Alteration costs??

posted 10 years ago in Dress
Post # 3
Member
22 posts
Newbee

Unfortunately, that’s about right on the money.  I try to warn brides about these costs, especially when they choose to buy their bargain dress on Ebay or other online store.  My bridesmaids got charged $50 at David’s bridal to do a single hem on a simple A-line gown.  The dress itself was only $75 to start with but ended costing her a lot more in the end. Hopefully your post will enlighten soon to be brides of the often outrageous alteration costs!  Sometimes finding a bargain on a dress is really not a bargain at all when you add in this often overlooked expense!  Good luck and best wishes!

Jennifer Melnick Carota

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Post # 4
Member
148 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2008

My dress got taken up under the bust, had the straps shortened, a simple bustle put in, and the seams let out to original size (it was an ebay dress that had been altered before).  Also my seamstress altered my bustier so it would not show on the sides.  All this came to $90.  I was quoted $400-$600 at other alterations places, but I only spent $400 on my dress in the first place and couldn’t stomach spending that much on alterations.  I found my seamstress on Yelp.com.  She works out of her home and I think that’s how she kept costs down.  This is in the SF Bay area…  Good luck with your search!

Post # 5
Member
273 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2008

I think the complexity of the dress has a lot to do with it.  Some dresses are easier than others to alter, so that could also play a part in the price quotes you are getting.  I think I got a good bargain.  My alterations at the place I bought it from was $100.  But she only had to take in the sides and the hemline.  I live in NYC though so I think it was a steal!

Post # 6
Member
244 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2008

In my opinon that quote is NOT right on the money.  I live in a major metro area and I’m getting mine for a lot less.

You should go on your local knot board and see who most of the girls go to.   My dress shop quoted me between $300-400 for my alterations (hemming of two layers, taking in waist, adding cups, and bustle) and then I went to a private seamstress that gets really good reviews and that has done literally hundreds of dresses and she’s charging me $175. 

Sure a lot of it depends on how complicated the semming is, how much beading, etc. but unless you have the most ornate dress with major alterations then it should easily be less then $500. 

Post # 7
Member
1238 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

Alterations should run around $200 based on my experience; luckily for me I only need a bustle added and thats only $15.00.  One of my bridesmaids is a seamstress, so she is doing the alterations on the bridesmaids dresses — David’s Bridal wanted over $65.00 (plus) for each bm dress they altered (more for those with more extreme alterations).  Also, everyplace I went wanted me to oder my dress a size larger than I actually wear "just in case".  Well, I didn’t do that because then I know I would have to pay the $200.  I think it is a scam to force brides into alterations.

Post # 8
Member
10 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: April 2008

WOW, I paid only $135, for my dress to be hemmed, the bust taken in and a one point bustle.

Post # 9
Member
2293 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

It sounds like you are paying a lot of money – it also sounds like your dress is fairly complicated and you are not really having standard alterations.  I would certainly get another estimate or two… and compare them.  My alterations are also costing a lot less – around $100 – but my dress is fairly simple and was ordered in my size.  Being a bit of a seamstress myself, it sounds to me as if you are essentially having the dress disassembled and remade, and I would expect the cost of that to be pretty significant.

Post # 10
Member
89 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2008

I just went to the seamstress on Friday and my alteration cost is $225, $185 for hemming and $40 for 2 loop bustle.

I cannot believe how expensive it is either. In the end, alteration and pressing will cost as much as my dress itself.

Post # 11
Member
52 posts
Worker bee

I have a lace dress that needed to be taken in quite a bit, and straps shortened, all for $175, in NYC. Again, it really really depends on the complexity of your dress unfortunately. But definitely get another estimate or two -then you will know how far off they are

Post # 12
Member
2293 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

For those of you who do any sewing, you will know that alterations can be pretty time-consuming.  If you have to actually rip out bodice seams and remove the zipper, or take the dress in by more than a size, you are into some significant time.  At some point it would actually be easier (from a labor perspective) to make the dress from scratch.  So yeah, I can totally see how if you buy a dress that needs a lot of work to fit the alterations can cost nearly as much as the dress. 

Post # 13
Member
1061 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

my seamstress is charging 350 for hemming, taking it in, adding boning, adding cups, doing the bustle, making some of the crinoline detachable when the dress is bustled, and pressing it when all is said and done. i kind of expected it to be this much so i wasn’t surprised.

Post # 14
Member
1458 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

After all that they are charging you for the steam and press? Are you kidding me? That’s horrible. I know that in the end that doensn’t save you a whole lot, but for crying out loud.  Can’t a good bride catch a break?

I’m paying about $300 for mine, on a dress that cost me$450…lol. I have an aunt that can do this sort of stuff, but I’m worried that maybe it won’t go so well – oh and she’s 7 hours away….another hiccup.

 

Post # 15
Member
22 posts
Newbee

The other posters make a good point.  Shop around for a seamstress!  I was basing my opinion on bridal salons.  Many salons will post their alteration fees but some will not.  It pays to inquire before you purchase your dress.  In my neck of the woods, that quote is dead on…probably because we don’t have access to a lot of freelance seamstresses.  Good luck!

 Jennifer Melnick Carota

Post # 16
Member
50 posts
Worker bee

Sorry if this will sound a bit grumpy…

I’m a seamstress and take great pride in my work, and I’m a bit over the grunting and groaning about alteration costs…

When the plumber comes to my house to release a clog in the bathroom, he spends 10-15 minutes and charges $250. For his time. For his "work". 

We spend hours and hours, sometimes days on these dresses, have experience and skill and are still expected to charge an inferior amount to any other professional vendor in the wedding.

The photographers charge $75 an hour and I don’t hear anyone complaining about those fees as much as the alterations. Why don’t you spend 12 hours on a project and have someone complain that your wage is unjustified, how will that make you feel. 

Yes, I’ve heard that some people will hear "wedding dress" and automatically charge more, but in most cases it isn’t true, and I’m not talking about stores like "Kleinfelds" who need to pay hundreds of people so they charge a very high flat fee. 

After all, if it’s ONLY a zipper, ONLY a hem, why do you hire us? Because you know it needs a skilled person to do it or you might do it yourself. (and don’t even get me started on the dry-cleaning tailors)

Please do not begrudge us our pay. We’re worth it, and your wedding gown is certainly worth it!

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