How To Find Your Ideal Wedding Dressmaker ~ Things To Consider and What To Avoid…

"Choosing the right seamstress is possibly almost as important as
finding the perfect husband…"

Some weeks ago, I put out a call on Twitter asking if anyone would be interested in 'Guest Blogging' for Love My Dress.  I was quite pleasantly surprised with the number of replies that came back, and the variety of material that people were offering to contribute to this wedding blog.  As a result, I've been able to gather together a series of insightful guest articles that I look forward to sharing with you over the coming weeks and months. 

One subject I felt I was missing however was that of searching for a seamstress and dressmaker when it comes to your wedding gown, and the perils of investing in an 'off-shore', low cost manufacturer.  And so I invited Linda Davey from Dresses At No. 9 to consider writing a feature on this subject.  Linda is a dressmaker with over 15 years experience of working in the wedding industry, which includes a stint at Ponuptia De Paris. 

Being married to a Fashion Designer myself, I know the love, passion and yes, hard work that goes in to creating a garment, and it makes me so sad to see Brides spending their hard-earned cash on poor quality gowns that are hashed together with cheap fabric and production techniques. You don't HAVE to spend a fortune for a high quality, bespoke wedding dress but you SHOULD always invest in the very best seamstress that you can find.  Linda from Dresses At No. 9, who created all the dresses that feature on this page, explains further…

Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2010, Emma Case

Custom made wedding dress by 'Dresses At No. 9' - Photography by Emma Case...

When I was a child, I dreamed of being a princess in a castle and I'd swoosh around in my Aunt's wedding dress, picking up the skirt just like Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella. I still love all of the classic fairy tales, the beautiful princess whose prince will carry her away and live happily ever after and then desperately hope he wouldn't turn into a toad!

I'm sure, even in our adult lives, we still have those dreams. It is the fairytale along with the happy ever after and I still feel the wedding gown plays an important part in making that childhood fantasy come true; after all, having the fairytale gown is the magical touch that finishes your wedding day.

Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2010, Emma Case

Custom made wedding dress by 'Dresses At No. 9' - Photography by Emma Case...

I never have or still hold the opinion that I would only be wearing my gown for a few hours so I could not justify spending a lot of money on it. When I got married I had unspoken expectations that mattered to me, the bride. It would be the most significant dress I was every likely to wear, so to a degree, money was to be no object. I wanted a luxurious dress which would be the dress of my dreams and one which I intended to store as a keepsake.

It now hangs lovingly in my wardrobe and each time I pull open the doors and I see my gown hanging there, it’s shimmering gold satin and organza wrap are the open window to the past and without doubt, the best day of my life. I still adore the meaning of it. However, to others they may just want a dress for the ceremony and some photos and will never attach any emotional significance to their wedding gown.

Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2010, Rob Booker

Custom made wedding dress by 'Dresses At No. 9'... Custom made wedding dress by 'Dresses At No. 9'...

With the current trend split almost in two between the traditional bridal gown or that of vintage with a modern twist, the cost of the vintage gown can be almost as high, or in some cases higher, than those of the traditional style.

So, now he’s finally asked and you’ve  said 'Yes' and are now ooOOoing and ahhing over those gorgeous gowns between the pages of a magazine, we all know a wedding can be an expensive occasion even for the most humble of couples. This has many a lady running offshore to find their dream gown at a bargain basement price.

I was incensed by a comment in a wedding forum recently suggesting that UK based dressmakers weren't really up to the job of producing quality bridal wear, not like the offshore bridal companies. I’m not sure if this has more to do with cost than quality.  Source any reputable dressmaker and they should guide you through every step of your made to measure gown. You can handle the fabrics between your fingers, look at colours and have a complete one to one with a living human being.

Custom made wedding dress by 'Dresses At No. 9'... Custom made wedding dress by 'Dresses At No. 9'...

I would be sceptical regarding the offshore descriptions of ‘best quality fabrics’ especially those used in the more ornate of vintage style wedding gowns. I have the pleasure of being involved with over half of my current client list being  inspired by the, 50’s Rock ‘N’ Roll era adding the oversized bow or shrug jacket for a modern twist alongside a few fabulous all over lace designs. Romance in its very essence.

In true authenticity, the lace is heavy and sometimes corded; the design directly woven into the tulle. Purchase offshore and your authentic vintage gown could end up limp and see-through if opting for the 50’s style, especially satin, or for those wishing to choose the romance of lace, motifs cut from tulle and sparingly spread over substandard fabrics using glue. Sometimes there isn’t even a whiff of boning in your gown at all, so for those ladies with a fuller bust or figure, your internal corsetry is going to be vital. What you don’t want is your boning to buckle which inevitably will distort your gown, something I have seen happen in many offshore wedding gowns.

Custom made wedding dress by 'Dresses At No. 9'...

I am of the opinion you get what you pay for, however the costs of a dressmaker vary enormously, especially if you live outside of the London area and looking for a dressmaker isn't as easy as sticking a pin in a directory and plumping for that one. Your wedding is too important to just pick a name from the yellow pages or even the internet. 

Choosing the right seamstress is possibly almost as important as finding the right husband!  Choose the wrong dress maker, and your perfect day could be ruined!

You need to find someone who is empathetic to your dreams, someone who you are able to communicate with, and who will listen to what it is you want but is honest enough to share her opinions as to whether what you have in mind will work in a way that will be pleasing to you in the end.

Part of your planning is finding a dressmaker that you are comfortable with. One that can help create the gown you are looking for, the gown you have been dreaming of.

I like you, want you to have your dream gown, so on that note happy wedding dress shopping.

♥  ♥  ♥

Thank you so much Linda for contributing to Love My Dress today.

If you would like to speak with Linda at Dresses At No. 9 website about commissioning the design of your own bespoke/made-to-measure Wedding Gown or Bridesmaids dresses, please visit the Dresses At No. 9 website.  In the meantime, you can view details of other Bespoke Dressmakers on the Love My Dress Wedding Blog here, or visit the following websites:-

♥  House of Mooshki
Joanna Fleming
Lisa Redmond
Once Upon A Time

Are you 'going bespoke' and having a dress especially made for you? I'd love to hear your plans…

Much love,

Annabel xXx



Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.