Custom-designed dresses offer alternative to dresses found on the rack
Every bride-to-be has a picture of the perfect wedding dress in her mind. She has already chosen the fabric, the most flattering style and color, and the most beautiful beading and lace. However, finding that same gown in a store can sometimes be a challenge. Instead of settling for whats on the rack, consider a custom-made gown.
Brides who have some experience with sewing, or know someone who does, have a lot more control over creating the wedding dress of their dreams. They can combine all their favorite details into one perfect gown that fits flawlessly. And the sophisticated sewing machines available today have made the creation process a lot easier and within reach of the average bride. You can even create your own lace with todays computerized sewing systems and software.
Years ago, this kind of sewing was done by hand; now we have machines to help us, says Marlis Bennett, education consultant for Bernina of America, a premier sewing machine company. Bennett is referring to the intricate stitch work often seen in wedding gowns. Today, with embroidery software, you can duplicate the lace on your mothers dress, create your own lace appliqués and replicate the design in your veil. The possibilities are endless.
If you are thinking about sewing the gown of your dreams, following are a few tips from the design experts at Bernina:
Begin your gown when you begin planning the wedding. Allow time for the design process and be aware that some bridal fabrics and laces may need to be ordered.
Try on different styles to help choose the features that will be most flattering. Dont rely on photos; it is best to actually see how a gown looks on you before you make any decisions.
Stores specializing in fashion fabrics will have the finest laces and fabrics and are a great resource.
Make a muslin of your bridal gown. It will give you an opportunity to get comfortable with the process and ensure a perfect fit on your wedding day.
For an even hem, allow your gown to hang for three to four days before hemming.
When working with fine laces and fabric, the right equipment is important. You need to have the flexibility to adjust for different fabric weights and delicate trims, says Bennett. Delicate work such as attaching lace onto a garment, embroidering on a skirt or decorating with beads requires a machine that is extremely accurate and comes with the accessories you need for each technique. Bernina has more than 70 different feet and accessories to offer, so you are never without the right presser foot for the job.
The appropriate tool makes a world of difference when you are creating a gown using specialized techniques, adds Bennett. For example, the edgestitch foot is great for French seams, lace edging and lace insertion and the freehand embroidery foot provides an unobstructed view for attaching beads, appliqués or doing free-hand cutwork.
People think you cant do beading with a sewing machine, but you can; you just need both hands to do it, explains Bennett. The Bernina free-hand system and electronic foot control allow you to take it one stitch at a time and leave your hands free to guide your delicate laces and trims.
Another option is to personalize a gown you buy. Add an heirloom quality by using old lace or other vintage touches to decorate your gown. Bennett suggests using something of your mothers or grandmothers. Vintage lace taken from a gown that has been in the family will not only be beautiful as decoration, but will give special meaning to a garment. Use it as embellishment for your gowns neckline or bodice, or as a way to create a distinctive veil. You can even use it to adorn your wedding hanky or to make matching shoes.
If you are interested in smaller projects, use the built-in decorative stitches on your machine to add your personal touch when making a ring bearers pillow or the grooms vest and bow tie. You can make a little girls dream come true with a beautiful flower girls dress that you make yourself. Whatever your project, make sure you have the right tools and a sewing machine like the Bernina artista 200E that can adapt to any job, large or small.
Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, and wearing a gown that you make yourself, or that incorporates your heritage, will make it that much more meaningful. Dont settle for off-the-rack. With a little work and the right equipment, you can make your dream a reality.
For more information along with tips on specialized sewing topics like beading and embroidery, visit www.berninausa.com. Another source of information is the Web site of the Home Sewing Association at www.sewing.org.