BRIDAL GOWN ALTERATIONS FAQs
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Bridal Alterations Before and After Slide Shows

For basic alterations (hem, bustle, take-in, straps) it is best to start the alterations at least 2-3 months before the wedding. This accommodates 3 fittings: two for pinning/adjustments, and one final try-on before the wedding to make sure everything fits properly. For custom alterations it is best to start 4-5 months in advance to ensure all changes can be accommodated on time.

Before booking an alterations appointment make sure to check the reviews from past brides on a credible review site (The Knot, Wedding Wire, Yelp). Once you find one whose reviews you trust, book a consultation to meet your seamstress and make sure you will work well together.
Red flags to look out for:
     1) they have few or no current reviews,
     2) they promise a quick turnaround,
     3) alterations are performed at someone’s house,
     4) multiple seamstresses work with a bride, or
     5) there is one set price for ALL alterations.

 

Even if you plan on your measurements changing before your wedding, you still need to start the alterations process 2-3 months in advance. The first step is to hem, bustle, and adjust the straps if needed. The take-in or let-out of the gown doesn’t happen until the second fitting, which should be one month before your wedding. After the second fitting it is important to maintain measurements to avoid any last minute changes, as last minute alterations may not be possible.

Since every gown and bride has different alteration needs, there is no set or standard price. Always set up a consultation to discuss the changes that need to be made, and get an estimate based on these changes. If your gown has lace, applique, beading, lots of layers, or needs to be sized up/down more than one size your alterations will be more expensive than a simple gown. Keep in mind that finding the least expensive seamstress is not a great solution, as you may end up having to bring it to someone else and pay more to have issues fixed.

Planning a wedding can be stressful, but ensuring the perfect fit for your gown should be a good experience! Start by making sure you have plenty of time to get all your alterations finished for your wedding day. It is also important to work with a seamstress who you trust and communicate well with, and to be open to taking their advice or suggestions. Finally, show up to all your scheduled fittings on time to make sure the process goes smoothly and you are pleased with the changes being made.

It is important to bring everything with you that you plan on wearing with the gown on your wedding day. This usually includes shoes, any undergarments (corset, bra, petticoat, shapewear, etc.), and any accessories that you want added to the gown such as a sash. Some brides will bring veil, jewelry, or covers to try on with the gown to ensure that everything matches nicely. It is also recommended to bring someone with you to your final fitting, such as a bridesmaid or wedding planner. This is so someone else will know how to properly get you into your gown, and learn how to put up the bustle on the wedding day.

For a gown that is too large it is usually possible to take in the front, back, and side seams depending on the structure and design of the gown. This will usually require the gown to be reconstructed, but should still have the same shape and silhouette as the original.
If your gown is too small, there are a couple different options but it may not be possible in some cases. Most gowns have seam allowance on the side seams that can be let out. Another option is to remove the zipper and add a corset laced back instead. This can add 6-8 inches extra to the bodice, but will not change the fit of the skirt. Lastly, gussets or panels can be added to the sides to extend the width of the gown. This is only possible in gowns with clean seams, and should only be added as a last resort.

NOTE: We recommend that you NEVER buy a gown that is more than two sizes too large or too small.

In most cases, yes! Margaret’s specializes in the cleaning and restoration of vintage gowns. Depending on the condition of the gown it can possibly be restored to be close to its original color. After the restoration is complete, the gown can be altered to fit, or can be completely redesigned using the original fabric. However, some vintage gowns are brittle, disintegrating, have damaged fabric, or staining/yellowing too extensive to restore. In these cases, it might not be possible to wear this gown without risking further damage to the fabric.

Depending on the gown, most style changes are possible to a certain extent. Some common changes are: adding/removing sleeves, sash, neckline, open back, corset back, train length, and adding beading or applique. It is always good to bring a visual of the changes to be made just to make sure you and your seamstress are on the same page.

 


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