So you’re going to make the bridesmaid dresses. Because nothing for sale is modest. And this will be easier. Maybe.
As you’ve probably already discovered, finding modest bridesmaid dress patterns is quite the challenge. You just might need a little bit of luck, a whole lot of prayer, and a ton of patience to find the perfect pattern for your bridesmaids!
#1 Look Beyond the Obvious
Designs for evening wear, bridal wear, and special occasion wear are typically immodest. You should have better success looking in the regular “dresses” category. The fact that a dress wasn’t designed as evening wear or special occasion wear, and marketed that way, doesn’t mean it can’t be used as a bridesmaid dress.
#2 It Doesn’t Have to Be a Dress
Don’t rule out separates. Tops and skirts can make beautiful bridesmaid’s “dresses” too. The top and the skirt don’t even have to come in the same package (although that does make your work easier).
#3 Check the Suggested Fabrics ~ You Might Get Lucky!
If you are looking at a regular, non special occasion pattern, sometimes special occasion fabrics will be listed in the suggested fabrics along with more informal fabrics
#4 But If Not, Do Some Research
If you’re looking at a regular pattern and special occasion fabrics are not listed, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t use one. To find out what you can use, look at three things:
- The basic description of appropriate fabrics. This should tell you whether you should use knits or wovens, what weights of fabric should be used, and what percentage of stretch (if any).
- Additional fabric descriptors, such as “use fabrics with a lot of drape” or “not suitable for stripes or plaids.” This information may be found with the fabric requirements and/or in the pattern description.
- The suggested fabrics. If your fabrics of interest are not listed, look for fabrics which meet the above two criteria and have similar characteristics to the fabrics listed.
#5 Embrace Ordinary Fabric
Some fabrics that aren’t typically called “special occasion fabrics” will work beautifully for a wedding (and are often easier to work with). If the the only modest dress pattern you like requires it, think outside the special occasion fabrics box!
#6 Fix the Neckline
If the only problem with a dress or top is that it is a bit too low in the front or back, that shouldn’t be difficult to fix if the neckline is simple.
#7 Solutions for Difficult Necklines
Someone with experience may be able to raise a more unusual neckline. Also consider whether or not you could add a modesty piece or an inset into the neckline (and have it look right, of course).
#8 Keep Searching
Some pattern companies sell out-of-print patterns on their websites. You might check those also.
#9 And Searching . . .
Check shops that sell out-of-print or vintage patterns (and again, look beyond just special occasion wear).
#10 Quadruple Check
Not sure if the pattern really meets your modesty requirements? It’s hard to tell, especially from drawings. Look at:
- The photograph (if there is one). Pay attention to the way the model is standing, also.
- The drawings on the front of the envelope.
- The line drawings on the back (very important).
- And the description (very important).
Got any more tips? Leave them below!