How to Make a Detachable Wedding Dress Train

Detachable wedding dress trains used to be all the rage. Now that they’re making a reappearance, you may be wondering how you can add one to your special dress. With a little bit of sewing knowledge, it can be simple to add a detachable train to your wedding dress.

To make a detachable wedding dress train, measure how large you want your train to be. Then, cut and style tulle to gather at the waist. Add clasps to the train and secure it under the waist detailing of your wedding dress. This way, you’ll have a removable train without expensive bustling. 

It’s best to choose a dress with waist detail to hide the clasps on your train. A few simple steps are all it takes to make a detachable wedding dress train. 

What You’ll Need

No matter what fabric you choose, you’ll need a few tools to make your train. You’re going to need:

  • The fabric of your choice (with yardage to spare)
  • Lining fabric
  • Measuring tape
  • Sharp fabric scissors
  • Snaps or clasps
  • Pearl button or covered buttons
  • Ribbon to match your dress
  • Needle and thread (or a sewing machine)
  • A friend

You’ll need an extra pair of hands to help you measure. While you’re wearing the dress, someone else will need to take the measurements for your train.

Remember that if you’re working with delicate fabrics, you should keep your sharp tools away. Tulle especially rips and tears very easily, so we’d even recommend filing your fingernails down for the task. With your tools assembled, it’s time to get started.

Making the Train

It’s time to start making your train. With the assistance of a friend, you can get started by getting your dress out.

Step One: Get Dressed Up

With everything assembled, put your dress on. Wear the same undergarments, layers, and shoes that you’ll wear on your wedding day. You want to make sure that you’re measuring the train correctly. 

This means if you have a hoop, put it on. You’ll need your slip, petticoat, or corset as well. Put it all on and have your friend measure the length from your waist to the floor. If you’re adding a cape-like train, measure from the point you want to attach it. 

Step Two: Measurements

Your measurements are extremely important. It’s ideal to take these measurements before you buy the fabric. This will ensure that you have enough fabric to make the train the length that you want. 

While your friend is measuring the length from your waist to the floor, make sure that they don’t compress the dress at all. Measure loosely. Take the measurement a couple of times to make sure you’re getting it right. 

Take the number that you get and add the length of your train. When you add those numbers together, that’s the minimum length of fabric you’ll need. Make sure to purchase accordingly. 

Step Three: The Right Look

Once you have the fabric you’re going to want, model different widths. Hold the fabric up to your waist and figure out if you want the train to reach from seam to seam. A standard train is only 12 inches wide, so start there.

Once you’ve figured out if you want a 12-inch-wide train or a seam-to-seam train, you can start sewing.

Step Four: Begin Sewing 

The sewing process for your train can be a little daunting. You can choose to hand-stitch your train if you want. The tulle works best with hand sewing instead of a machine, but you can use a machine for most other fabrics. 

Begin with the width of the train. This part must be done by hand. Make long stitches along the width of the train. Make this edge about 1 inch from the top of the train. Then do another row of long stitches just underneath it. 

Pull the ends of this thread to gather the top of the train, until it’s the width you wanted. 

Once it’s a perfect size, make knots in the threads. Sew the ribbon across the top of the train – make sure it matches your dress or can be hidden under your dress’s detailing. 

Step Five: Add Snaps 

Decide if you want snaps or clasps to attach your train. Whichever method you choose, attach them to the underneath side of the ribbon. Attach the other side of the snaps or clasps to the waistline of your dress. 

You can use pearl buttons or other covering methods to disguise the snaps. You can find these at most craft stores. 

Step Six: Line It

You’ll need to line your train next. Once you have the length of the strain in the shape that you want, you’ll need to make the same cuts on your lining fabric. This fabric should be sturdy. It must also glide along the floor easily. 

This helps protect the train and makes your walk down the aisle a little easier. 

Sew the two pieces together. You can use a sewing machine if your fabrics are sturdy, but make sure to take care with tulle. If you are hand-stitching, keep your stitch even. 

Step Seven: Decorate and Adjust

Once you have your train lined, adjusted, and cut to your satisfaction, it’s time to decorate your train. You can leave it plain if you are using lace. You can leave it plain if you want to! Otherwise, you can use sequins, seed pearls, seed beads, and lace to make your train look as fancy as you want. 

Make sure that you snap and unsnap the train a few times. Make sure it lays the right way, that it looks how you want, and that you don’t need to adjust it. 

That’s it! You’ve just made your own detachable wedding dress train. Now you can change the silhouette of your dress between your ceremony and reception. It makes a statement! 

Detachable Train Options

There are a few different options for detachable trains. Most of the time, these trains are made of tulle or the same fabric as your gown. Most brides choose to make a skirt train. It’s simple to make and doesn’t require much tailoring. Here are some other options:

  • Half-Skirt. The half-skirt train covers only half of your dress. While it’s a little more complicated, this train is a fashionable option. It’s great for sheath dresses or shorter dresses. It’s also great for dresses with a slim fit. 
  • Watteau. A Watteau train is a cape-like construction that can be pinned to the back of your dress. It looks great, but it’s a lot more complicated to attach yourself. 

Also, be aware of how you want your train to be attached. Some bands or clasps can be hidden to help keep your detachable train a secret until you remove it. Some can pin right onto the back of the dress. 

The great thing about detachable trains is that you can completely change the look of your dress. Just quickly unsnap or unclasp the train after the ceremony and dramatically change your look.

Train Length

Keep in mind that longer trains are more difficult to make. They require more fabric, and a longer train means that the dress is heavier. In this instance, you might have to add something called a bustle to your dress. 

A bustle is an undergarment that helps support the weight of your train. However, you can also ‘bustle’ your dress, meaning pinning the train up out of the way. Bustling your dress is an alternative to having a detachable train. It’s easy to get these options confused.

There are a few different train lengths to choose from. 

Court Train 2 feet
Chapel Train 4.5 feet
Cathedral Train 7.5 feet
Monarch Train 12+ feet

A long train means a more formal dress. Additionally, cathedral and monarch trains require a bustle. They are long and heavy. These types of trains are not typically used in civilian weddings but keep your options open!

Fabric Choices

There are a few options for the train on your dress. You can choose to use tulle, the most common fabric for detachable trains. You can go with matching fabric or lace, but this is rarer. 

Whatever fabric you choose, consider how it will look with the dress. Make sure that it matches what you want your dress to look like. If you want to decorate it, choose a fabric that’s easy to decorate. 

Whatever fabric you choose, be careful with it. Fabrics like tulle and lace tear easily, and you don’t want to ruin your train before you get started. You’ll also need to line the train with a fabric that glides well on the floor. 

Related Guides 

Conclusion

Making a detachable wedding dress train can save you time, money, and hassle. It’s an inexpensive option that allows you to customize the look of your dress however you want.

If you have just a little bit of sewing experience, it’s simple to make this train. The swath of fabric will look great and be easy to remove when it’s time to move to the reception. 

Leave a Comment