Welcome to 2017! If you’ve found yourself luckily engaged over the sunny festive season and looking for your perfect wedding dress, then this article is for you.
The wedding dress is likely to be one of the largest single item costs on your wedding day, with the average wedding dress costing between $5,000 and $10,000.
If you’re handy with a sewing machine, or know someone who is, then here are my tips for reducing your wedding dress expense.
Set your budget
Before you even start shopping, work out what you can afford and stick to it. It is very easy to get carried away with the process.
As an idea, my wedding dress cost $1,000 for all wholesale fabrications and trims, including silk fabric for lining and main and an elaborate Swarovski crystal belt.
As I can pattern-make and sew, this cost was reduced to around $20 for only the pattern-paper and the cost of electricity for using the sewing machine for 40 hours.
If I were to buy my exact dress at retail, then I would expect to pay around $4,000 and $5,000. BONUS: I had enough fabric to make a second wedding dress for after dinner dancing.
Shop around and try
This will provide you with an idea of prices and fits that are suitable for your shape.
White and ivory are not easy colours to wear – do not assume that you will look great in a particular style because you have worn similar shapes before.
White and Ivory can make you look like you’re wearing a sheet if the fit is not perfect.
In terms of budgets, it is reasonable to expect to DIY a wedding dress for half the cost of a ready-made gown.
Know your capability
Choosing or designing a style that suits you is the fun and easy part of the process.
But whether you walk down the aisle in something that looks like a toddler made or a dress that looks like it was made by Dior all hinges on your ability to make it – that is cutting the pattern correctly and sewing it together perfectly.
Some people can sew, some people can sew well, and some people can sew exceptionally. Make sure you are realistic about your ability before you start and choose a style that matches your ability.
Buy a pattern or hire a pattern-maker
Wedding dress patterns can be purchased from commercial stores such as Lincraft and Spotlight and online providers. And don’t stop at wedding dresses, also check out evening dress patterns and consider how they’d look in white.
Alternatively, if you’re pattern-making skills are novice or non-existent, then hiring an experienced pattern-maker is an option if you want a bespoke style.
Find the fabric, trims and thread
If you really want to save a decent amount of money, buy from a wholesale fabric supplier rather than a retailer.
Sydney and Melbourne have many wholesalers with quality products, but online will provide you with a greater range. The benefit of walking into a store is that you can touch and feel your fabric before paying, which is important, because you will likely need around six meters of fabric.
Buying from a wholesaler has the limitation of buying in larger quantities, such as 10 meter lengths, but if you’re crafty you can turn the excess into something great – such as a dress for the honeymoon or a ring cushion.
If the budget is really tight, don’t only look at traditional fabrics such as silk. Cotton and some polyesters can produce outstanding results.
And lastly, don’t forget to include buttons, zippers, interfacing, lace, beads and ribbons.
Enlist a sewing-savvy friend
This is important, because it’s almost impossible to get a perfect-fit while pinning up the hem and pinching in the waist while you’re wearing the dress.
Having a friend handy as a second set of eyes or to talk through ‘how-tos’ can actually save you time by helping to avoid mistakes. Plus, they may even be able to help you through the trickier components.
Be realistic on sewing
Take your time and allow double the time to make the dress and do not rush. Sure, you might be able to whip up a wearable wedding dress in a weekend, but if you allow yourself three months and keep to a schedule, then you’ll not only be more relaxed, and you’ll avoid critical errors and produce a better dress.