You fell in love with the perfect, pristine white wedding dress and put down your deposit for the purchase. Very soon, you will have this beautiful gown altered to your measurements and take it home. It will stay there till your wedding day, when you finally get the chance to show it off and be a gorgeous bride. All this seems easier said than done!
White wedding dresses with their heavy fabric layers and intricate embellishments are susceptible to different types of damage. From stains to embroidered details coming loose and even yellowing of fabric, there are many things that can ruin its brand new look. This would be a huge tragedy, since it is the one dress that will aid your transformation into a stellar bride.
Shopping for your wedding dress is only half the work. Alterations are the next essential step to get your dress ready for your wedding day.
Although wedding dress alterations are not as complicated as wedding dress shopping, they present their own set of challenges. Preparing for the task in advance will help you get the best results. From our experience of many years in providing alteration services to brides, we have compiled this list of the important do’s and don’ts to help you ensure your alteration services progress smoothly. Take a look at what they are.
DO select a service that specializes in wedding dress alterations
It isn’t wise to entrust your wedding dress alteration to anyone other than a professional seamstress who specializes in wedding dress alterations. Unlike regular dresses, wedding gowns are complex garments. Not all tailors are adept at handling the complexity of such garments. They may also not have the tools to handle this task. So, you risk the outcome unless the dress has a simple silhouette and or simple details when you ask a regular tailor to do your alteration.
DON’T forget to check reviews
Wedding dress alterations are expensive. However, if the task is done well, it is worth every penny you spend. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Before you finalize a person for the job, make sure you check their reviews. Experienced and professional alteration services will have happy customers who provide good feedback. Also check around for recommendations from family and friends. Finally, don’t be hesitant to ask for samples of previous work from the alteration service provider, if you are unsure.
DO set aside enough time to complete all the fittings properly
Rush jobs often result in poor results. So, set aside enough time to properly complete your alterations. You will usually need two to three fitting appointments to complete the task. Make your first appointment at least six weeks before your wedding date. Schedule the rest of the appointments after consulting your seamstress. Make sure that your appointments are spaced well, so that your tailor has enough time between sessions to complete the intended tasks on time. Follow this wedding dress shopping timeline on the Knot for best results.
DON’T forget to factor in the budget for alterations
When you plan your wedding dress budget, don’t forget to include the cost of alterations. The expenses will depend on the size of dress you buy and the changes you desire. Some types of alterations are more expensive than others. For instance, custom changes like extra embroidery, moving of the hemline to another height or adding extra fabric to a dress can amount to a decent amount. Account for alterations into your planned dress budget, and you needn’t worry about your dress costing more than you anticipate.
DO schedule your final fitting closer to the wedding date
Your wedding dress is supposed to be perfectly fitted to your exact measurements. It is highly unlikely that you will retain the same shape or weight throughout your engagement, especially if you intend to lose weight in time for the wedding. Although you should schedule your fitting sessions weeks early, plan the last one just a week or two before your wedding day. This will allow your seamstress to fit the dress to your exact measurements so it drapes perfectly on your special day.
DON’T get the size wrong
If you are on a major weight loss program, it is important that you switch to a maintenance program at least two weeks before your wedding day. Accept how your body is at the time, and have your dress adjusted to the exact measurements. It isn’t likely that you will lose considerable weight during the time left. And if you do, you won’t look great in a dress that just hangs loosely off your frame. So, once your last dress fitting is done, say goodbye to your weight loss plans as well.
TIP: When you go dress shopping, never select a dress that is smaller than your actual size. Although you are sure to lose weight and fit into it in the months that come, it is a risk. If you do, your tailor can take in the extra inches and make it fit you correctly. However, if you don’t lose weight as intended, it is extremely difficult to add extra inches to a gown. This can ruin the finishing of the dress and hence isn’t advisable.
DO take the suggestions of your professional seamstress seriously
Your tailor will have had enough experience in carrying out alterations. So, she ought to give you the best possible advice regarding custom changes and size alterations. Go with her suggestions and don’t compel her to make changes she thinks aren’t possible. Remember that your seamstress can weigh several factors like fabric quality, placement of embellishments, your body type etc to figure out what changes are right and what aren’t. Accept her suggestions and choose to do alterations that she thinks will fit you best.
DON’T rush with custom changes or they can end up as a mess
It is possible that you want to make your dress truly unique through custom changes that alter the appearance of the dress entirely. If you decide to do this, remember that this usually involves more work than regular dress fittings. Discuss the necessary time with your seamstress and schedule your appointments accordingly. Make sure you leave enough buffer time before the wedding day to make sure the dress is ready and complete with all necessary alterations in time for your wedding.
