Are Wedding Dress Sewing Patterns Turning Off Brides?


I’ve been pretty hush-hush so far about my plans and progress on sewing my wedding dress, for good reason – it’s been extremely challenging trying to find a contemporary pattern to use that fits the types of dress I want to wear on the big day.

Believe it or not, I purchased five patterns, made three different versions of what my original plan was, and almost changed course to a different design direction altogether before biting the bullet and committing to the Marfy pattern I will use (granted, this was made easier after I tried on a few dresses to make sure what I thought I wanted in a wedding dress is what I really want).  But the main crux of the problem was that I needed to piece together different elements of several patterns to get what I wanted: the neckline from this dress, the shape of the skirt from that dress, sleeves from this one, the train from that one.  So much work, it was like I was designing and drafting my own pattern to get the dress I wanted, which ended up fizzling out in the end.

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s this part of the reason why not many people make their own wedding dress?

etsy bridal

When searching for wedding dress sewing patterns, I found mostly patterns on Etsy from the poofy-sleeved hey-day of the late 80’s and early 90’s, with a couple of vintage shift-styled dresses from the 60’s.  With more people sewing then than now, it makes sense that so many patterns are still out there…but nothing that fit the sleeker, classic styling I was looking for.

Searching for current patterns to use wasn’t a whole lot better – below are the selections from BMV, to illustrate the gap in the market of what’s available for the home sewist.  While some of these are nice, the scope of design is limited and doesn’t match the current styles shown in magazines that brides are wearing today.


mccalls bridal


vogue bridal


butterick bridal

*Simplicity didn’t have a designated “Bridal” section on their site, their limited options (like, 2) were mixed in with “Special Occasion”

*Burdastyle, New Look, and Quik Sew also have a few bridal sewing patterns available, but again, the styling is limited.

Even looking in the Special Occasion/Evening pattern sections didn’t yield anything that would be suitable for a wedding dress; they were too casual or didn’t have enough of a “bridal” feel to them.

This has all made me wonder if the easily available patterns out there to make a wedding dress is a turnoff to the everyday bride interested in making their dress, and if there’s even a demand for more contemporary wedding dress patterns since so few are available.  Heck, if I had the skills and ability, I’d make my own line of wedding dress sewing patterns!  I have so many ideas floating around in my head…

Anyway, I’m hoping my Marfy dress pattern arrives this week, so I can fit the bodice and gear up to pick out the fabric soon, hopefully over Labor Day weekend in NYC.

What do you think – are pattern options a reason not many brides sew their dresses?  Or is it that it seems like such a daunting undertaking? Maybe it’s access to fabrics?  Tell me – I’d love to see if there’s really a need out there!



  1. August 23, 2015 / 11:43 pm

    You're right! The selection of wedding dress patterns are so sad. The Marfy is too pricey for me when I'm not sure if I like it or not. I ended up changing my mind a thousand times before I settled on one. It helped that I tried on dresses. I ended up with a bodice I liked and then drafting my own skirt. I don't know how many people are willing to make their wedding dress and that's probably why the patterns are so limited. I can't too see your dress!

  2. August 24, 2015 / 1:25 am

    It is a definite hole in the market, I think. I knew I wanted to make my own dress because I had some very specific ideals that would be hard to find (no train and not strapless). I checked both the paltry selection of bridal patterns and the regular formalwear patterns, couldn't find what I wanted, and ended up mashing together three heavily modified patterns. What would have been great is a pattern with mix and match bodice and skirt options, to get exactly the look I wanted with less drafting work!

  3. August 24, 2015 / 1:58 am

    I ended up using the Elisalex pattern without the sleeves to make my wedding dress. Granted I wanted something knee length with a tulip skirt and simple bodice so I lucked out. Otherwise I definitely would have had to do a combination of franken patterning and self drafting. I do think most wedding dresses are custom drafted by a seamstress or just altered from a rtw dress so that's why there is a limited amount of sewing patterns.

