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What's the Difference Between a Seamstress and a Designer?

If you are not in the fashion world, it is easy to think a seamstress and a designer are one and the same. However, this common misconception is far from the truth! In this post, we will be diving into what each one does, and who to seek out for what you are looking for when getting a wedding dress made, especially for you.


What is a Seamstress?

A seamstress... or sewist, or seamster... is someone who makes garments. This can be one person or a company. Their expertise is in the cutting and sewing of clothes. They create the physical garment.

What is a Designer?

A designer is an expert at the vision and the ideation phase of making garments. They have their own unique style and come up with designs for garments in their head by sketching out their ideas. It is a personal and artistic process.


Knowing that the seamstress and the designer have different roles in the creation of garments is super helpful when you are on the hunt for your dream dress for your wedding day. For a lot of women, this is one of the few occasions in life to work closely with either one of these professionals. So, how do you know which one you are looking for when intending to get a gown made just for you?

Do you know exactly what you want? Are you trying to replicate something from a photograph?

If you answered yes to these two questions, you are likely looking for a seamstress. If the idea process is already complete, then you just need the help of someone talented to bring it to life. This can get a little tricky for a few reasons, and there are some things to look out for. The skill level of seamstresses can vary quite a bit, and wedding gowns are among the most complex garments to make, look for a sewer that has a lot of experience in this field. Another tricky thing is the morality of replicating a designer dress. For example, if you are going this route in order to save money on a designer dress you tried on but was out of your budget, it can be a form of plagiarism. Keep in mind that a seamstress not involved in the design process and only seeing a picture only has half the story of a dress, and may have to guess at techniques used to achieve the look. As a result, you may not get a dress that looks exactly like the photograph you showed. Hiring a seamstress can oftentimes be just as expensive as buying a designer dress as well, so you will have to weigh your options!

Have you fallen in love with a brand's aesthetic? Do you have a couple of things you are looking for, but aren't certain how they will fit together?

If you were a yes to these questions, you are likely looking for a designer. Whether going the custom route or buying something ready to wear from the designer it is important to look at examples of their work. If you really enjoy the vibe of the dresses they offer and their aesthetic is the look you are going for, you have found a designer worth looking into working with! If you are going the custom route with a designer, the process will be collaborative. Have your inspiration pictures and your own ideas on style/shape/details, this will give the designer some parameters to work within. Expect the designer to take what you have given them, and draw upon their own knowledge of silhouette and style to create a one-of-a-kind gown. A designer will sketch out this idea and either sew it themselves or (you guessed it!) take it to a seamstress to be made.

Hope this information helps you find the expertise you need in getting into your dream wedding dress!


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