Sometimes the perfect dress doesn't have the perfect train, and when it's a wedding dress, it does have to be perfect. With the cost of dresses reaching to the tens of thousands of dollars, some brides are opting to customize an existing dress they love with a detachable train. Detachable trains aren't as popular as they once were, but they seem to be making a comeback. The idea is that the train can be removed after the ceremony, so there's no need for bustling or potentially ruining the train at the reception...not to mention that the dress that remains is fabulous.
Choose or make the wedding dress. Keep in mind when looking at pre-made dresses or patterns to make a dress that the best candidates for detachable trains are those that have some sort of detail at the waist. This is so the hook and eye closures will not be seen when the train is taken off. This detail doesn't necessarily mean that the bodice and skirt of the dress are seamed together, just that there's some detail on the back of the dress. If the dress is being made at home, that makes things simpler, since it's easy to customize during sewing.
Buy fabric that matches or goes with the dress. The same goes for any lace that's used for detailing the dress and train. To determine the amount of fabric needed, use muslin to create a pattern. This way, the shape and length can be fit to the bride. If the train is wider than the width of the fabric, use the two seam method to fix this issue. The two seam method means that there is a seam on each side of the train, rather than one down the middle, where it would be very visible.
Line the train with a fabric that will glide well over the floor. If possible, use fabric that matches the outer part of the train. That way, nobody will notice if the train turns over on itself a bit. To help give the train structure, consider using piping along its edge where it's seamed to the lining.
Sew the hook and eye fasteners into place. Start with one at each side and one in the middle. Keep adding fasteners in the middle of the remaining sections until there are enough to hold up the train without pulling on the dress too much. In this case, more is better. If the train is still putting too much stress on the fabric of the dress, add a waistline stay to the inside of the dress. This will give the train something more rigid to hold on to.
Embellish the train as desired. The idea here is to make it look like part of the original dress and not like a detachable piece. This is an excellent place on which to have custom touches. When Sarah Ferguson married Prince Andrew, she had the letter 'A' in seed pearls sewn on her detachable train.
Some dress patterns may come with a separate pattern for a detachable train. Even if it's not the style dress desired, it's a good way to get a paper pattern for the train.