Common Wedding Alterations Questions….


How much will it cost? This is one of those “million dollar” questions that every bride asks when looking for a wedding gown to purchase; the cost of alterations remains fairly constant. The down side is that with so many different wedding dress styles and fabrics, it is nearly impossible to get a quote on the cost of alterations until I see the dress to determine how much work will be involved. Here are some rules of thumb as a guideline. There are many different needs when altering and fitting a wedding dress. There are 2 different types of alterations, fit or redesign alterations The actual amount of time it takes to do the alteration typically depends on several factors:

The style of the wedding dress & the complexity of the desired alteration,

Sarah K on hanger watermarked

Generally the more complex the style of the dress, the longer the alterations will take. Heavily beaded dresses take much longer than a simple dress. A heavily beaded gown will require more time for an alteration since the beads must be handled with care to make sure the gown keeps its look when altering an area of the gown involving beads and other adornments.

  • Dresses that have many pleats or folds require more work
  • Simply altering a hem line is a relatively simple matter. Combining that alteration with a change of straps or letting out of the bodice complicates the procedure and can add hours to an alteration. The changes can also be complicated by a number of layers or the type of fabric.
  • Having a dress with a train can also add to the alteration time, since the train may need to be changed along with the dress fitting.
  • Adding a bustle might be simple. But again this depends on the complexity of the gown, especially the number of layers and type of fabric.  Beading can also affect a bustle.  When adding a bustle, I recommend adding more than one, even on a simple wedding dress. If the Bride steps on the hem or sits the wrong way, a single bustle can break…so I always add more than one especially when the train is heavy and extra long.
  • A wedding dress with multiple layers will likewise require more time for a hem or bodice alteration than a simple wedding gown.  I must hem each layer when hemming a wedding dress…and the more layers, the more time it takes for the alteration.  The number of layers and the structure of the wedding gown will also impact the job of replacing a wedding dress zipper.
  • Sarah K back view with full bustle watermarked.

Basic Alterations may Cost between $450-$650 – You should count on basic alterations (hems, sides, bustle) to cost in the $450 range if you are using an experienced bridal specialist.

Transformation Alterations may start at $700.00 & up … This involves redesigning the dress with major deconstruction several fittings, re-beading, adding more trim & reconstruction.

My suggestion is to get a quote for alterations from the store you are purchasing your dress, get an idea of what they plan to do to your dress. Every Alteration Specialist may have different ideas & suggestions. Keep in mind that the more labor-intensive the request, the more time and money you should allow for the process of creating your dream dress Your alterations are important,  if the dress does not fit well it will show in your pictures & how you feel in your dress.  Think of alterations as surgery without blood !

Suggestionsthat may help lower your overall cost of alterations for your wedding dress rk (79) katelyn lacing up dress     Do not change size – this is probably the biggest reason that the cost of alterations goes up for brides. While you want to look your very best, changing size just a few months before the wedding may cost you more if the dress needs to be let out or taken a second time. Try to keep your weight stable once your fittings have started..       AZahn-Lindsey&Jason-1 Do not change shoes –  Changing shoes can be costly when in comes to wedding dress alterations. The hem (making the dress shorter) is one of the more time intensive, and thus more expensive, parts of your wedding dress alteration cost. Changing shoes may make you incur this alteration cost twice. NOTE: you may be able to custom order your dress length when you purchase your wedding gown, if you have your shoes already. This can actually save you money. If the custom length order is less than $100 you will almost always save money on the cost of your alterations!

Can you quote any pricing over the phone? No, I need to physically see the dress to see how it fits on you to provide a professional & accurate cost of your alterations. Price is based on the number of layers that need to be hemmed, bead work done by hand, number of fittings, number of bustles, etc.

Can you make a custom dress?  full back view Yes, I can custom make a dress for you, this is a more expensive process, a custom dress will generally cost more than your “average” store bought wedding dress. Store bought wedding dresses are manufactured in larger quantities therefore they save money buy making many dresses just like yours, thus saving lots of money and making it less expensive for you. Pricesstart at 1500.00 plus the cost of fabric . When you buy a custom dress it is the only one like it. There are many more steps in making a custom dress .Once a style has been determined a first pattern has to be made which is than cut into a first sample made out of a similar fabric, usually a second sample will need to be made and fitted before establishing a perfect fit. The next step is cutting the dress is cut out in the expensive bridal fabric and refitting several times in the process, this is where the cost is.

gabby profile

Should I consider a custom dress?   Having your wedding gown custom made is not for everybody. Many brides have been surprised to find out the style they dreamed of may not be the most flattering once they try it on, and with a custom dress you do not get the opportunity to see the dress on you until it has been made. Obviously, patience is the key to having a custom dress made. Even if this is the case it is always recommended that you try on many different style to see which style flatters your body type and taste. You may find the perfect dress for your big day while trying many different dress types. Keep in mind that the more labor-intensive the request, the more time and money you should allow for the process of creating your dream dress.  

