Collage of colorful and bright hand drawn fashion illustration showcasing show choir, colorguard, and indoor percussion costumes made by Dance Sophisticates

Step-By-Step: Custom Designs

Step-By-Step: Custom Garments from DS

When creating a custom design for your ensemble, it’s important to create strong lines of communication to clearly understand your program ideas and make sure they live within the design. Our goal is to make our customers happy, but that starts with a clear plan of action. The following tips are provided as a way to encourage thoughtful planning as you head into the design phase of your season.

The first, and most important step in creating a custom costume is to fill out the Custom Design Request Form. This will be your opportunity to share information with the designer regarding the program concept, musical selections, style ideas, pictures, color choices and any other inspiration you have for the costume designs. You need to be keenly aware of budget limitations, realistic timeline expectations, and the type of message or storyline you are hoping to convey. Our designers are world-class professionals, but until someone invents a mind reading app, they are dependent on you to be honest and clear with your program goals.

Your DS designer will then create beautiful, full-color fashion renderings of each of your costumes based on the information provided. It's sometimes easy to forget that these sketches are not mass produced by some computer algorithm; as such, they take time to complete. Please be patient with your designer as they are often searching for custom and unique fabrics that meet your timeline and budget constraints. If custom graphic design is going to be required for digital prints, there are often conversations to plan how best to approach patterning and setup of those designs. We want to impress and delight our customers just as much as you want to do the same with your audiences and judges!

Once the sketches are approved, and the fabrics have been selected, samples of your costumes are created to check proportion and fit. Any samples will be presented for your approval. We've all been there, but if you have to get approval through several design team members, please make sure they are all prepped and ready to weigh-in and give feedback. Often the process gets held up at this phase because days or weeks go by without any feedback. Every unnecessary day that goes by simply jeopardizes your delivery date. Let your team know you need prompt feedback and how important it is that communication keeps moving efficiently. 

Once the sample is approved your order is ready to officially be processed and scheduled for production. Keep in mind that we cannot process your order until we have your complete student measurements and either a deposit or school P.O. Any delay at this phase also puts your delivery timeline at risk, so please measure your students accurately and early in your planning phase! We have provided some helpful measuring guidelines to make this process easier. 

Your costumes will arrive with a clearly printed label that will have important information like the student's name, size or measurements, and washing instructions. In some cases your garments will also be on quality hangers labeled with the student's name. We pride ourselves on providing garments that fit properly and work right out of the box without expensive alterations, so let us know immediately if you have any fit issues so we can troubleshoot the cause and provide a solution that works for everyone. If you are happy with your costumes, we of course would to hear from you via an email or tag us on social media showing off that perfect fit!



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