this is my lovely bride Priscille, who I had the pleasure of doing her
wedding dress alterations. She had purchased a beautiful Rivini gown
that had a unique petal detail all over it. She wanted to add custom
tulle cap sleeves that would compliment her look, by also adding the
petal detail to them so that they blended well with her dress. I used a
simple cut edge gathered tulle base for the cap sleeves and added lots
of petals that were fuller in the front and back, but thinned out in the
middle so that it matched the way the petals trailed off down her skirt.
This is a very simple way to really change the look of a strapless gown
yet keeping its original integrity.
here is what the progression looks like as you go thru the alterations
process. This is my bride Carolyn and she has a beautiful all lace
dress. As you can see from the picture on the left that it is big and
has no shape. As with most wedding dresses, they are ordered according
to your largest measurements. With Carolyn, she needed more room in the
bust than the hips. So the dress is sized accordingly and it’s my job to
make the rest of it as fitted as she wants it.
A bustier bra was used to give her bust line lift and keep the dress supported. The picture in the middle is after I have pinned her from head to toe. We are taking the dress in all the way down the sides, hemming all layers to the correct length, and adding lace trim to the top edge of the dress for a bit of camouflage.
Once the dress is altered, the dress is refitted to make sure that everything lays well and is the proper length. Please keep in mind that our bodies are not symmetrical from side to side which is the biggest contributing factor in getting a very fitted dress to sit right. So it may take more than 2 or 3 fittings to get it perfect. And I think Caroline looks just fabulous in her gown.
Buying a dress off the rack that's too big
Here is another example of buying a sample dress off the rack. This is
one of my brides from Brazil. A lot of times we get families in from out
of the country who are here for a short time visiting and shopping in
Orlando for their wedding dress. The cost for the dress and alterations
are less here than in their country, so we try hard to find something
that will work well for them.
As you can see the from the amount that’s pinned on the sides of the
dress that it is quite big in size. The bust of it fits her really well
so it can all be taken out of the sides. This doesn’t work for all
sample dresses. It all really depends on how each dress is made and just
how big it is.
Expect alterations to run on the higher side when it comes to beaded
ball gowns. A good quality wedding dress such as this will be well
constructed and take your seamstress more time to alter it down. Extra
care goes into working with different kinds of bead work and gems. It
has more layers in the bodice and lots of tiers on the sides of the
skirt. But in the end this turned out magnificent.
So last week I got to do something that I have always wanted to do.
Dress up in a real wedding gown and take pictures. It was our 9th
wedding anniversary last Tuesday and I had this great idea. That we
would get all dressed up like a bride and groom and take some photos.
When we got married we didn’t really have a photographer, outside of my
husband that is, and so we didn’t get all the formal pics. I wore a very
pretty burgundy dress and have some great memories with friends and
family from our wedding. But I always had wanted to have a good
photographer there and just didn’t have the money for one. So this year
I decided to celebrate a bit differently.
And to top off this fantasy of mine, I got to wear my most favorite wedding dress that Solutions Bridal ever had, IMO. It is an Anne Barge gown with beaded straps and strands of hanging beads all around the bodice. I had gotten it from Solutions Bridal when it was no longer wanted or would be sold and in sewing you really never throw anything out lol.
So the other day while cleaning out some closets I ran across the dress and decided to try it on. I was shocked but happy that it fit rather well and only needed a bit taken out of the sides, tighten the straps, and of course hem it being I am on the short side. Even with the new heels I got to wear with it.
The location we went to was very quaint. Mt. Dora is a place I need to return to so I can visit all of the unique shops they have there. Especially the area down town where the picture was taken by the fountain. The picture on the right is of me at lunch. Jeremiah’s is a great place to eat with charming atmosphere. We will definitely have to go back.
Advice on buying and altering sample dresses
In my last post I showed an example of turning a sample dress into
something new. This particular alteration was easy because the dress fit
her very well to begin with. Most times that is not the case when it
comes to buying a sample dress. You are left with whatever condition the
dress is in from being loved and adored by every bride that tried it on
before you. Getting beautiful expensive dresses can be great when you
are getting it for half or less the cost of a new one. Just remember one
thing.... to be open minded and know that the alterations may run more
than normal, due to how much work needs to be done. Also being able to
see your vision while standing in a dress that is too big or too small
can be difficult.
Here is a good example, this bride loved the dress, but not the cap sleeves. Plus it was 2 sizes too big. The strap at the top was continuous so I had to cut them off and reshape the whole top edge. Standing in a pool of fabric makes it even more fun to help you take the plunge when buying something that is too big. I think the final look is a significant change for the better.
You can really see from the back view as to how nicely this dress hugs
the brides waistline.
Happy New Year! Let's talk about buying sample dresses.
it’s time to shop for your dream dress, but you’re on a tight budget.
One thing you can do to be cost effective when it comes to your wedding
dress, is to buy a sample dress off the rack and revive it into
something spectacular. A sample dress is a wedding dress that brides can
try on at a local wedding salon and then purchase a new one. A lot of
bridal salons will have sample sales where brides can purchase a gown
off the rack for a whole lot less than ordering a new one. Styles change
and dresses are retired after a certain number of them have been sold
from each designer, so this makes for a great option when trying to have
that story book wedding but not break the bank in the process.
The one thing to remember when buying a sample gown is that you are buying it as is. Dresses get tried on a lot and most are clamped in the back so that each bride can get an idea of what it will look like when it has been fitted and altered to her size. You can also expect to find snags, tears, and or staining on most sample dresses. So the first thing that you want to do is to get it dry cleaned. Then it's time to talk about changing it up and giving it back some life to make it your own special creation. That is exactly what Carly Williamson did. She fell in love with a beautiful lace and silk pickup gown from designer Paloma Blanca that was a sample wedding dress. Here is what the gown looks like brand new.
