How To Book with The Consulting Dressmaker

A few weeks ago, I floated the idea of an online Consulting Dressmaker service.  I wasn’t sure this would work in an online setting; it’s similar to what I do offline and I thought it was worth playing with the concept.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve had several lovely interactions with other sewists (thanks for dropping by!).  I could see that while the idea was great fun and useful, I needed a little more organization.

Last week, I set up an online scheduling system.  You can reach my scheduling page any time by clicking the “Book An Appointment” button in the sidebar.

Pick “First Consultation.”

Once you select a service, you can book an appointment.  Currently, my hours are 8am-1pm on Thursdays, Eastern Australian time.  For most of the world, that’s Wednesday: 10pm-3am London (sorry, not ideal!), 5pm-10pm New York and 2pm-7pm in California.   I double-check times via the world clock.

After setting your appointment time, you will be asked for a little info about your needs.  The more I know ahead of time, the better I can address your questions.

That’s all!  The service sends me an email, and sends you a reminder 24 hours in advance.  Easy!  The next “time” is this week, and I’ll be available every Thursday during the times on my schedule.  Feel free to poke your head in and say hello if you have sewing questions I can help you with, or even if you’re just curious.

The first appointment is free so you can get to know me a little, pick my brain, show me your sewing problems and fit issues and generally see what the experience is like.  I use Skype for appointments (though I can also chat via facebook if you prefer- please specify when booking) because I find Skype is delightfully “face to face” and immediate.

I refined the consultation concept slightly:

  • A “Short Answer” and A “Long Answer” Consultation are both 15 minutes and cost $10.  The difference is that a “Short Answer” is something that can be answered in our 15 minute chat and a follow up email.  This includes pattern/fabric marrying, construction questions, pattern alteration guidance, all kinds of troubleshooting, etc.
  • A “Long Answer” is, well, a longer term project.  I am happy to help out with bigger projects including wardrobe planning, turning artwork into suits, sewing time management, research projects related to sewing and whatever else comes up.  We can discuss the work I will do for you, and the fee for my involvement.

I have a few guiding philosophies for the Consulting Dressmaker:

  • No lies- I won’t lie to you.  Ever.  If I don’t know an answer, I will tell you so and find out.  If I can’t find out, we can problem-solve.  Failing all else, I give you your money back.  I also won’t lie and tell you something looks great on you when it is actually unsuitable- but I’ll be gentle.
  • No judgement- I’m interested in fitting and dressing bodies, not sizes.  I am also happy to work with anyone, regardless of your style or taste in clothes.  Good sewing is good sewing to me.
  • Complete confidentiality- I will never share the contents of our consultation or any information regarding your measurements, etc.  You may feel free to talk about the service yourself- it helps get the word out!  However, I will never discuss your private information with another person or mention our consultation.

Cancellation and re-scheduling policies are outlined here.  I am flexible and happy to set up appointments at your leisure as long as they don’t conflict with my REM cycles.  Just send me an email.

Thank you all so much for bearing with me while I figure out how to make all these things happen!  I’m really pleased to be finally putting my ideas to actions and I’m super excited to see what will happen.  I’m still working out the balance between “Consulting Dressmaker” type posts and my personal sewing posts… I’m aiming for more sewing type posts, but first I want to be sure the Consulting Dressmaker service is clearly defined.  Questions?

Tomorrow I have a good old-fashioned “Design Inspiration” post ….


  1. wow this sounds great. i just need to get organised first! maybe this will spur me on ( and make me learn how to use skype!)

    • Yeah, definitely. Skype isn’t terribly difficult, but random people like to message and call the Consulting Dressmaker…Which is pretty annoying. If you don’t identify yourself or book in advance and I don’t recognize the name, you may get blocked! :)

  2. Yay!! I’ve learned so much from you already, your blog is so very informative. Some books (and I have quite a few) are just not clear enough when it comes to fitting. I’m not working on anything with major alterations presently, but I do have a few Vogue patterns that I just love, but I have no clue on how to go about making a FBA on them, because the pieces are so….akward (i e: 1280,8705). I would love to pick ur brain on suggestions on how to alter these to fit a D-cup.

