Diy: Making Your Own Wedding Gown

This article discusses some issues a bride will need to consider when making her own wedding gown, including choosing a pattern.

Weddings are a big undertaking, and it is an ambitious bride who decides to make her own wedding gown. Wedding gowns tend to be elaborately styled, and include many details and techniques with which the average bride may not be familiar. However, with planning and assistance, it can be done.

First, a bride needs to decide what kind of wedding gown she wants or needs: formal or informal. Informal or semi-formal gowns may include tea-length dresses or suits that are less elaborate than a gown, but it can be a lot of work to make a tailored suit. When the kind of gown has been decided on, the bride needs to begin looking at patterns and fabrics as far in advance of the date as possible. There is no such thing as beginning too early. The last thing a bride needs is to be sewing on her wedding gown the night before the ceremony (and I've seen it happen!). Advance preparation is everything.

A bride who is not an advanced seamstress will probably not have a serger/overlock sewing machine, and so should look for patterns that do not require one. An advanced seamstress doesn't need an article like this, so this will focus primarily on the bride who sews, but is not advanced. Most pattern manufacturers have a variety of wedding gown patterns, and the bride should look carefully at each pattern, making note of what techniques are used and what kinds of material, lining, etc., are recommended.

The seamstress bride should also have a friend who knows something about sewing, and preferably, an expert she can consult if she finds herself in over her head. The friend should take the bride's measurements and write them down, so they can be compared to the size charts. She should also ask the sales associates in the fabric store about which pattern manufacturers' goods run small, true-to-size or large.

If the bride has an expert friend, she should bring this friend with her while she is choosing patterns. An expert sewer will be able to give the bride good advice on which patterns are straightforward enough for a less advanced seamstress to successfully make. The bride should examine all the patterns closely and choose one that is flattering to her figure and is not too difficult. She may find herself in the dilemma of liking the bodice of one gown, for instance, and the sleeve on another. She may be tempted to buy both patterns and combine them. This is not a good idea unless she is a skilled seamstress, or her expert friend volunteers to help her make that sleeve fit that bodice. But in general, it is a bad idea. However, many patterns offer options within the same pattern "" brides can choose the sleeve, bodice and skirt they prefer. This is a great option and the bride can rest assured that all the pattern pieces are meant to fit the other ones.

In general, a bride may find that strapless, halter-style or spaghetti-strap gowns are easier to make than ones requiring sleeves to be set into the bodice. However, such gowns may also require boning in the bodice to ensure a flattering fit, and setting in boning can be problematic for a less-advanced seamstress. It still might be easier than sleeves, though. It all depends on a bride's level of expertise and confidence in her skills.

A bride should also make certain she has a few necessary items to help make this large project an easier one: a good pair of fabric shears, a hemming gauge and a seam ripper. Good fabric shears will make all the difference in the world in cutting the fabric. The edges will be smooth and even and thus easier to sew. She will need a hemming gauge to make sure her measurements are correct and a seam ripper to take out mistakes. This is another reason a bride needs to allow a generous time frame for making her dress. If she has to re-do several pieces, this will take longer.

If possible, a bride should buy all the required material at one time. This will help ensure it all comes from the same dye lot and will match in color. Beads and laces are not as crucial, and can be purchased later. She should buy some extra fabric also, to allow formistakes and alterations.

Most fabric stores that carry bridal fabrics also have the beaded arabesques and medallions that go on the front and skirt of the gown, although they can also order different styles. The bride should ask about what they have.

When the bride begins construction on the gown, she should have a large, open, well-lit area for cutting the fabric. If a large table is available, this is ideal. She should follow the pattern instructions as closely as possible, paying close attention to pattern placement on the fabric and measuring selvages correctly. She should also read through the pattern instructions carefully and thoroughly, and get answers for managing unfamiliar techniques in advance. It is a good idea to read through the sewing instructions several times before actually beginning on the dress.

When the dress has been pieced or basted together, the bride should try it on, to get an idea of how well it will fit. This is the time to rectify major errors, such as a too-small bodice. The bride should fit the dress at every stage, to ensure she addresses all issues with the gown. She should also have someone else mark the hem for her, as she stands on a high chair or platform. It is nearly impossible to mark a hem on a garment one is wearing at the time. So, someone else should do it.

When the project is finished, the bride should have a beautiful gown, and will wear it with the pride of knowing she made it herself. However, her keys to successfully complete the project will be: careful pattern selection, fitting the dress along the way, and most of all, allowing herself plenty of time. These guidelines should help the bride choose and complete that perfect wedding gown.

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