Alterations could mean raising the hem or adding a bustle. They may require taking in the whole dress size. The fact is that fittings and alterations are essential to ensure that the bride-to-be has the perfect wedding dress on her big day.
So what should the bride-to-be be expecting?
The majority of brides will require at least three fittings to get the dress to fit perfectly and look stunning. The minimum would be two – the first to measure and decide what changes may be needed, and the second to check the fitting and to take the dress home. However, there is no rule and some brides need many more visits to the dressmaker.
It’s common for fittings to begin about six weeks before a wedding. However, if significant alterations are wanted, like sleeves or straps being added, or the dress needing extensive work, doing it two to three months ahead of the ceremony is not out of the question.
The first fitting will doubtlessly involve the seamstress seeing where it needs adjusting. It’ll be the longest appointment and should take about an hour. There will be pinning and discussion of the bride’s requirements.
The first fitting is all about the dress and its natural fit. Lots of questions will be asked: how tight should it be? Is it comfortable? Is the hemline ideal? Does it need to be bustled at any time, such as in the evening? Do the beads rub?
Then, the seamstresses can get to work pinning the hemlines, tacking the straps and taking measurements so alterations can be made.
The second fitting may take place three or four weeks prior to the wedding. The seamstresses will normally add temporary tacking stitches so the fit can be checked, along with other tweaks before the final stitches and cuts are carried out.
This is the appointment where bespoke changes, such as the adding of belts, changing the sleeves, altering necklines, take place.
At the third fitting, which will generally happen two weeks before the wedding, the bride gets to see herself in the dress as it’ll look on the big day. Brides are advised to be accompanied by whoever will be putting the bride in the dress on the wedding day. This is because there are often techniques to ensure that the dress sits correctly, that the layers are able to lie perfectly with no effort, and for the bustle to be done. After this, the bride gets to take her dress home.
It is also essential for the bride to bring her wedding shoes to the final fitting. First, because they will determine how much the dress has to be taken up. If it hasn’t been done by the bride already, this is the time to ask for a second opinion.
It is not an offensive act to take the dress to another seamstress and get a second opinion. Making sure that the dress is perfect takes time.