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7 Tips to Make Your Wedding Dress Style All Your Own

Easy and authentic touches to create a custom gown.
Every bride wants to have a look that expresses her unique style. Finding a show-stopping dress is just the start—next you have to make the look your own. When you take it to the seamstress it will be fitted to your body and altered to suit your personal style, giving most women a once-in-a-lifetime chance to add bespoke details to a garment.

Even if you like the way the dress looks right now, and don’t want to do any major alterations, you still can make small changes to make your dress one-of-a-kind. Customizing your wedding dress doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming either. With pretty little touches it’s easy to get a personalized look for your wedding day.

1. Pick a theme for your wedding.
One of the easiest ways to keep your look personal but cohesive is to choose a theme for your wedding. Are you and your partner fans of Shakespeare or Star Wars? Do you share a beloved pet? Work in subtle references to your passions in your signature cocktail, table names, desserts, and décor. Once you know your theme it’s easy to add a few personal touches to your bridal look, with a coordinating pin, flowers, or hair piece.

2. Find a personal item to add to your dress.
Following in the “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” tradition, many brides like to incorporate heirlooms into their gown. This might be a small brooch that gains a new life as a belt embellishment, a special necklace or bracelet, or a small embroidered detail that imitates a loved one’s handwriting.

Some brides choose to add a panel of vintage fabric to their wedding dress, usually from their mother or grandmother’s gown. It’s a beautiful way to celebrate the past—and the future.

3. Think about how you want to include bridal colors.
Every bride has her colors. Adding something to your dress in a coordinating hue, like a wrap or a sash, instantly creates a custom look. If you are getting your bridesmaid dresses from the same bridal salon where you chose your dress, they may be able to help you find something to match. For instance, some places will dye shoes the color of the bridesmaid dresses. If you’re brave enough for a really bold color statement, you can add an underskirt to your dress in a fabric that matches your wedding colors.

4. Discuss alteration possibilities.
Sometimes the easiest way to take the look from off-the-rack to custom is to have it altered. A skilled seamstress can dramatically change the look of a dress by adding a new neckline or sleeves, but can also make more subtle changes like replacing a zipper with a button-closure.

If you went dress shopping close to home, your bridal boutique probably knows a seamstress nearby who can work with you to achieve your perfect look. If you bought your dress farther afield, you may need to do your own research. Just make sure that you find someone with experience altering gowns and special occasions dresses. It’s worth every penny.

5. Customize your bustle.
Did you know that there are different kinds of bustles? There are American bustles, French bustles, Austrian bustles, ballroom bustles, train-flip bustles and more. Each bustle in unique and changes the look of your wedding dress. Seamstresses are most likely to offer to do either the American or French bustle, as those are most common, but you can ask them to show you other styles as well. Just remember that not every dress is compatible with every type bustle.

6. Accessorize!
Maybe you don’t want to make any changes to the dress itself. After you’ve found the perfect dress, it might be hard to improve on it. Instead, why not accessorize beautifully? Gorgeous bangles, a stunning muff, a tiara, or a cathedral veil can make a lasting impression on your friends and family. You could even add some sparkle with a bejeweled belt, or a splash of color with a sash that matches your bridal colors.

This may also be the moment to add drama to your outfit with a pair of chandelier earrings or a statement necklace. Just be sure your look balances well—you don’t need to wear all your jewelry at once!

7. Switch up your ceremony and reception looks.
For most brides, once they put their dress on, they never want to take it off. Nevertheless, they may still want one look for the chapel, and another for the reception. Of course, your dress will look different once it’s bustled, but there are other ways you can refresh your style without undergoing a complete costume change.

If you have a rustic reception venue, why not trade your veil for a flower wreath? You may also want to wear understated jewelry for the ceremony, but add some bling for the party. Swapping out accessories is a great way to change up your look without having to choose between elegant and flashy.

Pulling it all together for a day that’s uniquely yours
Your wedding dress style should reflect your personality and your relationship. Whether you’re in a ball gown or a simple sheath, let your style shine through. Whimsical details make the day memorable for everyone, and these days anything goes. If you want serve ice cream sandwiches instead of cake, walk down the aisle to the opening bars of your favorite theme song, or have your Pomeranian as ring-bearer, you can!

Your dress should but just as much your own as any other part of the wedding. A touch of color, a vintage accessory, or a line of buttons are the perfect finishing touches. So, customize your dress however you like! The most important thing is that on your wedding day you celebrate the start of a new life with your love.

