Bespoke Bridesmaids

4th April 2024

As a designer and dressmaker, inevitably I get requests to make and alter bridal garments, whether it is a unique wedding dress, mother of the bride/groom outfit or dress and bespoke bridesmaids dresses and accessories.

Throughout the years I have worked on many bespoke bridal projects but usually I find that the bridesmaids dresses I am asked to work on are often "off the peg" or shop bought garments and would be asked to alter them to look good and fit properly. Usualy these dresses are either made way too long for the average person, need adjustments because being standardised sizes will not fit correctly as many people wear a different size on the top to the bottom or the style needs altering to suit the wearer. Most importantly, special occasion wear outfits need to fit properly as you will only really look your best if the garment fits you properly, suits your proportions and the style flatters you and the colour enhances your skin tone. It is always best to have a look in a full length mirror with good lighting at whether your outfit either enhances how you look or does the opposite. Colour, style, including things like neckline and proportion can all work very differently on each individual.  

Obviously having bespoke made garments may be considered more extravagant and more costly but not necessarily. Depending what you require for your special day, it can sometimes be easier and less stressful to work with a designer and bespoke dressmaker like myself to get exactly what you want. Otherwise you could spend a long time searching for the perfect bridesmaid dress, which can be difficult to source and find what you want in the right colour to suit everyone and the right sizes for example. 


Sometimes after all the effort of looking for and purchasing  your bridesmaids dresses they can be disappointing and need more than a nip and tuck. Of course this is not always the case but if you are on a tight budget then you have limited options. One option could be to purchase second hand bridesmaids dresses which if you only intend to wear them once, then it makes sense. Those dresses can still be altered to each individual and it is a very ethical way to source your bridal garments.

As an expert in fashion and clothing design and construction with nearly 40 years of experience in bridal and occasion wear, I have been asked to make many unique wedding garments over the years and find that everyone has their own individual taste and style. Classic bridal styles change slowly and subtly over the years like fashion, but you also have stand out trends too. My speciality is using ethical fabrics to create uniqe ethical wedding and occasion wear garments. 


In the spring of of 2023 I was asked if I would like to create some very special uniue bridesmaids dresses for an upcoming wedding later in the year.The answer was obviously yes and I was so delighted to work together with the bride and her friends and family who made up her four bridesmaids. I was also really pleased that unusually the bride had thoughtfully included the wishes of her bridesmaids in the design and functionality of their dresses for her wedding, which in my experience not many bridesmaids have such an active invovlvement in the choice of dress design and other details. This made the project of creating bespoke bridesmaids dresses a very endearing one to work on, as it was very well considered.

The initial intent for the bespoke dresses was to create something that the bridesmaids could have made especially for them, in the design of their choice which would flatter their body shape and individual style, that would be tailored to fit them but also to be comfortable in the heat of the South of France for an outdoor chateau wedding, plus having an overall synergy with the look of the brides dress and feel of the event.The dresses would more likely make them feel comfortable and confident allow them to wear the dresses again after the wedding because they chose their own unique style. I thought this was such a lovely idea and made good sense for the final look of the whole entourage.

Several meetings were arranged where all the bridesmaids and the bride could discuss the design details of each of the bespoke dresses and then the colour and fabric of the dresses. In some weddings colour plays a major part in distinguishing the bridesmaids from the bride and the rest of the wedding party, quite often ignoring the fact that not all shades of certain colours will suit or even flatter every skin tone. But to have this very neutral palette and all dresses in the a very similar shade of ivory really worked stunningly with each of the girls skin tone and left open the door for each unique design to fit into the whole aesthetic without looking out of place. Sometimes the oposite can happen and each dress design is made exactly the same but instead a monochromatic palette is chosen from one original colour so that a particular tone, hue or shade could be chosen to suit each bridesmaids skin tone depending if that colour fabric can be sourced. 

The bride wanted to have a neutral palette for all the dresses in a very similar tone to her own dress which meant I needed to source some swatches of various fabrics that would suit the dress styles and be suitable for the heat of the venue. Each design project has certain specifications in which the style of the garment needs to meet and then the fabric needs to work to complete the designs purpose. As the wedding was due to be held in what was expected to be a hot climate, I had to consider the weight of the fabric as we didnt want the brides to be too hot but equally making dresses from a very light colour and fabric could also be a problem with the transparency of the fabric. So my task was set to find a balance with these requirements plus considering availabilty, cost and as always sustainability.

The next job for me was to measure all the girls and work together on sketches for each bridesmaid to work out the details and proportions. Once I had this information I then made a pattern for each design and cut and made a first toile for each of the bridesmaids. I was very pleased that most of the adjustments were minimal so that I could adjust the patterns and cut and make the final bespoke bridesmaids dresses. The next stage was to decide on the fabric which would meet everyones approval and they very quickly decided on a lovely ivory midweight crepe which was not too sheer but also had a lovely soft drape.The fabric was sourced from a UK supplier that worked with good quality deadstock fabrics fabrics for sale. I then purchased the fabric ready to cut and made the final  unique dresses.

The final fitting with the whole bridal ensemble was arranged to get the overall look of the group and to check for any final adjustments with the shoes they would be wearing on the day. Most importantly I needed to check that all the dresses fell at the same length on everyone for uniformaty and so regardless of the fact that each dress design was unique, using the same colour and fabric gave this bridal group a beautiful synergy. By having unique bespoke bridesmaids dresses created for each of the girls, I feel that this only enhanced their experience of the wedding by giving so much consideration to their ideas and requiremnets for this very beautiful memorable occasion and one that I was very glad to have been a part of. Please see all the beautiful pictures below on the whole process.

If you are reading this and would like to discuss your own special occasion wear requirements with me please go to my contact page and fill in the form with your details and initial enquiry.   


                                        Brides Testimony September 2023

  ''...the girls are all going to look amazing on the day and that's all thanks to   you and the magic you have created in their dresses...''