As a Devon dressmaker, I often get asked if I can make this dress but cheaper. Cost is such a big part of planning a big event, I discuss what to think about when looking for cheaper alternatives.

One day a customer comes to me and enquires. “I’ve been recommended your services from someone who has had a dress made by you. I’m getting married and I have seen a new designer bridal dress that I adore but cannot afford. I wondered if you might be able to help me?”. I have made a number of dresses that have taken inspiration from other designers and dresses that people have seen and wanted but can’t quite stretch their budget to purchase. Being a Devon based dressmaker in a small independent shop, I don’t have the big worries or costs that big city businesses do, so I can afford to keep my overheads low. This allows me to make many dresses cheaper.

Devon dressmaker – designing

Here are my 6 tips when deciding on getting a dress made using other garments as inspiration.

1. Am I ready to get a dress made?

Try the style of dress on or something similar to check it’s definitely what you want or the right style for you. The process of getting a bespoke dress made is long and can take over a year to create your tailor-made dress, especially if it’s a wedding gown. You will need to make sure it’s the right avenue to go down so as to avoid disappointment.

Understand that due to copyright law the dress made cannot be an exact copy. Therefore, details must be altered or your fabric choice different from the original so as to give it a unique look when finished.

I will be able to quote on the dress design using various fabric choices that will give you prices according to which fabric you prefer. Fabrics, depending on their content will lend themselves to a certain style of dress when made and I can advise what is most appropriate for your budget. The same goes for embellishments.

3. Your body shape – We all have such individual body figures, you need to know what suits yours.

The dress will look different on your body shape compared to the photograph that you first show me. The model in the photograph will most likely have set proportions and I will be making the dress according to your proportions. I will advise on where a seam might sit if you have a shorter torso and longer legs, or whether a higher waistband will be more flattering for your body shape.

4. Have a budget in mind. Whether its tens or thousands of pounds, it may be a cheaper alternative but its still quality.

This price figure will help to determine what fabrics you will use, as well as any limitations your budget may bring. I will work within your budget and can make suggestions that will still incorporate elements that you really love and ultimately you will have the dress of your dreams. As a devon based dressmaker, I can usually make this dress but cheaper.

Some brides want a full ballgown skirt made from tulle, but her budget doesn’t allow for enough fabric to really fill out the skirt to make it as big as she wants. This would mean that the bride would have to alter the shape of her skirt. I always provide a quotation so the customer can agree on the price, dependent on the style of dress and with prices for fabrics so comparisons can be made.

5. Having your cheaper wedding dress made takes time and many man-hours.

The number of fittings you will have depends on the style of your dress and your choice of fabrics. You can start the process as soon as you are ready but allow anything up to six fittings. Initially, I create a ‘toile’, a simplified version of a dress made out of fabric such as calico or soft cotton. Usually, the first fittings will be about creating the shape and fit of your dress, having a gown made from scratch can be a lengthy process and I recommend that brides begin having their dress made six to eight months before the wedding

Sometimes a customer ends up losing a lot of weight just before her last fitting and this can become quite a challenge.  It helps me to know if you intend to lose weight for any occasion so I can forward plan your appointments. Wedding preparations can be stressful and weigh loss often occurs during the last few weeks leading up to the wedding. Conversely, some brides unexpectedly announce that they are pregnant and this happy event also requires adjustments to the wedding dress. Just remember anything is possible!

sewing machine

6 Trust the professionals, we know what we are doing! Make a cheaper dress in fabric but not in style.

When dealing with a professional it is important to trust their opinion and technical experience, always ask questions throughout, particularly if you don’t understand something, it will make the whole process a lot smoother for both you and me.

Always good to bring your shoes and accessories for your final fitting, here are a couple of websites I like to recommend for shoes and accessories.

Having a dress made is a magical experience, the service provided should give you a relaxed happy feeling. Being based as a devon dressmaker you can enjoy the service provided in getting your dress made but cheaper. I look forward to helping create your “dream dress”. Read another blog about having a wedding dress tailor-made.