What Our Seamstress Does For Your Wedding Dress Alterations

With thousands of various styles for wedding dresses there will always be the creative minds out there that wish something certain could be performed on their dress. But lets just think about the 5 most popular requests that we have performed alterations for the past decade. Then we’ll look at another 5 different minor alterations you may also think about on your dress. We’re here to help you brainstorm!

1. Wedding Dress Bust Alterations – The chest area: Depending on the types and style of your dress our professional tailoring services have restyled the front of dresses from new beading, lace work as well as turning them into sweetheart and other shapes. The intricacies of restyling are not simple especially if your dress has beading, lace or a thin layer on top. Our suggestion is to find a tailor nearby that certainly has a portfolio to show for the work they are able to perform.

2. Expert Wedding Dress Waistline Alterations – Things are not meant to fix you perfectly. That is the truth. Any garment piece off of the rack is meant to be tailored to become more form fitting. We always love the stories at the tailor shop when clients come in and say “my pants we’re really expensive, but they did not come with a hem!” The proper explanation I say, is you may be a 30 inch waist and 5 foot 6 inch or you may be a 30 inch waist and 6 foot tall. The hem is meant to be tailored by professionals. Likewise with “custom dresses,” even with measurements we have seen a lot clients who have ordered dresses online and always have issues due to the fact that many shops look at the top 3 things being bust / hips and waistline. This is where you as yourself would you rather have the dress too tight or a little loose for alterations.

3. Professional Bridal Gown Hems – Hemming like the prior example for pants are the same for dresses. Do not feel like it’s just you. There are many other individuals other with similar sizes but varying heights. Sometimes you may get away with higher heels but you cannot wear 10 inch heels down the aisle. Let a professional tailor take a look at your wedding dress.

4. Wedding Dress Strap Alterations – Shortening straps may be a solution to avoiding hems sometimes. Always remember things on your dress are proportional you alter one thing other things will shift. Such as the underarm hole. This will cause uncomfortableness and irritation on your special day. So if you have a halter top and showing too much bust in the front there are many options to alter your wedding dress. One being shortening the straps or addition of a modesty piece we would insert into your dress.

5. Best Wedding Dress Bustling Tailors- Bustle your dress if it’s too long! We will discuss the various types of bustles in another blog but always you want to bustle your dress if it’s too long. It may be a simple one or 20 at our Alterations we have professional perform wedding dress bustles on thousands of dresses. One thing to think about is the style of the dress. Many times it’s about the look, sometimes it’s about the actual functionality of the bride not stepping on the dress when she walks down the aisle. Have a professional tailor pin your dress to perfection to visualize your bustles and check out our blog later about bustles.

6. Professional Vintage Wedding Dress Alterations: Many of our brides have loved the nostalgia wedding dress look. But also want to have a part of the modernness added to the dress. This may be removing the sleeves, addition of sleeve, removal or addition of a bow, adding in layers or top layer.

7. Custom Wedding Veils: Find something you absolutely love, but due to the cost or inability to find one? A professional tailor is able to create custom veils for your wedding. From long, short, styled pieces there are hundreds of styles out there.

8. Creating Corsets or Resizing Wedding Dresses: Yes this happen. Many times there is nothing you can do to avoid it. It may be you purchased your dress early prior to the wedding and the fit is way to snug to breathe, you may be wearing an old vintage wedding dress from a family member, etc. Though it is a lot simpler to resize a wedding dress that is larger to smaller. But professional dressmakers are able to resize your bridal gowns. Depending on the style and how much needs to be let out on the wedding dress there are many ways to resize. One of the most popular being addition of a panel and corset on the wedding dress. This allows for an elegant style to the back. The addition of this is generally if there is a zipper in the midline section.

9. Customized Wedding Dresses: Find something in a bridal magazine you absolutely love? Well the best wedding tailors near you can help. There may be some limitations due to proportionality of your wedding dress. But we agree that it may be adding things such as tulle to make your dress wider on the bottom for the ball gown wedding dress look.

10 Wedding Dress Accessorizing: We are not talking about anything too over the top. But more so if you were looking at having a wedding belt with rhinestones placed in. Creating custom beadwork to be added to your wedding dress etc. Remember our rule of thumb ask questions!

There are so many amazing alterations that may be performed to your wedding dress. Find the right wedding dress tailors in your area or contact us for wedding dress consultations we are more than happy to help make your day extra special.

