Bridesmaid dress alterations cost $60 to $200 on average, depending on the alterations needed. The most common alteration is hemming the length, which costs $40 to $100 depending on the fabric and fullness of the skirt. When the hem of the dress is heavily embellished, the length is shortened from the waist, which can cost up to $200. Other common alterations include taking in the side seams, adding bra cups, and shortening the straps.
Seamstresses charge $30 to $40 per hour and set their alteration prices based on how long the alterations take them. For delicate or heavily embellished fabrics that require hand-stitching, the work takes longer and costs more. Dresses with more layers are also more time-consuming since each layer needs to be sewn separately. More difficult alterations like reshaping a neckline or adding a corset back have the highest alteration costs.
Tipping for bridesmaid dress alterations is not expected but is always appreciated. If the seamstress goes out of her way to provide good customer service and timely alterations a 10% to 15% tip is customary.
If you plan to tip, do so in cash at the final fitting. Placing the tip in an envelope with a thank you card is the most professional way to extend the gratuity and show your appreciation.
Altering a bridesmaid dress takes around 2 to 3 weeks or longer if several fittings are required to get the right fit. Expect alterations to take even longer in busy shops during peak wedding season. Plan ahead to avoid rush charges for dresses altered less than 3 weeks before the event.
Bridesmaids should schedule their fitting at least 2 to 3 months before the wedding to ensure the dress is ready on time. For large wedding parties using the same seamstress, more time may be needed, especially during peak wedding season when shops are busiest.
Coming prepared for a bridesmaid dress fitting is important to ensure the dress fits properly. Wearing the exact shoes you plan on wearing to the wedding is critical since even a slight change in heel height can result in a dress that is the wrong length. Wearing the same undergarments or shapewear to the fitting is also helpful, especially when you are having the side seams or bust altered.
If you plan on wearing your hair up for the ceremony, it is a good idea to do a similar style for your dress fitting. This allows you to see if straps or necklines require any alterations to achieve the look and fit you want.
Most bridesmaids can order their dress in the right size, so it needs fewer alterations, but when the dress is discontinued or on clearance, the correct size may not be available. In that case, it is usually better to buy a dress that is too big, rather than one that is too small.
A bridesmaid dress can easily be taken in 2 sizes but taking in more than 3 sizes may require costly recutting and redesign to make it work. Reducing a dress by several sizes makes it difficult to keep specific details of the gown.
A dress that is too small can be altered to be bigger, but it is a bit more challenging to have the alterations blend in. To let out a dress by one or two sizes involves releasing the side seams or adding a gusset for more room. Adding a corset back can increase the bodice width by up to 5 inches if needed.
When choosing the seamstress with the skills and experience to alter your dress, be sure to ask these important questions:
A bridesmaid dress that fits properly allows you to enjoy the day without the hassles of a dress strap that keeps slipping or a hem that gets caught on your heels. Here are some guidelines to help you choose the right seamstress to ensure the perfect fit for your dress:
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