So I thought I'd share some things I've learned from this whole bridesmaid dress experience.
Now before I start, I want to say we all walked down the aisle fully clothed and according to everyone, looking very nice. My hope is that by sharing these tips someone else may have a smoother journey than I did and there will be less stress involved for all around.
First, making custom dresses is the most inexpensive way to nicely clothe five bridesmaids that range in age from mid twenties to mid forties, have a foot difference in height, and are in different stages of motherhood (or not).
Don't let someone who doesn't sew choose the pattern and fabric.
My best friend has never sewn in her life and her mom has only sewn home decor or small projects. While I remembered to warn my friend on how sizing differs from RTW I didn't even think to mention that very rarely do dresses look like the model on the packet. Pattern photos are advertising just like any other garment store photo. The fabric chosen, while fabulous to work with, was heaver than required which also resulted in a different look. This meant that we had very different results than what the bride was originally picturing in her head.
If I could have re-done this part I would have had her send me photos of what she wanted and gone pattern and fabric shopping from there.
Try to be as concrete as possible.
My friend wanted these dresses to be something we would wear again so she said we could choose any of the different necklines from the chosen pattern that we wanted. Since I was sewing long distance I chose the cowl neck since it had the greatest amount of ease built in and the least amount of pieces on the front. I figured it would be the easiest to alter for our different body shapes.
Long story short, one of the bridesmaids didn't like the neckline, said her sister would make the dress, and called me the monday before the wedding to help. I spent the first hour putting the dress back together for a fit check and the next 45 minutes trying different neckline solutions until we found one the bridesmaid was happy with. With much prayer I was able to do this without collapsing in tears or anger.
The solution to this would have been to have the bride and seamstress make as many of the decisions beforehand as possible. When you are a bridesmaid, state your opinion early or not at all. If you do decide to speak up, tell the seamstress not the stressed out bride.
Remember the details.
|One of my best friends!! Fabulous to stand up with|
her! She nailed fit on her dress btw.
Be Patient and Flexible
- Get accurate measurements and remember to mention the importance of undergarments. ( I made a video showing the basic measurements as well as some special ones needed for the design of this dress. This helped tremendously in getting a good fit.)
- Remember when buying a lot of fabric to get it all in one go or check the dye lots. (this saves on the bride's nerves when she's called and told the fabric is a different color.)
- Decide hem height and remember to take shoes into account for hemming.
- If someone else is finishing work you started make sure to make notes of the changes you made to the pattern so they can complete it correctly.
No matter how much you prepare; you never know what changes, challenges, or craziness will happen. Being a calm seamstress, letting go when you need to and being patient as you deal with all sorts of people will help keep the bride calm and confident so she can focus on her day.
|Cold feet before the wedding ceremony. |
Mine, not the brides. :)
Finally, Don't fret and trust your skills.
The dress I was most worried about fitting ended up being the best fitting dress the Matron of Honor had worn in a long time. She was so pleased she had plans to wear it again. Seeing someone glowing and confident in what they're wearing makes it all worth it!
|Happy Matron of Honor|
|At the end of the day, they're married and that's all that matters anyway.|