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Bridesmaid Dress Alterations: Ultimate Guide

Bridesmaid Dress Alterations: Ultimate Guide

Your lady friend is getting married and has chosen you to be one of her bridesmaids! For many women, this is one of the most special moments of their lives, second only to their own wedding day obviously, and they will want everything to go perfectly on such a special date.

However, right after you get the news and get used to the idea that you are going to have to buy a bridesmaid dress for the occasion, the next big question that every bridesmaid will ask herself is: is my bridesmaid dress going to need tailoring? And if so, how much will it cost?

In Cicinia we are experts in selling and advising bridesmaids to always find the dress that best suits their needs, so we have compiled a list of the most common questions and answers regarding bridesmaid dress alterations. In them, we will give you answers to very common doubts on this subject that we hope will help you when you go to buy your own dress.

Let's get started!

1. How do bridesmaids know if they need their dresses tailored?

1. How do bridesmaids know if they need their dresses tailored?

The main question any bridesmaid will ask herself soon after finding out that her best friend has chosen her for her wedding is this: Will I need to have my dress tailored or will I be able to find a dress that I feel comfortable with in and doesn't require any extra alterations? And the answer is yes, all bridesmaids require some touch-up on their dresses, no matter how small.

The main reason for this is that bridesmaid dresses, especially those that move at low prices suitable for any type of pocket, have standardized sizes. And what does this mean? Well, the size of a standard-size bridesmaid dress will always be a little above the usual sizes that we find in a dress store, which is why we should always try it on and adjust it to our body until we feel that it fits perfectly.

It is for this reason that we will always recommend you to look for an economical dress that you feel beautiful and comfortable with, since the price of the bridesmaid dress you will always have to add the extra costs in retouches. Therefore, the answer to the question is yes. You will always need to make alterations to a bridesmaid dress.

2. How long does a bridesmaid dress alteration take?

2. How long does a bridesmaid dress alteration take?

For simple alterations

For the simplest alterations, we should not require more than two appointments and may even be able to fix everything in one appointment. For example, one of the most common simple alterations for bridesmaid dresses is to adjust the length of the skirt, waist or straps. All three are simple adjustments that can be fixed by taking a single measurement, with it being quite unusual to require more than two appointments to get them right.

Therefore, the approximate time it will take for these types of small alterations could range from 1 to 2 weeks.

For size changes or more complicated tasks

For more complex dress alterations, such as when multiple adjustments to the bodice are required, the approximate time needed will be between 1 and 3 weeks.

For these types of alterations, it is recommended that you visit the dressmaker well in advance, at least two months before the wedding, as these are fittings that require multiple fittings and if we are in the peak wedding season we may not have an appointment to fix everything in time, so don’t have these dress alterations at last minute.

3. When should bridesmaids get their dresses altered?

3. When should bridesmaids get their dresses altered?

During the wedding season (June to October)

As we indicated in the previous point, if the wedding we are going to attend as bridesmaids will take place during the high wedding season, between June and October, we recommend you start getting your dresses altered at least two months in advance.

To be on the safe side and to avoid running out of appointments with the seamstress because she has too many orders to attend to, we recommend that right after you buy the dress and calculate the day you will receive it at home, you call to make an appointment for your first fitting. This way you can be sure to have the dress on time and be able to do some extra touch-ups without rushing if necessary.

During the normal season (November to March)

If the wedding takes place during the low season, that is, between the months of November to March, making an appointment one month before the wedding would be more than enough. However, these calculations should always be made according to the type of dress and how you want it to fit, each person is different and sometimes what may seem a simple task becomes a back and forth of trials because we do not feel quite right with the dress on.

4. What do bridesmaids wear to alternations?

4. What do bridesmaids wear to alternations?

For dress fittings, bridesmaids should always wear the shoes and undergarments they plan to wear on the big day while arranging for any alterations to the dress. It is not necessary to be dressed as we would go to the wedding, we can carry everything in a bag and change when we get to the alterations specialist who has years of experience.

However, it is always recommended to be very comfortable for the bridesmaid dress fittings. Since we will have to be in and out of the fitting room several times, so it is not advisable to wear a hairstyle too complex, or an outfit too sophisticated that we find it difficult to take off.

5. What to bring to a dress alteration?

5. What to bring to a dress alteration?

Bridesmaid dress

It is essential to wear the bridesmaid dress that you are going to wear to the ceremony, otherwise, it will be difficult to make the necessary adjustments to make it fit perfectly. You cannot use any other dress to make the adjustments to your dress, only the original one.

Shoes you will pair with the dress

It is very important to wear the shoes you are going to wear on the day of the wedding to make the alterations, as this is the only way you will be able to get the hemline correctly. You don't have to wear them all the time, just take them out to do the fitting so the dressmaker can take all the measurements according to the height of the shoes you are going to wear.

