DIY Wedding Dress Alterations

Once you have chosen the wedding gown for your day, you will probably need a few small dress alterations to make it fit perfectly. If you have chosen a simple style, you may be able to do the alterations yourself or with the help of family or friends.

Determining the Alterations

Put on your wedding gown to see if and where you do need some alterations to the dress. Put on either the shoes you will be wearing that day or a pair of shoes of the same height so that can properly make any hem changes. The shoe height will not only affect the length of the dress, it will affect your posture and how you carry the dress.

Be sure that the waist and bust fit well. Check the hem to see if the dress needs to be shortened or lengthened at all. Write down all of the changes that are necessary.

Carefully take off the dress and turn it so that the inside is now facing out. Put the dress back on again. Check the bust and waist again. This part of the dress should fit the body without being too tight and uncomfortable.

Marking the Alterations

Gently pull evenly on both sides of the dress. Mark the line of the new seams using straight pins. Be careful not to prick the skin as you work. Whatever you take off one side, you should take off the other. This will ensure that the middle section of the dress sits perfectly on the middle of the bride. Use a piece of tailor's chalk to mark the seam line indicated by the straight pins. Carefully take the pins out of the fabric. Have the bride take the dress off again.

Removing the Existing Seams

Use a seam ripper to gently and carefully remove the stitches from the existing seam. Be careful not to damage the fabric. Be sure your fingers are especially clean of any debris so as not to leave any smudges on the dress.

Sewing the New Seams

Line up the chalk marked seam lines and then join the seam again with the straight pins. When sewing the new seam, be sure you have the best thread to matches the exact color and weight of thread used to sew the dress. Place the fabric under the needle of the sewing machine.

Slowly and carefully begin to resew the seams. Use the seam line and the straight pins as your guide. Carefully remove the straight pins as you work.

Finishing the Seams

Turn the wedding gown so that the inside and outside of the dress are facing the right ways. Put the gown back on again. It should fit perfectly.

Take off the dress and turn it inside out. If there is more than a one half inch removed from the size, trim the seam fabric back. If not, leave the seam as it is. In either case, the seam allowance will have to be made flat. This part can be the most difficult. If you can have the fabric steamed flat, do it. If you have to use an iron, be particularly careful not to burn the fabric. Never put a hot iron directly onto the fabric of a wedding dress. Always be sure you have a linen towel or some other similar fabric between the iron and the dress.

Hem Alterations

Use the seam ripper to alter the hem of the wedding gown, if necessary. Once again, be careful not to pull on the fabric and damage the dress. Put the dress and the shoes on again and check the length. Make sure you use a tape measure to mark the hem. Allow a consistent one half inch seam allowance for the hem. The hem of the dress should be sewn by hand so as to make it as invisible as possible.