Politically Incorrect Answers
I am not politically correct - in anything I do or say. I figure that brides need good information, spoken in plain language and not watered down to save their feelings. I never try to be rude or unkind, but sometimes folks are amazed at my pointedness. Much of what I say on my site would be hard to say to a bride's face. Brides can come here to get information they can read in the privacy of their own homes. They can write questions and get straight answers. They may not like what I say or how I say it, but thay also don't have to take my advice. Not all weddings are alike and what I advise won't fit every situation. I hope you find something in my pages that is useful to your situation.
added April 2009
The easy solution for you is to have one less maid in your wedding. The most I have been able to let out a maid's dress is 3". I think you need a lot more in this situation. And letting out seams in this type of dress often shows the old stitching impression and it can look very bad.
added February 2007
I came across your website and I just wanted to say that I love how you offer your professional opinion to all these soon 2 be brides. I am having a situation of my own and I would be more than grateful if you could give me your best advise.
I went for my first fitting for my dress yesterday. Briefly about myself - I am 5'10, weigh about 165 and I am a 38DD. So I do have a bigger bust. At first, my dress looked absolutely beautiful and felt great! My seamstress told me I didn't need any alterations (except the bustle). But the more I wore it, the more I started to notice these deep wrinkles and bulges forming under my bust area. The creases ran horizontal along the bodice under the chest. My seamstress told me that there is really nothing I can do about it because it's a strapless dress and it just "gravity weighing it down". She said if I had straps, than I wouldn't be having this problem. But, the corset I was wearing was a little tight on me. Do you think that had anything to do with it?
Can you suggest anything that may help the dress lay smoothly on me? A different bra? No bra? Something to suck my waist in? My seamstress suggested me purchasing fabric tape so I can have the dress taped to the bra so there would be no room for it to move to form those creases?? What is your opinion?
Thanks so much for your help :) Lynn
She has a good point, but I also find that brides sometimes
start to slouch once they have had a gown on for awhile. They stand with great
posture at first and then as the fitting goes on they get tired and slouch
a little. That's just enough to form the wrinkles you are describing. This
might be your situation since you said it looked great when you first put
it on and only later you started noticing the wrinkles.
There is not much you can do about it, unfortunately. You can try tacking the top of the gown to the corset top.
I doubt you could go without the bra. I'm sure you need the support. Changing the bra probably won't do anything anyway.
You can try adding more boning to the front of the gown, but if you slouch the boning will not help you.
It's unreasonable to think a person can stand with perfect posture for a whole day. The most important time is for your posed pictures. Other times during the day you can relax your posture.
This is a hard thing for us sewing professionals to tell our clients. There is just so much a gown can be expected to do for you. The body under the gown is it's support. With DD breasts it is not an easy thing to stand like you should to support the front of your gown so it does not wrinkle, but the gown is designed to fit properly when you are standing straight. I tell brides to think about squeezing your shoulder blades in the back and setting your shoulders down. It's not like you are sticking your chest out like a soldier, but squeezing the blades sets the chest at a better angle to fill out the front of the gown.
I hope I have answered your questions.
Thank you so much :) You are wonderful!
I have a bride whose gown now fits very well, with the exception of under her left breast. It wrinkles very badly there. I don't believe it is too tight, it is a strapless, heavily beaded gown. It needs to be tight in the waist to stay in place.
I see these two factors in the wrinkling: A) The bride
slouches very badly. Her shoulders visibly hunch forward. When she stands
up straight, when I ask her to, the wrinkling is diminished. B) Her left breast
is visibly larger than the right breast. I think this is also a factor in
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
Other than instructing the bride on good posture, you can try padding the smaller breast to be equal the other one. Posture is so very important when wearing a strapless gown. They are designed in a certain way so they can stay up without the shoulder fabric. This can not be changed with altering or the dress will fall down. If a bride chooses to buy a strapless gown she has to understand that she must stand with good posture to have it look good.
