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The Top Five Things That Should Be Considered When Commissioning A Bespoke Wedding Gown! with Megan Pankay from Nutmeg Couture

The Top Five Things That Should Be Considered When Commissioning A Bespoke Wedding Gown with Megan Pankay From Nutmeg Couture

The Top Five Things That Should Be Considered When Commissioning A Bespoke Wedding Gown! Megan from Nutmeg Couture takes us on a dress planning journey!

Listen to Megan on the Wedding Espresso Awesome DIY Wedding Planning Podcast…


Megan Pankay, Nutmeg Couture


Rachel: [00:00:00] Hey Megan! Thank you so much for chatting with us today. 

Megan: [00:00:04] Hey! 

Rachel: [00:00:06] Your business is called “Nutmeg Couture” and you make beautiful bespoke wedding dresses for super lucky brides. We have a question that I think you’d be perfectly placed to answer for our lovely brides and grooms.

“What are your top five things that should be considered when commissioning a bespoke gown?” 

Megan: [00:00:30] So obviously with the bespoke gown, you can kind of get whatever style you want, what types if fabrics, there’s so many different little decisions that need to be made when you’re wanting to get a gown made. And I think the most important thing is, and it’s what I always tell my customers to do before coming in for their initial design consultations, is to kind of…

establish an identity, or the kind of look you want to go for. Not just for your gown, but you know, the vibe that you want for your wedding.

So the more information you can bring to your initial consultation in terms of the styles of gowns you like, the vibes of gowns you like, or the fabrics, and anything like that. It’s really helpful for the designers to kind of build a profile of the type of bride that you are. So I think you need to have a little bit more of an identity of what exactly you’re kind of looking for, because it is so infinite, the amount of stuff that you can get. And then obviously I do always recommend… I’ll obviously explain the bespoke process as I go, but it is quite important that brides have an idea of the kind of styles that they feel really confident and comfortable in.

Because you could make the most beautiful dress in the world, but if it’s not going to make the bride feel like themselves, and feel really confident on the day, then it’s not doing what it should be.

So I mean those two are the kind of main things you need to consider before coming in for your appointment. 

Rachel: [00:02:02] So would you say that’s on like a Pinterest board or something like that? 

Megan: [00:02:07] Exactly that!

Just come in with loads of pictures. They don’t even really need to be like an entire board of the same type of dress. It could be loads of different types of dresses that you like little bits of.

And you like the kind of detail on this, and the vibe of that dress, and you know, it can be quite far ranging. But it’s more just to give a bit of a profile. So that when I go away, or the designer goes away to design the dress for you, that they’ve got a really good idea of the vision that you have for your wedding day. So I think that’s quite important. And I guess as well, things that you’ll need to consider are things like what kinds of fabrics you’re kind of liking. So I always get people, once they come in with their pictures, to go through the pictures individually and go right, what is it about this picture that you like? Is it a fabric? Or is it just the general look of the dress? Or is it a particular flow or anything like that?

So fabrics can be quite a big deciding factor as to what your final dress will actually look like. Whether it’s soft and flowy, or very structured you know. Fabrics make a huge difference to that as well.

But again, the designers, or people like myself, would be able to completely advise you as to what will work with your designs. What will work with your shape. So it’s not that you have to consider every single tiny little bit. And that’s obviously what a designer… that’s what you go to a designer for! To get their expert knowledge on it all. But it is good to have a kind of general idea of what kind of things you’re liking, before you come in. 

Rachel: [00:03:42] Do you have swatches of the fabrics and stuff? I wouldn’t have a clue to be honest. 

Megan: [00:03:48] Yes. So this is how the bespoke process works. If I get the brides in, like I say, with their kind of mood boards for example. And whether that’s on Pintrest or just random pictures they feel like discussing through. I’ve got loads of samples here. So from satins to sheplans to laces and beads, and all sorts of things.

So once I’ve got a good idea of what they are looking for, I’ll show them a selection of samples, and then from that initial design consultation, I would put together maybe eight different designs for them, that kind of combine all the things that they really love.

Along with specific samples that would suit their style that they’re looking for, and send that over to them to kind of again, check that I’m definitely getting the right vibe that they’re looking for. And then after that, once they’ve got a design that they’re quite happy to start with, it gets made up in a mock up fabric. 

Rachel: [00:04:42] Right. Yeah. 

[00:04:42] Just like a cotton, so they get to basically try the dress on before it’s made. And if there’s any kind of wee changes that they want to make. For example,

some people you know they’ve got a vision in their head that they want a strapless dress, and then they try the strapless dress on, and it’s like, well actually this isn’t what I had in mind.

At that time you can kind of chop and change your design as much as you want. So you get to basically try the dress on before it’s made. And you could do one mockup, or you could do like five or six different mockups. You know it doesn’t really matter. It’s all very much a fluid process, in terms of getting to the final design. 

Rachel: [00:05:19] Is that the thing they call a chule? Or did I make that up? 

Megan: [00:05:23] No a chule is just a type of kind of really soft netting. 

Rachel: [00:05:28] There’s a word for the mockup isn’t there? 

Megan: [00:05:32] Tulle! 

Rachel: [00:05:32] That’s It! 

