Say ‘sew long’ to spending a fortune


Seamstresses and tailors are sometimes the unsung heroes of weddings and proms. Having someone who is skilled with a needle and thread is essential to looking your best on your big day.

Proper fit can be as important as the gown itself. Although some women assume they have to spend a small fortune on formal wear, many savvy shoppers are able to find a like-new, second-hand wedding or prom dress and then have it tailored to fit.

Few, if any, gowns can be purchased right off the rack and worn without some alterations. The scope of the alterations will depend on the desired changes and how well the clothing initially fits.

Here are some guidelines to help you througth the process of dress alterations.

Length of time
It’s difficult to say how long alterations will take, as it depends on the extent of the work and how busy the seamstress or tailor is. And until the alterations have begun, seamstresses and tailors may not know how long the job will take. The bridal resource The Knot advises brides to allow between two and three months from a first fitting to the last as an ideal timeline to make all of the alterations for a wedding gown. For simple alterations, you may only need one fitting. For complicated gowns, you may need three or four fittings, with the last occurring a few weeks before the event.

Alteration costs
The costs can include many factors, including which fabrics are used in the gown or suit, which types of alterations are requested (minor tweaks or a major overhaul), proximity to the event date, and even geographical location. You can also add straps, beading, lace, or other detailing, but it will affect the cost.

Whom to choose
Most bridal salons and formalwear retailers will have someone on staff who can handle alterations. You can also take your dress to a professional who specializes in formal wear. Gowns can be complex, with wedding gowns featuring bustles, intricate hems, boning, beading, and much more, so try to work with experienced professionals who have seen it all. Ask friends and family for recommendations.

When attending a fitting, bring along the shoes and undergarments that will be worn on the wedding or prom day so the fit can be matched accordingly. Also take one friend or family member who can offer an extra opinion on how the clothing falls and fits.

Skilled tailors or seamstresses help you look your best for your wedding or prom, and finding reliable professionals should be part of the planning.