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What does a seamstress do?

Updated: May 18

I had a Bride come into the store last week and say the dress made her shoulders look boxy, she wasn't happy with where the waist of the dress sat and her boobs didn't fill the dress properly. When I said, all those things are fit problems, what do you think about the dress, she looked at me like I had two heads and suddenly I realised, I have had the privilege of growing up with a seamstress for a mother, I know what a seamstress can and cant change, but other people may not!

So what does a seamstress actually do and what can they change?
Most obviously, they can change the length of the dress. you can always take away material, but never add it, so most designer dresses are made to fit a 6ft bride! This means they will always be too long for the average woman. A seamstress can easily shorten a dress and this is done in one of two different ways, the simplest way is to simply re-hem the dress. If the hem is a basic regular hem, they will take what is needed from the bottom. Occasionally, the hem is more intricate and has a decorative edge. To hem this would mean to loose all the decoration, and this isn't want anyone wants. So the second way to shorten a dress is to lift it from the waist. Simply put, they will unstitch the waist and lift the skirt taking the length from the top before re-stitching it back in. I make this sound easy, but reshaping also needs to happen in order to make the skirt look like its been untouched. during this process the bodice can also be shortened lifting the waistline. This is particularly useful if you have a shorter bodice.

These alterations are amongst the easiest for a seamstress to do after the dress is made. However its even easier to do before the dress is made! Instore we offer alterations on the length including the bodice. For this you will need to have the shoes you will wear on your wedding day and we will measure you up. This has to be done at the ordering stage and can't be added later and costs an additional £90. This can often work out cheaper than a seamstress doing the job and is also better if the dress doesn't have a waist line or has many layers.

Other common alterations include changing the breast cups in dresses to ones that actually fit your boobs! Dresses come with the average cup for the size of dress, but how many of us are actually the typical average size! Nips and tucks around the bodice, shoulders, sleeves and bum are also very common, increasing darts to give that perfect, 'the dress was made for you fit', especially if the dress is a fit and flare or sheath style. If you've bought a decorative belt to go with your dress, the seamstress will also be the one to sew this on during the alterations stage.

When ordering your dress remember it's always easier to take in the dress and make it fit you than it is to take out the dress!

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