Getting married is the experience of a lifetime so we understand how nerve-racking it can get sometimes. From the venue, the food, the flowers, the music, the dress (THE DRESS!)…you want everything to be perfect.
If you were looking for a partner in your wedding dress journey, an expert in wedding dress alterations and bridal work, you should consider us. We not only alter and tailor to perfection, but also custom make dream gowns and other formal pieces. Simply put, our attention to detail and craftsmanship is unparalleled.
(In fact, right as we were about to write this post, a bride’s mom came by and hired us to create her daughter’s wedding dress from scratch. Talk about the perfect blogging inspiration!)
Regardless of whether you decide to work with us for your bridal and wedding dress alterations needs, we’ve compiled some fantastically helpful tips to help you attain a hurdle-free experience with your tailor. Enjoy and we wish you the best!
If at all possible, start with a dress (or outfit) that is YOUR size—or very, very close to it.
While it is often possible to size a dress up or down, don’t count on being able to take in or let out a dress by more than one or two sizes. Many dresses do not contain enough seam allowance to let out that much–and with fabrics like velvet and satin, the original seam lines will show.
A dress that’s not too big or small is best, but we’ve been known to work magic on almost every kind of piece that doesn’t seem ideal. Stop by so we can show you whether your project is a good candidate.
When choosing a tailor, go with a reputable one: NOT the one that quotes you the lowest rate.
You get what you pay for. It isn’t worth having something done cheaply if you subsequently have to pay someone else to fix the cheap-o job.
We get that you like shopping around and ask around at various places. Keep in mind that we’re so relaxed we’ll never pressure you into working with us. Also note that we’re NOT the cheapest, which both we and our clients take pride in.
In fact, we’ve often had to fix other shops’ mishaps–sometimes at the last minute! Our prices–relative to our unbeatable quality–are competitive. If you want work that’ll last you for years to a lifetime, we’re the right ones for the job.
Many alteration shops will not give estimates for wedding dresses or other formal gowns over the phone/email.
We need to see the actual dress and see how it currently fits your body to determine EXACTLY what needs to be done and give an accurate estimate.
We address this further in our FAQs, but sometimes, the stress of planning a wedding gets to some brides and they try really hard to have us quote a price over the phone. Please remember that estimating a price for wedding dress alterations this way ISN’T possible because we need to see how the gown fits on you and what we’ll have to do. That’s the only way we’re able to fairly give you an estimate.
Ask whether an appointment is required.
While don’t require appointments, we still like to prevent splitting our time between our brides and other customers. So please call us ahead of time and set up a time during business hours; we’ll be happy to accommodate you! We prefer to have bridal fittings in the morning (before you’ve had a big meal or two or accumulated that pesky water weight).
If you are a “klutz” and will be wearing a long dress, consider having it hemmed to hang 1″ from the floor rather than touching the ground.
Heavy dress + high heels + possible anxiety = heightened possibility of tripping over one’s hem. We’ll also be happy to accommodate all your dancing- and movement-related requests :).
If you know of any upcoming changes to your physical dimensions (i.e. newly pregnant, having breast reduction surgery, etc.), tell whomever is making or altering your dress ASAP.
Once the fabric is cut, the dress generally can’t be made drastically bigger without adding panels or gussets. Similarly, if your E cups are about to become C cups, it’s best to wait and have the top fitted after surgery.
Please BE HONEST and let us know with plenty of time in advance whether you’ll be experiencing any changes. We also always tell our brides to maintain their figure throughout the fitting process (i.e., for as long as we’re working together) AS CLOSE TO THAT from their first fitting. This way, we don’t have to “fit in” any drastic changes.
Don’t schedule a fitting right after a workout.
Having a wedding dress cleaned isn’t cheap, so you don’t want to have sweat stains removed BEFORE you actually wear it.
Also, fitting someone requires being in close physical proximity. No one likes fitting a client who smells like a locker room, so hit the showers first. (As long as I’m on the subject of odor, please go easy on the cigarettes, perfume, and smelly food.)
Buy your foundation garments (and shoes!) BEFORE your first fitting, and bring them to ALL of your fittings.
- Yes, this is completely necessary.
Even if they don’t appear to shape your body much or at all, your foundation garments WILL affect the way the dress hangs on your figure.
