How to make a wedding dress train

Updated November 22, 2016

If you have your heart set on making your own wedding dress, you have your work cut out for you. Whether you are basing it on a commercial pattern or devising something completely on your own, creating the dress will prove challenging. If you plan to include a train with your dress, even further decisions await: whether you will make a cathedral length, court, chapel or watteau train; whether you will make it part of your wedding dress or detachable; and whether you will attach it at the shoulder or waist or elsewhere.

Train as part of the wedding dress

Buy a pattern with a wedding dress train design you like. You can either use the pattern as an inspiration and starting point to your own pattern or as a direct template to the dress with the train you will then make. Find a difficulty level (noted on the pattern) that matches your skills, time and energy. Outsource to a professional seamstress if the undertaking seems too complicated for your best efforts.

Note suggested fabrics, and purchase the yardage for your size sufficient to make the dress and train. One Vogue Bellville Sassoon Bridal Original Wedding Gown pattern from 2006 recommends matelasse, peau de soie and taffeta for its lined, straight, close-fitting floor-length wedding dress with pleated bodice and train. The train in this particular pattern incorporates the same fabric as the dress and is tossed behind the left hip to drape down in a flow of pleats.

Cut the material according to your size. One pattern package may include several sizes; read the package to determine which size fits your dimensions, and cut the ready-made pattern outlined for you. In some cases, you may find it difficult to determine a size since patterns may be vintage or discontinued. However, if you cannot find your size, you can still resize the pattern using your personal measurements as a point of contrast. Sew according to the pattern's instructions.

Detachable train

Buy a pattern for a detachable train, or custom order a detachable train. While these patterns are not as easy to find as those for a complete wedding dress, you can find them. Butterick pattern B4605 comes as a set for a misses'/misses petite top, skirt, detachable train and hat ensemble. The pattern suggests shantung, bridal satin and taffeta as the fabrics. For the detachable train, obtain 1.75 m (1 3/4 yards) of fabric. Additionally, purchase 4 37.5 cm (3/8 yards) of 5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 3 inch beaded single-edged scalloped lace trim and five #2 hooks and eyes. Sew to the pattern's instructions.

Use your pattern, size and preferences to determine the length of the train and the style of attachment to the dress. If you are making your detachable train without a pattern or want to make adjustments to your pattern, figure out how long you want your train to be. A dramatic royal train lends formality and majesty as it flows 2.7 m (9 feet) long from the waistline, whereas the more modest chapel train falls 1.2 m (4 feet) from the waistline. Detachability will be important for especially long trains. Attach the train in one of a variety of ways, whether at the shoulder, waist, in a back knot or as an overskirt.

Customise the train, if you can. Since you have chosen to make your train, you have some latitude in terms of embellishing the train and adding individual touches. Patterns often suggest notions and add-ons that might be appropriate for a given design. Take into account the style of your dress, and use the train to accentuate the classic lines or the silhouette.

Things You'll Need

  • Pattern(s)
  • Fabric
  • Notions
  • Sewing equipment
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About the Author

Timothea Xi has been writing business and finance articles since 2013. She has worked as an alternative investment adviser in Miami, specializing in managed futures. Xi has also worked as a stockbroker in New York City.