Designing a Custom Made Bridesmaid Dress – Everything You Need to Know

This past summer I had the opportunity to be a bridesmaid for the first time. After being asked, my first question was, “what are we wearing?” The bride gave us a guideline of what the dresses should look like but otherwise left it up to us to choose. For me, the ask was pretty simple: a floor-length, sleeveless v-neck in navy.

As a master procrastinator, I didn’t jump on the task of finding a dress right away. I thought it would be easy to find such a classic style of dress. Unfortunately, that didn’t turn out to be the case. Once I started shopping, I couldn’t find anything that fit the bill. Pretty soon I started to feel a little panicky.

Sarah and I had been following each other on Instagram for ages, and we finally met at an event in Toronto. If you don’t know her, she’s the owner of By Catalfo. I was chatting to her about my bridesmaid dress woes, and she suggested working together to design a custom-made dress. I thought that it was a great idea, and we’ve worked together to write this blog post that outlines the process and benefits of creating a custom-made bridesmaid dress.

The Process

Step 1: Designing the Dress

Sarah and I met for coffee to go over colours and the overall design. She had a multitude of colours and fabrics to choose from – many more than you would find in-store. Designing a custom-made dress allows you to choose a specific colour, or find the perfect shade to compliment your skin tone.

The bride had three different dresses in mind: a different colour for each of her two sisters and navy for her two friends. She sent me a picture of the dress that her sister was going to wear, and I took that photo to Sarah and asked if she could make the same dress in navy. When designing a custom-made dress, you can mimic any design you’ve seen before, or create something totally one-of-a-kind.

Step 2: Creating the Perfect Fit

After our first meeting, Sarah emailed me a document and asked me to fill out my measurements. She provided specific instructions on how to get each measurement, allowing the dress to be unique to my exact size and proportions. This meant that no alterations were needed! A custom-made dress is designed to fit you like a second skin. Nothing will feel awkward or need to be modified in any way.

Step 3: The Try-On

And just like that, I had my dress! A few months later I met with Sarah for a try-on session and I was blown away by the results. It was almost an exact replica of the picture I had initially shown Sarah. We made a couple of modifications, such as the tie closure we in the back. The fabric was much better quality than any I had found in-store. There was a weight to it, but it also flowed easily around me.

The Benefits

The process of creating a custom-made bridesmaid dress was super easy. Just design, measure, have a little patience while waiting for the dress to be made, et voilà! Now I’ll go over some of the benefits, so you really have an idea of what you get out of designing a custom-made dress.

Your Perfect Design

In case this wasn’t obvious, let me reiterate: you get to choose the design and colour of your dreams. I looked through so many dresses that had the wrong type of sleeves or neckline, too many embellishments, or the colour was slightly off. I had the exact image that I wanted, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Sarah was able to recreate a very similar style to the other bridesmaid dress but was also able to add a few personal adjustments.

Quality + Price

Big brands pump out a large number of dresses, so you can’t always be sure of the quality, or if it’s worth the $300 price tag. When you custom-design a dress, you know that it’s been created just for you. You also have the ability to find out all the details regarding how it’s made, and where the product is coming from, as well as full transparency when it comes to pricing.


There are other dresses that might have worked for my friend’s wedding, but there’s also a good chance that they would have had that “bridesmaid dress” feel, meaning it wasn’t my ideal style and I wouldn’t have worn it again after the wedding. Designing a custom dress gives you the luxury of creating something that you’ll actually want to wear. Sarah constructed a classic piece that had a modern vibe to it, giving it that versatility that would allow me to wear it again. It was only a few weeks after the wedding that I used the dress for my own engagement photos!

Have you ever had a dress custom-made for you? Let me know about your experience in the comments below! If you’re an Ontario bride or bridesmaid, make sure to check out for all your bridesmaid attire needs.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, and please feel free to share or pin the images above if you think someone else would benefit from this post.



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