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This post, written in 2011, is strictly for informational purposes. In no way is The Broke-Ass Bride promoting the products or companies mentioned, however we do recognize that many of our readers are in search of gowns that may look like those of a designer but cost a fraction of the price. The author of this post specifically commissioned a gown to look like that of a designer gown, which may infringe on some ethical issues. Copying another’s work is copying another’s work, period, however everyone has a different moral compass. While we can not, and will not, dictate right versus wrong, we can provide information on what one may expect when ordering one of these gowns. This post on Offbeat Bride makes some great points about ethics and individual consumer morals. As always, The Broke-Ass Bride urges you to do your research before purchasing anything online or in-store, regardless of whether it’s from an independent salon, a mass manufacturer or an overseas provider.
Like every other detail when planning your wedding, you will need to weigh up what is most important to you, if the dress is one of your top priorities then buying a custom made one from China might not be best for you. If on the other hand you have a small budget or you prefer to spend more of your budget in other areas then this might be a good option for you.
This review is based on one dress by one Chinese dressmaker so please remember that experiences vary especially when shopping online.
Left: picture of the Romona Keveza
dress I sent to the dressmaker. Right: The dress I received. Note how the copy lacks the layering in the skirt of the original.
The dress purchased was a copy of a Romona Keveza
dress and cost $149 US including delivery (the dress was packaged well and came without any creasing). From the images it is noticeable that the Chinese made dress lacks the layering often found in pricey wedding dresses. However for the price paid I was surprised to find that this dress is better than “you get what you pay for”.
There are 2 layers, 1 chiffon layer on top and satin beneath it, the satin layer is lined with an unknown fabric. For a wedding dress I would expect at least 2 layers of chiffon above the satin layer underneath.
The fabric is soft and behaves the way chiffon should with a nice flow.
The satin layer beneath it has a low thread count and high sheen, it looks like a cheaper satin, however it feels fine and soft against the skin, because this satin cannot be seen it’s fine as the under-layer.
There is a small stain on the front of the skirt, probably caused by a fabric pen as it came right off with a little bit of water.
Small stain on the front of the skirt, however this came off easily with a bit of water so I suspect it was made by fabric pen.
Overall the stitching is good there is some string that has not been chopped off entirely (but I was able to remove this easily) and a little uneven stitching in some places but nothing at all that would be obvious without taking a really good look.
Some uneven stitching
Some string that was not chopped off. This was very small (sorry for no scale!), not very noticeable and was easily chopped off
The hem is a bit uneven in stitching and in fabric shape but this is not noticeable at all while wearing the dress.
The stitching of the chiffon to the satin on the bodice is hidden behind the ruching and the boning could not be seen (this does not appear so in the photographs but that damage was caused by me when I carelessly left the dress folded in a bag that had weight on it which resulted in the slight deformation of the bodice that you see in the picture).
The belt was not as detailed as the one in the image.
The belt was not as detailed as the one in the picture given to the dressmaker. Please note that the ruching was in better condition and the boning of the bodice was not visible when I purchased the dress (this damage was caused by my own carelessness).
Good. Like most Chinese wedding dresses bought online this dress is custom made to measure, it is common that Chinese dressmakers also make the dress lace up at the back so that it fits perfectly when tied. This is a good idea as it also allows you room to loose (or gain) a little more weight before the big day without worrying that the dress will either not fit or that you will have to pay for expensive alterations.
Back of the dress was lace up for a good fit
The bodice also had a stretchy strap with clip at the back for extra support.
Stretchy clip strap for extra support
Tips for purchasing a wedding dress from a Chinese dressmaker
Many wedding dresses stocked in salons are made in China to begin with, these dresses are often made to a list of specifications that make sure the workmanship is good, there is no reason why you yourself can not request your own specifications like these to make sure your dress is also well made, generally Chinese dressmakers are very cooperative and helpful so they should be able to fulfill your wishes. Some things you might want to ask before you buy:
- For a nicer fabric. It will drive up the cost a little but there is nothing wrong with asking them to use a better quality fabric. Ask for a natural or silk based fabric rather than a polyester/man-made fabric.
- As well as the above, if you’re buying lace, ask them not to use a stiff one, good lace should be soft. Stiff laces look cheap and can make a wedding dress look and feel awful when worn.
- As well as the first point, if you’re buying satin ask for one with a high thread count
- Ask for fabric samples (especially if your dress requires lace and/or satin)
- That the fabric has no stains or marks and is not pulled anywhere
- That the stitching is more carefully done
- To make sure the ends of the string used in the stitching is cut
- For more layers in the skirt! This will also drive up the cost a little but it will be well worth the extra cost
- If you’re unsure about using DH Gate try EBay as many of these Chinese dressmakers can also be found on there.
- Make sure the seller has sold a lot of dresses and has a good feedback store (personally I wouldn’t go below 98%)
- Always ask for pictures of previous work and if possible close up photos of the details and stitching.
- If you’re unsure about taking your own measurements have a seamstress do it for you
- Order it well ahead of your wedding day, custom made dresses can take up to 6 months to arrive (just like when you buy them in a salon), you might also want to allow for more time so that you can have it replaced if you don’t like it.