Back to blog

Ask the Experts: Wedding Dress Alterations

 

We’ve asked our experts to tell us everything we need to know about wedding dress alterations! By the time you’ve read through this post, you’ll know more about when to get alterations done, how many sizes you can get taken in or out, different materials, and what you should take with your to your dress fitting and alterations appointments!

 

Anna O Alterations | View Profile

When should we have our bridal dress alterations done?

I recommend starting your alterations 6/8 weeks prior to your wedding or fly out date if you are getting married abroad. You can get express fittings done if you need to, but if you have the time it’s better to give yourself those 6/8 weeks.

By how many dress sizes can they be taken in / let out?

Dresses can be taken in about 2 sizes and recut if you need more than 3 sizes. We specialise in trickier alterations like this.
Letting out a dress is more complicated, it depends on how much seam allowance is on a dress and the fabric it is made out of. For example, if it’s lace or beaded the seam allowance won’t have beading or lace on it so you would be left with a line of plain fabric on the seams. Not ideal! If you feel that it needs to be let out by one size it would be better to buy the same/similar fabric as the dress and getting a panel added into it. Again we specialise in this type of alteration.

Are there any materials that cannot be altered?

Beaded fabric needs to be mostly hand-stitched so keep that in mind when ordering your size. But we haven’t come across any fabric we can’t work on. 

What do you specialize in?

Made to measure dresses is our thing here, we love to design and make your dress from start to finish. A true bespoke dress just for you! 

What should I bring with me to the appointment?

Shoes and undergarments for the fitting are most important. We can’t do your fittings without your bra/cups/bust lifts or your shoes.

 

The White Room | View Profile

When should we have our bridal dress alterations done?

6/8 weeks before the wedding. The final fitting 7/10 days before the wedding.

By how many dress sizes can they be taken in / let out?

This varies on seam allowance in dresses but a good bridal seamstress should be able to take in a dress by 3 sizes and let out by one size. It’s always easier to take in than let out.

Are there any materials that cannot be altered? 

Not that I know of. Most bridal fabrics and dresses are made so they are easily altered. Bridal dresses must be brought to seamstresses that specialise in Bridal.

What do you specialize in?

Bridal.

What should I bring with me to the appointment? 

Underwear and shoes. Any accessories you are thinking of. No make-up or tan!

 

Memories Bridal | View Profile

When should we have our bridal dress alterations done?

We normally recommend you start your first fitting about 6 weeks before the wedding. Although it can be done closer to the wedding, depending on the availability of the seamstress. You need your shoes and your underwear for your fittings.

By how many dress sizes can they be taken in / let out?

It is always easier to take a dress in than to let it out. Up to two dress sizes is ok to take it in but any more than that and you start moving the seams into the wrong place, the pattern in lace can look crooked and in general, it might look messy. You can normally let a dress out a little too, although it does depend on the designer. Some designers have very little wiggle room so don’t assume anything!

Are there any materials that cannot be altered?

Beaded dresses can be difficult to alter. And some dresses with patterns. Leaving out a satin or a crepe can stitch mark, so you should always be looking to take those fabrics in not leaving them out.

What should I bring with me to the appointment?

It’s a good idea to bring a nude strapless bra and a pair of heels about the height you would wear on your day

 

Smart Brides | View Profile

When should we have our bridal dress alterations done?

Ideally you should have your dress 3 months before your wedding date. Most Bridal alteration services like to have that time to do an initial consultation with the Bride and a few follow up appointments to really tweak the dress to best suit the Bride for her wedding day. However in saying that, once you have an appointment booked with alterations you can get a dress altered within 7 days if the time frame you are working with is tight.

By how many dress sizes can they be taken in / let out?

Generally speaking, bridal gowns can be altered down by 2 sizes without taking the look off a dress. There is no general rule for letting a dress out, each gown will have a certain allowance in the seams but this varies from 3cm to 8cm. Your bridal consultant or alterations specialist will be able to talk you through this process on a particular gown.

Are there any materials that cannot be altered?

If you are looking at a lace-trimmed gown you have to ensure that this is a separate piece that can be removed, altered for height and then reattached so you don’t lose all that wonderful detailing. If it is part of the fabric design and not a separate piece then it cannot be altered as easily. If this is the case you should order a gown with the exact hollow to hem measurement you require instead.

What do you specialise in?

We specialize in finding the dress and accessories that suit our Brides needs on all levels. Our considered approach is always truthful and focused on making the Bride look and feel truly fantastic.

What should I bring with me to the appointment?

If you feel like you can’t choose a gown on your own, bring the people whose opinion you want and value. Wear similar underwear that you plan on wearing on your wedding day. Nude toned works best under most gowns.

 

Zig Zag Stitch | View Profile

When should we have our bridal dress alterations done?

