12 Questions You NEED To Ask If You’re Getting Your Wedding Dress Hand Made

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Off-the-rack wedding dresses aren’t for everyone – you may have a very specific style in mind that you can’t find in the shops, or you may want to replicate a designer dress that isn’t in your price range.

Whatever your reason, a bespoke and custom made wedding dress could be perfect for you.

Here are 12 questions you should ask when you are getting your wedding dress made:

1. How long will it take for the dress to be ready?
Depending on how quickly your dressmaker works, how busy they are, and the complexity of your design, it can take anywhere from four to eight months from first fitting to final piece. Factor the potential timescales in when you start hunting for your dream dress or dressmaker!

2. How many dress fittings will I need?
Typically, you will go for three fittings, but you will need more if the pattern is being created specifically for you. The first fitting is when you will be measured for the initial design, the second fitting is when the dressmaker will determine if there are any significant alterations to be made, and the third fitting is for any fine-tuning. By the third fitting the dress should be complete.

3. Are the dress fittings included in the cost?
Most dressmakers include a set number of fittings in the price, usually three, with an additional cost for any more that are required.

4. What elements of the dress can be customised?
This can vary – if you are having your dress made from scratch, you have many more customisation options. However, you may be restricted by certain design elements that don’t or can’t work well together. However, you should check with your dressmaker what customisations you can have – can you change the neckline, add detailing, or an overlay, etc.

5. How far in advance do I need to book fittings?
This will depend on how busy the dressmaker is, but if you are trying to schedule dress fittings into an already packed diary, you should ask how soon in advance you need to book a fitting.

6. What happens if I gain or lose weight after the final fitting?
Dressmakers should be well accustomed to dealing with this, so as long as the change isn’t too drastic, it should be fine. Last-minute adjustments can be made to accommodate weight fluctuations, where necessary, but if you think there is the potential to lose or gain a significant amount of weight, let your dressmaker know this well in advance.

7. Will the dress have a built-in corset?
You will usually determine if you want a built-in corset when you are creating your design with your dressmaker. However, if you haven’t included one, as for advice on what type of corset or undergarments to wear under your dress to best flatter your figure. Whatever undergarments you plan to wear on the big day, bring them along to every fitting with you, as wearing them can affect the fit and fall of the dress.

8. Can I order extra fabric to have a wrap or a headpiece made?
When ordering additional fabric, make sure to specify that it comes from the exact same dye lot as that used for the dress; otherwise there could be variations in shade or tone that will prevent a perfect match.

9. Is the cost of the materials included in the price of making the dress?
Some dressmakers expect you to buy the materials separately from the cost of making the dress, which can result in a higher overall cost than you were prepared for. Check this out in advance to see if you are better shopping around for the fabric and extras before approaching the dressmaker to create the actual gown.

10. Can I have a written contract confirming all of the agreed-upon details, including the date my dress will be ready?
Reputable dressmakers should be able to provide you with a binding contract that spells out the final price, any customisation details, and an approximate date that the dress will be completed by.

11. Do I have to pay a deposit?
It’s normal to pay 60% of the total cost of the dress when you place the order, though this can vary widely.

12. Can I hold on to the fabric that is cut from the dress during alterations?
The answer should be yes! Those precious scraps can be big money savers and add to the other elements of your day – wrap the material around the base of your bouquet, or have it turned into a small evening bag.

By Rachel Doherty, Excalibur Press