Bridesmaid Dress Alterations

The most common bridesmaid dress alterations needed are hems shortened, the sides adjusted and if your gown has straps sometimes they need to be shortened.

When you go for a fitting you will be trying on your gown so you must have the shoes and everything you will wear under your dress to be properly fitted. Not having the correct bra or shapewear, if worn, and shoes; will change the way your gown fits.

If you are a bridesmaid who is going out of town to be in a wedding, before you go to your fitting, find out from the bride...

  • What length your dress should be... above the knee, knee length etc.
  • If floor length... does she want the shoes to show or not. Some will tell you whether they want it 1/2" to 1" off the floor.
  • Does the gown have a train or is it floor length all the way around?
  • If your gown has a train, will the bride allow you to have a bustle done?


Bridesmaid Dress Alterations - Hem Fitting

What should you expect?

  • The alteration specialist should pin your gown all the way around to make sure your dress hangs evenly. Except, of course, if you have a train, in this case the front will be pinned and taper at the sides to blend into the train.
  • You may want to consider having a bustle put in your gown so that they don't have to bother with the train getting in the way during the reception.

Be cautious of tailors or seamstresses:

That pin up the hem in just a few areas or do just determine what needs to come off the front and shorten it by that amount all the way around the hem. Why?

Because there is no guarantee that your dress hem will be even that way.

Sometimes the manufacturer will cut the dress uneven. Or your posture can cause a hem to hang uneven. So the dress must be pinned "all the way around" to assure the hem will hang evenly when you wear the gown.


Bridesmaid Dress Alterations - Adjusting The Sideseams

Another bridesmaid dress alteration commonly needed involve adjustments for the bust, waist or hip area. Your bridesmaids dress will be taken in at the side seams.

Under rare circumstances should your gown be taken in through the center back. Only when the curvature of your back needs the shaping. But if your gown is too big it should not be take in through the center back seam in most cases. Why do I mention this?

Some tailors take in dresses through the center back as a short cut to having to take in the gown through the sides, but they don't lower the price at all. This method works okay if only a little has to be taken up. But if a lot needs to be taken in... this method will not give the best fit, especially if you have a curvy figure. The best fit comes from taking in the gown at the sides.

If you gown needs to be let out... your gown can only be let out the amount that is in the sideseams, which usually isn't much there to let out. The only other thing that can be done is to add gussets with matching fabric. This may or may not be possible depending on the design of the gown and whether you can get matching fabric.

When I did need to cut the seams down, I always left enough so it can be let out "one" size. if you decide to sell your dress... you can let the person know it can be let back out to "the original size." This is a good selling point.


Brides! Why You Should Have All Your Bridesmaid Dress Alterations Done At "One" Place If Possible

If you are a bride, have you thought about having all your bridesmaid dress alterations done at the same place? How will that benefit you?

  • This way the same dress lengths and fit are applied across the board for every bridesmaid.
  • Alterations done the same way will result in a "harmonious look" for your wedding. Your guest will notice! Your wedding pictures will show it!
  • Your bridesmaids will appreciate your relieving them of the responsibility to find a sewing professional to do their alterations.

For the bridesmaids who are out of town... you can tell them how far from the floor to have their gowns hemmed with their shoes on. I will give you that information so they can pass it on to their seamstress. That way their hems will be in harmony with those who are" in" town.

Remember even though you are the center of attention---with the groom by your side--- everyone else around you will "enhance" your overall look. You will notice this especially when you look at your wedding pictures!


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