If you search on YouTube, there are loads of videos about making your own wedding gown, but relatively few about sewing a bridesmaid dress. Understandably, bridesmaid dresses play second fiddle at a wedding and also come with some stigma: they’re awkward, unglamorous and you can only wear them once. But according to Martha Stewart Weddings, bridesmaid dresses don’t all have to be matchy-matchy, so if you’re interested in sewing your own (for budget or style reasons), consider reaching out to the bride and discussing an appropriate color and style.
Rethink Bridesmaid Style
Alexandra Beuter aka. D.I.Y. Bride didn’t want all of her bridesmaids wearing the same dress so she shopped around and took screenshots and pictures of a variety of dresses she thought were complementary but not the same. Then she asked each bridesmaid what kind of dress she preferred, offering options to the pickier participants. In the video, Alexandra talks about more choices she made for her wedding, making the piece a good background video for any do-it-yourself bride.
Following a Formal Gown Pattern
For many DIY sewists making a bridesmaid dress, following a pattern is the best way to ensure the sections are properly shaped and sized. LadySasa used a Butterick pattern to create a burgundy prom dress for her sister, and similar fabrics and patterns can be used for burgundy bridesmaid dresses. In addition to cutting and sewing the pieces, she also explains why an underlining is important to maintain the curves of a shaped dress. The lessons she teaches along the way, including sewing in a zipper and using specific sewing machine feet, can be applied to the making of many different dress patterns. The video is a great primer for any who hasn’t made a dress before.
Sewing a Flower Girl / Bridesmaid Dress
While the flower girl dresses described in this Simplicity video are for children, a lot of the instructions apply perfectly to a bridesmaid dresses since both tend to have similar tailoring and fabrics. Cutting the fabric in line with the pattern, sewing a hidden zipper and bunching fabric are all covered in detail.
Easy Upcycle Ideas for Bridesmaid Dresses
Since many bridesmaids only wear their dress once, “Project Runway” finalist Althea Harper has great tips for upcycling formal dresses like bridesmaid gowns. Her ideas include no-sew suggestions like tacking in straps, adding a belt and lifting the hemline.