How to Design a Custom Couture Gown in a Short Time Frame

by | Fashion Wisdom, Wisdom

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Image: Chloe May / Designer: d’Italia

Creating a custom bespoke gown is a time consuming process, with most bridal designers working at least one year in advance. But with some couples opting for a shorter engagement, getting a custom-made gown may seem far from reach. A custom piece requires a significant amount of time for multiple reasons. It’s important to note that most bridal designers and dressmakers will need to order your chosen fabrics and laces in just for you. Unless your designer has these in stock, it can often take anywhere between three to six months to custom create. With fabrics in production for such a long time, it’s no wonder why organising your custom wedding dress in advance is so crucial.

But what if you don’t have months to order in materials? Or what if your dream gown is super complexed and you have a really short time frame? We’ve got a whole heap of great tips to make your beautiful bespoke piece possible. From ordering bridal fabrics, to advice on construction and selecting the perfect lace, to intricate design details and styling your bridal look… we cover it all.

SELECT A FABRIC/LACE THAT IS IN STOCK

With most bridal designers not stocking large amounts of bridal fabrics and laces, this can often mean that you will be required to custom order these materials in just for your gown. The time frame on ordering fabrics will depend greatly on the supplier, mill, designer and the specific fabric itself. For example, a lace with lots of beading will take much longer than a plain lace. In most cases these types of laces and beaded fabrics can take anywhere between three to six months to custom create for you.

For brides opting for a more simplistic, plain style gown, you may have more luck finding a fabric that is in stock. Most bridal designers will have access to standard bridal fabrics such as silk crepe, organza, silk satin etc. from various material stores. These base and lining fabrics are commonly stocked in bulk, however depending on the amount you require, you may still need to custom order them in. Generally, these can take anywhere between six to twelve weeks.

For brides on a super short time frame it’s important that you approach your designer and/or a fabric store as soon as possible and enquire about all the materials and laces that are in stock and available immediately. You may discover that your selection is quite limited. This may simply mean opting for alternative fabrics that are in stock or slightly altering your design to accommodate what is available.

Image: Aleksandar Jason / Designer: d’Italia

OPT FOR A SIMPLISTIC DESIGN

A great way to bring your custom gown to life on a super short time frame is to opt for a simplistic design. A simplistic design is extremely contemporary, timeless and very much on trend. Most importantly, the less complex the gown is, the less fabric and layers, and the less amount of detail, lace and applique work, the easier and more time efficient to create.

When opting for a plain gown, it is always recommended to invest in a gorgeous high-quality material. The fabric you select is the key to achieving the perfect fit. For brides opting for a plain gown, consider selecting a glossy material such as a silk satin, queen or duchess satin, grace or Mikado. These gorgeous fabrics have a stunning shine and are a great way to add a touch of glamour and formality to any bridal dress without feeling the need to add lace or embellishments.

Along with this, focus on selecting a gorgeous neckline that flatters you and your body shape. An off-the shoulder feature or a plunging V-neckline are both great ways to add a little drama to your simple gown. Remember to never neglect the back, as this too can be a beautiful statement. Whether you opt for a deep v-backline or a modern square-cut, or even a sheer back with ivory silk covered buttons; there are so many little tricks that can add great interest into your simplistic look.

Image: I Got You Babe / Designer: d’Italia

SELECT AN OVERLAY INSTEAD OF APPLIQUE

For most brides, understanding technical dress-making terminology can be a tad confusing but it’s important to know the difference between certain techniques to understand which is best for you and your time frame.

A lace applique is an extremely time consuming process which requires the highest detail of attention and precision. This method may not be the best for you if you’re on a tight time frame. For this reason, we would recommend opting for the overlay method (according that the lace and fabric you select is all in stock and ready to go).

A lace overlay simply refers to a lace fabric that is applied all-over your dress or all-over part of your dress. Laces are often purchased by the metre so when a lace overlay is done the dress template is placed onto the fabric and is then cut out as is. The dressmaker does not cut out separate motifs from the design, re-assemble the lace or hand stitch the lace on your gown in a scattered and faded-like pattern like the applique method. Because of this, it saves a lot of time and can be a much more realistic technique for brides with a shorter engagement.

Image: Lauren Campbell / Designer: d’Italia

LACE PANELS INSTEAD OF A FULL LACE GOWN

For brides who love the look of lace but aren’t so keen on having a full-lace gown, then this stunning option is the one for you. Lace panels are a great way to add a touch of detail and romance to any bridal look. Along with this, it doesn’t require as much bridal lace compared to most other gowns. This can save you months and months of production time and waiting for your ordered fabrics to arrive. And the best part is, it can allow you to add that beautiful lace touch without breaking the bank.

There are so many ways to incorporate a lace panel into a custom bridal dress. For brides wanting a more simplistic and less formal look, consider having the lace panel just in the godet train. This is fantastic for brides getting married in a more casual ceremony along the beachside, gardens or amongst the outdoors. For brides wanting to add a little more drama and wow factor to their bridal gown, consider adding multiple lace panels throughout the skirt of your gown. This is a great option for brides getting married in a more formal setting and wanting a touch of uniqueness and modernity.

