“The Seamstress Process – What To Expect” is part three 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 and final installment next week! Click to read part 1 or part two of our seamstress series.

Part Three – The Seamstress Process – What To Expect

After meeting with the seamstress for your first wedding dress fitting, you may be wondering what comes next? How many times will you meet with them, and what changes will be made to your dress? Will the alterations be right the first time? Will you be able to pick up your finished wedding dress the next time you see them?


Four our of every five brides will need alterations on their wedding dresses. Let us help you find the right seamstress for the job!

All of these questions are great, and sometimes the answers are not made clear at the time of your first fitting. Usually, this is because even the seamstress does not know how many fittings will need to happen. He or she may have a general idea, but the bottom line is that there is no fixed answer to these questions. Instead, it depends on the complexity of the alterations, and how changes to your dress may alter the fit in another areas.

In general, we tell our brides that they should plan on allowing for two to four fittings with the seamstress. Your first appointment will last anywhere from one half hour to an hour, depending on the gown. If you have a simple gown, your dress may even be ready for try on and pick up at the time of the next appointment!

However, if you need to have the shoulders taken up, the sides taken in, the sides let out, a bustle put in….well you get the idea! The more changes that need to be made, the more fittings that will need to happen. Anytime the seamstress makes a change to the dress, you will need to try it on to check for fit before they move on. There may be a time that the fit of the gown does not meet the standards of the seamstress, or of you. In this case,  alterations on other areas of the gown may stop, until that area is fixed. Once completed to satisfaction, the process can start again.

During your fittings, make sure to ask questions, or voice any concerns you have about the fit while you are working with the seamstress. It is a mistake to assume that things will look different at the final fitting, unless you have specifically been told that. Talking thru any changes that you would like to happen is key. This is much better than assuming the seamstress knows exactly what you want. That is not the case, and should never be counted on.

You may also ask at during you fittings if there are less expensive ways to complete the alterations. If there are, what are the pros and cons of your options? For example, there are several different ways to bustle your gown. One may be less expensive than the other, but it also may be weaker, and more likely to tear or break. Knowing your options will give you more control over your budget. This will give you the ability to select what is most important to you.

Be upfront with your wear date, and your availability thru this process. If you travel for your job, are taking a vacation, or maybe just have a crazy work schedule, you should notify the seamstress of this ahead of time.

Please do not expect them to store your dress for any longer than they are doing the work to it. Seamstresses usually have smaller spaces that they work from, and are unable to store large volumes of customer merchandise.

In conclusion, at the time of your first fitting, make sure to ask plenty of questions. You should listen to the seamstress’s recommendations, but if you have ideas of your own, share them at this time. You should plan on getting a rough price estimate from them before the conclusion of the appointment. Finally, if you receive a quote, and  do not choose to have them do the work, you will need to pay them an appointment fee for their time. This would be for for the time that they have already spent with you, discussing changes and going over your expectations. In the event you proceed with the alterations, this fee is usually waived. Appointment fees ranges by area, but generally $50.00 is adequate. Again, we would urge you to ask beforehand, as rates will differ across the country.

HOT TIP: Allow yourself at least two months for alterations, and to meet with the seamstress before the wedding. It may not take this long, but scheduling conflicts can always happen. This will allow you plenty of time, and a seamstress that is not rushed is a happy seamstress! Your wallet will also thank you – last minute alteration jobs will cost more.

 Stay tuned for part 4 of our series What To Know BEFORE Having Your Wedding Dress Altered – A Four Part Series, available next week!

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.