(Closed) Have you ever sewn your own formal gown? (wedding, prom)

posted 4 years ago in Dress
  • poll: Would you make your own wedding gown?
    If I knew how, sure thing! : (6 votes)
    55 %
    Maybe I would hire someone else to make what I was looking for... : (5 votes)
    45 %
    Are you crazy??? : (0 votes)
  • Post # 2
    66 posts
    Worker bee

    I’ve made some skirts out of satin and several various period dresses, but those are in linen, wool and cotton usually. 

    Anything slippery is a pest to sew at best. 

    If you can find a plain skirted gown that meets everything you want but has a train – you can cut trains off.

    As for color – how not white are you seeing? You really need to try the colors on – stark white is too harsh on me, but the Oleg Cassini champagne and ivory combo looks very clean and more white than stark white on me. Plus, if only photos, some colors are hideous in ads but in person or normal pictures are beautiful. 

    Also, try searching for floor length gowns, you’ll have more options vs trainless wedding gowns. Formal wear, evening gowns and prom dresses are easier to find.

    Post # 3
    215 posts
    Helper bee

    my friend made her prom dress, but she thought it was just ”ehh…” and I think regretted it. A few years later, she used the same pattern to make another dress and it turned out much much better! 

    I would suggest making the dress much sooner than needed–in case you don’t like it and need to purchase one. 

    You could buy cheap cheap material to make a practice dress, then get good material for the real thing.

    Post # 4
    1049 posts
    Bumble bee

    My mother chose to make her wedding dress in an attempt to make it more affordable and be able to get what she really wanted (she fell in love with a dress in a window that sold before she could go back for it). In the end she spent more time, money, and stress making hers than it would have taken to find another she truly loved. She was happy and proud of it at the time but I pulled it out recently and even though she’s an excellent seamstress who spent hundreds of hours on it, it still looks homemade. 

    I have made a few costume dresses and my mom has made both a formal dress and bridesmaid dress for my sister and every time, at the end of the day we always wish we had hired a professional or just put in the time and effort to find what we wanted. I dont know if you’ve ever worked with silk, satin, or taffeta (or any other bridal fabric) but they are an absolute pain to deal with. They slip, slide, and fray and you have to put some serious effort into the foundation/structure/lining to make it look even remotely professional.

    My advice is to find something similar to what you want and cut the train off. Also, almost all dresses that can be ordered come in a true white even if the sample is ivory or another color. I’ve also found that more affordable lines like Eden and Ella Rosa are lighter weight-wise and the samples are usually pure white (I cant stand the thought of dragging a heavy dress around all day either).

    Good luck making your decision and finding the right gown!

    Post # 5
    100 posts
    Blushing bee

    I did make my own prom dress once (and got grand champion for it at fair), but I would never consider making my wedding dress. It’s just too much pressure!

    Post # 6
    433 posts
    Helper bee

    Yes, I have made several ball gowns, evening frocks, ball skirts, and a cocktail dress.I adore vintage patterns and have worked with a variety of fabrics. I normally enjoy sewing very much, and love working with stiffer, heavier silks (taffeta, dupioni, crepe, brocade — even organza), but I’ve also had some nightmares. The worst one was a silk chiffon fabric for a 1950s cocktail dress with a full skirt and tailored bodice. It kept slipping and sliding all over the place and my machine tried to eat the fabric more than once.

    I am decent seamstress, sewing is my hobby, not my profession, but I have been sewing for two decades, studied couture techniques, and sew only with expensive natural fabrics. It can certainly be done depending on your skill level and willingness to invest time and money for fabrics, thread, good boning, interfacing, lining, etc.

    One of the perks is that you have something absolutely unique, and made by yourself. It’s certainly a major accomplishment, and it will increase your appreciation for the time and effort that is required to produce a finished garment.

    Edit: Savings may not be as great as you envisioned — depending on the fabric price. Once you add in your time, there really won’t be any savings unless the dress of your dreams is an haute couture frock.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by  Persephone.
    Post # 7
    433 posts
    Helper bee


    “I dont know if you’ve ever worked with silk, satin, or taffeta (or any other bridal fabric) but they are an absolute pain to deal with. They slip, slide, and fray and you have to put some serious effort into the foundation/structure/lining to make it look even remotely professional.”

    I love working with silk – both silk satin and silk taffeta – and find those fabrics easy to sew. Polyester satin, which I haven’t used since I made a princess costume for a neighbour when I was 16, is dreadful and does indeed possess all the terrible qualities you mention: slipping, sliding, fraying, shifting. pulling, etc. I use high-end natural fabrics for my handmade creations, and with the sole exception of a silk chiffon and a cheaper silk organza used for a large stole, I’ve had wonderful experiences. The price difference can definitely be seen and felt.

    Post # 8
    1718 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: July 2016

    I have not sewn a gown before, but I have sewn many dresses, tops, skirts, etc.  I plan to sew my wedding dress based off a 40s vintage pattern.  I’ll make a muslin out of actual muslin, then do a cheap satin and lace muslin, and then start on the real fabric.  I am under no impression that I will save money making my own dress.  The fabrics I’m looking at are very expensive.  I mostly want to do it because I want to have the satisfaction of making my own, and because I haven’t seen any dresses I like as much as my sewing pattern.

    This book, though a bit outdated, is regarded as THE resource for sewing wedding dresses.  I have it and have read through it several times.  It has definitely helped me understand more about what is required for the foundation of the gown.  http://www.amazon.com/Bridal-Couture-Techniques-Wedding-Evening/dp/0801987571/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1410449124&sr=1-1&keywords=bridal+couture 

    Bottom line: I think it’s totally doable if you have lots of time in advance, lots of resources, good fabric, etc. 

    Edit: None of those links besides the long book link were actually added by me!

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by  Lavender28.
    Post # 9
    1718 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: July 2016

    Persephone:  What kind of boning do you recommend?  Where do you purchase yours?

    Post # 10
    433 posts
    Helper bee



    I think the choice depends on your fabric. Have you chosen your material? If I work with a heavier fabric (taffeta, satin, brocade), I prefer cotton-covered boning (13 mm), but if I am working with a light(er) fabric, e.g., organza, I rather like Rigilene, which is thinner and won’t show through more delicate fabrics. I have also used pre-cut plastic whalebone which can be bought in different widths. I usually buy my boning at an online haberdashery: http://www.macculloch-wallis.co.uk/Default.aspx or http://www.calicolaine.co.uk/haberdashery/boning-and-waistbands.html

    I, too, am a great fan of the book you linked in your post. It’s a fantastic resource.

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