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Ordering your Gown Online and Alterations

You bought your wedding dress for $100 online, and you think "Oh my gosh Its too good to be true! Here is my dream gown online! For only $100!"   Fast forward several weeks after you made your purchase, you finally receive your gown in the mail, and VOILA! It doesn't fit!  What happened??   You sent your measurements in when placing your order, wasn't it supposed to fit like a glove?

Well, here's the thing, when you place an order online, a variety of mishaps can happen with that.  For one, a company will typically take your largest measurement, from your hips or your bust, and make the size that your measurements round up to.  So for example, if you are a size 12 on the bum, and a size 10 on the bust, they are going to make your dress a size 12.  Another thing that happens is perhaps you've ordered your dress from an Etsy shop and you "told that lady your measurements!"  Well, honestly, she can't help that you don't know how to take your measurements correctly.  She's just fulfilling your order.  So... here are some tips, ideas, and things to think about when you are considering ordering online. 


First, I'm going to say this - yes - Only order online if you ABSOLUTELY must! If you must though, first go to a local tailor or dry-cleaner that does alterations.  Ask them to take your measurements for you, and make them do it twice.  (Ask nicely).  It will literally only take all of about 3 minutes. 

If you cannot take yourself to a professional for your measurements, then here is how to do it yourself or preferably with a friend who can help you.

1.  Measure evenly around your body at your Apex.  An "Apex" is literally at the point of your nipples.  The measuring tape should not be pulled so tight that you are making an indent.  Hold the tape firmly, taught, evenly and straight around the entire body at apex level.
2.  Measure your waist.  Your waist is where your body bends.  If you have do a side bend to figure out the exact point at which you bend, go for it, I STILL do it every time!  Again, don't do it so tight that the measuring tape makes an indent. 
3.  Measure your hips.  This is the FULLEST part of your thigh and butt area.  Again - hold the tape evenly and smoothly all the way around..  

Whilst taking your measurements, do it with only your under garments on or perhaps a pair of leggings and a lycra tank, you get my drift.  You need to get accurate measurements without extra clothing bulking you up. 


Ok don't panic.  Get online STAT and find an EXPERIENCED seamstress who specializes in wedding gowns.  Do not go to Grandma just because she has always made you and your sister your sweet matching jammies all your life.  If she's never worked with dresses, chances are she is not going to be able to make your dress fit you right, and frankly you might just be asking for a nightmare.    Find someone who is confident and has very clear experience with this.  It is SOOOO important, and SOOOO worth it.  

Great! You've now found a local seamstress who can take this on, but she says your alterations are going to be somewhere close to $300.  YIKES!  That's a hell of a lot of money!  "But I ONLY spent $100 on the dress!  Why would I pay more for alterations???,"

Consider these things: 

First, If you only spent $100 on your dream dress, that's EVEN more awesome!  The thing is you got a bitchin' deal on your gown, now you just have to pay another $200 or $300 to make it YOURS.  Its worth it.  Think about this.  You are now getting a GORGEOUS gown that fits you like a glove for only $400 after alterations.  That's AMAZING, don't you think?  

Second, your seamstress needs to be compensated fairly.  Do not assume that your dress alterations should be "just a simple fix."  Honestly, its usually not.  Sewing about anything is VERY VERY VERY time consuming.  Not only that, but your girl didn't just figure out how to sew over night.  Its taken her years and years of practice to hone those skills.  Don't play cheap with her.  She knows what she is doing and 9 times outta 10, you do not. 

Third, and lastly for now - Ask for a quote at the time of the first fitting.  Do not expect a quote over the phone if she has not seen you in your dress yet.  A good seamstress knows that she needs to see the inside and outside of the dress and needs to see it on you in person.  Only then can she make an appropriate assessment.  Now as far as that quote goes, she will most likely only have a "good idea" of the cost.  Usually no two alterations jobs are exactly the same.  Alterations get more expensive as the fabric gets more difficult to work with (i.e. cotton versus silk organza), the style lines are more complicated, or there is excessive beading and lace to have to seam rip apart and then re-applique after altering the gown.   While she may have a pretty close guesstimate to what she is going to charge, you have to realize that she may have stuff come up throughout the process that add more time.  If that happens, the cost could go up, but hopefully from a professional and customer service standpoint, not a significant amount.   While she does need to keep you posted on changes if they occur, she also should try to stay somewhere around the ball park of the original quote.  Make sense?

Needless to say, I do bridal alterations.  I have altered hundreds of gowns at this point, and I have done them for about 10 plus years.  I can do most any type of bridal gown alteration.  Your dress can be covered in beads and lace, tulle, or organza, and I can do it.  If you live somewhere in or around Spokane, Washington, I'd love to help you.... But if you don't and you need advice?  I can probably help! Just shoot me an email!

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