How to Cut a Wedding Gown

by F.R.R. Mallory ; Updated September 28, 2017

Brides often try on many gowns before selecting the cut that works best for their figure.

Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images

The cut of a dress, particularly a wedding dress, refers to the shape of the gown. The most common wedding dress cut is the A-line or Princess cut although there are several other common cuts that a bride can use to enhance her figure and create the wedding dress she is looking for.

Visit a dressmaker's shop or upscale store that fits evening gowns and have yourself professionally measured. Ask the seamstress to evaluate your measurements for the cuts that will be most flattering for your figure. This type of seamstress typically has professional experience fitting gowns and will be very familiar with the common dress cuts.

Look at A-line and Princess cut gowns if you are somewhat pear shaped and to reduce the size of the way your stomach looks. The fit of these gowns is designed to hide small problems around the stomach and to elongate the torso while flaring the skirt away from the hips. This gown can be strapless or fitted with straps or even small sleeves.

Consider the Mermaid, Trumpet or Fishtail cut if you want a sheath type dress that fits close to the body from shoulders to knees. The skirt will tend to flare out below the knees to allow additional room for leg movement during walking and dancing. The top of the dress often uses a see-through lace effect above the breasts to create a demure, yet sexy appearance. This dress looks best on women with a balanced figure with few figure flaws.

Choose a Basque-waist cut if you are larger breasted. The top is form fitted and converges to a downward-pointing tip just below the waist. This elongates the waist from under the breasts to the hips and properly supports the breasts. The skirt often bells outward in straight lines that contribute to the illusion that the waist and hips are narrow.

Select a Ball-Gown cut if you want to see a very wide skirt with flounces and embellishments. Often a Ball-Gown cut will include a form-fitting bodice that rounds across the hips. This can be worn by larger breasted women although it will make the hips look wider if the skirt has a lot of movement or decorations. Smaller breasted women may feel the skirt is too heavy looking and may pull down at the top. This can create nervous tugs at the top during the wedding and reception.

Pick an Empire-cut gown if you are petite and smaller breasted. This cut gathers just under the breast in a classical Roman style. This will tend to make the breasts appear larger. Often the fabric is very soft and drapes well. This type of cut can disguise problem areas in the waist and hips but it is primarily selected for it's simplicity and elegance.

Try a Sheath-cut gown if you have an hourglass figure. The sheath fits close to the body and showcases all of a woman's curves. This cut of gown often is sold with a detachable train and the lower part of the dress is designed so the bride can move and dance at the reception. Often sheathes have lacy overlays.

Choose a gown with rouging if you are a larger bride. The movement of the rouging slenderizes the figure and allows many brides to select the cut they like by using the rouging to amend the tightness of the cut. Explore higher necklines to reduce exposure of larger breasts.

Tips

  • Many gown styles have interesting and attractive back designs for brides with particularly pretty neck, shoulders and backs. The front of a gown can be demure while the back is a little sexy. This configuration often makes more conservative parents and guests more comfortable than more revealing gown cuts.

Photo Credits

  • Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.