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Say Yes to Alterations: The Secret to Your Dream Dress (A Bridal Seamstress)

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, and every bride wants to feel beautiful and confident in her wedding dress.

However, finding the perfect dress can be a challenge, especially when it comes to getting the right fit. At Desert Moon Bridal we always aim to get your sizing as close as we possibly can working from your custom measurements or our standard size range, but sometimes fine tuning may be necessary. This is where alterations with a bridal seamstress come in.

Alterations can help transform a beautiful dress into a perfect fit. We aim to be realistic, and do recommend every bride, regardless if they are purchasing online - from us or other websites- or at a bridal boutique in-store, to allow room in their budget for alterations. Weddings are expensive, and you've probably found our business while looking for dresses on a tight budget, but also being realistic towards the costs involved in making sure everything is perfect for your big day. Ideally you won't need any alterations, but it's better to be prepared so keep reading....

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the importance of budgeting for bridal alterations, finding a competent seamstress, allowing time for alterations, and understanding that even custom-made dresses may require some fine-tuning.

Bridal Seamstress at work

Photo credit Dux til Dawn Photography


Budgeting for Bridal Alterations

Before you start shopping for your wedding dress, it's important to budget for alterations. The cost of alterations can vary depending on the complexity of the alterations required and the type of fabric your dress is made from. If you are on a tight budget then the best way to plan is get a quote from a reputable seamstress or tailor. Once you have a quote, factor that into your wedding dress budget so you can ensure you have enough funds to cover both the cost of the dress and any necessary alterations. Some seamstresses won't be able to quote up front without seeing the level of work involved, but they may still be able to give you an idea of the costs to plan for.


Finding a Competent Seamstress

Not all seamstresses are created equal. It's essential to find a competent and experienced seamstress who specializes in bridal alterations. When searching for a seamstress, ask friends or family members for recommendations or research local shops for in-house seamstresses. When you've found a seamstress that you're interested in working with, read reviews and check their portfolio to ensure that their work is of high quality.


Allowing Time for Alterations

When it comes to bridal alterations, time is of the essence. It's essential to allow ample time for the alterations process, especially if your dress requires complex alterations. Typically, alterations can take anywhere from six to eight weeks, depending on the amount of work required. It's recommended to schedule your first fitting at least two months before your wedding day. This will give your seamstress enough time to complete all the necessary alterations and ensure that your dress fits perfectly on your big day.


Even Custom Made Dresses Require Fine-Tuning

Many brides believe that if they have a custom-made dress, alterations won't be necessary. However, even the most expensive and well-made custom dresses may require some fine-tuning. Our bodies are all shaped uniquely, and there may be small adjustments needed to ensure that your dress fits like a glove. It's important to have a realistic expectation of what alterations may be needed, even if your dress was made to your specific measurements.

Custom made dresses differ from couture dresses in the fact that although they are made to your measurements, you aren't having multiple appointments throughout the production process, and getting the dress adjusted to every single inch of your body. A couture custom gown normally requires many appointments and often costs thousands and thousands of dollars. Custom gowns also rely on the sizing provided, so we recommend always getting measurements taken professionally if you are ordering a custom sized dress, to help ensure the best possible fit.


Corset Vs Zip Back

One key element of a wedding dress alterations that can impact the fit is the closure. Most wedding dresses come with either a zipper or a corset back.

A corset back is a type of closure that laces up the back of the dress. The lacing can be adjusted to provide a custom fit that hugs the body in all the right places.

A corset back does allow for more sizing fluctuations than a zip. This is because the corset back allows for more room for cinching than a zip back.

With a zip back, the fit is limited to the size of the zipper. If the dress is too loose or too tight, you will require alterations. However, with a corset back, the lacing can be tightened or loosened to achieve the perfect fit and may minimise the need for alterations.


Most Common Alterations

There are a variety of alterations that can be done to customize a dress, but three of the most common alterations are hemming, bust alterations and adding a bustle.

Hemming is a process that involves shortening the length of the dress to fit the height of the bride. This alteration is especially important for brides who are shorter than average. Hemming can also be done to adjust the length of a dress based on the style of shoe the bride plans to wear. In general at DMB we find most of our brides either don't require a hem or only very minimal hemming as we do take your height measurements when you order your dress, but this will vary depending on where you purchase from.

Adding a bustle is another common alteration that can be done to a wedding dress. A bustle is a series of hooks, buttons, or ties that are added to the back of the dress to lift the train off the ground. This allows the bride to move around more easily during the reception without tripping over her dress. There are many different types of bustles, including French, American, and Austrian, each of which creates a different look.

Bust alterations are also common, sometimes it's as simple as moving or replacing the cups, or adding chicken fillets for extra boost. Not every dress will cater for every cup size, so some brides get their own bra cups sewn in.

In addition to hemming and adding a bustle, there are many other alterations that can be done to a wedding dress to achieve the perfect fit. These may include adjusting the straps, taking in or letting out the sides, or adding cups or padding to the bodice for extra support.


What to Bring

While every seamstress may have slightly different requirements, there are some key items you should bring to your appointment to ensure the alterations process goes smoothly. Here are some things to consider bringing with you:

  1. Your wedding shoes: If you haven't already chosen your wedding shoes, bring a pair of shoes with a similar heel height to what you plan to wear on your big day. This will allow the seamstress to adjust the hemline of your dress accordingly.

  2. Your undergarments: Bring the undergarments you plan to wear on your wedding day, such as a strapless bra or shapewear. This will help the seamstress to determine the fit of the dress and make any necessary adjustments.

  3. Accessories: If you plan to wear any accessories on your wedding day, such as a veil, jewelry, or a sash, bring them along to your appointment. This will allow the seamstress to ensure that the alterations will work with your accessories.

  4. A trusted friend or family member: It can be helpful to have a trusted friend or family member accompany you to your appointment. They can provide support and offer a second opinion on the fit of the dress.

  5. Pictures or inspiration: If you have a specific alteration in mind, such as adding sleeves or changing the neckline, bring pictures or inspiration to show the seamstress. This will help them to understand your vision and ensure that the alterations are done to your liking.

It's also important to arrive at your appointment with a positive attitude and an open mind. The seamstress is there to help you achieve the perfect fit, but they may have suggestions or recommendations based on their experience and expertise. But also don't let your vision for your dress be taken away, and if needed get a second opinion.


In conclusion, budgeting for bridal alterations, finding a competent seamstress, allowing time for alterations, and understanding that even custom-made dresses may require some fine-tuning are all essential steps to ensure that your wedding dress fits perfectly on your big day.

Ultimately, the goal of wedding dress alterations is to create a dress that fits the bride like a glove and makes her feel confident and beautiful on her big day. By working with a skilled seamstress and communicating your needs and preferences, you can achieve the perfect fit and make your wedding dress dreams a reality.

Remember that alterations are an investment in ensuring that you look and feel your best on your wedding day, so don't skimp on quality and expertise when choosing a seamstress. With proper planning and preparation, you can rest assured that your dress will fit perfectly and that you'll feel confident and beautiful as you walk down the aisle.

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