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The Low-Down on Bridal Alterations


Questions on wedding dress alterations are some of our most frequently asked here at Sixpence, so we thought we'd take this opportunity to compile some of the big ones for one great action-packed (and highly informative of course) blog post!

We asked our very own stunningly talented seamstress Maria, to go through your questions and answer them with her wisdom and expertise. Here's what she had to say:

Q: How many sizes can you reasonably take in a dress?

A: When taking in a wedding dress, you can typically alter a dress 2 sizes down, and one size up.

It is relatively easy to take in a dress, but letting a dress out can be a little bit trickier, so we always recommend finding a gown that already fits you well, or has a bit of room to work with and bring in.

Overall, the closer to your size a dress is, the better- and the less alterations you will need- which can save you a penny or two down the road!

Q: Do all dresses require alterations?

A: If you are lucky you can find a dress that fits perfectly and needs no alterations. Sometimes it’s as simple as going with a higher heel so no hem is necessary! However we always recommend budgeting for alterations when looking for your wedding gown, just in case. As everyone's body is built differently, sometimes alterations might only involve tightening a strap or adding a bustle, but by the end they'll help ensure your dress fits you like a glove!

Q: How long do alterations typically take/ how long before my wedding should I get alterations done?

A: Ideally it’s best to start alterations 3 months before your wedding. Everyone's body can fluctuate a bit in weight, so beginning the alterations process a few months before your wedding can ensure your seamstress has enough time to work their magic, and your dress is looking at its very best for the wedding!

Q: Can you let a dress out / size up? How many sizes?

A: If there is enough seam allowance, yes. A dress can be let out usually no larger than a half dress size, sometimes one full size depending on the seam allowance.

Q: What kind of bra should I wear with my dress?

A: Many wedding gowns actually come with bra cups already sewn into them, however if yours does not and you'd like a little more support, your seamstress can add cups to your gown. This is an excellent option and often more comfortable!

If you're a bride that needs her bra, we recommend a nude strapless bra for the big day, or Booby Tape, available at Sixpence. It can lift any size bust, and is even waterproof for when you're breaking it down extra enthusiastically on the dance floor.

Q: What types of bustles would you recommend for a heavy crepe train?

A: French bustles or under-bustles work best for heavy crepe dresses, as it creates several pickup points to hold the weight of the train securely. For more info on various kinds of bustles, you can check our tiktok videos on the subject here:

Q: Can you add more support into a gown during alterations?

A: Yes! Support can be added by either adding boning or adding a built-in bustier.

Q: "I'm pregnant!" What can be done in alterations to ensure my gown still fits by the wedding?

A: Allowing for a growing baby bump does depend on the type of dress. Waistlines can be raised, bones can be shortened, and in some cases panels can be added. If you know you're pregnant at the time of shopping for your dress, try to anticipate the bigger bump you'll have by the time of the wedding, and size up accordingly.

All in all, we are here for you! This is a wildly exciting time and your bridal consultant & seamstress have lots of experience in these areas, so chat with them for advice and they'll be able to guide you in the right direction, ensuring you have a beautiful gown that you feel incredible in on your wedding day.


Tips to note:

  • When shopping for your gown, make room in your budget to accommodate possible alterations

  • Make sure you consult with a seamstress who specializes specifically in bridal wear, as opposed to a regular tailor. Bridal seamstresses know their stuff, and their experience is an asset when dealing with a gown as important as your wedding dress!

  • Bring your wedding shoes to your alterations appointments! This will ensure your dress is hemmed to the correct length.

  • Bring any undergarments or accessories you're planning on wearing on your wedding day to your appointment, to give you an opportunity to try them with your gown.

  • Ask a family member/friend/bridesmaid to come with you to your appointment, especially if you're adding a bustle to your dress. It can be very difficult to bustle a gown yourself, so having someone there who can learn how it's done, will ensure you'll have help bustling your train on your wedding day!



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