The muslin was a bit small and needed adjustments, which is always the case and it’s why we start with a prototype.  

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After the corrections are made and a new muslin is cut, I use that as my pattern to cut the fashion fabric out and then the sewing begins.

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At the second fitting I tweak the fashion fabric on Jessica’s body. You can see from the photo below that in order for the dress to fit snuggly at the waist I have to take it in and insert structures so that when she moves the dress stays taut.  

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At the final fitting we have a good time documenting the final garment. It was most important to me that the bodice fit perfectly, that no bra lines are showing and that the décolleté is correctly exposed.

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The hat needed some decoration to set the dress apart so I added white feathers which went with the whimsy style of the dress.

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As I mentioned above, relationships are often formed during the dress design process. Jessica and I have a lot of future plans together. Both of us being breast cancer survivors, we are passionate about empowering women for early detection and self-examination. Jessica has started an organization to help educate women, called Night Out with “The Girls”She has creative ways to make the educational process effective and fun. Definitely check it out!

Thank you, Jessica, for choosing me as your couturier for this project. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for our next venture! 

You can also read more about this project on Denver Post’s Your Hub!  

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Looking for a custom designed dress for a special occasion?

Whether you’re looking for a truly unique wedding dress, an elegant mother of the bride dress, a creative gala or party dress, or other artful ensemble creations, reach out to Brooks LTD for a design that suits you and fits perfectly! Contact me online or call 303-573-3801.