It fit her very well so she did not need many alterations.
What she did need was repairs to the pickups on the skirt, a new zipper
in the back, and I removed the original green sash it had around the
waist. Then to make the gown her own, I added, at the brides request, a
nice ivory silk ribbon around her waist and some off the shoulder lace
sleeves. These 2 items really made the dress a special creation of her
own. Carly really loved the end result and it shows in her wedding
WHEN TO START: Alterations can be done as late as about 2 weeks before
the wedding, depending on what needs to be done. This can be helpful if
you are coming in from out of town and don’t have a seamstress in your
area. Most of the rules apply for bridesmaids fittings as in for wedding
dresses. You need to get your weight as stable as possible. A drop or
gain of more than 10 pounds will result in a major change in how your
dress fits and will end up costing you more in alterations for numerous
SHOES: If the dress is long, then shoes are a must. If you don’t have your shoes, please have a shoe with the correct heel height so that an accurate hem can be pinned. Most long bridesmaid dresses come with a train on the back of the hem. Be sure and check with the bride to know whether or not she wants you to keep the train or that you may have it cut off during the hemming process.
BRA: If you are a full B cup or bigger, then a bra would be helpful. For a full bust line, the correct fitting bra will give you lift and a good profile. Those who are looking for a more fuller figure profile, having padded cups sewn in is a quick and inexpensive solution. Please remember that cups only add padding and don’t give much support.
FITTINGS: Usually it takes 2 fittings when having your bridesmaid dress altered. At the 1st fitting your seamstress will talk to you about how you want your dress to fit, pin your dress as needed to be taken in. Please know ahead of time where the bride wants your hem to be. Please speak up with any fitting concerns you may have. Most strapless dresses will come with a set of straps that can be attached for added comfort and fit. Your seamstress may wait to alter the hem until after your dress has been refitted and is sitting on you properly which will result in having a third fitting.
ON PREGNANCY: If you are pregnant, alterations can and should be done within 2 weeks of the wedding. This will help if you are unsure of what size your growing tummy will be at the wedding. Please inform your seamstress ahead of time so they are aware of doing a fast turn around on alteration.
COST: The cost of alterations can run you anywhere between $30 - $150, but will ultimately be determined by the amount of work you have done. Your seamstress should be able to give you an estimate of the cost at your 1st fitting.
So you’ve found that perfect dress, now let’s get you the perfect fit!
WHEN TO START: You should schedule your 1st fitting for your wedding dress about 6 to 8 weeks before your wedding. This way you will be at your closest weight that you want to be right before you get married. Most times brides will drop weight before they get married, due to the fact that you have a lot of planning and extra things to do that you aren’t normally doing. A drop or gain of more than 10 pounds may result in a major change in how your dress fits and could end up costing you more in alterations for numerous changes. Remember that your dress is very fragile and if it needs to be let out, the stitching lines or creases from pressing may show.
WEARING A BRA: Do you need one? Most times yes. Especially if you are a full B cup or bigger. This is your wedding dress and you want to get the best profile and fit of your dress that you can. Even if you think you are small busted, a long line corset bra works wonders in giving you the support and lift that you need. Also remember that most wedding dresses are heavy and once fitted can flatten your bust line, so please think about purchasing a bra. Padded cups can also be sewn into your dress if you have a low back dress or are a B cup or smaller. Remember, cups add padding and shape and are not for support.
SHOES: They are a must for your first fitting. You need to at least know the height of shoe you are going to wear so that your seamstress can get an accurate measure of where to hem your dress. Make sure that you wear them for a while to get a feel of what it will be like to stand in them, during the wedding ceremony, and then all night dancing. Also, if you decide to change shoes to a different height, whether it be shorter or taller, you must let your seamstress know, for it can make the difference in having a dress too short or one that you will trip you up as you walk down the aisle.
FITTINGS: Usually it takes 2 fittings when having your wedding dress altered. At the 1st fitting, your seamstress will pin your dress as needed to be taken in and talk to you about how you want your dress to fit. Please speak up with any concerns or suggestions you may have, and if you wish to add to or change your dress in any way. With strapless dresses, one important component in having your dress sit properly on you is a good fitting long line corset bra that can be sewn into the dress, or with an inside belt that can be added to the inside of the waist. Depending on the style of dress, adding crinoline can give you a fuller skirt and may also alleviate the need for a hem adjustment if it is less than an inch too long, or if the hem is one that can’t be altered due to a lace edge or beading that will all come apart when altered. When choosing a bustle style, whether it be a French or Traditional bustle, it should compliment the look and style of your dress. Alterations will then be made to your dress. Your seamstress may wait to alter the hem until after your dress has been refitted and is sitting on you properly. Depending on the amount of alterations, will ultimately determine how many fittings you will need. If at all possible, bring someone with you to your last fitting so they will see how to help you get into your dress and do up the bustle.
COST: The cost of alterations can usually run you anywhere between $400 - $700. Ultimately it depends on how your dress is constructed, how many changes you make to the original look of the dress, and by how much time it takes to do all of those changes. Your seamstress should be able to give you an estimate of the cost at your 1st fitting. Please remember that this is an estimate and that many factors may change the price in the end.
Welcome to my new blog page
Hello and welcome to the world of wedding dress and formal occasion
clothing alterations. I have so many great ideas and advice that I would
like to share with you. I am not just altering these dresses, but
creating works of art. Nothing makes a statement more than when a bride
can add lots of special touches to make the dress unique. So stay tuned
as I bring you some of the latest projects that I have been working on.