Creating your dress: There are two reasons for creating your own dress: 1) you can't find exactly what you are looking for at a bridal shop (but know exactly what you want from pictures you may have seen); or 2) you want to save money by creating your wedding gown yourself or with the help of a seamstress. An additional way to save money is to purchase the lace, sequins, and beading at a fabric store or craft shop and sew it on yourself. If you don't feel comfortable doing it, your mother or grandmother may enjoy taking the time to hand sew beading and sequins. An original gown becomes one of sentimental value to be treasured and passed on to future generations.
Finding a seamstress: Your fabric store, friends, or family may be able to recommend a good seamstress or dress designer who specializes in bridal gowns or evening attire (also look under the Custom & Couture section in this book). It is a good idea to work with someone who has experience. Working with an inexperienced seamstress can be a costly experiment, with the prices of special-occasion fabrics and laces.
Mock dress: Make the bodice pattern you've selected in a less expensive fabric to be sure it is the style you want and that the fit is right. Alterations in the pattern can be made at this time to check the fit to your figure. Ask your seamstress what the cost will be for this extra step.
Buy extra fabric: Always purchase a couple of extra yards of fabric in addition to the recommended amount on the pattern. You may choose to change a feature or add accessories. To find the exact fabric dye lot can be difficult a couple of months later. When making bridesmaid dresses, purchase the fabric all at once, even if the bridesmaids are paying for their fabric individually.
Creative, time-saving ideas: If you're making your wedding gown or special-occasion attire yourself, ask your fabric store for suggestions. The clerk can answer your questions, offer new ideas, and save you time. Some fabric stores may even offer classes and seminars on fabrics, helpful hints and special accessories you can create.
Bridal accessories: Fabric stores may also carry headpieces, caps, frames, and veiling for you or your seamstress to create your own unique headpiece or veil. Inquire about all the additional accessories they may be able to provide you with.