Alterations: How They Work and What to Know

Alterations for the Perfect Fit

Whether your still shopping or already have your gown, here are some tips and things to know!

For most brides, once you find the gown you can’t live without, you get your measurements taken and your stylist will help you select a size. This size is usually very close to your current measurements or the measurement you may be working towards. Unfortunately, even though the measurements are close, they aren’t perfect. To get the perfect fit you need alterations!

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In House Alterations

Here at Bitsy Bridal, we offer our in house alterations. This means that we have seamstresses that work with us to complete your gown.  When you are ready to start the alterations process for you Bitsy Bridal gown you will come back to the shop where your gown, the seamstress, and one of our stylists will meet you.

Most bridal shops like to start alterations 3 months from the wedding. In our shop we understand that timelines can be tight so we typically like to have at least 4 alteration appointments at least 10 days apart to make sure the gown is beautiful. We also have the option of rush alterations which can range from 4 appointments 7 days apart to 3 day alterations. Your stylist will work with your wedding date to make the perfect alteration schedule for you.

The first fitting is the first time you try on your gown. In this appointment the seamstress will see what needs to be done and talks about any special requests for the gown, like a modest buildup or extra sparkles. This is also a good time to bring in the shoes and undergarments you are going to be wearing so the seamstress can take them into consideration.

The second fitting is usually the scariest for brides. This is because the gown usually looks taken apart and not like the dream dress you remembered purchasing. This is a very important fitting because it gives the seamstress to make critical adjustments.

The third and fourth fittings, depending on the work that was done, are more finishing touch work and most brides will have their gowns by then.

Alterations Terms

Unless you have had something altered before you probably haven’t come in contact with some common terms associated in bridal alts. Here are a few you might hear!


Brides always wonder what will happen if they get a gown with a long train.  How does it stay up when your dancing and having a good time? To fix this, you get a bustle! These are little clips or strings that keep the gown from being stepped on and ruined. The seamstress will recommend what type of bustle will work best for your gown.

Taking in/Letting out

More often than not, the dress will come in a bit bigger than anticipated or maybe the bride lost weight. No need to fear! The seamstress will take in your gown to make it fit better. She finds the seams in the gowns and brings them in tighter to fit you better. Similarly, if the gown is fitting a bit smaller than expected then the seams can be let out a bit to be more comfortable.

Bust cups

Brides always wonder “What bra am I supposed to wear with this dress?” The answer is easy! You don’t! To make you more comfortable and avoid the appearance of straps and such the seamstress will put bra cups in your gown. These cups help to support your chest while still keeping the shape of the gown.


Most brides love to accentuate their figures. Boning is one way of doing this. Boning is a structure through the front portion of the gown that helps it maintain its shape, and give support and structure to both the bride and the dress. If a gown doesn’t have boning the seamstress can put some in for a better fit. Or, if the boning is unwanted, it can be removed.


Wedding gowns are sent to fit 5′ 8″ models. Most people aren’t that tall. So, to solve this, the bride can wear higher heels, or the seamstress can do a hem on the gown to make it shorter. Most people think a hem is simply chopping the bottom of the dress off. There are many ways to do a hem, and very few of those ways involve completely deleting the bottom part of the dress. The seamstress will help you with what type of hem will be beneficial for your dress.

Hopefully this gives you a good introduction to alterations and how they work! Check out some of our other helpful tips about wedding gowns like Waistlines, Colored Gowns, and Inclusive Sizes. Don’t forget to check back for our Dress of the Month.  While you wait, check out this month’s Dress of the Month. If you’re dazzled with our alterations, give us a call or book online! Hope to see you soon darlings!



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