Lets talk about one of our services we offer.  Volup'D.  I'll start by explaining the name.  The word Volup was an industry term used to describe what we refer to as "plus size" today.  It is short for voluptuous.  Sounds much nicer than plus size, doesn't it?  I added a 'D on the end to make it into a service where I take a smaller vintage garment and rework it to fit you.  Here are some things to be aware of regarding this service. 

1.  This WILL change the look of the garment.  I cannot make the garment larger without changing its look.  It may only be a slight change or it could be a significant change.  Slight change might be when I get lucky with a perfect fabric match and I add side panels or when I'm making a full length dress into a knee length and can use the bottom fabric for the expansion.  Significant change is when I design a whole new front bodice to sew into a shirt dress or have to add fabric that is not an exact match.   

2. This will NOT work with all garments.  Heavily embellished, extensive bodice boning, armhole structure, and certain design elements might preclude your garment from being Volup'D.  Also ladies, keep in mind the bust area.  Hold the front of the dress up to your bustline.  Does your bust not align correctly with the darting? Then that piece isn't a good candidate.  

3.  The standard rule is a garment can be made larger by 1-2 dress sizes.  I cannot make an extra small into and extra large.  Sorry, it will change the structure of the dress way too much.  The only possible exception to this is a strapless dress.  There is a lot more room to play with when I don't have to be concerned with armholes. 

4.  This is NOT a quick process.  If fabric matching is needed, it can take literally months to find the right fabric.  An example is a 2 piece romper I have from a customer.  It is white, hot pink and green.  Due to the design of the garment, getting a fabric match is critical.  Due to the pattern of the fabric, I have to match the hot pink or the green.  This is way harder than you would think! I’ve had this romper for over a year! This is not typical, but it’s not a quick process nonetheless. 99% of the time I will source my fabric by using vintage clothing that cannot be salvaged or at a thrift store.  The only fabric stores I have locally are JoAnn, Hobby Lobby and Walmart.  On a very rare occasion I will purchase a fabric online, however, since I am attempting to fabric match, without being able to hold the garment up to the fabric or feel the actual fabric, this is an absolute last resort.  Generally I can find what I need at thrift stores.  I find another garment with enough material for the expansion and use that to expand your garment.  This allows me a much wider variety of fabrics to choose from and I am very passionate about reusing fabric (upcycling, recycling, however you want to put it).  To me, we are a throw away society with fashion being a huge part of that.  Using thrifted garments wherever I can helps keep a piece of clothing out of a landfill.  Another reason this is not quick is that I have to take apart your garment stitch by stitch and do so very carefully.  Often, I'll be dismantling a garment and be caught off guard by a design element which forces me to change how I will expand it.   

5.  This process could affect the value of your garment.  Obviously if you have a designer garment and I make changes to it, it probably won't be worth what it was originally. 

Ok, so what makes for a good candidate when it comes to Volup'D?  Strapless, full length if you want to turn it into knee length, back zip (side zip can be done, but is more labor intensive), wrap front styles & shirt dresses make for great expansion projects. This is not an exclusive list.  You can bring your garment in or send photos and I can let you know whether it can be done or not  

How much is this gonna run you?  Well, the pricing starts at $60 and generally is around the $100 mark.  Why so much you ask?  As mentioned before, dismantling can take me many hours.  There is also the sourcing (remember the romper project? Imagine how many hours I’ve spent searching in the year I’ve had the project), design layout, sometimes a mock up of the expansion, actual sewing, the inevitable re-sewing, and about 80% of the time, there will be some fine tuning type of alterations after you come in to try on the finished project.  All in all, I put in an average of 30 hours of work into an expansion which is about $3.30 an hour. This doesn't include any expense of donor garments or other materials. 

* I should note that an expansion that only requires the use of the already present seam allowance is considered an alteration and priced accordingly   

** I am currently booked well into the fall for Volup'D projects.  I can take in new projects, but projected completion date would be closer to the end of the year or early 2024. 

Due to the backlog of projects, I will be adding blogs about how you can try to tackle this type of project yourself! 

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