    • Thanks… I aim to please. Fitting is individual to each person, it’s not really surprising that books aren’t always helpful. I’ll take a look at the pieces, if I find I have time on my hands later this week I may do an “Odd Pattern Piece” FBA post…

  3. Woohoo! This is exciting! :)

    Also, I just realized I forgot to tell you. Taking the crotch seam down 3/8″, and adjusting the side seams worked pretty much perfectly. I want to try the block in a more trouser like fabric before I say it’s 100%. All my muslin-ing fabric is pretty lightweight stuff, I’m afraid, so I need to buy something to use.

    I’m hoping to start making up Simplicity 2654 (shorts) as soon as I find suitable fabric. I’m thinking ramie if I can find any, or linen if I can’t. This pattern has been on my to-do list for a LONG time!

  4. This is a great idea! I wish I still lived up your way because I would be coming to you for sure! When I have a fully formed question I will, no doubt, avail myself of this service. I hope you do really well with this venture.

  5. It seems you have quite a bit of knowledge on vintage sewing (at least from looking at the labels in your sidebar), but I was wondering how versed you are in Titanic-era clothing? I’m participating in the VPLL’s 1912 project, and I foresee a lot of questions!

    • I haven’t sewn much from 1912- though I’m planning to sew for the project as well. At the risk of sounding… full of it… I’ll say I have read very little that isn’t old sewing, drafting and styling manuals for the past few months (immersion) and I’m very good at “lateral thinking.” Arcane sewing methods (even if I don’t use them) are something of a hobby of mine… And I’m pretty good at altering old patterns for modern bodies.

      Does that answer? :D

  6. I like Arcane sewing methods… does this category count the things one does when they don’t know what they are doing, hee hee… I’ve come up with some pretty neat stuff that way.

    Once I get my sewing room back together (after holiday visitors) and the quilting frame down, I will be sending over an e-mail. Living in the middle of the forest we have no good internet connection, just dial-up, so I know video won’t work.

    • Yes, I am happy to do “improvisational sewing” when all else fails. That’s the best way to learn.

      The internet here has only recently improved… I couldn’t skype very well the first few years I lived in Australia… We can also chat if you like.

  7. I am in search of that perfectly fitting pair of pants and jjust had my first session with Steph. I learned a lot. Thanks, Steph. I will try your suggestions and book another appointment soon. Nora

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  11. Dear Consulting Dressmaker
    i make clothes for my 18 year old daughter who basically just wants similar clothes to her friends. but is 6′ tall (with a very long torso) and has a 46″ bust – so no RTW for her! Latest request – shorts. (Iris or Thurlow, or something similar) I would like to buy a trouser block for her from you, but on the form there is nowhere to put crotch depth/waist height (whatever it is called). My daughter is very long/deep/whatever here – this is where I fall down in alterning patterns for her. (So far – it’s only skirts and dresses for her). Is there some way I can send you extra diamensions, to make the “block” fit better, right from the start? And if there is, which diamensions should I send you? BTW I am in Sydney, so consultation by phone would be easy.
    I love what you are doing, and can’t wait to buy your new dress pattern, when it comes out. We all need more “cake” patterns – especially those of us who sew for “unusual” sizes.

    • Hey Penny-

      Thanks for the question! If you want, I can take her rise but it doesn’t generally influence the way I draft. If she’s as long through the torso as you say, you can definitely send it in and I’ll work it in. Not a problem. Just fill in the regular form, and I’ll email you back to confirm before I invoice you.

      I don’t like talking on the phone, but I can consult via skype or email. I just can’t see you on the phone, know what I mean? :) And I’m hopeless with accents. I know, I know, I’m the one with the accent but I really can’t understand many people on the phone or make myself understood. :)

      Thanks so much! How kind you are. :)

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