DO remember to wear your wedding shoes to your alteration session
One of the things you should get right at your wedding dress fitting is the hemline of the dress. A hemline that is too long is an invitation for disaster. It can cause you to trip and fall, apart from making your dress look less than perfect. On the other hand, a dress that is too high ruins the entire bridal look. A floor-length gown should simply graze the ground as you walk. The height of your heels affects this greatly. Your dress can end up being too short or too long depending on the heel height. So, wear them to your dress alteration session.
Make sure you go shopping for your shoes soon after you complete dress shopping, so they are ready to try on by the time of your alterations. If the original shoes aren’t available, at least wear a pair with the same heel height that you intend to wear on your wedding day.
DON’T take too many people with you when you attend your fitting session
You may be tempted to invite your friends, bridesmaids and family to your fitting session. However, this isn’t a great idea. Not only can this be a distraction, it will also spoil the surprise of how you will look as a bride. Ask just a bridesmaid or your mother to come along to your alteration. Entrust the task of learning how to bustle your dress to this person. You can communicate what you want with your tailor on your own, and leave the rest of the work to her to handle.
DON’T hesitate to speak up your mind
Although you may not know much about wedding dress alterations and the details it involves, you should openly discuss your ideas with the tailor. Be flexible with your ideas and let her make suggestions that you may not have thought of. If you aren’t happy with the suggestions your seamstress makes, discuss this with her. This will allow her to make other suggestions that appeal better to you. In either case, open communication will allow you to clarify your doubts and find a dress that fits your vision perfect.
DO make sure you can comfortably move in your dress after it fits correctly
Alterations are intended to make sure the dress fits you closely. It should match your exact measurements, so the dress drapes on your figure without any bits hanging loose or bulging anywhere. While the dress ought to fit you like a glove, it is nonetheless necessary that you be able to move around in it. It shouldn’t be too tight that it stifles your movement. You should be able to walk, turn around and dance in it. Make sure this is possible at each of your dress alteration sessions. This is very important especially if your dress silhouette is a snug-fitting one like the mermaid, that tapers towards the feet and constricts free movement.
DON’T forget to check how the overall look comes together at the final session
Make sure that the big reveal on your wedding day is perfect, by checking it out for yourself at your fitting session. Book your hair and makeup trial on this day. Head to your bridal boutique after getting your hairstyle and makeup done as you would on your wedding day. When you try your dress on, you can see how the overall look comes together. This gives you the opportunity to tweak or change your style if you deem it necessary.
DO learn how to bustle your dress during the fitting
Bustling your wedding dress is a complex, but essential part of your wedding day. Ask your maid of honor or another bridesmaid to understand how to do it correctly after the wedding ceremony. For this, ask her to accompany you to one of your fitting sessions. Your seamstress can demonstrate the process and teach her how to do it correctly. If there are any questions or concerns, this opportunity will also allow you to clarify it and get it done without issues on your wedding day.
DON’T forget to wear the right undergarments to your fitting session
If your wedding gown must fit you exactly, it is important that you wear the same undergarments to the fitting sessions as you would on your wedding. Find perfectly fitting, functional undergarments that create the right silhouette, for this purpose. Make sure that it doesn’t show from beneath the white color of your wedding dress. It is advisable to pick nude colors for this. Wear it to your fitting sessions, so your seamstress can alter the measurements correctly based on this factor.
DO find a reliable pressing and steaming service for your destination wedding
If your wedding is at a faraway destination, you will have to travel with your gown. Handling the gown during the journey can cause wrinkles, especially if the fabric is stiff and structured. Locate a reliable steaming and pressing service at your destination. They can get the wrinkles out and refresh your dress after the long journey. If you are lucky and the wrinkles are minimum, you can get them out by hanging it in a steamy bathroom.
TIP: If you must travel with your wedding dress, choose one with lightweight, breathable fabric that does not wrinkle easily. Also keep the embellishments to a minimum to avoid the chances of damage to it. For more ideas on how to pick the right dress for your destination wedding, take a look at this article on the Brides website.
DON’T forget to check your dress for any signs of damage that need to be addressed
Take a close look at your wedding dress before the conclusion of every session to make sure it is free from damage. If you find any stains, tears, frayed threads or embellishments that come off, have the damage rectified at your fitting session. Don’t overlook this step at this stage. It will not be easy to have it fixed if you discover such damages later, if you find it on your wedding day.
