if an hour...

San Anselmo, CA

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About this pro

How does your service stand out?

I am lucky enough to have been trained in old school couture methods at Parsons School of Design (the Project Runway school) in New York City and worked on 7th Avenue for several years. I have some great fabrics suppliers and specialize in quality.

What do you enjoy about the work you do?

My favorite part of my job is rising to the challenge of what the customer needs. I especially enjoy working with brides, working out what they envision and then giving them exactly what they want. The fitting process is so much fun, taking 2D fabric and creating a 3D piece.


San Anselmo, CA 94960

Times hired on Thumbtack



2 Reviews
  • Morgan P. Jun 5, 2017
    Verified Review
    Michele is an absolute pro! My daughter's dress had its share of issues and she handled it all with expert detail and completed it on the date promised. I will always call Michele when I need any type of alterations or custom clothing design work done!
    Michele W. Jun 5, 2017

    Thanks so much Morgan! Fun working with you!

  • Laura J. Jul 30, 2010
    There is no substitute for a hand-made dress that is exactly what you want and is crafted to fit you perfectly. Michele AKA ifanhour did a really great job on my dress, for a very affordable price (necessary for me, as a grad student). She is in San Anselmo, and will do plenty of fittings. She worked with me to form my ideas into a design, created a pattern on me, fit it perfectly in muslin, got me gorgeous silk charmeuse at wholesale prices, and found me vintage lace. It's spectacular. She went to Parson's (yes, the same place now famous for all of that Project Runway mayhem). She's super easy to work with and very detail-oriented, if sometimes a little over-extended. Oh, and brilliant and talented with tons of experience. I should stop since it sounds like I want to marry her, but she's that good. Everyone adored my dress and I looked better than I ever have.


What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
An initial consultation is free, whether in person or on the phone. I am also happy to send fabric swatches to you first to see if you like the materials I can source for your project. After discussing your needs I will put a cost proposal together for you. After accepting the proposal I ask for a 40% retainer fee to purchase materials and get started on your project.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I have an apparel design degree from Parsons School of Design, worked in the New York fashion industry for 10 years at Calvin Klein Ltd. (Collection), and worked on many women's, men's, knitwear, and children's projects over the years. I am always reading and keeping up on current trends and follow the fashion shows/news obsessively.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your service? If so, please share the details here.
My pricing is based on your needs. We discuss the project, the cost of materials, and how many hours to complete. I am happy to give you an estimate before starting and will work hard to stay within your budget. Most special occasion custom dress projects fall between $800. and $2,600.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
It chose me, from the moment that I sewed my baby sister into a pillowcase dress I had made at the age of 5.....and, I had a chance to add stylish pockets before my mother rescued her.
What types of customers have you worked with?
Unusual wedding dress requests such as vintage or 1930's and 1950's style, custom bridal veils and accessories. Special child and baby projects. Silk blouses, wool skirts, silk dresses, high quality costumes.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
I am really proud of a 1930's style bias silk wedding dress with vintage lace that I finished for a June wedding. I can't wait to get the pictures! I also adore working on my ostrich jackets.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
It's all about the fabric, then it's all about the fit. Make sure your maker understands fabric and is able to alter patterns or make a personal muslin/pattern from scratch for you to insure a proper fit.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Working on a custom project with an independent designer isn't all glitz and glamour like you see in the movies. The most successful projects come from clear communication between the client and maker, and the willingness and flexibility of both to research and be open about ideas and expectations. Establish a timeline and give your maker enough time to order fabric and be willing to stand for a couple to several fittings to make changes and refine fit. You as the client have a much happier outcome when you have a clear vision of what you want. Pick a maker who understands your style and fit needs and will put in the hours to make your deadline A full length strapless Alencon lace gown with hand sewn seams to match the floral motifs with tulle underskirts takes 100 hours or more.