Skip to content

How Does the Wedding Dress Alterations Work

The days leading up to your big day are always stressful. Especially if you have been planning that fairytale type wedding that you fantasized about as a kid complete with the elegant princess dress to match. The thing nobody tells you about planning a wedding is that it’s a lot of work which means that a lot of things can go wrong even on the big day. Unfortunately, the list of things that can go wrong does not exclude your fairytale wedding dress.

Situations where dresses that have been previously fitted and perfected end up not fitting the bride at the last minute are more common than you think. In situations like this, the dress is delivered to the bridal changing room just before the wedding. And at the dying minute, it is discovered that the dress no longer fits. Because the bride has either lost weight due to the stress of planning. Or, more often, gained weight because she indulged in comfort foods to cope with the stress. Whoops!

At that moment the distraught bride is left thinking? What now? Will all the months of planning and customizing suddenly be in vain? Absolutely not! So what is the way out? one word… Alteration.  With the right tweaks and stitches in the right places, the dress would fit like a glove. Just in case you end up in such a situation or you know someone who does, here are a few tips on how wedding dress alterations work and how to get your dress altered just in time.

Contact an Experienced Dressmaker

The very first step is to contact an experienced seamster or seamstress. Altering dresses can be very tricky. And if you can afford to get an experienced dressmaker to do it then do just that. Often, dress alterations include losing threads and improvising on fabric. Sometimes, it even involves tweaking the style of the dress a little. Sincerely speaking, this is not something anyone who is inexperienced should attempt. Especially on the big day and with such an important dress.

Before contacting your seamstress, you should know that making alterations to small-fit dresses can have major added cost like buying new complimenting fabric and also the amount of time it takes a dressmaker to alter the dress. The number of alterations the dress has would also count and in some cases where the dress is completely transformed into a different style, prices can skyrocket. It is advisable to budget an extra $500 at most to take care of dress alterations.

Small Dress Alterations

Now that an experienced dressmaker has been contacted, the first step they would take is to highlight the problem with the fit. Is it too big or too small? Outfits that are too small can be more challenging than outfits that are too big. But don’t sweat it, dresses that are too small can be altered.

How Wedding Dress Alterations Work

If the fit of the dress is too small, the tailor will begin the alteration process by retaking measurements. This is important because it helps the seamstress determine how much needs to be added to the dress. This will also help to make a perfect fit. After getting the updated measurements, the dressmaker would get down to business by making alterations to the dress using extra fabric, that is if extra fabric is available. In the case that there is no extra fabric available, the dressmaker may get creative and add a different but similar fabric that would hold the dress together, not seem out of place and add a little unique touch.

Sometimes, altering a wedding dress may change the style of the dress entirely. And while that may not exactly sit right with some brides, the important thing is that they look good on their big day.

Big Fit Alterations

If your dress arrives a little bigger than your exact size, then you are in more luck than if it was smaller. This is because altering big fit dresses can be done correctly by an experienced tailor, in record time, and at a lower cost. A bigger dress means that there would be enough fabric to mold the dress to the body shape of its wearer. This removes the stress of having to find a different material that compliments the fabric of the dress. The dress would also most probably not be completely altered.

Pins, Pins and Pins

To alter a fit that is too big, the dressmaker would again retake the measurement. This will help to determine how much fabric needs to be cut away. Or how much dressmaker can mold it to fit the bride’s body size. If the dress is too big, there is a probability that it is also larger in the bust, larger at the waist, and too long in length. Altering the bust area is not very complicated.

Most times people make use of safety pins to hold the excess material together and mould the bust of the dress perfectly. When using pins to hold a dress in the bust area, the dress is usually held around the armpits. That way the alterations are not visible. You can also hold the excess material of the bust at the back of the dress if there is enough flowing hair to conceal the alteration.

How Wedding Dress Alterations Work

Apart from using pins to alter big-fitting dresses, sometimes a little thread losing, trimming, and darting may be needed to make the dress fit. In this case, the dressmaker takes a precise measurement of where exactly they have to trim and dart so that the bust is just right and doesn’t become too small. Because if that happens it would become a whole other problem.

Altering the Waist

Altering the waist is easier. Sometimes people just add a make fashioned belt to hold it all together. However, this can ruin the style of the dress. Pins and needles can also be used to hold excess fabric. But if the excess fabric is too much, holding it with pins and needles can cause an obvious bulge at the waist. That would unfortunately ruin the style of the dress. To fix this, the dressmaker would measure the difference between the bride’s waist length and the waist length of the gown. Then divide the result by four. This will leave enough room for joining the dress after cutting out all the excess fabric.

Altering the Length of the Dress

When it comes to altering the length of the dress, a few tricks have been used over the years. The bride could wear higher heels to support the length. In some cases you can even use duck tape to shorten the hemlines neatly. However, the most effective of them is to create a new hemline. This process involves the dressmaker cutting off the extra inches of the old hemline and adding a new. After that dressmaker will do a professional finishing to the new hemline.

How to Prevent Wedding Dress Issues

Although wedding dress disasters can go beyond having big fits or small fits these are the most common issues that brides are faced with on the big day. Now that you have learned the procedure involved in altering a wedding dress, and know how can wedding dress alterations work for you here are a few tips to prevent having dress issues on your big day.

  1. Buy your wedding dress early. Buying your wedding dress early is very important, especially if it is one that needs to be shipped. Schedule regular fittings between eight to twelve weeks before the wedding. And, most important, put your final fitting as close to the wedding date as possible.
  2. Never order a too small dress as motivation. A lot of brides have attempted this method of losing weight for the big day and a lot of disasters have come out of it. Losing weight can be beneficial for your big day. But never try to force yourself to fit into an unrealistic dress size.
  3. Bring all your wedding accessories to your dress fitting. It is essential to bring all wedding accessories, especially undergarments to your dress fitting.This will help to make sure ahead of time that all items complement each other to give that fairytale look. Items that don’t fit can be changed before it gets a little too late.

With these few steps and tips, we hope you have the perfect stress-free wedding . We wish you Good luck!