"Early on in my career, I was apprenticing in a California-based boutique. My mentor began creating custom wedding gown. I immediately fell in love with the process of making gowns. My favorite moment is usually the final fitting – when the bride sees herself in the mirror for the first time in her gown. There is this flash of understanding that this is the gown she’s going to wear to marry the person she envisions growing old with. It’s the sweetest moment with the occasional need for a tissue.
I am instinctively curious about how things are made. If I see a photograph of a style or a garment that I like, I mentally tear it apart and build it again. I’ll do a lot of little sketches of what I think the pattern pieces would look like and then translate that to full-size and start playing with the ideas on my dress form. The finished product is always quite different than the inspiration, but finding those original sparks of interest is fun.
Vintage style gowns from the ‘20s to the early ‘40s eras are my favorite. I’m particularly drawn to bias cut, where the fabric is cut on an alternate grain line, giving the gown a beautiful liquid-like flow to the hem of the skirts. Beauty, elegance and comfort are also truly inspirational to me. When I see that a designer or a seamstress has an innate understanding of how to mix fabrics and textures to create a silhouette that also offers ease, comfort and perfect fit, I am amazed. That’s skill!
While you won’t see me at the fabric store looking at polyester satins, if a bride is looking for a particular style gown, I will use my knowledge, creativity, skill and style to make her vision come to life. Diligence, hard work and hours upon hours at my machines are the bones of my success, but the need to create is in my veins. Being successful is really just about finding that balance between creation and bookkeeping, socializing and connecting with people." -- Ava Bishop, Fashion Designer, Ava Bishop Atelier