Underwear or shapewear with the dress

This may seem unusual to you, but the truth is that the underwear that we are going to wear with the bridesmaid dress should also be worn for each fitting. The reason is that there are many women who choose to wear shaping or textured underwear that can make the dress look one way or another and may require some extra alterations depending on whether or not the underwear with the dress on will flatter us or not.

Everything you gonna wear on the big day

On the other hand, apart from all the clothes we are going to wear during the wedding, it would also be convenient to take all the accessories we plan to wear: jewellery, bags, gloves, etc. Sometimes, depending on the jewellery we are going to wear, the bust of the dress has to be arranged more or less, for example, if we decide to wear a large choker that occupies our entire neck up to the chest.

If we wear everything as we will wear it at the wedding, we can have a much more approximate result of how the dress needs to be arranged and not take any unpleasant surprises the day of the wedding when we get dressed to leave for the ceremony.

6. What do I do if the bridesmaid dress is:

6. What do I do if the bridesmaid dress is:

Too big

If the bridesmaid dress is too big when you try it on, don't panic because it is a very common problem that can be solved quickly. One of the most used tricks, when the bridesmaid dress is too big in the bust area is to add one or two bra cups to fill the area and avoid bags, as well as add a sash in the waist area when the waist is too wide and we need to tighten it a little.

Too small

If after buying the dress you are unlucky enough to find that it is too small, there are a multitude of tricks to solve this problem quickly without anyone noticing it: widen the back, add fabric, lengthen the straps, loosen the bust, etc to give you a perfect dress again.

Too long

Shortening the length of the skirt is common when altering a bridesmaid's dress, and can be quickly solved by adjusting the hem or using a pair of higher shoes that make the skirt shorter and prevents the bridesmaid from dragging the dress on the floor.

Too short

Having your bridesmaid's dress too short after several adjustments is not so common and it is not something easy to fix, but it is not impossible. Dressmakers have a thousand tricks and of course, they also know how to give some extra length to your dress, being one of the most effective tricks to sewing a second hem of the same fabric as the skirt on the inside (avoiding the seam to be noticed) so that it overlaps with the original length in a natural way. This way you will gain a few extra inches of fabric without anyone noticing the alteration.

7. How much should alterations cost on a bridesmaid dress?

7. How much should alterations cost on a bridesmaid dress?

Depend on where you live

The usual price for alterations on a dress is between £20 and £200, however, these prices can vary a lot depending on the country you are in and the standard rates that the industry has. It will not be the same to go to the dressmaker in Paris as in Madrid, each city has a different rate and we must take this into account before calculating the total costs for the alterations of our dress.

Depending on the dress detail

Of course, the more elaborate the dress (sophisticated types of fabrics, embellishments, neckline and so on) we want to alter the more money it will cost us, and vice versa. If you want to reduce costs, we recommend that you look for a nice but not too elaborate dress to avoid spending a lot of money on the dressmaker.

Depend on what alterations you want

This last aspect is quite subjective and will depend on the needs of each bridesmaid and her tastes. There are women who don't mind too much if the dress is not perfect and are satisfied with a couple of alterations. On the other hand, there are also very perfectionist women who will pay attention to every detail of their dress and will spend much more time and money on retouching it to make it just the way they want it. The more you touch it up, the more money you will need to cover the dressmaker's working hours. It's simple.

8. How to prevent bridesmaid dress size issues?

8. How to prevent bridesmaid dress size issues?

Getting the size of a bridesmaid dress right is really complicated, especially if we take into account that most manufacturers work with standardized patterns, however, there are ways to avoid having serious problems with the size that will make the process of dress shopping and alterations much easier.

The main trick to avoid failure, or at least fail as little as possible, when you go to buy your bridesmaid dress is to take the measurements yourself as a dressmaker would do in her workshop. You will only need a tape measure to correctly take your body measurements and the size guide of the dress manufacturer you are thinking of buying (if they provide it).

Then you should also take into account the fabric of the dress and the pattern since it will not be the same to calculate the measurements with a satin dress as with a chiffon one. Each fabric has a different drape and fits differently to our body. We must take all this into account before making our final choice.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

And this has been our little guide on bridesmaid dress alterations for the bridal party. We hope that all these questions and answers have helped you a lot in your selection process and to have a more approximate estimate of the overall budget that your bridesmaid dress will entail. At Cicinia we will be happy to help you choose a beautiful bridesmaid dress from our online catalogue.

If you are a bride who wants her wedding dress alterations or needs some alteration service, don’t worry, check here for bridal alteration tips to make your wedding dress a perfect fit for your big day.