Tailors specializing in wedding dress alterations have the expertise to do dress alterations. Stores like Best for Bride that offer custom wedding dress designs will have seamstresses with experience in custom stitching of wedding dresses. This will help greatly in ensuring a better finish for your completed wedding dress. Check out our alteration service at Best for Bride and the price rate for each change at this link to our website.
Wedding dress shopping is an exhilarating experience for a bride. But, as her bridal gown is one of the most expensive dresses she will wear in her life, this can also make her nervous. Fortunately, you will have your entourage and bridal consultants to help you make your dress decision. And, as with everything wedding-related, there are specific etiquette rules that you should stick to when shopping for your wedding dress too. Let us take a look at what they are.
Buying the perfect wedding dress is only half the task done! Now, you have to start the process of having it fitted to your exact measurements, so you can look perfect on your wedding day.
Ready-made wedding dresses are built to specific measurements, based on the designer collection they belong to. When you look at a particular wedding dress collection, you will observe that all the dresses in that size will have the same measurements for the bust, waist and hips. Unless you measure exactly the same for these three aspects, it is likely that you will need at least minimal alterations so your dress fits correctly.
Let us make this more clear!
No two women are alike. Haven’t you noticed how the same dress can look different on two women who share the same dress size? Although your dress size may be the same, your structure and built are different. So, how a dress drapes around you will also be different. A dress is based on standard measurements that guide you to the closest fit. The fact is that it is nearly impossible to find a dress that will exactly match your body size and measurements.
This is where fitting sessions come into the picture. Every bride must have her wedding dress altered to fit her correctly, if she has to look her best on her wedding day. This is because wedding dresses are structured garments that usually follow your natural shape. Unless the silhouette enhances your best features, and fits comfortably, you can look either squeezed into a dress or holding it up like a hanger. Neither of these are good! Fortunately, it isn’t too difficult to have your wedding dress altered, and all it takes is a couple of fitting sessions after you buy your dress.
Before we move on to how you can make the most of your fitting sessions, let us first look at some things that will help you make the job much easier, even before you book your first session.
Choose a dress in the closest possible size: Don’t make the mistake of choosing a dress that is too big or too small, believing that you can alter it to fit you later. If you want to retain the original charm of the dress, it should be in a size that is closest to your actual measurements.
When in doubt, choose the larger size: You may be certain that you will shed several pounds in the months leading up to the wedding. Nevertheless, err on the safe side by choosing a gown that is one size bigger than your current one as it is easier to take in fabric, than add extra to it.
Try not to make too many design changes: Adding sleeves, moving the neck up or shortening the hemline are all easy and inexpensive alterations. However, cutting up a dress and modifying it to meet your idea may not be a great idea. It can easily spoil the entire effect of the gown.
Pay attention to design factors: This is when you may love a gown for it’s beautiful lace hemline that follows a plain stretch of the skirt. In case the gown is too long, taking fabric from the skirt may cause the dress to look totally different once the hemline is cut and moved up. Check with your bridal consultant before you make the purchase, so you do not feel disappointed with the final look after the change is done.
Trust the job only to experienced wedding seamstresses: Set aside a part of your wedding dress budget for alterations, and trust this task to an experienced seamstress. Don’t ever make the mistake of going with a regular tailor, as experience in working on wedding dresses is absolutely necessary to do the job well.
Alterations of fabric that are soft and difficult to work with, may cost more: Wedding dresses are made in different fabrics, and some are easier to work with than others. Fabrics like chiffon and charmeuse are delicate and hard to work with. So, expect to shell out more money on altering these dresses, when compared to lace or tulle.
Once you take care of these factors, you will have a gown that will yield to your vision, with minimum alterations. Although you can always schedule as many alteration sessions as you want, it isn’t usually necessary to have more than three or four sessions to get the desired look.
Before you go for your wedding fitting session, it will be helpful to know what you can expect at it. Let us find out now.
What to expect at your wedding dress fitting sessions
During your wedding fitting, you will be working with a tailor or seamstress who has the well-needed experience to work on wedding dresses. Remember that not every tailor is capable of the task, as wedding dresses are complicated garments with several layers of fabric. The design details are also very intricate. Unless the person working on altering it knows her way around wedding gowns, it can end up becoming a disaster.
You will most likely have to attend more than one alteration session to have your dress look like it should, on your wedding day. Your seamstress should be able to give you an idea of how many sessions will be necessary, when you attend your first appointment.
The first appointment:At your first appointment, your tailor will take a look at your dress while you are wearing it. She will then suggest what fixes will be required to make it fit your actual measurements. This is also the time when you will have to discuss custom changes like adding a sleeve or altering any design details like the neckline, so it meets your vision.
