With the latest craze for making your own clothes, if you sew, perhaps you have considered making your own wedding dress. A quick search for ‘wedding dress patterns’ brings up a variety of results from vintage Vogue patterns, to Kwik-sew. Unlike buying a designer wedding dress, your choice for sewing your own depends not just on your body shape and sense of style, but on your skill level.
Obviously this is not one for a beginner sewist, but if you do have experience at making clothes for adults, it can be worthwhile looking at the patterns available. If you are an experienced sewist, have made clothes for yourself previously, and have plenty of spare time before the wedding, there is a world of choice out there. From fabulous corsets with princess style ballgown skirts, to slinky fitted evening dresses, you really can choose anything you want. If you at more of an intermediate level, capable of following a pattern, but haven’t used many of the more complicated dressmaking techniques, you will want to stick to a simple dress. This means you can look at patterns for normal or evening dresses, and just choose an appropriate fabric, rather than only looking at wedding dress patterns. However, there are simpler patterns out there. Just make sure you look at the back of the pattern’s packet to see if it tells you which techniques you will need to know. Some will even tell you whether they are ‘easy’, ‘intermediate’ or ‘advanced’ so you can pick your skill level.
Whatever level of design you choose, make sure you leave plenty of time before the wedding to make the dress. However long you think it will take you, double it and add a few more weeks. You want to allow for things to go wrong, for your life to be busier than expected, and for any adjustments that need to be made. It is a good idea to treat this as a job and book time for it as you would any appointment. This is not a job to leave to the last minute! It is a good idea to plan to make the dress twice. First you should make it in a cheaper fabric so you can have a practice and see if any fitting issues can be sorted out before cutting into the expensive fabric. While your practice fabric should be cheaper, it should still be a similar fabric as you need to know how easy it is to sew, what problems there may be when sewing it (such as how easily it frays), and how it hangs once it has been finished. Only when this dress is perfect should you start on your fashion fabric.
When choosing the fabric, it is a good idea to talk to the people who work in the fabric shop. They will know which fabrics will be difficult to sew with, which will wrinkle easily, and can also recommend all the extras you may need, such as specialist needles or the right thread. As for what fabric to choose – you are making it yourself, so you don’t have to choose the traditional colours or fabrics. Why not choose a fabric that already has embellishments on? That is an easy way make a simple dress look like something a bit more special.
Once you have made your dress, you can embellish it. If you have chosen a simple design, you can really go to town with these extras. From simple fabric flowers, to sequins and sparkles or even feathers, you can create something really unique with only a little effort. In fact, if you’re feeling brave, this is even something you can do with a wedding dress you have bought. Choose a simple wedding dress and customise it to make it your own!
Before you start looking at wedding dress patterns, you should be honest with yourself. This is your big day; are you going to be comfortable if the dress isn’t perfect? Even if they are flaws that no one else will see, you don’t want to be worrying about that slightly wonky seam while you are walking down the aisle. If those little flaws will bother you, do you have the time to devote to making sure it really is perfect? Time for picking out any seams that go wrong? This isn’t necessarily the cheaper option either in time or money. It really is a labour of love. If you decide it is too much for you, then another great option for a one-off, unique dress is visiting a designer wedding dress factory outlet, where many of the dresses are end-of-line or straight from catwalks and photoshoots, making them original and excellent quality for less than half their original price.