How to create the somewhat-DIY wedding dress

If you’re the kind of bride who needs to put a personal stamp on everything, it can sting to have to get married in a dress that was designed by someone else. However, even for crafty brides, there often isn’t time to design and make a wedding dress in addition to all the other pre-wedding tasks. If you have to buy a ready-made bridal gown, don’t despair. There are still ways of making your wedding dress your very own. 

The Altered Thrift Store Masterpiece

Do you sigh when you see fabulous, flashy 1980s prom gowns hanging in the windows of thrift stores, because you know you’ll never get the opportunity to wear them? Your wedding could be your big chance. As the bride, you get the final say in your wedding apparel, and you’ll be the star of the show no matter what you wear. So dream big and don’t be afraid to make a bold impression on your big day. Best yet, you can experiment freely knowing that a replacement dress is well within your budget

Adding Subtle Embellishments

Even though you may not choose to invest in a full-on “Bedazzler,” strategically-placed rhinestones and sequins can add a bit of sparkle to any dress. The subtlety of the effect is completely up to you; just hide a few discreet points of light within the folds of your ballroom skirt, or add an intricate, sparkling bodice detail. The key to embellishing with sparkling gems is to plan extremely carefully before gluing anything. One good way to make “invisible” marks on the dress is to dot a clear, blacklight-reactive marker where you plan to glue the stones. That way, you can check your pattern under a blacklight to make sure it’s exactly what you want, and any stray marks won’t show up under regular light.

If you’re handy with embroidery, you can add subtle detail to your dress by embroidering the hem or lining with the date of your wedding, or any other meaningful information. Maybe your fiancé and you will be incorporating a short quote or line of poetry into your vows? Your wedding dress is the perfect place to embroider those words. It goes without saying, but always remember to embroider only one layer of material to make sure your stitches aren’t visible from the outside.

Patches aren’t just for jeans anymore. If you find a gorgeous printed material (pearlescent flowers, for example, or intricately rendered songbirds), you can cut out a few examples of your favorite repeating pattern. When you sew these onto your gown at intervals, you’ll add depth and texture as well as making the gown unmistakably unique. This method works best with small, subtle patches around the waistline or hem. 

The Brilliant Lining

If you want to spruce up your dress in a way that only you can see, consider adding a new lining. It’s a great way to add a pop of bright color to an otherwise white dress–it can even be a creative way to add “something blue.” Bright petticoats of contrasting colors are another way to add a festive spark that will be known only to a select few. You can use linings and petticoats of your wedding colors if you want them to be visible when you gather your skirt in your hands. You can also flash your brilliant underskirts at a few chosen friends, giving you a secret to smile about as you walk down the aisle. 

As the bride, you can count on being the center of attention. Every camera will be focused on you. You’ll see your wedding gown repeated in nearly every photo in your wedding album. Since it’s a fashion choice you’ll be living with for the rest of your life, why not add a little something personal so you can take pride in it for years to come?