Thank you for your response. I have been dealing with
this bride for a couple of weeks, and she insists that I should be able to
adapt for her posture. I have padded the other breast and it did help a bit.
The major issue is the slouching. I finally told her yesterday that I have
done the best I can do. All the boning in the word won't resolve this problem.
I really enjoy your website. It is most helpful, and I have been altering wedding gowns for 8 years.
I had a bride like this a bit ago. Her posture was so slouching
that I cringed just looking at her. I so wish women in general would learn
to have a little pride in themselves to simply stand up straight! After all
we have gone through to gain rights we should act like it's a big deal. Fortunately,
she did not complain about the bagging under her breasts and I did not offer
to fix it.
Anyway, there is one thing you can try, but I think it will look awful - - - you can pin a tuck where the fabric is wrinkling, like a small dart that runs under the bust instead of from the side to it. Sew it like a dart to eliminate the extra fabric. You'll have to do one on the other side too so it looks even and possibly like it was supposed to be that way. Like I said, you can try this but it will look really bad because it puts a seam where there normally isn't one and right on the front of the gown. To me it would scream, "I'm a lazy woman who doesn't want to care about good posture."
I feel like I've written a lot about posture on my bridal pages to try to get brides to understand how important it is for the gown. Maybe it's not enough. Thank you for the question. Now I can write more about it and maybe get through to some of these women.
added May 2006
I bought my wedding dress right after I got engaged,
I am going to be getting a breast augmentation next month and my wedding is
in September. The dress is 100% Polyester, strapless gown. There seems to
be about a 1/2 inch to an inch that could be taken out at the zipper. I am
currently at 34A and am going up to a 34C. Do you think this is possible?
Or is there an option of getting fabric added to the dress?
Thanks a bunch.
You are not going to like my opinion on this one but here it goes - Changing the dress is going to be both difficult and expensive. If I were you I would save myself the stress and reschedule my surgery for after the wedding.
Thank you for replying back to me so soon. Is it possible to alter the dress? I know it may cost but I am willing to do anything. I have a lady that I spoke with that has done alterations for my family and she said that adding fabric is possible and she only charges 15-20 dollars to do it. I know if I take it to where I purchased it, they will charge an arm and a leg. I know I should probably wait till after my wedding but I need to feel beautiful for that special day and honestly I don't feel that way right now about myself. I have waited long enough to get this done and now is the time. Please lend me some help for what could be done.
I decided not to write back to this bride. She was not about to listen to anything I said, but I wish to say a few very hard things here.
1. If you are thinking that you "have to" diet, or change your body in any way for your wedding day YOU ARE NOT READY TO GET MARRIED!!!
2. For all the loving grooms out there I say - He fell in love with you the way you are. Why are you thinking of changing for the wedding day?
Am I the only one who thinks this is a divorce waiting to happen?
added August 2005
I am getting married Oct. 1, and I have almost everything in line, except my hair... I have
short and I have purchased a beautiful veil, but don't know what to do with my hair. It is just
long enough to put in a french twist, which looks okay with the vail, but I never pull my hair
up, so why do it for the wedding? I want to look like me as much as possible. Now I'm afraid my
vail will look stupid just wearing with my hair the way I wear it everyday... any advice. I'm
so torn. I've even considered returning the vail and not wearing one, but my dad thinks it just
tops off my dress.
Caught in a hairy situation....
You said it - You have to be yourself! It's so very important
to present the person you are to your future spouse. If you can't be who you
are, are you going to turn into someone else just because you're getting married?
Try the veil on with your hair the way you normally do it. Decide if it looks silly to you. Don't think about what it will look like to anyone else. If you decide it looks ok, then wear it. If you decide it doesn't your Dad will understand because he loves you and you are his little girl.
Tradition is a great thing and fun to follow if it fits your style. If it doesn't than throw it out. I would feel like such a fake using a tradition that wasn't me on my wedding day. It's so much more important to be the real "you" walking to that alter.
