Costume FAQs


How much time do you need?

The more time the better. Even if you are not clear on your overall design get in touch so I can pencil you into the diary to avoid disappointment. I like to start the design process approx. 6 months in advance for complex orders, even if we don’t plan to have fittings until much nearer the final deadline date. This gives me time to source fabrics and make sure the design is perfect. However, if you are looking for something simple, or have a tight deadline, please contact me; I may be still able to squeeze you in.


Where are you based?

I am based in Malton, North Yorkshire, with access to a studio in York. There are excellent train and road connections to the town and my workspace is close to the town centre and easy to find. For design consultations I am happy to meet at a convenient local location – as long as there is cake and tea available! I can also do consultations over the phone/Zoom. For visits away from my studio travel expenses will be charged.

Do you make historical menswear?

I am happy to make all forms of menswear up to 19th century styles, but 19th and 20th century men’s tailoring is a specialist area. I would be happy to advise you on styles and put you in contact with a local tailor.

What is a toile?

A toile is a mock-up of the design decided on during the consultation process. It is made of calico or another cheap fabric to avoid wasting expensive fabrics. Toile fittings are a great opportunity to make changes to the design and get a close fit for the garments.

Do I need to bring anything to the appointments/fittings?

For the design consultation bring any photographs, images, fabric samples and sketches etc that you have collected that show what outfit you are looking for. We can then go over these during the meeting and get a really clear idea of the design.

For fittings it is best if you bring the underwear you are planning to wear with the costume to ensure the best fit, plus the shoes so the hem length is correct upon collection.

How many fittings will I need?

That entirely depends on the design. Usually 2-3, but if undergarments and corsets are also ordered then additional fittings will be needed for these before the over-garments are fitted.

Can I bring someone with me to the design meeting and fittings?

Of course! It is always best to have the second opinion of someone you trust. I wouldn’t advise you bring too many people as the range of opinions can be a little overwhelming.

What if I can’t attend the fittings?

Though I prefer to do fittings in my studio in Malton/York, if you are struggling to attend fittings I can travel to you by arrangement. The additional costs for travel and time will be added to the final invoice.

Otherwise, I can make up the toile and post it to you so you can have a local seamstress fit it to you. Lots of photographs and detailed notes will need to be taken before posting it back to me. Additional postage charges will be incurred for this service.

If the items are simple in nature or not close fitting I will be able to make them up based on the measurements you provide. However, I cannot take responsibility for garments made from customers own measurements that do not fit perfectly.

How do I pay?

I accept cash, cheque and bank transfer and can provide receipts upon request.

A 40% deposit will be required before work commences and the final payment is due upon collection.

Can I get a refund?

As all the items I make are bespoke and so cannot be resold no refunds are available on partially made or completed items. See Terms and Conditions for full details.

Can I change the design?

You can make major alterations to the design up to, and including, the toile fitting. Once I have started working with the final fabric I cannot alter the main design without the customer incurring additional costs for extra fabric and time. Minor changes to the design such as neckline, embellishment and hem length etc can be changed up to the final fitting. Once the final fitting has been done no changes can be made as I will then be finishing off the dress ready for collection.

My items do not look or fit like I wanted?

Throughout the design and construction process any changes to the design or materials used will be fully discussed with the customer and no work will be undertaken without the consent of the customer. At each fitting the customer will sign the order form to confirm their agreement with any changes made to the design and fabrics used. If the customer is unhappy at any time I request that they communicate with me directly as soon as possible so we can overcome any worries you have. Once the final fitting has been done no changes can be made and the final payment will be expected upon collection. If the customer is unhappy with the fit alterations can be made, at my discretion, but will incur an additional charge.

Do you hire historical costumes?

Sorry, no I do not offer this service. I do not have a stock of replica costumes available for hire and my original costumes are delicate and, more often than not, tiny!

Do you only make historically themed clothes?

It is my speciality! Whereas zips and Velcro are not. I will happily make any garment with a vintage or historical theme or twist as well as fully accurate garments for exhibitions and re-enactment.

What price to you charge for a historical gown?

Gowns range in price from very simple at £200 + to the very complex at £2000. I can give you a more accurate price at your design consultation, as the final quote will depend on a range of factors such as fabric, design, embellishment and research time. Please feel free to contact me to discuss your requirements and budget.