Designing the Perfect Gown:
Creating a gown that looks good and is comfortable involves several factors. This is the exciting part of actually designing your gown. Look at the pictures of the gown you particularly like, noting the various parts that appeal to you. Sketch several different combinations of bodice, skirt and sleeve to see how they look. Do not worry if you cannot draw well. You are the only one, who will see these and you know how you meant the gowns to look like. Taking all the factors mentioned above into account, choose styles, accessories and headwear that are compatible with the gown you have designed.
Take out some fabric swatches and pieces of trim and mix and match them. Imagine what various colours and’ fabrics would look like together. Try the same gowns drawn with different decoration and trim patterns. If you have markers, coloured pencils or crayons, colour in some of the gowns to see what the colours look like together. Look at the various gowns you have drawn and consider how well they meet the criteria set by you.
Eventually, narrow down and combine your variations until you come up with the one that appeals to you most. Go over the checklist of criteria and see how well it meets all of these. Take a piece of paper and draw out your gowns on it. Mark comments and descriptions of colour and fabric on it, references to a portrait that you want the bodice or sleeve to look like, and accessories that will go with it. Mark page numbers of particular books that you got your design from for future reference. If you have not decided on a particular colour or fabric, note the different colour/fabric combos that you have narrowed it down to. If you have fabric swatches or bits of trim, staple or glue them to the sheet. Having a picture there of what the gowns will look like is a wonderful aid to motivation. These factors are significantly important when designing your own gown, but they are also very helpful in designing gowns for others. Often a person has a vision of the gowns he wants, but has not considered the details of cut and style, or thought of how well it actually suits him and the purpose to which it will be put.
With a good solid foundation in costume history and the knowledge of how to design a gown to suit all the needs of a particular person, you can create your dream gowns. If you find that you really enjoy designing and making gowns and want some practice, a good place to start is with your friends and acquaintances. Even if they do not really plan on making a gown or having one made, you can have ‘practice consultations’ with them to discuss what they would like.