Ellen Stanistreet

Ellen Stanistreet - Designer & Couturier

A bit of background...

Ellen has a passion for capturing the uniqueness of her client’s style, and believes that the bespoke couture experience should be available to everyone.

She provides an honest, open, reasonably-priced service that allows for creativity and a personality-driven design response to “the wedding dress” dilemma. A focus on classic lines, stunning fabrics and unique style choices make her gowns enduring in their femininity and elegance.

Ellen got into the business by designing and making her own wedding gown in 2009. She was overwhelmed with the response to her style and found that many women want an alternative to rigid, traditional bridal couture. She ran her private design and dressmaking business Lissom Yarn in Flemington for several years before going to work for one of Melbourne’s largest bridal couture houses as head of production, and finally as designer. She left the industry in 2015 to study costume and set design and now enjoys the challenges of both these professions.

Her bridal clients have been featured in Polka Dot Bride, Green Wedding Shoes, The Design Files, Ivory Tribe, Hello May and Cosmo Bride

Bespoke couture - how do we do it?


Designing your gown can sound overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be.

Ellen has spent the last eight years in bridal couture and has ushered dozens of brides through the process of choosing, designing and fitting their dream dress. She can guide you through the process while carefully allowing your inspiration to be realised in a gown that suits, and fits you perfectly! 
She suggests you take some time to consider and research in the following ways before you commence the process with any dressmaker or designer:

1.     Be honest about fashion: what suits you, what has made you feel great in the past? A wedding dress is special but it also needs to make you feel confident and authentically "you" on a day which can be demanding and exhausting. Think about cuts and styles that have garnered compliments in the past; colours that you know suit you or that have an emotional impact on you. It’s a great time to make an investment in a stunning gown that speaks of your uniqueness in a world of mass-produced fashion.

2.     Try on some gowns: it’s easy to say you want a “wedding dress” but many women feel alienated by the traditional white, floor-length gown. Try on a couple of styles, see what makes you feel good, and whether white is actually what you want. See what the cuts and structure feel like in real life, and imagine wearing it for at least 10hrs, dancing, standing, eating and hugging about 100 people. Phew! 

3.     Be real about your location: if you are getting hitched in a paddock, why wear stilettos? Is a satin ball gown appropriate? There are so many stunning versions of “bridal” these days that you don’t need to feel constrained by white and formal styles.

4.     Go to a fabric shop – ask about the difference between silk and satin, the different names of lace, look at the fall and flow of different fabrics and see what appeals to your instincts – these are usually a good starting place and the information will help you make better decisions when you get down to the nitty gritty with your dressmaker.

5.     It’s a party – don’t forget! It’s easy to get wrapped up in the ceremony and seriousness of a wedding, but honestly when is there a better time to make a splash? Think about some styles you have always loved but never had a chance to wear – now is the time! 


How do I start?

Photography by Bobby and Tide

Photography by Bobby and Tide

Starting the process...

First contact!  –  Usually in an email, you provide inspiration/aspiration images and a brief description of your wedding - season, style, themes. It's good if you have done some research before this we start this conversation - see points above.

Initial Consultation –  We will meet to discuss the scope and style of the gown: your body shape preferences, budget and dreams for the dress!

Fabric Selection - Many dressmakers require you to do this all by yourself, however Ellen can help you! This service is priced at $55/hr including travel time. 

Or choose your fabrics yourself and provides swatches to Ellen .

A list of trusted fabric retailers can be found here

Sketches and Quote - Ellen will provide you with three (minimum) coloured sketches of variations of your gown ideas. You can then choose and make changes, before a quote will be provided with your fabric costs, gown construction and fittings all costed out.

The design phase costs $350 and this comes off your final gown price. If you feel that continuing together is not for you, then you can also part ways at this point, with sketches and info that will help you move forward.

Working to a budget - Ellen's gowns are costed by material and time, so the more complex your gown, the more expensive. That said, sometimes a simple gown requires more beautiful fabric or more time to cut it just right so it's always hard to tell. If you have a specific budget in mind (of course you do!) it's important to be realistic. If you want a more cost-effective option, Ellen can also work with that - just ask!  


Need to know:

1. Design and Quote - $350 +travel time and fabric shopping service.

2. Deposit of 45% percent to secure dates and your booking.

3.  Fittings – between 3 and 6 depending on the complexity of the gown and bride’s requirements – this number will be outlined in the quote. Extra fittings due to weight or design changes are priced at $55/hr.

4. Final fitting and collection of gown - remaining 55% of the invoice is payable in 7 days. 


The gown construction process:

-  Measurements

- 1 x draft gown fitting – “toile” – made in calico or draft fabric. This step allows for discussion of design lines, shape and fit on your body, and also for some changes to be made if necessary to the design itself.

-       Usually 2-3 more fittings of the real gown: we refine fit, details, hemline and accessories like underwear requirements, and shoes. 

-       Final fitting and collection of the gown approx. one month prior to your Wedding Day.

- Go get married already! xx





Thanks for considering Australian made and designed fashion.