wedding alterations and Bridal Accessories

Wedding dress Seamstress in Ottawa 

All you need to know about bridal alterations!

1) Bust and Waist Alterations - Taking in/out the side seams in order to make a wedding dress fit a bride. Wedding gowns are usually made to allow the side seams to be taken out up to 3 inches or 2 sizes (For example: size 10 to size 14).  If you found a dress that you love and it is too small you can always look into having a lace up back put in.  Or if it is too big we can normally size down dresses up to 4 sizes.

Wedding dresses should only be taken in from the sides, the back seam should be left untouched unless you have a significant curve in your back and it needs to be taken in as it would not look fitted otherwise.

Some other areas you may need the dress taken in is at the top of the bust. This is mainly needed when there is too much fabric at the top of the bust and taking in the sides doesn’t fix that gaping problem. Sometimes a quick fix is adding cups in the bust. Have your seamstress get you to try some cups in to see if you could get away from having the bust taken in.

2) Hem - According to the height of the bride and the shoes you are planning to wear, the length of your dress most likely will need to be shortened. There are two ways to hem a dress, the usual way from the bottom, or if it is a complicated and a very time consuming hem, from the waist.  Some lace hems can be taken up from the waist to save money on the alterations. Even though taking up the hem from the waist is more expensive, it is done to save money or to keep a detail on the hem, which would otherwise be spoiled or lost if altered from the bottom up.

Then you can have a full hem taken up or have half a hem taken up. A full hem means that the dress gets taken up all the way around to ether make it all floor length or to make the front floor length and make the train smaller to make it more manageable. Having half of your hem taken up means you have the front taken up to the side seams only. This is a more popular hem alteration as most brides like to keep the train and you can always make your train more manageable by putting in a bustle. 

3) Bustle - Many wedding dresses have not been made to have detachable long trains. In order for the bride to move freely at the reception our seamstress can add a bustle when doing the alteration, which means pulling up and attaching the train to the back of the dress so as to lift it off the ground.

There are many styles of bustles you can choose from. You may not be able to have all the bustle styles available to you as some bustle styles can only be done on certain styles of trains. The style of your train will determine the bustle style you may be able to create.

4) Cups – 99% of our brides add dress cups into their dresses. At your first fitting you will be pinned into your dress and asked to try cups to see if you would like to have them put in. Cups aren’t used to just fill out the bust of the dress, but to give a little lift as a lot of wedding dresses can push you down and make you look flat. If you decide you would like to have cups put in they will be neatly sewn inside your dress lining so they cannot be seen and will look as though they are part of your dress.

5) Other Additional Alterations 

Alternative Wedding Dress Hem Alterations 

Are you wanting to do something different to the hem of your wedding dress? Here are some fun options we have had experience in doing for some of our brides.

Tulle Over Skirt 

You can have your dress shortened to the knee or shorter and have a tulle ball-gown style skirt made to go over the top. This is a fun way of making two styles out of your dress so that you can take the tulle skirt off to have a second look for the evening.

You don't have to have the dress shortened to have a tulle skirt made to put over the top of your dress to add tow looks to your wedding dress. You can have a skirt made with a thin layer of tulle so that the shape of your dress underneath shows through.

And You don't just have to have a tulle skirt made. You can have any style made depending on the style of the skirt of your dress. The options are endless. 

Removable Hem

You can have part of your skirt made to be removable. This is most effective with wedding dresses that have the organza or chiffon layered skirt. This way the seam can be hidden under one of the skirt layers.  If your wedding dress skirt isn't layered in this way there are many ways you can add a removable bottom skirt to the skirt of your wedding dress. 

High-Low Hem

You can add a high-low hem to your wedding dress. This is most effective on wedding dresses that are made out of chiffon or a mid-weight satin wedding dress in the style of a 50' ball gown. 

This style of hem look better if you are wanting to have the full hem of your wedding dress hemmed so that is is floor length all the way around even though it can look very nice if you are wanting to keep a small train too.

Shape Skirt - There are two ways you can add more shape to a wedding dress skirt. One is to take it in from the sides. This will allow you to change the shape of the skirt of your wedding dress dramatically. Almost every wedding dress can be altered on the side seams to make any skirt style.  So if you are looking to change the style of the skirt of your wedding dress this would be the best option and cheapest option to have the skirt of your wedding dress dramatically changed. 

If you are looking to have more shape added to the skirt of your wedding dress, maybe the back seams of the wedding dress would allow to give you more shape without changing the style of the dress. This type of alteration can only be made if the skirt part of your wedding dress has seams at the back of the skirt between the side seams and the center back. 

Your cheapest alteration option would be to have one or the other done depending on how much shape you would like to add to your wedding dress, rather than  having both done which may give you the same results. Have a look at our Wedding Dress Skirt Shapes to get a better idea of shirt shapes.


Boleros - I LOVE boleros! I love them not only because they are a beautiful detail and add on to your dress but you can make two styles out of your dress! The cheapest way to make two styles out of your wedding dress is to have a bolero made. And as a bonus, you can wear it again with any other outfit you wish to wear it with. 

There are so many styles you can choose from, key hole style, elution neckline style, off the shoulder, low back, cap sleeve, long sleeve, and some many different styles of lace to choose from and materials. You will have a hard time choosing. Have a look at our Bridal Bolero Styles to help you get a better idea of what bolero style you would like. 

Adding  sleeves - Sleeves are a great way to make your dress warmer if you are planning a winter wedding or you want to give more coverage. You can have many different styles of sleeves added to your dress. Sleeves are normally sewn into your dress and can also be made to be removable. The main reason of having them removable is so that if you are planing to re-sell your dress you can sell it in the original design as well as having the choice of two looks. You may want to have the sleeves on in the day and as soon as evening sets you can take them off for your evening look. 

They can be made out of lace or chiffon material. Chiffon is  great for a drape effect sleeve or for a more  flowy style sleeve. Lace is best used for more fitted style sleeves. 

Sleeve length is a completely different thing to think about and one of the easiest deceptions to make. Have your seamstress show you what your dress would look like with different length of sleeves at one of your fitting to decide. It is better to see the different lengths of sleeves on yourself, in your dress, to make the right deception. 

Have an Illusion Neckline put in - Similar to a bolero an illusion neckline is normally sewn into the dress. You can get a similar look with a bolero if you are wanting to have the choice of removing it at some point over the course of the day, otherwise if you are wanting it to be a firm fixture and part of the dress it is best sewn into the dress to make you look flawless. 

An elusion neckline can be added with or without sleeves. You can also have your back open or completely covered up or even have a key hole back integrated into the illusion neckline design. 

Whatever your design choice the main idea of an illusion neckline is so that you can't tell where the neckline start and tulle is used as the base fabric to where cela is then added on top to integrate the dress.