Sew A Dress On A Budget Using Expensive Couture Fabric

As a professional seamstress for over 40 years now, this little sewing technique has never failed to get me big raves anytime I sewed a dress to wear to a posh party where I wanted to really make a fashionable impression. If you’ve ever heard the saying, “need is the mother of invention”, it was that situation in which I first thought to do this. Also, you’ve probably had a situation where there’s an event, holiday party or some special occasion that you plan to attend. And, darn it… You need something special to wear. You especially want to wear something great and yet your budget is dictating what you can choose. Well here’s my solution.

When it comes to sewing couture fashions, the fabric, fit and the especially the details of a dress are what make it an eye popping stand out. Now, this sewing technique works great on practically any style of dress pattern. Therefore, please start by choosing a dress pattern that is flattering to your particular body type and of course suitable to the occasion. And, if you’re not sure what is best for your body; I promise I will do a future article to explain the science of choosing the perfect dress pattern for your figure type. Meanwhile, use your best judgment or consult with a fashion savvy friend or relative.

Once you’ve chosen your dress pattern, it’s time to choose your fabric. In this sewing technique, you’ll need to choose two different types of complimenting fabrics for your dress even if the pattern does not call for it. It’s okay because you’re sewing with creativity and imagination to make this a couture look. You should also look through fashion magazines for inspiration on what fabric types and colors can be used together. The first fabric will be the base of the dress and this will be the lesser expensive fabric i.e., polyester blend, silk, wool jersey, knit, etc and the second fabric is the more expensive and elaborate couture fabric. The idea is to incorporate small areas of the expensive fabric into smaller parts of the dress as an accent to the base fabric of the dress.

For example, you may choose to make the sleeves, cuffs, the collar, only the front or back bodice or a peplum from the expensive fabric. If you have advanced sewing skills you can use it to create an inset anywhere on the dress. The options for that are endless. So, be creative just like the fashion designers.

The secret to keeping your total cost down is to use no more than one yard of the couture fabric. Also, check the discounted remnant bind; which are last cuts from the bolts and usually no more than 1-2 yards or less which is about all you’ll need.

One of my first garments with this technique was an evening blouse made of black satin crepe as the base and on the front only I sewed a neck to waist V shaped inset made of beautiful sequined and silk embroidery on a sheer silk netting. I only needed about a half yard of the expensive fabric. I sewed a pair of black silk linen pants to wear with it and added a gorgeous belt and Voila! I’d sewn a chic couture evening look on a budget! As always your finishing touches should be tailored very professionally to create that couture look and feel.

Personally, I’m old school and have always done my facings, hems, button holes etc., by hand. Not only will you have a more beautiful dress when you’re done but, it will also have the quality of an expensive dress similar to a real designer dress. So, good luck with sewing your own couture dress on a budget and being the “HIT” of the party.

“U SEW PERFECT” is my sewing school and I also write a business blog where I often include articles about SEWING which happens to be my business.

Updated: July 20, 2019 — 12:21 pm

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