I've been meaning to write some posts on knitting for weddings for some time now, and here at last is the first one, on knitted dresses for the bride. (You can see my other posts on knitting for weddings here.) I was surprised when my initial search for knitted wedding gown patterns turned up very few patterns on Ravelry and elsewhere, and that those few were generally unimpressive. The key to finding attractive bridal dress patterns turned out to be searching through knitted dress patterns for dresses that would make appropriate wedding dresses when properly styled. So here's a selection of a dozen knitting patterns that I think would make beautiful wedding dresses. They range from fairly formal classic styles to more simple ones that could be worn again to any other dressy event, and from somewhat daring to demure. If you're looking for a wedding dress design for a bride, you must look past the styling of most of these designs to re-imagine them knitted in different fibres and/or colours and accessorized in a different manner.
These dresses might also work as bridesmaid dresses, though I'd advise brides to think at least twice, and possibly undergo a thorough psych evaluation, before undertaking the knitting of dresses for four or five bridesmaids as well as her own gown. And of course even those who are already married/have no intention of ever getting married may find this post of interest, because a number of these dresses could perfectly well be made and worn for various non-wedding events. And I promise you nothing I have selected will make you look remotely like this.
The photo above is the Principesa Dress, by Sarah Wilson, and the pattern is available as a $6(USD) download. I love this one and keep doing the math in my head as to how inexpensively it could be made. You'd need between two to four 115g/4oz skeins to make this dress (it's sized from Xs to XXL), and even at a luxury quality yarn priced at, say, $30 a skein, that's only $60-$120, plus $6 for the pattern, which seems very reasonable for even the most modest of wedding budgets. I certainly don't know anyone who has bought or made a new wedding dress in anything like recent times for less than $60. Making your own wedding gown will be time-intensive, but could really help you cut costs.
Here's another backless design, the Posy Slip, which was designed by Joanne Krantz and is a $5.50(USD) download. Be warned the rosettes are crocheted. I'm imagining this one sans boots and in a solid tint.
But perhaps you're not the backless dress type, in which case the Greenary dress, by Tatiana Tatianina, which is available as a $5(USD) download, might be more your style. You have the option of shortening the sleeves.
If you like the basic style of the Greenary dress above, but not the empire cut, this little Saturday In The Park Perfect Dress might be more your style, though you'll probably want to dress it up by adding some beads and/or making it in a high-end luxury yarn, and may want to make it in a more traditionally bridal tint. This dress was designed by Stefanie Japel and appeared in Fitted Knits.
If this little black dress were done in ivory, perhaps in one of those yarns that have bits of sequins and beads embedded in them, it would make a lovely wedding dress for a more low-key yet elegant wedding, such as second weddings tend to be. You will need to wear a slip underneath it. This dress was designed by Val Love and is available as a $7(USD) download.
If you like the idea of a knitted lace overlay worn with a silk or satin sheath, I've found several patterns along those lines. This airy little number, designed by Louise Harden, is the first. It's available from Verena Knitting for $4.95.
This knitted lace dress by Lily M. Chin has very simple lines. What you might do is make it in ivory with an ivory satin sheath for your wedding, and then have another sheath made in your favourite colour so as to be able to wear the dress again without it looking too bridal. The pattern is available as a $6(USD) download.
Here's a fitted lace dress design by Shirley Paden. The pattern is available as a $6(USD) download.
But then perhaps you're having a more formal wedding, and none of the dresses above will do. You want to see some more showy floor-length styles that will be suitable for your big day. All right then, I shall move on to some more elaborate styles. If you love vintage styles, this 1940s Inspired Gown, by Cheryl Nelson, might work for you. It is a $9(USD) download.
If you're not into the vintage look but instead prefer simple and modern styles, you can hardly do better than this perfect sheath. It was designed by Lisa Gentry and appeared in the May/July 2007 issue of Cast On, so you might have some trouble getting your hands on a copy of the pattern. I usually try not to include patterns that aren't readily available as it seems rather perverse of me to make you desire what you can't have, but this really was too lovely to exclude, and a really experienced knitter probably could recreate this pattern from the picture with perhaps some help from similar existing patterns.
Here's a long wedding dress that's simple and yet romantic. This is the La Lune pattern by Tatiana Tatianina, which is available as a $4.50(USD) download. It's intended to be worn over a crinoline.
If you want the traditional big white dress, this wedding gown by Linda Daniels and Jill Montgomery is your best bet of any in this post. In this pattern, which is depicted on the left, the skirt and bodice are knitted separately and sewn together. You'll have the option of replacing the pattern's bodice with any style that you prefer, as the bride on the right has done. This is a free pattern.
The Knit Dress as Deep as Your Love by Fashion Martina, with its long, fitted bodice and tiered skirt is definitely both high-impact and a big time commitment — that skirt is knitted in fine mohair and is 10 metres in circumference at the hem. The pattern is available as a $9(USD) download.
Stay tuned for more knitting for weddings posts, though I can't tell you when the next one will be posted.