How to Embellish a Wedding Dress

By on June 29, 2015

More and more couples are using their creativity to enhance the wedding with DIY decorations and centerpieces. The DIY trend isn’t stopping with decorations. Brides are adding embellishments to their wedding dresses to give it a personal touch. They might add fantastic little details such as beads or appliqués. Here are some helpful tips on how to embellish a wedding dress.

Wedding dress embellishments include beads, appliqués, crystals, embroidery, lace, ribbon, and sequins. When choosing embellishments to add to the dress, remember that adding too much can detract from the design. Imagine adding every type of embellishment to a dress. The dress would look gaudy. Instead of incorporating all embellishments known to man on the wedding dress, choose one or two types of embellishments that will add beauty to the overall look.

Many brides embellish along the neckline or a hem. If a new design will be created on the dress, the bride may want to make a sketch of her design idea first. This helps with refining ideas and can be used as a guide during the embellishing.

Beads are a popular choice for DIY wedding dress embellishments. Adding small pearl or crystal beads to lace on a dress is made easier by the lace design. When choosing beads, consider the weight of the fabric. Lightweight fabric can hold only so much weight. If adding beading to the neckline, leave space under the arms. Otherwise, the beads cause chaffing and are extremely uncomfortable.

Another thing to consider is the effect of beading on the dress. Covering a large area of the bodice with beads may cause some shrinkage which will affect how the dress fits. If you are only adding a line of beads along a neckline or hem, the shrinking should not be as much of a problem unless the person is gathering a bit of the fabric with the stitches.

Sew-on crystals come in many sizes, shapes, and colors. The cost of crystals can add up quickly. Keep your budget in mind when choosing wedding dress embellishments. A very affordable embellishment is lace. The bride can purchase a lace appliqué or choose lace at a fabric store. A lace appliqué is ready to sew on the dress. If using lace, select a small section of the lace pattern that you would like to use as an embellishment and cut around it. The bride can add sequins or beads to the piece of lace before adding it to the dress.

When sewing on appliqués or lace, use a matching silk thread rather than an all-purpose thread. Sew a small stitch such as a blanket stitch around the entire edge of the appliqué or lace. For a bold new look, some women like to cut away the fabric behind the appliqué which will create an embellishment that people can see through. Of course, the appliqué would have to be on an area of the dress where exposed skin will not be inappropriate. Lace embellishments with cut outs can be a nice way to add interest to plain sleeves.

For more ways to personalize your wedding experience with creative DIY ideas, browse the Best for Bride blog.

About Olga Pomeransky

Olga is manager at Best for Bride since 2005. Currently Best for Bride operates 4 bridal stores in Canada (Toronto, Etobicoke, Hamilton and Barrie). Best for Bride sells wedding, bridesmaids, mob dresses and more.



    Olivia Lee

    July 25, 2015 at 12:39 PM

    Great tips, as always. Taking a normal, plain looking dress and adjusting it with these tips makes for a entirely different look!



    March 23, 2017 at 11:07 PM

    Place your wedding dress on a flat surface, with the front of the dress facing up. Determine which areas of the dress you want to bead. Popular areas include the bodice, the waistline and the sleeves of the dress. Follow the seams of the wedding dress to determine where adding beads will embellish the dress. You can sew beads along vertical and horizontal seams.


      Keisha Carter

      June 21, 2017 at 11:21 AM

      Awesome tips! Thanks!

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