A wedding is a big deal for a couple’s life. One of the things everybody notices and is anxiously anticipating in a wedding is to see the bride’s wedding dress. Now, there are the lucky ones that just pick an item straight from the rack and fits them perfectly. And, there are the women that are having something custom-made. In this case, expect your bridal attire to endure some alterations and, at least, two or three fittings. Below, you will find some useful tips, including wedding dress alterations, to finally wear the wedding dress of your dreams!
1. Pick something the closest to your size, if possible.
The general rule is that you can’t expect a tailor or seamstress to let out or take in a wedding dress more than a couple of sizes. So, if you have just came across something on sale but several sizes bigger, resist temptation and don’t purchase it. A dress too big will require a ton of work and you can never be guaranteed that the final item will hang nicely on you. The tailor will need to take the garment apart and then re-cut it. This also means extra cost. So, you’ll actually be eating the money you have saved, if not more. Finally, for dresses too tight, there may not be enough seam to let it out as much as necessary. And, if you have chosen something satin or velvet, you can also expect the seam lines to show and spoil the look.
2. Buy the size that fits your largest part
If you are top-heavy, it’s best to buy a dress (or outfit) that fits your top best. It’s much easier (and cheaper) to take in a garment that to let it out. If a bridal shop is ordering your dress, make sure they have the right measurements. We’ve seen lots of brides being ordered the wrong size. And, just to stay on the safe side, order as much in advance as possible so if an error occurs and you end up with the wrong size, there is always time to have the correct size on time or pick another dress.
If, on the other hand, you are buying online, check how the measurement compare to yours, because there are variations in sizes per label.
3. Pick your tailor carefully
The one offering you the lowest rate is not always the most skilled professional for the type of job you want them. Trust us when we tell you that you get what you pay for. If you choose to trust a less reputable tailor just because they offer cheap services, then chances are you’ll soon be looking for someone to fix the wrongs and pay additional money for it.
Notes from the tailor/seamstress:
Avoid describing your wedding dress over the phone, trying to tell the tailor or seamstress what you want to be done with your wedding dress or any other formal gown. A true professional will need to see the dress on you to see exactly what is required before they can give an accurate estimate for it.
Also note that it takes time to fit a wedding dress properly, which is why many alterations shops schedule appointments with the brides so they can have their time and not be rushed by another 10 brides also waiting for their bridal gown to be altered at the same time.
If you are newly pregnant or having a surgery that will change your physical dimensions (i.e breast augmentation), it’s always advised to let the tailor know before the fabric is cut. After that, we’ll need to add gussets or panels to make the garment bigger or smaller, which is something we don”t recommend.
If you are a bit clumsy are best to have their bridal gown hemmed to hand an inch from the floor, instead of sweeping the floor. This will give you the freedom to walk without being afraid you might trip and fall, which is something very commonly seen. The possible anxiety of the day, the high heels and heavy wedding dress increase such a possibility. And, from another stand point, hemming your gown just an inch from the floor also gives you an excellent opportunity to show off your gorgeous bridal shoes, which are always show-stoppers, only very few get to see them!
If a tailor or seamstress is in a rush, there is no way you won’t tell. It will show on their work for sure. Yes, darting to a fitting appointment after work or during lunch hours may not be your cup of tea. However, kindly be patient and go along the fitter’s tight schedule, when it is possible, so they can have their time with you and do good job on the garment.
During the fitting, please try not to move until the fitter says it’s okay to do so. It helps us very much if you can stand still so we can make sure the sleeves and hems fit evenly. If you are not sure when to move, please ask. Once we are done, move as much as you want. If you are also planning to do lots of dancing and walking, it’s advised to let your tailor know because they will need to ensure the fitting is adjusted so you will be comfortable doing all that without worrying about anything!
4. Bring all your foundation garments AND shoes to your fittings
It’s extremely important to have bought all your foundation garment (including your crinoline or petticoat, if you are wearing one) before your first fitting. This is because, despite what many think, everything you wear affects the way the wedding dress hangs on you, even if you don’t see a visual change to it. We do! We’ve seen many brides going through a couple of fittings wearing a certain corset or bra, then come with a different one, and ask us why the bridal gown look different in the chest area (which affects how the dress hangs on the waist area as well). So, the hems may not hang evenly with the wrong bra, depending on the cut and design of the dress.
The same applies to the shoes. Even if you have not yet obtained that dream pair at the time you are having your first fitting, tell the tailor or seamstress and bring another pair of shoes with a heel height close to what you have ordered. We need to see you with those shoes so we figure out your posture when altering the wedding dress. Different height heels make you stand differently, and standing on tiptoe, like many brides do, is not a great way to mark. That aside, and if you insist we mark your hem that way, you’ll need to be able to stand on your toes for more than 5 minutes. Very tedious for both of us, right?
5. Trust your Tailor
Provided you have found a reputable fitter, you will need to trust them if they recommend against making a specific change. Of course, you can ask why they are not recommending a change you want. You can also get a second opinion from another tailor or seamstress. However, kindly keep in mind that talented fitters are highly-skilled professionals that have worked with many garments over the years and know their construction and which is the best way to alter a piece so that it looks exactly how you want it to look on you.
However, if a tailor is unwilling to make radical alterations to your dress, you should definitely look for someone more well-versed in such drastic changes. It’s not uncommon even for some of the best tailors to step away from a project that requires too many changes to it as it requires a particular set of skills to deliver excellence. That said, you don’t want your wedding dress to be a tailor’s learning experience. Just find someone that can handle the job!
6. Have your final wedding dress fitting at least 2 weeks before the wedding
This will give you time to fix any problems before the full-of-stress last days prior the wedding. Most brides lose several pounds during the fittings from stress or due to lack of time so there is a chance the dress won’t fit well. To catch these issues early and not dash for last-minute changes, it’s best to plan ahead and have everything regarding your wedding dress alterations done 15 days before the big day. Also, make sure you have someone with you (mom, close friend or maid of honor) on dress shopping day so they can get the hang of corset-back lacing, buttoning up or zipping your dress.