Best Wishes to you!
added June 2005
Hi Leanna. I love your website and have learned a lot
from it. Thank you!
I have a question about alterations to the bodice area of a dress. I love a dress I tried on, but am afraid to buy it because I think it might not be able to be altered to fit me properly.
The dress is a strapless mermaid. The part that covers the breast area is covered in lace. The rest of the dress is satin. A seam separates the lace portion from the rest of the dress.
The dress fits except for just under the breast area where it crinkles and sags, and looks as if my upper body is too short for the dress. Everything (bust, waist, hips) fits width-wise. It's the length that is off. It looks like about 1/8" could be removed from just below the bustline area and above the waistline. It's as if the the part of the dress between the waistline and under the bustline is too long.
Can this sort of problem be fixed? The saleswoman told me that my bustline is too long for the bodice, and that going up a size will not fix the problem because the bodice will not be longer in the larger size.
Thanks for your help and thanks again for your website
I think this can be fixed, but it's hard to judge without seeing
the dress on you. Have you had trouble with things being long waisted in the
The sales lady is wrong - they usually are. A larger size will give you a tiny bit longer bodice. But it probably won't be any better. It sounds like you need a shorter bodice, not a longer one. This can be altered, but it may not be an easy process depending on how the bodice is constructed on the inside. It can be very expensive to make the change.
Are you wearing a bra? Maybe your breasts need support and then the dress will look better.
Most bridal gowns now-a-days are designed so that you have to stand up very straight in them for them to not sag anywhere. This is not always an easy thing to do, but to get the best look that's what the designers are doing. If it's only 1/8" that creating the sag, that is really not worth the trouble of altering. Try standing in the dress and squeeze your shoulder blades together and slightly down and your breast will raise a little. This should make the front look much better.
Hope one of these ideas helps,
added October 2002
I just bought my wedding dress from a reputable dress shop? It was too big and they assured me they could alter it to fit. They charged me $150 for the alterations and I left very unhappy. The problem is that the dress has a very wide, low scoop neck. I had expressed my concern about the neck being too loose as it would have a tendency to fall away from my body and expose my chest.
After 3 fittings (rushed fittings) they told me that that part of the dress could not be fixed. Because I am small busted they told me I would just have to make sure that I stood tall with my shoulders far back and the shoulders of the dress as far apart as they can be. The only problem with pulling the shoulders apart is that they hang on the tip of my shoulders and if I am not careful they will fall off.
Am I destined to be horribly uncomfortable on my wedding day. I have a feeling that the dress shop rushed me through the fittings because they are closing for renovations and a change of management and did not want me coming back after the new owners had taken over. Can this be fixed? I do not want to spend any more money but at this point I am willing to do almost anything to make sure I have the dress of my dreams on my special day. Any suggestions. Can I tape myself into the dress?
You may think the taping idea is silly, but it is done regularly. There are also spray glues that you use on your skin to hold things like necklines in place.
Can your dress be fixed? Maybe. Without seeing it I have a hard time answering. But I can tell you a few things that may or may not help.
First, most fitting problems can be fixed, but if you are wanting to change a design element you have another story. The dress you picked had a large neckline opening as a design element. This is not easily changed. You can take in the shoulder seam, which is often needed anyway. You can also try hand sewing elastic along the inside of the whole neckline. This will help it cling to the body, but might also make it pucker depending on the type of fabric and trims at the neckline. You can try threading a nylon strap or thread along the back of your neck from shoulder to shoulder to create an invisible stay to help you feel more comfortable with the wide opening. This is done in dance and skating costumes all the time.
I would also suggest adding some padding to your bust line. Are you wearing a long line bra? Many brides opt for bra cups that are sewn into the dress instead of a bra that can pinch and make you more uncomfortable if you are not used to wearing one. It sounds odd, but this might help the dress hang better and help the neckline opening set on your chest like it should. If you are a little smaller than the dress was designed for this will help smooth it out.
