Tips for First Communion

As we build up to communion dress and suit buying season, we will be posting communion tips until we run out of tips!

Let’s start with colour!


Typically, a communion dress is worn in white or ivory, with white being the most preferred colour by most churches as this represents the purity of the promise being made.

Always check with your church first to see if they will allow different shades of white or ivory.


A First Communion Dress can vary in cost from under £100.00 to over £500.00, so knowing your budget is important.  Buying a more expensive dress will typically mean the quality of the material used is more expensive to source and the craftsmanship is greater in detail.


This cannot be stressed enough. When it comes to children, wearing something comfortable is a must during a long day. Consider the weather and temperature for that month too. WE ALWAYS USE SOFT LINING and can recommend weather appropriate dresses.


When shopping for a Holy Communion Dress ALWAYS take the child’s measurements.



Length (this can help you decide what type of skirt you would like – see below)

Always compare the child’s measurements to the dress size chart as it is common for each dress to have unique measurements.


First Communion Dresses come in a variety of lengths;

Knee length

Tea length (between the knee and ankle)

Floor length


To measure the waist, wrap the tape measure around the entire body on the child’s mid-section, just above the belly button.  Hold the tape measure loosely and write down the measurement.


To measure wrap the tape measure around the entire body where the child’s chest is, just under the armpits at the widest section of the chest.  Hold the tape measure loosely.

Time to Buy?

LEAVE PLENTY OF TIME – allow for growth and work with your dressmaker or store! The First Communion shopping season starts in October (due to demand and more complex dresses have longer production times) and peaks at the end of April. This will allow you plenty of time to find the right dress, make alterations and allow for a dress to be made to order.

Type of Sleeves

For a dress with sleeves you can choose from…

  • Cap sleeves which hangs over the edge of the arm
  • Short sleeve, a traditional sleeve that covers the entire shoulder
  • Three quarter length sleeves which will reach the elbow
  • Long sleeve which will reach the wrist
  • Sleeveless dresses come in either a thin spaghetti strap
  • Spaghetti strap dresses can be paired with a bolero type jacket
  • Thicker straps and traditional sleeveless dresses will need a covering of a bolero or cape and can be purchased separately

PLEASE NOTE – some types of sleeves require additional covering up during mass. Please check with your church first.

Plus-Size Communion Dresses

If you need a plus size dress we can custom make these sizes, in our opinion the most flattering First Communion Dress style for a plus-size girl is an A-line dress. That is because an A-Line dress is fitted at the shoulders and chest but gets gradually looser at the waist.


A-line Dress

An A-line dress is flattering on every body type! An a-line dress is fitted at the top and then gradually flares out in an A formation. A-line dresses are typically made of a good quality satin and can be plain or embellished with various appliqués.

Princess Cut Dress

The most popular of the First Communion dress styles is the princess cut. This dress has a fitted top and a puff skirt. The extra tulle fabric in the skirt creates volume and most young girls love to twirl about when wearing this type of dress.

Illusion Top Dress

An illusion or sheer top will always draw attention to the top of the body. keep in mind that if your child has sensitive skin, some sheer organza tops or sleeves can feel “itchy”.

Empire / High Wasted Dress

These dresses have a romantic Jane Eyre look about them. They have a high waist, flowing skirt and are often decorated with a pretty sash on the waist.


Sash Waist

A sash belt or waist band is a beautiful dress option as it provides a focal point for the dress and in many instances the tie back of the sash helps to keep the dress fitting comfortably.

Floral Appliqués

Adding a floral appliqué to a first communion dress will be a timeless addition to its styling. They can be added to the top or the skirt hem area.

Pearl, Beading, Crystals, lace or all of the above!

Dresses can of course be plain, however a little or a lot of embellishments are the right of every communion princess! Talk to us and we can work through the website to find you your perfect dress.

Tiered Skirts

Tiered skirts are simply gorgeous. The tiers add volume to the skirt and a visual interest to the dress.

Dresses for Different Climates

Climate will often determine what First Communion Dress is selected.  Short sleeve or sleeveless dresses will help keep little ones cooler. We also recommend a lighter weight airy fabric such as;

  • Cotton
  • Linen
  • a light silk
  • a thin satin with not too many layers.

In cooler climates fabrics we recommend are;

  • satin
  • taffeta

Many of today’s communion dresses are strapless or sleeveless so keep in mind that you may need to purchase a wrap, cape or bolero to keep the child comfortable.



Zips need a good fit as there is not much give and children do grow, always check measurements around the waist and chest area.

Bow up

Love bows? Why not have ribbons on either side of the back of the dress which can be tied up to make cascading bows flow down the reverse of the dress. A great way to control the fit of the dress.

Corset lace up

A classic way to close a dress very much like wedding gowns, there is one lace all the way through like trainers, great for size control. Another great way to control the fit of the dress.


Puffy dresses can be quite weighty, if your little girl does not fancy a heavy gown, hoops can be used to give the illusion of puffiness. However, the movement of the dress will be different and not as much flow.