How long does it take to make a dress?

I have been asked this question 64 billion times and I still don't have a good answer. It depends on a lot of things, mostly to do with the style of the dress, my availability to work on it and your availability to come to fittings. As a very rough guide, most brides contact me between six months to a year before their wedding and I'm pretty comfortable with that time frame. That said, I've done dresses in 6-8 weeks before, so it can never hurt to ask. 

How much is this going to cost?

Again, it depends on the style but most of the dresses I make are between $1500-$3500. I put a lot of work into them!

I have a tiny budget. Is there anything you can do for me?

Borrow from Bell Street might be for you! I hire out beautiful vintage clothes for weddings and special occasions, you can read more about that here.

Who does the pattern making/cutting/sewing/beading/embroidery work?

I do all of that. It really is just little ol' me in the studio and your dress is designed and made from start to finish by me, right here in the inner west. It is a time consuming process but it means I'm accountable for all my work and you don't have to worry about lost pieces, unexpected delays or children slaving away in far-off beading workshops. Your dress won't leave my studio until you come and pick it up yourself.

Can I come and visit you?

Yes! I have a shop at 391 Illawarra Road, Marrickville. I'm generally open 10am-4pm Wednesdays to Saturdays, but it's best to email me at ali@bell-street.com and set up an appointment.

Do you only work with Sydney clients?

I do prefer to meet in person and do fittings these days, but I started this business in the Philippines working remotely with customers from all over Australia and the rest of the world. So if you aren't in Sydney or able to get to Sydney, I could still do a custom order for you. I'll ask for lots of measurements, details and photos so I can get a really good idea of your size, and if you're still not sure, I can post a calico toile for you to try on before I start work on your dress.

The Borrow from Bell Street service however is a personalised retail service and only available in-store.

What the hell is a toile?

It's a quick version of a dress made in cheaper fabric. I make these for various reasons: to test that the pattern pieces fit together properly; to work out sizing issues before I start on the main dress; and to give you an idea of how the style will look on you. This is all included in the final price of your dress. 

What if I freak out and change my mind after ordering a wedding dress?

Email me straight away and see where I'm up to with it. If it's not too late to make changes, we can have another fitting and talk about what is possible. This will add to the original cost of your dress

Do you make men's wedding attire?

I can make ties and bow-ties for men. My ties are hand sewn and personalised with a name label, making them a great gift for your groomsmen! Ties and bow-ties are $80 including fabric or $60 if you provide your own fabric.

I have some basic training in tailoring, so I am able to make suits and shirts if you really want me to. Having said that, I respect that tailoring is an art which takes years to master, and is best done by those who specialise in it. 

Do you do alterations?

I generally don't do alterations on new dresses, there are plenty of other places that can help you with that. Vintage dresses are a different story - one of my favourite things to do is give new life to vintage pieces. Want to wear your mum's wedding dress but don't love the style? I can turn it into something that suits you. Have a beautiful heirloom piece of lace? I'd love to carefully restore it and use it as the centrepiece of your dress.

Do you only do vintage inspired stuff?

Vintage and retro wedding dresses are my favourite thing to work on, but it's not all I do. I'm a highly skilled and experienced dressmaker with an open mind, so I'm happy to work on any project you can dream up. I've done Star Wars dresses, a wedding cape inspired by Solange Knowles, a dresses designed to show off tattoos, dresses designed to hide tattoos, convertible wedding dresses, a cotton wedding dress, and I'm currently working on some amazing things I can't wait to see finished. 

I love a challenge and I won't try to steer you towards tried and true styles. I really want to come up with a unique design just for you - so no one else in the world will have a dress like yours!

Where can I see more of your work?

You can follow me on instagram to see new stuff that I haven't had time to upload to the site yet.

Can I use your images?

As long as you credit them, yes! I get most of my business through word of mouth so I LOVE it when people share what I'm doing with their friends & followers. Feel free to use anything you find on my site (as long as it links back to here) or email me for hi res photos and/or extra information.

How do we make this happen?

Use the contact form below or email me at ali@bell-street.com with three essential pieces of information - what you want, your budget, and your wedding date. I can't wait to hear from you!

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