When you find the perfect wedding dress, you may be willing to settle for one that’s not quite the right size simply because the style is so incredible. It may not fit perfectly on your body, but it’s the look that really sells it to you.
How much can you alter a wedding dress without damaging it irreversibly? Can you make alterations so that the dress fits your body better rather than putting away the dress of your dreams for something else that is the right size?
Maybe the dress fit you well when you tried it on earlier, but a few months later when it’s time to get married, the dress isn’t a good fit anymore. Your body might have changed in that time, and you may be wondering what kind of alterations can be made.
How Many Dress Sizes Can You Go Up or Down?
Most wedding dresses can be altered by a couple of sizes without major work being done. Changing the size slightly will take some effort, but it’s possible in most cases.
The experts will tell you that you can increase the dress size by one or decrease it by two sizes without having to change out the dress entirely or recut it. Some slight alterations can change the size slightly so that it fits you better.
Not all wedding dresses can be altered quite so easily, though. How much they can be altered without recutting will depend on the kind of material and the design of the dress. If you’re going to change the dress by more than a couple sizes, though, it will need to be recut.
Taking in a dress is much easier than letting it out. Whoever is doing the alterations will try to keep the structure of the dress the same as much as possible so that it looks as it should even though the fit is different.
Some dresses have a greater seam allowance than others, and some fabrics are easier to work with than others when you’re trying to take them in or let them out.
Your tailor may be able to add side panels or make other alterations that aren’t as obvious so that the dress will fit you better. Keep in mind that any kind of alteration will cost you money, and it may be cheaper just to go with a different dress that is the right size for you.
The closer the dress is to your size, the less money you will have to spend on alterations to make it a perfect fit.
What Basic Alterations Can Be Made?
Dress alterations fall into one of two categories- basic or detailed. Basic alterations are considered those that are absolutely necessary to making the dress fit properly.
This could be as simple as shortening the dress by decreasing the length of the hem- usually folding the hem in and stitching it in place. It could mean letting the hem out to lengthen the dress or changing the sides of the dress a little bit so that the dress isn’t as tight or loose on your body.
Basic alterations tend to be pretty easy to make and don’t take much time compared to detailed alterations. However on some wedding dresses, even basic alterations will be difficult to make because of lacework, beads, and other components that complicate matters.
Don’t just assume that a dress that doesn’t fit perfectly only needs minor alterations. You should talk to a tailor before buying a dress that isn’t a good fit for you to see what might be involved in altering it.
What Detailed Alterations Can Be Made?
Detailed alterations take a lot more work, as you might imagine. Any kind of dress customisation is considered a detailed alteration and could include changes like adding a lace trim, creating beading for the dress, changing up the look of the sleeves, altering the neckline, or adding a bustle. These are just some of the detailed changes that your dress might need.
Because these kinds of changes require more work, they’ll take more time and cost more money.
If you need detailed alterations done to your wedding dress, make sure you planned enough time to make it happen.
In many cases, it’s much cheaper to buy a different dress that has the look you want than to pay for detailed alterations on a dress you’re not quite happy with.
Be Prepared for Your Body to Change
You should be aware that your body may change between now and your wedding date. Even though the dress fits well when you try it out, if there are a few months between then and the big day, you want to factor in the possibility that your body might have changed in that time span.
You may lose weight or gain weight while you’re waiting for your wedding day to come, or the shape of your body may be a bit different at that point. This may mean that some changes need to be made to the dress, and you want to give yourself enough time to have another fitting done before the wedding. There may be some alterations that need to be done on the wedding dress to make it a proper fit for you.
It’s a good idea to have regular fittings done between the dates of purchase and the day you’re going to use the wedding dress. Experts typically recommend that you try on your dress once a month. This helps you see any changes that could be happening in your body and have the time you need to make changes to the dress.
The last fitting before your wedding should be done at least several weeks in advance of the wedding day. That’s because you may need time for a few alterations to be made on the dress. A wedding dress that’s a good fit for you should provide proper support and not be too slack or too tight on your body.
The good news is that a lot of wedding dress designers leave a little bit of room for tailors to work with. They understand that a wedding dress purchase can happen long before the wedding takes place, so they may leave some extra hem to be let out or they might create an adjustable bodice to fit a range of body types.
Don’t panic if your dress doesn’t fit the next time you try it on. Tailors are used to adjusting wedding dresses while keeping the dress looking amazing for you.
When you go to a tailor for wedding dress alterations, just be clear about what you would like done, and then try on the dress in front of them so they can see what changes need to be made.
In many cases, if the dress fit you well at an earlier fitting, some minor alterations can be made without a lot of time and expense for you.