Next, it does not matter if you are small, medium or large busted, most nice wedding gowns are designed to fit properly when you are standing with good posture. That's chest lifted, shoulders set back and down slightly, back erect but not overly straight, butt tucked under your hips slightly so it is not sticking out. Your head may have to be shifted back also like you pushed on your chin with a finger. This will bring your ear in line with the center of your shoulder. If you feel like you are giving yourself a double chin, you've gone too far. Don't stand so stiff as a soldier would stand at attention, but you will feel that way if you are not accustom to it. The designers do it on purpose so you will look good on your special day. They did not do it to make you uncomfortable, but if standing with good posture is not a habit you have than it's not going to be easy. BUT - it is designed to make you look good. Many young ladies think their standing posture is not bad until they put on a bride's gown or maid's gown and see that the gown seems to make them look bad. It's just that thinking about posture is not an important thing in life when your clothing choices don't force the notion.
I have the feeling you are right about being rushed. It's so very easy for a bridal store to neglect taking the proper time to explain the options to you. I don't think they meant bad. I do think it a little odd that they charged you a flat rate for alterations. Most good places charge by what the dress needs done to it. Some need much more than others. On average, $200 is normal, but using it as a base for every bride is strange to me.
If I were you I would get a second opinion. Most good sewing professionals will see you and evaluate your gown without charge. Than you can decide if you can handle the added expense. There is a lot for you to think about here. Spending the added money may not be your best bet. If you are willing to send me your city and state, I can post a question for you on my professional sewing list and see if I can find you a good lady to meet with.
Once you have meet with her and gotten some advice from someone who can see the gown on you here are some things to think about:
1. Can I stand comfortably for my pictures? Pictures are very important to how you choose to alter the dress. They are your memories that will last long past the time you will forget how uncomfortable you were wearing that gown for all those hours. Standing still in a dress is very different than moving in it. Dancing, hugging, sitting, walking - all these things you will do and the dress has to do them with you. At times you may be not as comfortable as you would like, but you have to weigh that with your desire for the look you want.
I put a lot of value on comfort when it comes to wedding gowns. If you don't feel good, than how can you look good? I often advise ladies to let me make the dress a little less tight to add comfort. They always want a tiny waistline, but the risk of popping seams is not worth it. But this has to be weighed with your options for altering things you don't like about the design or fit. You may have to accept a degree of discomfort for the sake of the look you want or the inability of the dress to be changed.
2. Am I going to be dancing, eating, etc.? The activities you plan for the reception may change the way you alter the dress. If you are not dancing, you may opt for a tighter fit because you don't need to move so freely. Hugging is a big activity you will want to be able to do, so arm freedom is a biggie. Many design elements in gowns today restrict arm movement. Your wide neckline is one. Giving someone a nice view when you only meant to show familiar affection may not be your idea of a good thing. Than again, many brides do obsess about this. A wide neckline does not equate with guests staring at your cleavage. You have to force yourself to see it as they do. You looking down at your neckline are getting a much different view than someone standing in front of you is getting. Put your dress on a dress form and stand back to look. You will be amazed at the difference you see, even than looking in a mirror.
3. What is my budget? You have to weigh this added expense - that could be a lot - with the other things you could use this money for. Sure, the wedding gown is the most important item to spend money on in making your wedding plans. When the gown is right everything else just seems to fall into place. But there is a point when you have to ask yourself if you aren't going overboard about it. Only you can answer that.
Well, have I babbled enough? I didn't mean to be so wordy, but you got me to thinking about so much that I feel is important about how wedding gowns fit. I hope my thoughts have helped you some. It is really hard to give advice without seeing the gown in question. Who knows, if I did see you in this gown I might say you look simply beautiful and you should not change a thing. I do hope your wedding day is a bit off so you can have time to think about all this though. Rushing your decisions is a big taboo. After all I say about moderation and honestly asking yourself if you might be making a bigger thing out of this than it is, I do still hold that the decisions you make concerning your special wedding gown are the most important. Don't let anyone rush you.
I wish you all the best ;)
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