Wedding Dress Fitting Tips

Wedding Dress Fitting Tips

  1. Try not to be in a rush – When a bride comes to a fitting with too much stress, either because she has to go back to the office or has another appointment scheduled in less than 30 minutes, the result is always not as it should have been. If you really want your bridal gown to fit you properly, please find the time and book an appointment on a day most convenient to both you and the seamstress.

  2. Don’t come to a fitting after a workout – Not only will you need to have your wedding dress cleaned before the wedding (which is always a huge no), but it is extremely undesirable for us to work with a client that smells bad, be it from sweat, cigarettes or too much perfume.

  3. Bring your foundation garments on all your fittings – Buy them before your first fitting and wear them before each fitting after it. You may not notice any considerable changes in the way your body shape looks like when you wear your foundation garments, but trust us, they do play a role in the way the gown hangs on your figure. From our experience, wearing the wrong bra or corset can affect whether the hem of the dress hangs evenly. There is no doubt that your dress will look different if you wear a different bra at each fitting. Needless to say, if you are wearing a crinoline or petticoat, do bring that too.

  4. Bring your wedding shoes – If you have not yet found the perfect pair of wedding shoes, try to bring a pair whose heel height is about what your ideal shoe will be. Since the height of the heel affects your posture, we need to make sure everything is perfect. At this stage, we don’t mark the hem until a later fitting, when you have purchased the wedding shoes.

  5. Don’t stand on tiptoe and ask to have your hem marked – Kindly note that marking the hem is a delicate process that requires, at least, 5 minutes. It is impossible to stand on tiptoe for that long and not have an uneven hem marked.

  6. Listen to your seamstress’s recommendations – You want a particular change, and your tailor or seamstress recommends against it. If you trust that person, then consider his opinion. Chances are there is a very good reason he or she says what he/she says. If you feel stuck in between two viewpoints, ask for another opinion from another seamstress. If both seamstresses are on the same page, then they probably know garment construction like the back of their hands, and have probably seen something you don’t, so it is best to go with their recommendation. They may suggest another way to make the dress look the way you want it to look!

  7. Move around only to test the fit – During a fitting, many brides tend to move. This makes it difficult for us to make sure the garment fits evenly and that the hems and sleeves are where they were supposed to be. Sometimes, brides even get poked with a pin while moving around because we end up chasing them around to take measurements right. So, if you want to move, please just ask. You will have plenty of time to test the fit after we are done!

  8. Tell the seamstress if you will be doing a lot of walking, dancing, sitting, etc. – Knowing such things is much appreciated. It allows us to adjust the wedding dress so that it makes you feel comfortable while doing all those things. If the dress doesn’t inhibit your movement after it has been pinned, then you can rest assured you will enjoy it a great deal!

  9. The final fitting should be held no more than 10-14 days before the wedding – This gives us enough time to address any problems, such as small changes to your size (many brides are so stressed before the wedding that they lose weight the last 2 weeks prior the big day).

  10. Ask for help with lacing up your dress – In the rare cases when your best friend/maid of honour/mother can’t come with you when you go dress shopping, do ask the fitter to show them how to lace up your dress (or zip or button it) if the particular design doesn’t allow you to do that on your own (corset back lacing can turn into a real challenge if you don’t know the hows).

Rear view of girl in white corset, isolated on black background

How did you find the dream wedding dress? Was it as you wanted it or did you have to make alterations to it? How did that one work for you? Tell us in the comments below!

And, if you have any questions about altering your wedding dress, we are all ears !

Which is the Best? An Independent Wedding Dress Alteration Specialist Or The Bridal Shop Seamstress?


Why choose a Wedding Dress Alteration Specialist and not the bridal shop seamstress?

”Because you don’t want just any sewing professional to alter your wedding gown. You want one who you can trust to do the job well!”

A sewing professional who has their own business is committed to making you happy! They will go out of their way to do so. They communicate with you on a more personalized level.

Their expertise in fit and workmanship is of the highest standards! Since the majority of their business is altering wedding dresses they are very skilled in working with wedding dress fabrics and fitting bridal gowns.

They have as much experience working with bridal gowns as a bridal shop seamstress.

Did you know that bridal shops will only alter gowns purchased in their shop? Most shops will not alter bridal gowns bought from out side their store. If you buy a gown online or out of town, don’t be surprised if the local shop will not alter it for you.