  4. August 24, 2015 / 4:53 am

    I had my wedding dress made from a pattern but it was not a wedding dress pattern. I discussed what I wanted with an experienced dressmaker and in three weeks I had a beautiful dress with all of my specifications. It was simple, compared to what I see today, but it was classic with a touch of vintage. Get a good dressmaker to assist you. Two things I suggest: #1 Try on wedding dresses to get a feel of what you like: necklines, sleeves, seaming, shape, fabric, etc. #2 I am a believer that very few sewists find everything they want in one pattern. I use pattern software. It's not perfect but about 90 percent of the time, I can conjure up the style I'm looking for then do some minor editing. You don't have to match up sheets of paper as that can be a drawback. You can have your patterns printed out at a copy shop on larger sheets. Just my two cents worth. It seems momentous now, making these decisions, but remember, the wedding is just a moment, but the marriage is for a lifetime.

  5. Anonymous
    August 24, 2015 / 12:06 pm

    Morgan from Crab and Bee just finished a series on how she made her sister's wedding dress. You might find it helpful as you move forward.

    I made my wedding dress with my mother (a wrap dress – it was a casual wedding) and it's one of my fondest memories of the pre-wedding planning.

  6. August 25, 2015 / 12:53 pm

    I got married in '92 and the choices then were pitiful as well. I ended up using three different patterns to create the one dress. Go figure. I had access to the fabric. However, I believe that the choices are minimal because of the daunting task of it all and the fact that it requires so much material and that material isn't cheap! 🙂

  7. Anonymous
    August 25, 2015 / 2:35 pm

    Lucinda, I happened upon your blog by way of Ann Steeves' blogsite. As coincidence would have it, I'm in the beginning stages of a gown for my youngest daughter. When she was a baby in arms, I purchased a Vogue pattern for her and her sister, hoping that one day, I'd get the privilege of making it for one or both of them. It's a now vintage Vera Wang pattern. I'd suggest that you take a look on eBay, and see what you come up with. Also, try taking a look at bridal mags and if you see something that you like, you can perhaps get together two patterns and mimic the look.

    My daughter (thankfully) really likes the pared down look of the VW Vogue pattern, its 2118. btw. I suggested a few new patterns, V1102 and V8874, but she nixed those in favor of the Vera Wang. She wanted a more a line skirt, nothing with a big voluminous bell shape.

    You might also take a look at vintage BadgleyMishka patterns, some of their older gowns could very well be re-interpreted into wedding dresses.

    Good Luck!

  8. August 27, 2015 / 2:09 am

    I have a couple vintage ones that are stunning. Not my personal style, but not as offensive as some that I've seen.

  9. Anonymous
    August 27, 2015 / 4:09 am

    I think the real problem is that women fed by the wedding industry have come to have insane ideas of what a wedding dress should look like. I cannot understand the modern emphasis on the wedding vs. the marriage. People spending thousands on a dress, and tens of thousands of dollars on a party that they would be better off putting towards a house or their kids' education seems demented to me.

  10. September 11, 2015 / 1:48 pm

    I am in the processes of planning my daughters wedding dress and found EXACTLY what you are talking about. I have bought 2 books about couture sewing to brush up on my sewing skills and have 3 separate patterns to make her one dress. I think I'm going to do as the books suggested. Make the top (from 2 patterns) out of basic cotton fabric and alter it until we get it right. Use that as my pattern to cut her satin. The bottom is also a mash up of 3 different patterns. I am also researching how to make beaded appliques because she wants a cream satin with champagne lace over lay and most of the 'pre-made' appliques are white-white and silver.

    Glad to know I'm not the only one suffering. Thanks for sharing!

    • September 11, 2015 / 2:42 pm

      Have you looked for appliqués that are constructed on a netting/tulle type fabric? They look very natural and could work on any type of fabric coloration. Just a thought! I saw some pretty ones at Mood last week in NYC.

  11. October 19, 2015 / 2:21 pm

    I make wedding gowns occasionally and have to draft my own since there are no patterns that reflect the styles brides want. Everyone wants a fitted, princess line tulip shape and almost every sewing pattern has either an empire waist or a waist seam with gathered skirt or just falls loosely with no structure. As usual ,patterns rarely reflect what's in fashion!

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