Bridal Alterations & What Will You Need

Did you know that technically every piece of our clothing should be tailored? Other than that being incredibly expensive, we all have different bodies and it is very unusual for clothes to fit each one of us perfectly as is.

Thankfully for us in this sense, street clothes are designed and widely accepted to not need tailoring for every piece. With bridal gowns, however, this is not quite the case.

Every wedding dress will need some sort of alteration.

99% of the time, your wedding dress will need some sort of alteration. Whether that be a hem, taken in around the waist or alongside the hips and/or a bustle for your train.

Most bridal gowns are made to a certain size and not made specifically to your measurements. We do take your measurements and then compare those to the designer’s size chart – ordering you the size closest.

We’ve also found that this is actually quite better. When your dress comes in, you can control the fit of your gown one on one with a seamstress instead of hoping that the designer knows what you mean in production.

For instance, you could have it more loose in some areas, depending on how much of a dancer you might be! Or tighter in some areas because you like the structured feeling of being pulled in. It is your dress and should fit how you like it! 🙂

What Kind Of Alterations Might I Need?

This can vary greatly and why alterations are almost always needed. Each designer has different proportions for how long they make a bodice. Or how long their standard length is. Some designers even build their designs with extra length to fit more bodies.

Great news is, bridal gowns are made to be altered. So whether that means you need it a little more fitted in the waist or hips, there is a seam the seamstress can use to have it taken in. If the straps of the gown are too long, there is a seam right at the top where they can be fitted. Or if there are skinny straps, they can be taken in where they meet the bodice. So on and so forth.

Fit, Hem & Bustle

There are the three main bridal alterations needed – Fit, Hem and Bustle. In most circumstances, the hem and bustle are done last. (Remember to have your shoes ready for this!)

If your dress has a lace trim of some sort along the bottom, the seamstress will remove that trim, cut the lace to the appropriate length so you won’t be tripping and will re-sew the trim back on the dress.

For the bustle, there are many ways to do this and we have described some in this post here. Your seamstress will go over this with you and the kind of bustle will also largely depend on the type/shape of gown you chose.

But wait, let’s get back to sizing? What if I’m in-between sizes?

Great question! Our stylists are trained to help you decide! If your measurements* are in-between what the designer’s size chart says, we recommend going with the larger size. It’s much much easier for a seamstress to take in a gown in the seams, then let it out. It is usually a “safer” option as well.

You know your body better than we do, so ultimately it is your decision. But we are familiar with our gowns and would never want to stray you in the wrong direction!

*We generally need the bust measurement, waist measurement and the measurement of the widest part of your hips.

Photo by Jennifer Burk on Unsplash

How Much Do Alterations Cost?

There are many variables when it comes to alterations – what type of fabric it is, is there a scalloped lace trim along the bottom? What areas of the gown need to be taken in? All of these will come into account for a seamstress and makes it hard to give you anything but an approximate number for how much it will cost. We generally suggest it being around $500.

If you are wanting to make any customizations to the dress, like adding sleeves for example, that will certainly bring the cost of alterations up. We have found in some cases, especially when designers do not accommodate customizations in production, these changes are sometimes more affordable in your alterations. Customizations however, make the dress truly unique!

More Questions About Bridal Alterations?

Please let us know! In your appointment, please feel free to ask your stylist any questions you may have pertaining to your specific dress. We may not be seamstresses ourselves, but have learned quite a lot over the years! We’re here to help!

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