Monday, January 3, 2011

To Make or Not to Make?...How to Find a Good Bridal Seamstress!?

Okay the big day you were waiting for!!! He said you are pulling your hair out trying to plan the special day!! With so many options for dresses you are now confused. You have dreamed about this day since childhood, with a drawer full of cut outs from bridal magazines, you think, "but I want something different, unique..that no other bride has...I know! I will have it made!"

So how do you go about finding the perfect seamstress? And the real question you really want to have it made?? or do you just want a dress that is unique to you?

Working with brides for the past 20 years, I have seen the struggles that a bride will go through and thought I would jot down a few different ideas that hopefully will make this decision making process a little bit easier..

Before "Googling" the perfect seamstress here are a few questions to jot down and ask yourself.

1) What is my budget?

2) Do I have an idea in mind of a style of dress?

3) Do I know my body type? and what styles go well with my type?

4) Have I been to bridal shops to try on different styles to have an idea of what looks good on my body type?

Once you have answered these questions, you will have a better idea of whether or not to have one made. After trying dresses on at a bridal shop you may realize that there is a perfect ready made dress for you out there already. Granted it may need alterations but the big part is over, you have found your dream dress. We will talk about alterations in a bit...

If you have tried on dresses and you just didn't find one that made you sparkle with you can take the next step of thinking about having one made. Pour yourself into ideas now....clip out pictures that give you something to work with..."the top of this one, the hemline of that one...the sleeve on this one the train on that one"...etc etc...and put them together in a journal...making line drawings or notations where needed.

by Vintage Scraps on Etsy

Next, ask your girlfriends and neighbors if they have a personal seamstress, dressmaker or tailor that they know of and trust. Referrals are always a good first step. If no success in that, then try googling one, if you can't find one local, look for online recommendations. This can be a bit scary at first, but once you find one, begin communicating whether it be through email or on the phone. See what "feel" you can get just through the initial communication. She may be a good seamstress and know her craft, but if you do not get that "good vibe" that she understands you right away, then keep searching. You have to get the good feeling for you to be able to trust her with something so special to you.

Once you find the seamstress...whether it be one local, or online...present your ideas to her and be open to her suggestions. You may have an idea that cannot be done actually in fabric...she will know and can help you firm up the design. But remember to make sure she understands all your wants and desires for this dress. Keep the communication open. Ask her what her policy is for payments, deposits, fittings, timelines, contracts, design changes, embellishments etc....and any other question you want answered, remember to ASK! dont be shy...this is YOUR DRESS FOR YOUR SPECIAL DAY...

A few things to keep in mind for taking initial measurements..

1) Wear a proper fitting bra, preferably one very similiar to what will be worn on the wedding day, if not the actual one.

2) Even if you are planning to lose those "extra" pounds...better to have the dress a little bigger than to small..a bigger dress can always be taken in, just in case the diet plan doesn't go as planned.

3) If not the actual bridal shoes, wear a shoe that is very close to what you will be wearing the wedding day.

4) Keep in mind if you will be wearing an extra petticoat, let your seamstress know as this may affect the final hem length.

Etsy Bridal Seamstress, Tova of Etsy's Weddingdressfantasy

Now if you have found that it is too out of your budget to have one made, perhaps you can find a dress very similiar to what you want and have it altered up a bit to look more like "you". Maybe adding a sash, or some beading...again discuss this with your seamstress...the options are there...just ask if it can be done within your budget.

This seamstress can also help you if you just need alterations done to your existing dress. Remember to wear proper fitting bra, shoes, and petticoat if necessary.

I hope this helps narrow things down for you and helps you decide what to do or not to do! And remember, is full of wonderful seamstresses with ready made dresses or ones that can be custom made for be sure to search through Etsy also when searcing for the perfect seamstress! I have included a few references I found when searching through Etsy myself :) Happy searching! and always be sure to do your HOMEWORK first!!!



  1. Good Blog, Ne...Well thought out. I like the picture of you on the floor frantically hand sewing. Work it out girl. WORK IT, WORK IT!

  2. hahaha really?? thats what I look like when Im frantic?? :) I worked on that for like a year! the birds were unruly :) thx for reading! c


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