Your tailor will be taking down measurements and notes, and will pin and tuck the fabric on the dress to make it match your curves and look good on your body shape. At this time, pay attention to whether you like what you see and make your suggestions on whether something should be different. If you want it a little loose or tighter than what she thinks is right, let her know.
Consecutive fitting sessions: Your tailor will work on the suggested changes after your initial appointment. You will have subsequent appointments once these changes are done, and it will be while you are wearing the garment. The following appointments are usually shorter than the first, and you will see your dress coming closer to the final form it should be in, for your wedding day.
If there are any changes that you aren’t quite content with, or you wish to make any further changes to the original plan, you can discuss this with your tailor. If it is practical and there is enough time to work on it, you should be able to have it done.
Now let us take a look at some handy tips to help you make the most of your fitting sessions.
1.Try to be at your target size in time for the final fitting: Fitting sessions are all about getting the dress to fit your natural size and curves perfectly. This will be impossible for your seamstress to do, if your size keeps fluctuating significantly, from one session to another. Schedule your final appointment close to the big day. A week before the wedding, would be a good time. By this time, you should ideally have reached your final target size, and your seamstress can do the last minute changes to make your dress fit you just right.
2.Wear your wedding shoes at the session: Once you buy your wedding dress, don’t delay buying your wedding shoes. This is because you must wear your actual wedding shoes at your alteration session, if you are to get your gown length right. Your seamstress will have to shorten the dress hemline to be just right so it covers your feet. If you buy the shoes after the hemline is done, and the heel length ends up being higher than you assumed, your dress will look shorter than it ought to be. If the heels are shorter, you risk tripping over the dress, and having an accident.
3.Wear undergarments and shapewear that you will actually use on the day: Make sure that your dress fitting is done to perfection, by having it altered over the actual innerwear you will be using on your wedding day. If you will be wearing shape-wear, it will squeeze in any unsightly bumps, making your figure more attractive. Unless you wear it to your fitting session, your tailor would be working with your actual figure when altering the dress. This could cause you to lose the advantage of using shape wear to have a more toned look on the actual day.
4.Make sure you feel comfortable in the dress: At each alteration session, the main thing you should look at is whether the dress looks and feels comfortable. If it is loose or too tight, inform your seamstress so she can make the necessary changes. Also pay attention to the neckline. If you have chosen a strapless or sweetheart neckline, see to it that the neckline stays taut and doesn’t shift. You should feel comfortable about where it begins and how tight it is. If the dress reveals cleavage, make sure that you are comfortable with the amount of skin that is exposed. Ask your tailor to make adjustments if it doesn’t meet your expectations or is deeper than you are comfortable with.
5.Follow up on the previous sessions inputs: It will be helpful if you keep notes of the changes that you had suggested at the previous session. Also take pictures so you know what suggestions were made and can follow through. At the next session, make sure that the concerns you had previously were addressed. If not, ask your seamstress to prioritize them for the next time. If you had any more ideas after your previous session, note them down so you can discuss it with your tailor at the coming appointment.
6.Walk, twirl and make sure you can move comfortably in your dress: You will be in your wedding gown for several hours on the day you get married. Make sure that the dress is comfortable to wear, during your fitting sessions. Lift your arms and stretch them to see if the neckline stays steady. Try sitting down, walking and twirling as you would on the dance floor, to make sure that your movements aren’t stifled by the fabric. Also walk around a lot, to make sure that the skirt length is correct and you do not run the risk of tripping over an excessively long hemline. Discuss the changes that may be necessary if the bodice is too tight or feels loose, and ask your tailor to correct it for the next session.
With these tips in mind, you should have no trouble with your alterations. Watch yourself love your wedding dress more and more with each consecutive appointment, when the dress is made to fit you to perfection.
At Best for Bride, our wedding dress services include wedding gown alterations. Our seamstresses have years of experience working on wedding gowns, and can offer you the best possible service you can get, for the most reasonable cost. We handle everything from simple dress fittings to complicated design changes easily. Whether you want to have your wedding dress altered, or the dresses of your wedding party fitted to perfection, you have the solution at Best for Bride. Call us or drop in today to find out what we can do to help you. Watch our video for more tips and advice on using our alteration services.
Additionally, our store also brings you wedding dresses of every style from top-class designers, as well as a range of wedding services. We pride ourselves on being a one-stop bridal destination and welcome you to visit and explore all that we offer you to make your dream wedding day a reality.
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