Searching For Your Dream Wedding Dress

A question that is coming up more and more often in the wedding dress alterations business world is, “Do you do wedding dress redesign?” I always answer with the affirmative, “Yes, we do wedding dress redesign,” and then offer a few of my thoughts for any bride moving in that direction. No doubt, there are a number of reasons why someone might consider this option, versus buying a new garment and just having it altered or having a wedding dress custom made from scratch. The bottom line I often hear is that many brides simply have not been able to find their “dream wedding dress” after months of shopping around, which has caused them to consider a wedding dress redesign.

Where To Start The Discussion

Since the conversation with a potential wedding dress redesign client takes place over the phone or through email, I start out by letting the bride know that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to tell her whether or not a specific dress that she has in mind is a good candidate for wedding dress redesign. A first step in evaluating the possibly and a prerequisite for even considering a redesign, is that the bride really needs to be standing with her dress on or having it in hand, in front of the seamstress, or consultant she plans to work with, in order for them to even say whether it is possible or not.

With that established, here are the most common areas brides ask about:

1. The neckline. Some brides want the neckline dipped lower, while others hope to add fabric or lace to provide additional coverage. A bride who desires a lower dipping neckline should understand about an important caveat. When a neckline is dipped lower, the seamstress must open the “fit control” of the dress which relates to how it was originally designed. As a result, the dress could feel looser, because it has been redesigned in a way not originally intended. Some brides are okay giving up this “control fit,” for the look they want.

2. The Sleeves.  Not all dresses lend themselves to having sleeves added due to the way they were designed in production. Adding sleeves, of course, means extra fabric will be needed. The best scenario is that the bride is able to get the lace and fabric directly from the wedding dress designer, as opposed to just finding something at the fabric store, that only matches as closely as possible. Designers do not sell their lace or fabric in the fabric store. As an individual consumer, the only way a bride can obtain the fabric, since she cannot go directly to the wedding dress designer, is to work through a local bridal shop or other retailer for help in obtaining what is needed.

3. The Bodice. Some of the new styles with just illusion and lace on top, are somewhat too revealing for certain brides. In those cases, brides want the bodice area lined. Once again, ordering fabric directly from the designer is the best approach to ensure the alteration process is successful and the end result is exactly what she had imagined.

Vintage Wedding Dress Redesign

When speaking of a vintage (a.k.a. a mother’s or grandmother’s wedding dress), there are additional things that should be discussed before any work is to be done, especially considering that many times, these dresses have been handed down a generation or two and have deep sentimental value.

Brides who decide they would like to be married in their mother’s or grandmother’s wedding dress, oftentimes want the necklines dipped and/or the sleeves removed. It is important to remember that the process of making dresses years ago versus dresses and styles today, is that more structure and support needs to be added to the older dresses in order to accomplish these feats. If the dress is too small, the bride will need to find additional fabric and possibly lace that will match as closely as possible, the original fabric and design.

Another very important element is that fabric, like many things, deteriorates over time. Sometimes, the integrity of the fabric of vintage dresses are not capable of withstanding the handling required during the redesign process without damaging, even when great care is given to its delicacy, In those cases, most seamstresses would rather not take the risk of ruining a family heirloom and causing emotional stress for the bride who already has so much on her plate in planning for her upcoming wedding.

Some brides have found it helpful to search through the testimonials on our website or other external review sites to get more information.


I cannot empathize enough here, that any bride considering a wedding dress redesign of either a new or previously-worn bridal gown, including that of the vintage kind, should keep an open mind while discussing the possibility with her seamstress/consultant. While seamstresses are sometimes expected to be “miracle workers,” a seamstress who will be honest about whether or not they think a redesign is the best decision are worth their weight in gold. There are times they just might end up advising that it is sometimes best, if at all possible, to keep hunting for that perfect dream wedding dress instead of a wedding dress redesign.

That said, the end result of successful redesigns can be amazing and brides are left with a truly custom design  In the case of a vintage dress that was previously worn by a loved one, many brides convey that the end result is a truly sentimental experience that transcends.

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