Most of us don’t get our clothes tailored, so feeling bewildered when it comes to the world of bridal alterations is completely normal.
We spoke with one of our seamstresses, Claire, to find out exactly what the alterations process looks like and she also took us through some of the most common alterations as well as her best alteration advice for brides-to-be.
Who knows, once you’ve sashayed down the aisle in the best fitting outfit of your life perhaps you’ll insist on having your entire wardrobe tailored!
Bridal alterations: From start to finish
- You’ve found the dress of your dreams – hurrah! – but, as is the case with nearly every other bride-to-be, your dress will probably require a few alterations. So off the dress will pop to one of our lovely seamstresses.
- You’ll visit the seamstress and it will be the first time you’ve seen your dress in a while. You might get all the feelings! You’ll try your dress on again and chat through the alterations. Our alterations team will be able to spot what needs doing, whether that’s taking the shoulders up a bit or a spot of hemming.
- While our seamstresses know their stuff, they won’t be privy to your exact preferences. So please be vocal about what you want. For example, if you’re after a very structured and fitted look then share that.
- After you’ve both agreed what needs doing, it’s time for your seamstress to get to work.
- This process will usually take place a couple of times until you’re completely happy with how your dress looks and feels.
Common bridal alterations
- Sizing up and down
Lots of dresses can be made both bigger or smaller, but to keep the alterations as straightforward as possible it’s best to buy as close to your actual size as possible. Whatever you do, don’t go over two or three dress sizes as that will alter the actual shape of the dress even if it is resized to fit you.
Some dresses don’t lend themselves well to size alterations, so our team would need to take a look at the dress. For example, you could have a lace up back put in certain dresses which can help create the perfect fit.
- Shortening or lengthening
Good news petite brides – shortening a dress is always doable. Tall brides will also be glad to know that most dresses can be lengthened too, but as it involves adding extra material you might want to check the materials with your seamstress beforehand.
- Neckline alterations
If you’ve fallen in love with a dress but the neckline isn’t doing it for you, it’s worth having a chat with our seamstresses to see if it can be adjusted to suit you. For example, one common request is to make plunging necklines look a little more demure, which can usually be done.
- Sleeve additions
If you’ve found the dress of your dreams if only it had sleeves, don’t give up hope yet! Some dresses, like those with a wide shoulder, can have sleeves added. You just need to consider what fabric you’d use for the sleeves and whether it should match or compliment the dress. However, if you’ve gone for a dress with a really narrow shoulder you might have more of a problem adding sleeves.
- Leave enough time
Not getting your dress in on time is one of the biggest causes of wedding dress alteration stress – so avoid it with Claire’s advice below!
In the summer months you need to allow for four months and in the winter you need to allow for two. You’ll also need to be prepared to attend between two and three fittings. If you’re having major changes made then it’ll like take around four fittings.
- Wear the right underwear and shoes
Treat your fittings as if they are your actual wedding day by making sure you bring everything you plan to wear on the big day. That means underwear, as your undergarments can change the size and shape of the dress. You also need to bring your wedding day shoes, as heel height will make a huge difference.
- Be vocal and honest
Many brides plan to lose weight for their wedding day, however this can be challenging when planning for alterations. This is particularly true if you buy a dress and then drop multiple dress sizes, as it changes the whole look. Claire’s advice? Be really honest about your plans and keep the alterations team in the loop.
- Don’t stress
A lot of brides struggle with the first fitting because the dress doesn’t look quite right. But guess what? Most dresses won’t fit perfectly because everybody has a different body shape. Claire has worked with Amanda K for two years and in that time she’s only had two brides who have barely had any alterations made to their dresses.
Nearly every dress will need altering because even if it’s the right size there is always a tweak here or there to be made. Don’t worry that it isn’t going to look right on the day and instead trust your seamstress. This is their job and they are committed to making sure you walk down the aisle feeling fabulous.
Again, this means making sure you are vocal about your likes and dislikes. Claire says the most stressful scenario is when the bride is worried but doesn’t say anything until a few weeks before the big day! It’s far better to be honest and open from day one, our seamstresses can handle anything if you give them enough time.
Of course, before you start your alterations you have to find your dream dress! Give us a call on 01872 859778 or book an appointment with us and we’d be over the moon to help you find the on