Literally every time I tell someone what I do, I'm asked if I do alterations. While I can easily hem a curtain or sew on a button, altering a bridesmaid dress is a little trickier. Bridesmaid dresses are made based on standard sizes and lengths so it's pretty common to expect a trip to the local tailor once you get your dress. Read on for secret tips on finding a good tailor!
Why do bridesmaid dresses need alterations?
Most bridesmaid fabrics do not have any stretch or give so you may have to get a few extra nips and tucks to get the dress to fit perfectly. Remember, you're going to be part of your friend's wedding pictures on display in their living room for years to come. Don't you want to look good? I thought so! Hopefully you read our How to Measure
guide before selecting your dress size because it will make your alterations appointment that much smoother. (Hint: Order the size that accommodates your largest measurements).
What type of tailor should I go to?
A good tailor is hard to find even for everyday alterations so you'll need to do a little homework. You need to find a tailor that specializes in fine fabrics. Often times these tailors will let you know they offer these services by putting a wedding dress in the window. I recently discovered a new game changing service called Air Tailor
. They offer expert on-demand clothing alterations
nationwide. Once you sign up, you text them what you need done. They send you simple prep instructions and you mail your dress to them using their pre-paid shipping label. Sounds pretty easy and convenient, plus they have a 99% satisfaction rate (btw, I swear I'm not getting paid to say this)! Do you live near a Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom? Not many people know this, but you can take anything to their team of expert tailors and they will provide alteration services even if you didn't buy the garment from them.
When should I schedule my alterations?
Every tailor is different, but I would suggest calling and making an appointment at least a week before you want to see them. Leave at least 3-4 weeks for alterations to avoid rush charges or any mistakes.
What should I bring to my fitting?
Bring everything that you plan on wearing to the wedding: bra, slip, shapewear and shoes. The right (or wrong) undergarments
and shoes can change everything.
How much will alterations cost?
The cost of alterations will depend on what you need done. The most common alterations are hemming the skirt length, taking in the sides or shortening the straps.
Hemming the Skirt
This is probably the most common alteration because bridesmaid dresses are designed for someone around 5'9" or 5'10". You may be able to eliminate this cost by adjusting the heel height, but make sure you choose comfortable shoes for the dance floor!
Taking In the Sides
Sides are taken in when the dress needs to be adjusted to fit your body shape. For instance, my rib cage is small (size 2), but I have a larger waist and hip (size 4) so I would order a size 4 dress and then have the sides of the bodice taken in to measure closer to a size 2. Taking in a little or lot will usually cost the same so don't worry about that when choosing your size. It's better to take a dress in than for it to fit too small.
Shortening the Straps
This is also a common alteration for me as I have a shorter torso. I don't know about you, but I always hate when my straps keep slipping off my shoulders. Plus can you imagine always fidgeting with your straps while trying to walk down the aisle holding a bouquet of flowers? That’s why I strongly recommend altering your dress’ straps to ensure a snug fit. When possible, I try to add adjustable straps to the design to help minimize this cost.
If you have any other questions about sizing or fit, feel free to reach out! - love, tanya