I would advise to the brides to come to your seamstress for discussion appointment as soon as you get the dress. If the bride would come to me I would look at how the dress sits on her and what needs to be altered. So the bride would know what we are going to do with the dress and if she needs any extra fabric, lace or any other accessories attached I would have enough time to get it. Then I would make another appointment in about 2 months to go before the wedding and I would pin the dress on the bride. Usually needs two fittings to finish the dress. First time I would change the size, if the dress is too big or too small, I would do the shoulders, take up, if needed, and after all that is done I can pin the length.

By how many dress sizes can they be taken in / let out?

It is possible to change the dress size by 3-4 sizes down. But not on all of the styles! Two sizes down is usually always no problem to do.

There may be a problem with making the dress bigger because not all dresses have wide seams to let out.

Are there any materials that cannot be altered?

I work with all types of materials. I do very delicate work with lace, tulle and chiffon and it is no problem for me. I have experience with beading work as well.

What do you specialise in?

In Zig Zag Stitch I specialise in evening gowns, communion dresses, wedding dresses and men’s suits.

What should I bring with me to the appointment?

In the appointment for evening gown or wedding dress alteration, it is very important to have proper underwear, which you will wear on the day and the heels (shoes).

 

Amsha Bridal | View Profile 

When should we have our bridal dress alterations done?

Alterations should begin about 4-6 weeks before the wedding, depending on how much alteration is needed!

By how many dress sizes can they be taken in / let out?

Dresses can be taken in usually up to 3 sizes, depending on fabric and seam allowance mostly only can be let out one size.

Are there any materials that cannot be altered?

Most fabrics can be altered except very heavily beaded dresses.

What do you specialise in?

I specialise in looking after all sizes from 6-30 in a relaxed and friendly environment, plenty of fun too.

What should I bring with me to the appointment?

For fitting appointments bring your wedding shoes and the underwear you intend wearing!

 

O’Briens Bridal | View Profile

 

What do you specialize in?

O’Briens Bridal Couture specializes in designer bridal gowns and bridal accessories. We do alterations only for the wedding dresses brides buy in our shop.

When should we have our bridal dress alterations done?

Normally, alterations start 6-8 weeks before the wedding and it takes 2 or 3 fittings. Last fitting can be a week before or few days before the wedding. If you buy a sample dress, alterations need to be booked on the day or the week of the purchase. If you order a new one you need to book them when the dress comes into the shop. There are a lot more weddings during the summer months so dressmakers can get booked out very quickly so make sure you book in early.

By how many dress sizes can they be taken in / let out?

Majority of the dresses can be taken in about 2-3 sizes and let out one-two sizes.

Are there any materials that cannot be altered?

Most of the dresses can be altered without any problem. If there is lace or beading, it can be removed while taking in and then stitched back on.

What should I bring with me to the appointment?

For your first bridal appointment, you can wear nude colour or light colour underwear. Most of the dresses have built in cups so you don’t need to wear a bra. You can bring a comfortable pair of shoes of the same height that you plan to wear on the day of the wedding. We advise you pick a pair without a strap because you will need to take them off and put them back on after every dress you’ll try on during your appointment. It is also a great idea to get your hair and make up done for the bridal appointment it will help you to visualize yourself in the dress just like on your big day, just don’t wear fake tan or any makeup on the neck because it can stain the dresses and in some shops you might not even be allowed to try them on because of the fake tan.

 

Aideen Cross | View Profile 

When should we have our bridal dress alterations done?

It would be advised to contact your bridal alteration service any time from four months before your wedding date, arrange a date during that next month, and make sure to ask when the final fit will be too. You should try and have all done and sorted before 6 weeks to the big day.

By how many dress sizes can they be taken in/let out?

Every wedding dress is different and would have to be looked at by a professional bridal alterations servicer to check the seam allowance for letting out or taking in. But usually you can alter one size up and three sizes down.

Are there any materials that can not be altered?

Most fabrics can be altered successfully but fabrics like taffeta and silk satin will leave a mark when let out. Chiffon too can cause a problem when letting out as the seams are usually quite narrow and might give way under pressure.

What do you specialise in?

Here at Aideen Cross Designs, Rathangan we specialise in Bridal design, bespoke design service for the complete bridal party. With each dress designed and created by Aideen at her studio in Kildare. We pride ourselves on our expert bridal alteration service too. No job too big or too small.

What should I bring with me to the appointment?

When arranging your first appointment for a bridal fitting or alterations you will be advised to bring your bridal undergarments and bridal shoes. All of these will ensure the perfect fit. Make sure to bring your headpiece and veil if any, to try on with the dress when deciding on the length of the train.

The following two tabs change content below.
Avatar

Kelly Jane Hartmann

Kelly is a former wedding planner and a lover of anything pink. She believes that any bride can plan her own wedding, with a few tips and helpful tools.
Avatar

Latest posts by Kelly Jane Hartmann (see all)

Find your perfect wedding supplier

More in Articles, Ask the Experts, Wedding Dresses
A Beautiful Irish Green Wedding

This wedding has a lovely splash of green mixed with bright sunflowers! Read More »

Close