DIY Wedding Dress Part 3: Planning Your Materials

Thank you for tuning into my third Installment of my DIY Wedding Dress series.

In this series, I share the story of the wedding dress I designed and created for my November 2016 wedding.


At the time of the designing my dress, I was working as an apparel pattern maker in Vista, California, so the notion of making my own wedding dress was not completely out of the question. I had been working as an industry pattern maker for almost 3 years, and my Associate Degree in Fashion Design included emphasis on apparel construction and pattern making.

All that said, making my own wedding dress was not really my idea. My husband Pab (fiance at the time) suggested it one day, and I thought it over and figured why not? In the past, I thought that making my own wedding dress was too large a task to undertake in addition to planning a wedding, but Pab and I were planning the wedding together so I was optimistic because he had so much faith in me too.

In my last post, I outlined the first two steps for creating a wedding dress. My first steps were 1) Collect inspiration and 2) Make a plan.

Today I'm going to discuss step 3, which is Plan Your Materials.

Step 3: Plan Your Materials

So this is the part where you get to start shopping, BUT not necessarily for all the materials you will need for your final dress. You won't want to invest in all your fabrics and materials until you have a pattern.

You might wonder why you would shop for fabric even before there is a pattern. My reason for looking for fabric before I had a pattern was because I glean inspiration from fabrics. Finding a special fabric to showcase in a design can help shape what the final design will look like. Also, by knowing what fabrics are available to you, you develop an understanding of different design possibilities. Picking up small lengths of fabric is also a good idea for you to practice sewing and test its drape and appearance when you are developing your pattern.

The next question you might have is, Where do I find fabric? I live in San Diego where the options for apparel fabric selection is fairly limited. However, being a sewist and maker is being creative, which means being creative with our sources too! Below are a couple of options where I've found fabrics in the past.

Yardage Town - Visiting Yardage Town has always been hit-or-miss for me. Their inventory is VAST but sometimes dated, but it never hurts to check in. For a wedding dress, it's possible to find a lace with a scallop or applique you'd like to use for detail work even if you don't find all of your materials there.

Jo-Ann Fabric - Jo-Ann fabrics is a huge chain retailer. I don't always have a lot of luck finding great apparel fabrics there, but they do have a section of special occasion fabrics in an array of colors and fabric styles to give you an idea of what kind of fabrics are out there.

Thrift Stores & Swap Meets - I didn't search thrift stores or swap meets for my wedding dress materials, but I wanted to throw this out there too.

So now that I mentioned the places where I could buy fabric in my city, I admit that I did travel to Los Angeles to pick up most of the fabric for my wedding dress. The places I visited were Mood Fabrics, Michael Levine Fabrics, and some lace providers in the LA Garment District.

Lace from Mood Fabrics

Trim from Mood Fabrics

Below you can see the actual fabrics I used for my final dress. I ended up using lace I found from a lace supplier in the LA Garment District, chiffon from Michael Levine, and a satin from Jo-Ann Fabrics.



So, after I went fabric shopping, I was ready to apply my research to start planning my pattern! Now that I had an idea of what fabrics I wanted to work with, I was ready to start developing a design, which I will cover in my next segment of DIY Wedding Dress. Thank you for reading!

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Read more about Janelle of Dear Daydream Sewing & Design.


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