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Wedding Dress Alterations Checklist


When to Begin the Alterations

You’ve purchased the dress but it doesn’t fit exactly the way you’d like. The time needed to make wedding gown alterations depends upon the number of changes you require or the seamstress recommends, the difficulty level of the changes, the type of fabrics used in the construction of, and the complexity of the dress itself.

Alterations are best completed no later than 4 weeks before the wedding, giving you some “wiggle room.” Since two to four fittings are usually required, three months prior to the wedding date should be ample time to complete light to moderate alterations: Modifying the hem and taking in the waist and bodice are considered light to moderate alterations. Heavy alterations, such as letting out side seams, adding gussets, and modifying skirts – especially if you’re going to wear your mother’s dress or an heirloom – may require an additional month, depending upon the seamstress and her schedule.

Choosing a Professional

Those who specialize in formal wear and wedding dress alterations will advertise it publicly. Wedding dresses are particularly more complex due to delicate fabrics, lace overlays, bustles, boning, and other such intricacies. Someone who specializes in alterations will not necessarily have experience in wedding dress alterations so do your homework.

Shores Cleaner’s seamstresses are experienced professionals in wedding gown alterations as well as the nuances of the various fabrics used in wedding gown construction. For example, needle marks will remain in finer silks and satins but a professional knows how to disguise these. If you’ve purchased your dress at a bridal shop but decide to have the alterations done elsewhere, remember that Shores specializes in wedding gown alterations, cleaning, and preservation.

What to Bring to the Fitting

Bring to each fitting all of the undergarments you intend to wear beneath the wedding dress as well as your shoes, head piece or veil, and hair accessories. You will not get a proper fit or the proper length without these things. While the head piece and hair accessories may seem trivial, the seamstress gets an overall view of the look you want to achieve on your wedding day and helps her in recommending all of the alterations you may need.

What NOT to Bring to the Fitting

You’ve heard the saying, “two’s company but three’s a crowd.” More than two at your fitting creates a hectic atmosphere for both you and the person who is or will be making your alterations. Bring your mother, your maid/matron of honor, or a special friend with whom you are the most comfortable. By bringing two or more individuals to your fitting, you run the risk of having too many opinions offered and others’ feelings to consider.

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