Wedding Dress Alteration

For as long as I had been in the sewing world, I have had a fiance. Finally, he would be my official husband (he’s my sort-of-husband right now, since we are really legally married) this May, when we finally have our wedding ceremony. The second most important part of being a bride is having a beautiful and fitted dress to wear on her wedding! (The most important part is to be surrounded by people she loves!) I sold out and bought a dress last year instead of sewing my own — it just seemed too intimidating to sew my own! (However, I am still itching to sew up a last minute wedding dress… we will see!)

Of course, the dress does not fit me perfectly — even though its a bridal size 0 (and they say that bridal sizes are smaller than street size!) and a petite (still 5 inches too long with heels!). Being a cheapo (and more because I deem myself as a decent seamstress), I decided to alter it myself instead of sending it to a pro, and oh boy, look at this explosion on my sewing desk:

As you can see, it is quite hard to work such a big gown.  There are layers of fabric and tulle to be fought and struggled with; the hem is two layers of fabric sewn together without showing a seam on the outer shell — So I have to open the dress up from under the bust to get to the hem; I have to remove the beading from where I am sewing but tie the thread up such that the rest of the beads do not fall off… etc etc. Its just a  huge headache and I am not sure if its worth saving 200 bucks! Also not to mention, on the inside of the dress, the seam edges are not sergered or zig-zaged, so they fray a little.

But I will not let another seamstress finish what I have started. I will hem it perfectly, I will take in my waist, and I will look nice on my wedding!

Readers, did you or will you make or alter your own wedding dress? Did you enjoy it? Did you do it for others? Should I make another wedding dress just for fun? Do share some pictures of your sewn/altered wedding dress if you want!

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21 responses to “Wedding Dress Alteration

  • Jackie

    I was lucky enough to find a dress on craigslist which had already been altered from a 6 down to a 0/00 so it already fit me in the bust and waist. But since I am also 4’11” it was, of course, WAY too long, even with 4″ heels. So I took in the hips, hemmed it…and then I decided I didn’t want a strapless dress. A 1/2 yard of lace and a lot of cursing later I had a key-hole back dress :-)
    I love your burda/blog and Selfish Seamstress! I am very envious and wish I had time to sew as much as you all do.

  • Angela

    I’ve dreamed of making my own wedding dress, but unfortunately I was married before I knew how to sew. :( Good luck with your alterations and a new dress… if you decide to make one. :)

  • Laura

    My best friend was recently married, and I got to attend her fittings. Her dress had that same seam sewn from the inside around the hem; in order to alter it, the seamstress at the shop (Kleinfeld’s in NYC) simply shoved the excess fabric inside the fabric and lining sandwich and slip-stitched the whole thing to hold it shut.

    It held up through the whole wedding. I’m sorry to tell you this now after you had to disassemble your whole dress.

    Best of luck if you decide to sew a new dress!

    • Nikole

      Hand sewing holds up quite well unlike what many people might believe. Happy sewing

    • juebejue

      hehe, i thought about doing that! unfortunately it had a top stitch inside such that if i did that, the hem wouldnt be flat. to take out that top stitch, i need to open the dress up anyhow…

      though, i am terrible at hand stitching :X

  • Beth

    I did sew my own wedding dress and altered a bridesmaids dress for a friends’ wedding. I much preferred the process of making my dress from the start than to altering an already made dress. If your alterations are giving you nightmares, I’d say take the plunge and sew your own dress. You won’t regret it (and all the oohs and aahs about how beautiful you look will be extra special).

  • KM

    I have no advice seeing as I only know how to sew buttons. But I can give you ancouragement =) You can do it, Jue! Altering this dress or sewing another one, I have no doubt you’ll be wearing a pretty dress in May =D

  • Karyn

    I’m currently making my daughter’s wedding dress. I designed it, drafted it, fitted it (and refitted it and refitted it) and am in the home stretch of sewing it in the “real” fabric. It has been a fabulous creative outlet and it makes me almost weepy with sentimentality to think of her walking down the aisle in it. It has also been way more time consuming than I imagined and a bit stressful. I’m learning as I go, though, so maybe that wouldn’t be such an issue for you.

    • juebejue

      aww! that makes me want to have a daughter :) maybe this isnt my only chance of sewing a wedding dress after all ;)

      good luck with your wedding dress! im sure your daughter would love it! id love seeing some photos!

  • lesser-evil-twin-sister

    Don’t do it. Sewing your own dress with only 6 weeks before your wedding is just pure craziness. We talked about it already, woman!

    Btw, this might be inappropriate, but your sewing machine looks like it just had a tulle-gasm. :-P

  • Amy

    I’m supposed to sew a dress for my sister-in-law, getting married in May. I haven’t even started the muslin. Yikes!

  • wyowoman

    I altered the most beautiful red and white dress- It was a size 14 and I am a 4 but by golly for $350 on a college girl budget i was not fazed! my roomate helped me once a week for an hour, and we got it done and it was beautiful! princess seams, taken in everywhere… i swear there were 5 layers to that monster. we cut and sewed with much abandon! I’d do it again in a heartbeat- people still tell me it was the most beautiful dress they’d ever seen

  • Glenda

    Just wanted some advice – if my wedding dress needs to be taken in from the waist, how much should I be expecting to pay?

    • juebejue

      hi Glenda! i got my dress from davids bridal, and their waist-taking in ranged from 35-100. However, I think it also depends on how complicated your dress is! mine would have cost around 200 to be taken in and hemmed; I have a friend who had a more intricate dress, and that cost over 300, i think!

      • Glenda

        I got my dress from Davids Bridal too, I don’t think it’s a really complicated dress but not really sure what the expert would say lol I have just heard of people paying almost as much as what their dress cost when they did their alterations at the store. I know a good seamstress but it’s my wedding dress so it just makes me nervous plus I think the store will also clean and steam the dress. Well I’ll find out next week during my alteration appointment, Thanks for the info!

  • Looking Tall on The Wedding Day (at least, for the photos) « Petite Republic

    [...] well fitted dress — I took in a little, but not too much from the side, so that the dress fit snuggly but not tight enough to show any bulges — creating a straight un-disrupted curve and made me look slimmer [...]

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