Neepawa business offers custom dress making


By: Kate Jackman-Atkinson

In her workshop in Neepawa, dressmaker Olga Boyko is hard at work. One day last month, she was busy cutting out small squares of fabric and laying them out to make a patchwork fabric for a jacket she was working on.

Boyko’s shop is located adjacent to her home on Brown Avenue in Neepawa. It’s bright and full of neatly organized rows of thread, sewing machines, pins and a couple of mannequins wearing projects at various stages of completion.

Self-taught, Boyko began dressmaking in Russia as a hobby. “It wasn’t so professional,” she says of her early work.  She moved to Canada 10 years ago and decided to turn her love into more than a hobby. 

“When I came to Canada, I decided to get a Canadian diploma,” she said.  She graduated with highest honours from her two year diploma program in dressmaking and design.

For the last seven years, Boyko has lived in Neepawa with her family, operating BOA Dressmaking.

Boyko offers her customers a wide variety of custom garments, but has a particular interest in wedding dresses and grad dresses. “I love to sew grad dresses, wedding dresses and evening gowns,” she said. 

She doesn’t just cater to women on their big days, she also makes men’s formal suits.  In addition to formal wear, she makes everyday items such as shirts, skirts, pants and jackets as well as doing alternations. “I’m not afraid to take on something new,” she said.

Boyko’s most recent project, a grey wool coat, took about a week to make.  During that time, she also did some alterations and small jobs for other customers.

Most dresses purchased at a bridal salon require alteration and Boyko notes that for about the same price, someone would pay to purchase a dress and have it altered. They can also have a completely custom dress custom made to fit them.

When it comes to dressing for a big day, custom dressmaking has a lot to offer customers says Boyko. One advantage is a custom style. She explains that by having a dress custom made customers can pick different components of dresses they have seen elsewhere. For example, the top of one dress can be combined with the bottom of another. She can also combine components of various dresses and make a pattern for a completely custom dress.

From a picture, Boyko can also recreate a dress that a customer loves but that is not available for purchase.  In one case, she did this for a customer who had found a dress she wanted in a bridal salon but it wasn’t available in her size. “She came with a picture and I made it,” said Boyko.

Boyko adds that in addition to a custom style, custom dresses can be made in any type of fabric or colour the customer wants.

Even if customers don’t have a clear idea of what they want, Boyko can help. “I can help find the right style for the right person,” she said.


In photo: Olga Boyko of BOA Dressmaking stands with two recent projects in her workshop on Brown Avenue in Neepawa.

Photo by Kate Jackman-Atkinson