Congratulations, you’ve found your dream dress! We are so happy for you. Of course, even the best dresses usually require some alterations once they arrive. After all, every woman has a different, unique and beautiful shape.
Here at The Wedding Dress Shoppe, we are thrilled to have an in-house alterations department. This gives us a lot of experience with alterations, and we know how to work with a seamstress to get the results you want. Having our own department also allows us to be with brides from, “Yes, that’s the dress!” to sending her off to walk down the aisle.
For good alterations you will need to allow for at least three fittings, with the first starting three months before the wear date. Your “wear date” may actually be before your wedding day, especially if there is a plan for bridal portraits.
Of course, while we recommend three fittings, it really depends on the specific dress and how extensive the alterations are. If custom work is involved, there may be up to five fittings.
Regardless of the number of fittings that are needed, there are some important things to keep in mind when working with a seamstress. Here are a few of our top tips:
Alan Perry is the president of Perry’s Emporium and The Wedding Dress Shoppe, offering a range of services for couples, from engagement through their wedding day. Perry’s Emporium is one of the largest retail jewelry stores in Southeastern North Carolina and offers exclusive brands and one-of-a-kind estate jewelry. The Wedding Dress Shoppe is a full-service bridal salon featuring distinctive and stylish bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses, and mother-of the-bride and flower girl attire. For more information, visit www.perrysemporium.com and www.theweddingdressshoppe.com.
- Be vocal. It is important to express yourself during your appointment. Tell your seamstress how you feel and how you want to feel. If you want to change or add something, express your vision. Just as you did when you worked with the stylist, let the seamstress know what your ultimate desire is.
- Be a good listener. Don’t do all the talking. Our seamstresses, for example, have many years of experience and will be able to give their advice on what is best for the dress. With their input, you can work as a team to ensure you will feel both beautiful and comfortable all night long.
- Come prepared. There are a few important things to bring to every fitting. First, bring whatever special undergarments you intend to wear with the dress (for example, a bra, corset or Spanx). This will ensure that if your dress will fit correctly over your undergarments. Second, bring the shoes you intend to wear to every fitting. Many woman overlook this, but it is vital to making sure your hem will be cut to the correct length and you won’t be tripping on it.
- Bring a friend (or two) but not an entourage. It is smart for a family member or, if applicable, a bridesmaid to tag along. You’ll need to bring a trusted friend who will help you get into your dress on the big day and, if a bridal gown, bustle it after the ceremony. However, don’t bring too many people. A seamstress needs room to work and you will need to be her main focus. Also, large groups tend to share many opinions and may drown out what you want to express about your dress. Keep the fittings intimate.
- Bring your patience. While typical appointments only last around an hour, they can run longer if you have extra work you want to have done. Your seamstress is a perfectionist, and you want her to be. You might need to stand still and very straight for a good bit of time. Of course, if you feel the need to sit down or take a break, don’t hesitate to ask. But do plan enough time to allow the seamstress to get all the details she needs. It will minimize return trips for you.
- Be flexible. Seamstresses do their best to work around different schedules and special accommodations. Be upfront with your expectations and they will be able to help. Trust them if they take the time to be completely honest with you about changes or additions that cannot be done
- Anticipate the cost. Some brides come in for alterations without understanding the cost of services. For every dress and every woman, the cost is different. The amount of work and time that your seamstress takes with your dress will appropriately reflect the final cost. But given that your dress will be tailor-made to fit your figure, it’s worth it for your special day.