How much do wedding dress alterations cost?
Updated: May 10
Fit is everything when it comes to all types of clothing but it’s especially important on your wedding day. You can wear the most gorgeous gown but if it doesn’t fit properly then you will never look and feel as good as you should. It's unlikely that you will find a wedding dress that fits you perfectly so it’s really important to set aside part of your wedding dress budget for the alterations. The smallest tweaks can make the biggest difference in the way the dress looks and feels so it’s worth the extra expense to have it fitted correctly.
But how much do bridal gown alterations cost?
Okay… this question is like asking how long is a piece of string? There are so many factors to consider when costing wedding dress alterations that it’s very difficult for any bridal seamstress to give an exact price without seeing the dress itself and the person wearing it. Let’s face it, all dresses are made with different patterns, from different fabrics and have different fastenings and embellishments. The truth is that with so many factors to consider when it comes to bridal tailoring, it’s a bit more difficult than quoting for standard clothing alterations like shortening a pair of jeans.
Obviously every seamstress will have their own hourly rate and overheads which they need to cover so prices will always vary. I offer a bespoke, personal service so all garment alterations are priced individually depending on the work involved. The amount I charge directly relates to the complexity of the work and how long it will take me to complete the dress alterations.
If you take a closer look at your wedding dress you may be able to see it’s simply not a case of ‘it just needs taking in a bit’ or ‘it just needs a little bit off the bottom’. Some heavily embellished dresses involve a lot of work to make any adjustments to the size, but sometimes it’s the simple styles that are the most tricky to alter because they can be very structured with many hidden layers.
Taking in the side seams of a wedding gown bodice could actually be three separate procedures or maybe more. There are often multiple-layers in the outer layer of a bridal gown, boning inside and then a layer of lining next to the body. Any embellishment on the outer layer, for example beading and appliqués, have to be carefully removed before the seams can be adjusted under the sewing machine. It then has to be stitched back on so the dress looks like it did originally.
It’s similar when shortening a bridal gown hem. The factors which have to be considered are the type of fabrics, the number of layers, the techniques involved in adjusting them and also how wide the dress is around the bottom. A wedding dress hem can involve shortening a number of foundation layers (netting and linings) before the outer layer is even touched. Each layer must be shortened individually and will often include a variety of techniques. Lace wedding gowns are often edged with a scalloped lace trim which has to be delicately removed and re-attached after the length of the dress has been shortened. Plain bridal gowns often have horsehair braid around the hem which helps to give body and fullness. This stiffener has to be carefully removed and replaced as part of the alteration. I always alter dresses to the same finish as the original design taking great care the dress doesn't look like it has been altered. Hems sometimes need to be finished by hand, not machine, and these factors can add to the cost, not necessarily because the alteration is more difficult but sometimes it is just more time consuming.
If your other half is a spread-sheet fanatic like mine then, they’ll want to know how much your bridal tailoring is going to cost so if you would like to send me a photo of your dress I'm happy to give a rough idea of cost after a chat about how you envisage looking on your Big Day. For the reasons already discussed, this won’t be the final cost but it will act as a guide as to what you should expect. The final price sometimes varies a little, it can be slightly more or less, but I like to give an honest, realistic figure so there are no surprises. The cost of your bridal alterations are given at your first fitting before any work is carried out. A 50% deposit is taken at this stage if you’re happy to proceed. The remaining balance is due once all the alterations are complete and you look and feel a million dollars.
If you’d like to chat about your wedding dress alterations or book an appointment, just send me a message. I’d love to help.