Finding the perfect wedding dress is only the first step in securing a bridal look you'll love. After your gown has been made, the real work begins as your seamstress or alterations expert tailors the garment to your exact specifications. In most cases, several fittings are sufficient to secure a flattering fit, but what happens when the alterations team makes an unexpected blunder? Susan Ruddie of The Wedding Dresser and Ann Hamilton of Ann Hamilton Bridal explain exactly how to remedy even the worst of wedding gown gaffes for a perfect big-day look.
1. Back Bulge from a Poorly Constructed Bodice
Though brides often blame an indulgent pre-wedding diet or lack of exercise for the dreaded back bulge in their dresses, negligent alterations may be at fault. “Brides in strapless dresses often end up with back fat or shoulder blades protruding over the back of the dress because the dress is too tight,” Ruddie explains. “You can avoid backfat by lowering the back so it creates a V-shape which is more flattering and eliminates that shelf of skin or shoulder blades protruding over the back of the dress.” Ruddie says.
2. Armpit Folds from an Ill-Fitted Dress
Next to back bulge, armpit folds are yet another illusion produced by a bodice fitted incorrectly at the seams. According to Ruddie, the answer is as simple as the ballet-favored Baryshnikov Belt, a costume device used to create a streamlined onstage silhouette. “Fit the dress more loosely at the sides of bust and add a ‘Baryshnikov Belt’ inside the dress ” Ruddie suggests.
3. A Revealing Neckline
Whether your alterations expert failed to take into account your bust measurements or the gown style itself is simply more plunging than anticipated, a revealing neckline can be retooled to create a more demure look. “If the dress is cut too low at the neckline a trim can be added such as lace trim or a suitable fabric or beaded trim,” Hamilton recommends. “If the dress is on the large side the shoulders or straps can be taken up which will make the neckline higher.”
4. A Too-Tight Gown
A constrictive gown that should by all accounts fit is enough to send a bride into a spiral of stress, but Hamilton insists that there are emergency alterations to address the issue. “A dress that is too tight can be altered if there is enough seam allowance to let it out, Hamilton explains. “Another option is to add panels of the same fabric to the sides or back of the dress.”