Every so often, we’d have a bride go through one or two fittings with a certain bra or corset, then bring a different one and wonder why the dress looked so different. Depending upon the design and cut of the dress, wearing the wrong bra can even affect whether the hem hangs evenly. (It goes without saying that if you have a petticoat or crinoline, or are expecting to wear your LDS garments, you should bring them, too.)
- Ditto for your shoes.
If you don’t yet have the perfect shoes before your first fitting, bring a pair of shoes with a heel height in the range of your ideal shoe (heel height can affect your posture!) and ask to have the hem marked at a later fitting. Don’t even THINK of standing on tiptoe and insisting your hem be marked that way– standing on tiptoe for the time required to carefully pin a hem will make you wobble and the hem will not be even.
If we recommend against making a particular change, there’s a good reason why.
We’re intimately familiar with garment construction, and may know of a better way to make something look the way you want it to look.
Clients are sometimes amazed when we suggest that they’re better off not doing X or paying $Y. We’re passionate about what we do, so we won’t take anyone’s money just because: We strive to accomplish 110% satisfaction so we’re 110% honest and don’t mind showing you various alternatives (even in cases when they don’t involve us!) when the original isn’t something we’d suggest.
During the actual fitting, please don’t move unless we indicate it’s all right to do so.
Moving during a fitting can cause the garment to be fitted unevenly (this is especially true of hems and sleeves) or cause you to be accidentally poked with a pin. Not sure when it’s okay to move? Just ask. Believe me, it’s appreciated.
Do move around to test the fit once you are given the all-clear.
Will you be doing a lot of dancing, walking, sitting, etc.? Make sure you can comfortably do all of those things once the dress is pinned. If the dress will inhibit your movement, point it out so the fit can be adjusted accordingly.
Your final dress fitting should be held approximately two weeks prior to the wedding, if possible.
Any closer to the big day and there might not be enough time to fix any problems. Likewise, any further from the big day and there’s a chance the dress might not fit. Many brides lose weight from stress or get swamped with last-minute things and simply forget to eat. (98% of all the brides we worked with lost several pounds during the 4-6 weeks before the wedding, regardless of whether they were trying to do so…)
So pretty please try to retain your first-fitting figure throughout all your dress fittings. Otherwise, though we can manage (we love a challenge!), our work will be made more difficult, which isn’t fair to you.
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That pretty much about sums it up when it comes to our wedding dress alterations fittings tips for all you lovely brides out there!
Call us at (435) 658-4432 or email us at Martha [at] altercreations [dot] net if you’d like to meet us and see why we’re the best suited to work on your wedding dress and bridal party projects. Have a great rest of your week and we look forward to seeing you!
But wait: here are even more tips from other brides and pros:
If you are having breast implants, breast reduction, lipo, tummy tuck or other surgery, allow 6 MONTHS for your body to settle. Yes it really does take that long and there is nothing worse than trying to fit a dress on someone who’s boobs are a different size and in a different place each fitting.
When ordering a knock-off from overseas for $150 including shipping, being given a quote of $200 to take up the hem and train, tighten up the straps, and take in the waist (and that’s a low quote!), sounds high to bargain-hunters who don’t understand how state-side labor to alter a dress can cost more than the total cost of the foreign-labor-made dress… Also the cost of mass-alterations from a place like David’s, measurements taken by one person and alterations done by someone barely making minimum in the back, is going to be so much less than one-on-one, yet the cost many brides want for that quality service is mass pricing :(.
I think most people underestimate the value of dress alterations. …I bought my dress at a very upscale department store for a steal. The hem, which the designer had kept raw, was the only alteration I thought necessary; otherwise the dress fit like a glove. I [later] wandered into [an alterations shop] shop thinking I only needed a quick hem stitch and was totally blown away when the seamstress started pinning all over the dress, explaining every nip and tuck as she went. The dress that fit like a glove was transformed into a second skin. It was mind blowing and gave me such an appreciation for the craft.
As a professional, I’d like to add: Don’t try to watch what your tailor is doing! You may be afraid of getting poked, cut, or just be interested in watching their work, but don’t! We are highly trained NOT to stab you with whatever pointy implement we have in our hands. Furthermore, if you’re constantly twisting around or looking down, it’s going to alter the fit and hang of your dress — this is especially true on hems (if you’re leaning down to see what the tailor is doing on the floor, your hem will be too short — see what happens some time when you are wearing a long skirt), but is really true for the entire dress. Just be patient and trust your tailor — we’re out to make you look perfect, so as long as you have faith, you will.