Sometimes it feels impossible to find the perfect dress for a special occasion.
Looking for a dress to wear to a school dance? It’s hard finding something unique when everyone’s shopping at the same mall. What can be more difficult is finding something that fits your body type.
When you’re out shopping you might have a picture in your mind of what you want, but actually finding that dress is all up to luck.
Why not take fate into your own hands and make your dream dress?
Is there anything that could make you feel more beautiful than wearing your own dress design? Learn how you can start designing your own dresses!
Start by gathering inspiration
Professional fashion designers always begin with a “mood board.” A mood board is a collection of pictures and color swatches that inspire the designer.
Before you begin designing, you can create one too!
Get some magazines that feature lots of prom and homecoming dresses. Cut out the ones that speak to you.
Anything can inspire your dress design. If you love a messy, boho hair style you see, include it!
Find a picture of the perfect pair of shoes? Cut those out and put them on your board. You can design an entire look around just an accessory.
Once you’ve made your mood board you should have a clear idea of the overall look you want to achieve. Now you can start designing!
Get out your sketchbook and start drawing
At this point, you might not be 100% sure about what the dress will look like. You can just sketch some rough ideas. Don’t be afraid if you’re not very good at drawing, this is all about just putting what’s in your head onto the page.
Spend some time playing around with the design. What would the dress look like strapless? Do you like it better knee-length or floor-length?
Once you feel sure about every element, sketch a final draft. Don’t spare any details.
Sketch the front, back, and sides. If there’s a zipper, include that. Draw where the different seams will go.
Now you have a concrete blueprint for your dress. You’re ready for the next step.
Making your custom pattern
When it comes to making your pattern, you have a couple options.
You can truly make a pattern from scratch using muslin and a dress form. This method is for a person who’s very experienced in sewing.
New to sewing and feel you need some guidance? Try using a pre-made pattern.
Check out patterns at a sewing store. If they don’t have what you need, you can look online.
You don’t have to find one pattern that exactly matches your design. Nor do you have to scrap the unique parts of your design because you can’t find the right pattern.
Try using several different patterns and turning them into one dress.
Like the top of one dress pattern, but the bottom doesn’t match your design? You can take the bottom half of another pattern and put them together.
You can also tweak these even further. Change the length or sleeves to whatever you want.
Using these paper patterns will be a lot easier. Now that your pattern is squared away, move on to the fabric.
Picking out your fabric
One tip for those new to dressmaking is buying your fabric in-store, not online. While you might have more options online, you won’t have any help.
The employees at fabric stores tend to be very knowledgeable. Show them your pattern and some potential fabrics you’re considering.
Not all fabrics will work with every design. Some fabrics are very difficult to work with for someone new to sewing.
They can steer you in the right direction if you’ve picked the wrong fabric. Maybe they’ll have some alternate fabric ideas that will work even better.
They can also help you calculate how many yards of fabric you’ll need. It’s harder than you think!
Don’t be afraid to ask them questions. If they don’t have the answer for you, someone working will.
You have the perfect fabric and all the zippers and buttons you need. Now take it home and get started on your dress!
Cutting and sewing your fabric
First, get organized. Pull out all the paper patterns. You’ll have to cut the patterns out from the large sheet they give you.
Set aside the pieces of the pattern you won’t be using, if applicable. Put them somewhere safe. You might use them for a project down the road!
Now dry iron the paper. While the iron’s on, go over your fabric as well.
From there, put all the matching pattern pieces together. Before you start cutting fabric, make sure you haven’t misplaced any pieces.
Fold your fabric in half with the inside of the fabric facing out.
Now you can pin the pattern to the fabric. Sketch along the pattern with a pencil. Take off the pattern and put it to the side.
Time to cut away! Make sure you have a quality pair of fabric scissors. It will make your life a lot easier.
Once all your pieces are cut, you can move on to sewing.
The pattern you’ve purchased will indicate what pieces to sew together and where. Before you get started, review what you’ll be doing so you feel confident.
If you sew the wrong sides together, it’s not the end of the world. Just have a seam ripper nearby!
Once everything’s sewn together, try it on and make any necessary tweaks. That’s the great part of making your own dress: you can make it perfect for your body.
Now you have your own one-of-a-kind dress!
When people ask you where you got your amazing dress you can just tell them,
“I made it!”
As you keep practicing, you’ll get even better at sewing your own dresses. Learning how to sew is a fun and practical skill you can always use.
Who knows, maybe you’ll turn this hobby into a new career!