Megan: [00:05:33] Yeah. Sorry! I should have clicked that’s what it is. A Tulle, that’s exactly what it is. 

Rachel: [00:05:40] Yeah yeah. I used to watch a lot of Sewing Bee. 

Megan: [00:05:45] I’ve never watched it. Maybe it’s because I sew all day long. But so many people said are you watching Sewing Bee, but I’ve never watched it myself. But yeah that’s a Tulle. 

Rachel: [00:05:52] You’d probably end up shouting at the TV. 

Megan: [00:05:57] “What are you doing!!!” I’m sure they’re all very talented. 

Rachel: [00:06:01] No. Exactly, yeah! OK. I’ve got a bit of a fun question for you here.

“What’s the most elaborate dress that you’ve ever been asked to design? And how long did it take to make it?”. 

Megan: [00:06:13] Well I have to say I think the most elaborate dress I’ve made to date would probably be my own wedding dress. 

Rachel: [00:06:19] Oh wow. 

Megan: [00:06:21] I actually only got married a month ago. And yeah, I went a bit crazy with it. I was designing for myself, so I wanted it to be like this super, you know, very detailed and a lot of kind of…

What I tried to do is make the overall look of the dress look impressive. But also when you started looking closely, you’d have lots of little details that people can spot as they look more closely.

So I had little things like Swarovski crystal writing on the bottom of my kind of cape veil thing. 

Rachel: [00:06:54] Oh really! Wow! 

Megan: [00:06:55] And had this beautiful lace that had birds and tweedy flowers and pearls and everything all over it. It was just like a really, really nice project to work on. And I think because it was mine, I could just go a bit more crazy with it. And in terms of how long it took me to make, I honestly lost count of the number of hours that I had to spend on that dress. But it was just so much fun. It was unbelievable when it was finished.

I think when it comes to how long a dress takes to make, it’s how long’s a piece of string? You know, it really can vary. Most often people come in six months to a year before the wedding.

Obviously you’re not working permanently on a dress for six months to a year. You know, that would be an absolute monster. But yeah, it just depends on whether there’s a lot of hand sewing. That’s what really adds on the time for dresses with intricate details. 

Rachel: [00:07:55] Yeah. The hand sewing! I’m terrible at hand sewing! 

Megan: [00:08:01] I find it very therapeutic. 

Rachel: [00:08:04] Yeah some people do. I mean I used to go to sewing classes and my sewing teacher said that she loved hand sewing. And I was like “no give me a machine.” 

Megan: [00:08:10] I mean don’t get me wrong. I like hand sewing and it’s very therapeutic when you’ve got the time. If you’re trying to do it in a rush. “I’m going to do it well, I’m going to do it well”. That’s not as relaxing as if you’ve just got a good amount of time to just sit there and do it. 

Rachel: [00:08:25] I’ve got another question for you here actually. “How did you get into dress making?” 

Megan: [00:08:34] And so I basically, again a bit of a rolling story. I did fashion business at Uni. Even in school I always knew I wanted to own my own business. I wanted to create wedding dresses, and that was just always my thing. That’s why I wanted to do. So when I went to Uni, I did a business fashion course that taught you basic pattern cutting skills, and things like that. And then once I finished Uni, I did a placement whilst I was at Uni with a kind of bespoke dressmaker. 

Rachel: [00:09:09] Right. 

Megan: [00:09:09] And then I did that when I left Uni for a couple months. And then after a wee while, I was like, you know, I’m just going to start doing smaller commissions. So I started taking on things like proms, or wedding guests, and then worked my way up to Mother of the bride, once I felt more comfortable. Then Bridesmaids and things like that, and started introducing it. And it was really more like, you know, and I did evening wear collections as well. I did a lot of community fashion shows and stuff like that back then. Just to kind of get my self rolling.

But once I got really comfortable, and I’d kind of dealt with every single body type, every single type of fabric and I felt confident in my abilities to create something special, that’s the time where I was like, OK I’m going to start doing bridal.

And then from there, it was just another couple years before I then was able to just go fully into just doing bridal wear. So it was a bit of a rolling one. It’s kind of been a lot of learning on the job, making mistakes. Going back to the drawing board, doing it again. Yeah it’s been a fun process. I don’t mind the challenge though. It got me to where I am now. 

Rachel: [00:10:21] Amazing journey! It sounds like you had such a presence of mind to know when you’re so young, that that’s what you wanted to do. And then go on to actually do it! 

Megan: [00:10:34] Yeah, no it’s so funny. I think I still actually have a shoe box somewhere. But…

I made my first ever wedding dress out of a bed sheet.

When I was in S4. You know for like a project. And I was like OK Wedding Dresses it is! Yeah, I think I’ve got it somewhere in a shoe box somewhere. But yeah, I knew very early on that it was specifically wedding dresses that I wanted to do as well. 

Rachel: [00:11:01] Well that’s great. Well that’s all I’ve got time for today. But thank you so much for spending time with us, and giving us a bit of a clue as to what questions we should be asking when we’re commissioning dresses, and things like that. That’s fabulous. Thank you. 

Megan: [00:11:23] Alright! No problem at all. Lovely speaking to you. 

Rachel: [00:11:28] Thank you! Bye. 

Megan: [00:11:28] Bye. 

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