By Susan Sorbello

Alterations are so important to make a gown look great. Even a couture gown won’t look good if it hasn’t been fitted just for you! Navigating your way through the world of wedding gown alterations can be difficult, but we’re here to help. We spoke to our talented team of tailors and seamstresses and put together a list of their best advice for getting your dress altered to a perfect fit.


Go to an experienced tailor or seamstress.

You may have a friend or family member who sews or a local tailor who alters your clothes, but unless they have lots of experience with wedding gowns, you probably shouldn’t ask them to alter yours. Fabrics used on wedding gowns are often very delicate and difficult to work with, and some more complex gowns require sewing knowledge and skills only learned by couture level training. It’s best not to risk having your gown ruined by an inexperienced hand.


What’s under the dress matters more than you think.

You may not have given much thought about what undergarments you’ll wear on the big day, but they’re important! Bras, corsets and shapewear will affect the underlying structure of your dress, so you should bring them to all of your fittings. If you’re not sure what type of undergarments will work best with your gown, ask your seamstress or consultant for advice.

If your seamstress says they don’t recommend a particular alteration, they have good reason.

Seamstresses have worked on hundreds of dresses and know what works and what doesn’t. They know that if they take the side seams in as much as you asked for, the dress might be so tight you can’t sit or that if they lower the back as much as you requested it might not look right. With this in mind, if you request a particular change and your seamstress says they don’t advise it, it’s best to listen to them and ask what other alteration they can perform to achieve the look you want.


richmond-weddings-gown-corset-smallBring a friend to your final fitting.

It’s likely that through the shopping and alterations process, only a consultant or seamstress has helped you get in and out of your dress, but they won’t be there to help you get into it on the big day! That’s why it’s important to bring a family member or friend with you to the final fitting so that they can learn how to help you into your dress. Have the seamstress show them how to lace up the corset back (if your gown has one), make sure they know where the snaps and zippers are located, and definitely have the seamstress show your friend how to pin up the bustle and let it back down!



Susan Sorbello is the owner of Sealed With A Kiss, a shop for wedding gowns and bridesmaids dresses in Short Pump & Charlottesville. Please visit for more information.