Image: ALMA / Designer: d’Italia

SIMPLE GOWN WITH A CLASSY CAPE

Getting married on a super tight time frame may mean a couple of things. Firstly, you may not have access to a great variety of laces and beaded fabrics as these are often custom ordered and can often take several months to create. Secondly, your dressmaker may not have the time available to hand-sew and produce a gown of such complexity. But this doesn’t mean you can’t look glamorous and exceptionally special on your wedding day. Consider opting for a simplistic gown with a classy cape to add a touch of drama and a real wow factor to your look.

The bridal cape has become increasingly popular over the past few years with many world-renowned bridal designers incorporating this stunning feature in their collections. A bridal cape is often created from a standard bridal material such a pure silk chiffon, georgette or tulle. These fabrics are extremely affordable and are generally always kept in stock (meaning that you don’t need to worry about waiting months to order them in). YAY! A cape is often slightly gathered at the top and drapes seamlessly from the shoulders to the ground. To add a little more interest and glamour in your bridal cape, consider scattering a few 3D flowers or pearls throughout. You don’t need too much to turn this gorgeous bridal trend into a showstopper.

Image: Saidie Creative Photography / Designer: d’Italia

TOUCH OF BEADING AND BUTTONS

For brides on a shorter time frame, it may not be realistic or achievable to opt for a heavily embellished bridal dress, however this doesn’t mean you should have to compromise on your dream gown. If you’re after a touch of sparkle and love the look of intricate beading, then consider adding this stunning addition to the bodice/top of your dress.

Beaded fabrics are often custom ordered in just for you depending on the amount you require. However, this can often take months and months to produce which isn’t always an option for some brides. Most bridal material stores will stock small display pieces that are sufficient enough for brides to utilise for the top and sleeves of their wedding gown.

Another great tip to turn your custom couture gown into a  world-class masterpiece is to opt for some silk covered buttons along the centre back. This stunning feature may seem simple but it’s an extremely affordable and time efficient element that can definitely create a statement.

SELECT TRIMS OVER LACES

Waiting months and months for your fabrics and laces to arrive may not be an option for you. But for brides who are after that special bridal lace touch or a hint of sparkle, then we have the perfect alternative.

A bridal trimming is often referred to as a small added decoration. There are so many different types of trims, from intricate Chantilly laces, to corded lace trims, embroidered floral trims, to 3D motifs, narrow beaded laces or sparkly diamante and crystal encrusted belts. Trims can be used over the top of a plain dress to add a little more bling and formality or it can be incorporated over the top of a lace gown to add a more textured and contemporary look.

For brides on a super tight time frame this may be the perfect option for you. Trims are often always kept in stock and in some cases if you do require a custom order, they are really quick to produce and can take just a number of weeks. Trims are often used around the waistline (similar to a belt feature), or cut out individually and scattered throughout the bodice to provide interest and shape.

More commonly, trims are used to create some beautiful statement straps and along the edge of the neckline and backline for an organic, scalloped finishing. It’s the perfect way to complete any bridal gown, especially if time is not on your side.

PEARL VEIL INSTEAD OF A FULLY BEADED GOWN

Designing and creating a complexed gown can take anywhere between 12 to 18 months. For some brides, this is not possible. Over the past few years the pearl scattered fabric has dominated the bridal market. We can definitely understand why many well-renowned and admired bridal designers have been incorporating this stunning contemporary addition into their bridal collections.

The pearl tulle fabric is a versatile fabric that can be used in your gown for a classy and modern finish, or as a bridal cape for brides who love that added drama and versatility, and more commonly as a bridal veil. When opting for a pearl embellished veil, it is always recommended to opt for a more simplistic, plain-style gown. This will ensure that your veil doesn’t clash with your wedding dress, along with allowing your bridal veil to standout and make a stunning statement. Bridal veils can often be hand-made by your dressmaker, or can even be purchased at a pre-made bridal boutique where the veils are often in stock and ready to go. This can save you heaps of time and they look incredibly beautiful and elegant in photos.

Designer: A.B Ellie Roesia Pearl Chapel Veil via BHLDN

HALF LACE GOWN

One of the biggest misconceptions of designing a gown on a shorter time frame is that you can’t have any lace or beading on your gown. If you don’t have enough time to place a fabric order or you can’t seem to find enough lace to cover your whole gown, consider opting for the half-lace look. Whether you’re on a short time frame or not, this design has become increasingly popular with designers over the past couple of years, opting for the ‘less is more’ approach.

A half-lace dress features a gorgeous lace or beaded design on the bodice. It often extends to the waistline but can slightly scatter and fade down into the skirt for a more natural and romantic look.

For brides after a modern bridal gown, select an embroidered floral or leaf lace with a touch of 3D floral motifs. The contrast between a flat lace and a 3D element is what we call a layering technique and is often used by only the best and most reputable bridal designers. It is a method that achieves a true bespoke finish for brides who are after a couture gown.

Remember the more detail you scatter onto your skirt, the more time consuming this will be, so speak to your dressmaker and designer about what is realistic for you and your time frame.

Image: Haven Still and Moving Images / Designer: d’Italia

Ms Floral Says: Such fabulous advice for bride’s wanting beautiful custom couture FAST. Thank you for the helpful hints, d’Italia! 

About d’italia: Bridal couture and custom made wedding dresses are a specialty of d’Italia. Whether you are looking for a vintage wedding dress stores in Melbourne, a lace wedding dress or any style at all – you are assured the exact bridal style you want, with custom-built corsetry to fit you perfectly, at a fraction of the cost of bridal-boutique gowns.

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