This is part one, of a four part mini-series, entitled “Wedding Dress Alterations & Seamstress Guide – What to Know, Before You Have Your Dress Fittings.” Stay tuned for the next installment next week!

PART ONE – How To Find The Right Seamstress To Alter Your Wedding Dress

Choose the right seamstress to alter your wedding dress for the best results!

Wedding dress alterations are performed by a skilled seamstress or tailor, using specialized machines and knowledge.

You’ve been planning your wedding day since you were a little girl. It’s going to be magical. The love of your life is standing before you. Their eyes reflect all of the hopes and dreams that you have with one another. You have the hopes of many beautiful years together in the future. And in your dream, you are in the perfect wedding dress, that compliments your figure beautifully, and fits you like a glove. But did you plan on needing the perfect seamstress too?

If you are like most bride-to-be’s, alterations are the furthest thing from your mind. Did you know that even if you order a dress at your local bridal salon, it will not be custom fit to you when you arrive? And that if you are ordering a “custom fit” dress online that it will almost 100% of the time need alterations?

Dresses purchased online are usually the ones that will require the most alterations. This may be due to poor construction, poor quality of materials, or just plain inaccurate measuring techniques.

The belief that your wedding dress will be custom fit when it arrives is a common misconception with many brides. Wedding dresses are cut to sizing charts, and NOT to the measurements of the bride they are being ordered for. Your bridal consultant will assist you with size selection, but ultimately, it is recommended that the dress be sized to fit the largest of your three measurements, thru the bust, waist and hips.

 Of course, if you are like the average American woman, this means that your wedding dress may need to be tailored to you after it arrives, so that it will fit perfectly everywhere. Many of our past brides have shared with us that this was their experience with needing a seamstress, and had that they had no idea what to expect. As a result, we have put together this handy reference guide. This will help you anticipate what you will need before meeting with a seamstress for the first time.

Step 1. Finding The Right Seamstress For The Job

Think of step one like an interview, where you are the CEO of your own company, Your Wedding Day, Inc. Your job at this time is to find the BEST person with the most SKILL to perform the alterations on your wedding dress. After all, you love your dress! This is your dream dress. But remember – not all seamstresses have equal skill sets. This is definitely a case where you want to talk with them over the phone, or in person BEFORE committing to an appointment.

When interviewing them, you should ask whether they have had any experience altering wedding dresses, and if they have any examples of their work that they can show you. Can they can give you any references of people that they have done alterations for? (If you are working with a bridal shop that has an in house seamstress, the seamstress should have no problem giving you referrals – some of the brides you may already know!) Remember that high quality wedding dresses may be made with intricate laces, chiffon, or even silk, which are fabrics that not everyone will be skilled to sew. Specialized equipment like a serger may be needed to professionally complete your alterations, and not all seamstresses will own these items.

Oftentimes, customers will not take the time to talk to a seamstress beforehand. They will then wonder why they do not get the results they are looking for. Please – take a moment to ask questions about who is doing the work to your dress, and ultimately, who you are entrusting your priceless gown to. Finally, remember to ask at this time how they determine their fees. Do they offer hourly rates, by the job rates, or a one fee for all price? Avoid the later, as you are generally paying for inflated prices, on services that you may not actually need.

HOT TIP: Once you have an idea of their skills, ask them about whether your gown will be covered under any sort of insurance policy while it is in their custodial care. If a seamstress works out of their home, reputable providers will have a small business clause that covers their client’s products in the event of theft, damage, or natural disaster. A tailor or a seamstress with a storefront should have liability insurance, but it may not automatically cover your dress. Again, ask upfront, as your valuable gown needs to be protected at all times! Never assume!

 The opinions and information is this post is provided as a courtesy of Christine’s Bridal & Prom®, and may not be reproduced without permission. Christine’s Bridal & Prom® is independently owned and operated, and is Vermont and New Hampshire’s premiere destination for plus size brides and plus size wedding dresses. It is also home to Glitter Prom®, New England’s prom headquarters.