Should I buy a dress online or from China? I would recommend that you check the website which is a online buying review site that rates the companies from China and online bridal stores.

front view before back view before








wedding day garter back view wedding







When you’re ready for alterations, don’t just bring your dress, also take your undergarments, including, shape-wear, panties especially if they are printed or colored. You need the undergarments and shoes that you plan to wear on hand in order to obtain the proper fit and length of your gown. You should bring your veil or choose a veil or hair accessories when you get here, with all of the pieces in place, it’ll be easier to envision your overall wedding day look . Also bring your camera as I will make several different suggestions that might change the look of your dress, I like for you to go home and look at the possibilities in your computer before I make any major changes. If you do not have the undergarments or shoes you will be wearing the day of your wedding, you should postpone your alterations appointment until you get them. They are vital in assuring the proper fitting session for your dress. If you come to your fitting and don’t have your wedding day shoes, and you “think” you will be wearing heels that are 3″, but end up getting a 5” inch heel, your dress will be to short and may need to be let down thus incurring an additional cost…. _MG_8426


Can you make changes or enhancements or redesign to the dress?  Yes, the Possibilities are Endless: Whether you found your gown at a couture salon or a bridal sample sale, or online the options for alterations are nearly endless. Generally, I tell the bride to not pass up a dress that they may have tried on but was not exactly what they dreamed of. It’s always better to buy a gown bigger than smaller, when it comes to all fabrics, because this gives the most alteration options. Some possible ideas for redesigning or enhancing your wedding dress are below:


amanda grandma

Patty amandas mom dress



My bride wanted to wear the wedding dress that her Grandma got married in 60 years ago.

 Her mom wore the dress for her wedding 30 years ago.




The wedding was wonderful and so many compliments on the dress.  We absolutely loved it!! Thank you again.  I have it now archived for any future granddaughters LOL

Patricia- mother of the Bride


The dress had aged well & was now a beautiful cream.

Amanda wanted sleeves & no high neck, she was also taller then her mom. I added lace to the existing lace so that they blended together adding more length & drama.The original satin sleeve was taken out,appliqued with lace & than cut behind lace to show skin before being put back in the dress.


amanda rocks & horse

Photo by Patricia Gomez Photography

  • Change from a zippered back to a corset
  • Remove or shorten the train on your wedding dress1115 Ryan Monica purple tulle
  • Make a Detachable Train
  • Restyle the neckline or sleeve line
  • Move from an A-line gown to a trumpet or even mermaid wedding gown
  • Add or remove straps or sleeves
  • Make a strapless dress into a halt
  • Redesign and update a vintage dress or veil
  • Add additional beading or buttons
  • Elegant gores of fabric can be added to a simple dress to add contrast & drama
  • I have recently been making the tulle under layer slip removable and than bustling the dress up to a shorter dress as not to have to buy a second reception dress.

Can you make a beaded dress smaller or larger

The answer is yes, each dress is different,. Some dresses are 1 layer of beading & others may be constructed with several layers that are all be stitched together with beading. This requires beading to be removed ,alter the garment to fit & than re-bead.

This entire dress was all heavily beaded from top to bottomVeronicia on stairs

The top of this dress needed to be made smaller from under the arms to the waist.

beaded bodice close up

Photos by Patrick Ang

Whittney & Luke in field

This was  a 2 piece satin slip dress before I reshaped & attached the two dresses into one. I cut the back satin to show off the back and added matching beading at the waist to give a more finished look  and reshaped & added beading to the hem to give it a pretty hem line instead of a straight  hem.

back of dress

Melissa W Hem

Photos by Patrick Ang

Beaded  belt and medallion added

makenzie beaded bodice

Xandra beforeXandra short dress

This Quinceanera Dress was long for the  ceremony & shorten for later party !

Make a sweetheart neckline

rk (260) Katelyn sweetheart neck

Add Button Detail

Shelia Johnson buttons

Add Straps to strapless dress kayla tree 3  

kristin alone

  Photo by Roots

                 brittany beading full view


NYF - Kreiser Wedding - 233

Hillary button back


I added the soft sheer godets for a softer flowing look.dan_vanessa_wed_0426

Photo by Studio Castillero 


2 in 1 Dress

 Experience Matters understand the construction of a wedding dress beyond an average seamstress, because I have studied pattern making and worked as a clothing designer in New York’s garment center for more than 25 years. This means you get the very best design for your dress, but know that the sky is the limit and you will never know what is possible until you make an appointment with me. Remember alterations are just that, alterations. Seamstresses or designers are not magicians but an experienced one can work magic with a needle and thread and creativity. How long will it take to do my Wedding Dress, Mother of the Bride, Bridesmaid or Prom Dress alterations? Timing Is Everything It’s important to time your alterations right. Bring your gown in too early, and you might not end up with a proper fit. (You may lose or gain weight after your gown is altered, which could affect the dress’ overall look and fit.) Bring your gown in too late, and you run the risk of me being overbooked during the busy season. Generally allowing two to three months from the time of your first fitting to your last, as an ideal timeline to make all the alterations. Also keep in mind that the amount of times you need to go for fittings depends on how much you’re getting done to the gown — on average, most brides go for three to four fittings. Bridal consultants will tell you that you should try to purchase a dress that nearly fits you. The more changes that need to be in order for the dress to fit you perfectly, the more time it will take for all the alterations.

How Many Fittings? 

Generally there will be 3-4 Bridal fitting

Contact Mary Rita at 661-205-0645 to make an appointment.