 

– What You Don’t Know About The Bridal Shop Seamstress…

Because there is a shortage in the field, bridal shop seamstresses are now being trained on the job in a short period of time. If you ask, you will find some of them have not been altering wedding dresses very long.

This is why the bridal message boards and forums generally show more complaints against bridal shop alterations seamstresses than independent sewing professionals.

Most cases though… the bridal shop seamstress will be fine to use. Just don’t take for granted that the person working on your dress is experienced. Ask them how much experience they have. Or if you know that you have major fitting challenges… then you need to consider taking your dress to a specialist.

“Remember you have made a large investment in your wedding gown, so make sure that you use the most skilled person to work on it.”

 

– The Best Sewing Professional

I have to mention this tidbit. The ” best” sewing professional to alter your wedding dress is one who has experience as a wedding dressmaker designer combined with wedding dress alteration experience.

“You get the best of both worlds.” There are techniques in constructing a wedding dress that can be used when doing bridal alterations to help achieve an unbelievably secure and comfortable fit.

You have to know how to construct a wedding dress in order to know about these techniques. Someone who only knows how to alter wedding gowns “would not” have these skills.

In summary…

An independent wedding dress alteration specialist will without a doubt give attention to the details necessary to give you that polished look to become a “picture perfect bride!”

Plus… as an added bonus—you save money on your alterations, because an independent seamstress charges are usually more affordable than the bridal shop.

How much do wedding dress alterations cost?

Have you been wondering how much your wedding gown alterations are going to cost? This is a problem that every bride faces as they pick up their gorgeous wedding dress from the bridal boutique and then need to trust someone to take scissors and a needle to their gown to make it fit like a glove! While every bridal seamstress or tailor will charge a little differently, you can expect the same type of pricing if shopping correctly. One thing you should understand as a bride however is that you DO NOT HAVE TO USE the seamstress or tailor that your bridal boutique suggests. You have options. As a good consumer you should at least look into those options. You did just spend endless hours looking for the perfect wedding gown didn’t you? Why would you just trust the first person that has a pair of scissors to work on your treasured wedding dress then?

 

Common Wedding Gown Alterations and Cost:  ————– ( Price based on 2018 )

The hem (the bottom) : average cost :  $120-$200
The bottom of your bridal gown will almost always need to be shortened. As such the hem is many times much more complicated than it looks. You may see some plastic webbing around the bottom, or feel it in the dress. This is called horsebraid or horsehair, and as a result of that little bit of plastic your price is higher. Have more layers with it? You will be charged more. Have a layer of lace on your bridal gown down there? Yep, the price goes up with that. Is the bottom of your wedding dress beaded? Guess what, the price goes up even more… So what does an average bridal hem cost? From our experience you can estimate $120-$200.

The sides $50-$100
Many times brides need the wedding dress taken in at the sides. Don’t be mad at your bridal boutique for ordering a size too big though as you wouldn’t want to be stuck with a bridal gown that was too small, would you? Again, lace and beading will increase the amount that taking in the sides of your wedding dress will cost. Additionally, most places charge for how much they need to take the wedding dress in, whether it is just in the bust area, the hips, or along the entire seam… So what does is the average cost for taking in the sides on your bridal gown? From our experience you can estimate anywhere from $50-$100.

The bustle (picking the back of the bridal gown off the floor so you can bust a move on the dance floor!) $55-$95
If you have a train a bustle is needed. This is where we see many seamstresses make the most profit as they put an insane number of bustles into wedding gowns. In our experience you should rarely need more than 6 or 7 bustle points, but we have seen as many as 35 in a wedding gown. Can you imagine having your friend or mother under your dress trying to decipher 35 bustle points? Neither can we… So what is the average price for a bustle on a wedding dress? From our experience you can expect to pay $55-$95, but beware, many seamstresses will push that number as high as $250. This is something to ask about!

The cups (if you aren’t wearing a bra) – $20-$30
Cups are one of those things that almost all brides want in their wedding dresses, but rarely think about before their bridal alterations appointment. The cost to put cups in will vary slightly but you can pretty much expect to pay in the $20-$30 range.

So, in final you may be still wondering… what will the cost of MY bridal alterations be?

From our experience in San Antonio, TX  you can expect to pay somewhere between $250-$450 for your bridal gown alterations. Designer bridal gowns with lace, beading, and complicated hem lines may be more.

See Our Alterations Price