(Closed) Can you shop around for a good alterations deal?

posted 12 years ago in Dress
Post # 3
209 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

I too only budgete $200 for alterations. My dress fit perfectly. All I had done was a hem, bustle and bra cups…..it cost me almost $400.

Post # 4
21 posts

I design high end bridal gowns and I’ve seen a lot of these posts where people don’t understand why alteration costs are so high. A lot of people have commented that they felt it was a rip-off, etc. for an "easy job". I think most people think most alterations are simple, but only because they don’t understand how much work it takes since they are not in the industry. A hem can look simple, but when there are mutiple layers it’s very time consuming. Also, there is a lot of structure inside the dress which requires work. Most hems alone cost more than $200 with a well qualified establishment. I think we all get used to shopping at Target and Forever 21 so we get used to those super low prices, but labor costs in the US are not like China. Most bridal seamstresses get $12.50 – $16.00 per hour (in the LA area).

The added plus of getting it done through Macy’s is that if they mess up, they will probably replace the dress. If you only look at price and someone is willing to do the work for very little money, they might not be qualified and you might be stuck with a horrible alterations job. Hope this explains about the cost factor from a person who is in the industry. You can also look around for independent seamstress, but make sure they are qualified and have worked in bridal before. Make sure you see samples of their work before you trust your dress to them. Best of luck!

Post # 5
168 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

Yes!  You can shop around.  I was quoted $300 by my bridal store and nearly had a heart attack.  After trying, unsuccessfully, to negotiate, I just took my dress and left.  It still had all the pins in it!

The thing with bridal stores is that the seamstress has to pay a cut to the store, so the price is automatically inflated.  I found an independent seamstress who works out of her home who did a great job at a fraction of the price.

Post # 7
349 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

@charmedbride I think it’s always good to shop around, that’s how you make informed decisions 🙂

Are you in NorCal or SoCal area? I had my dress alteration done by this amazing lady. She was pretty cheap too ($160 for dress alteration plus making me a sash).

She lives in Fremont area and I got her information from two other friends that got married before I did. Let me know if you want her info.

Post # 8
1276 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

Charmedbride, I’m pretty sure I know who ipodgirl is talking about, and she’s phenomenal.  Not super cheap, but still.  Also, keep in mind that most Macy’s (or dept store’s in general), don’t have in-house tailors anymore.  So they send stuff to a local tailor, and they may charge a mark up (or who knows, maybe a discount).  Essy’s, the place I go for everything in Fremont, actually does do tailoring for the Newark Macy’s.

I agree that good tailoring is expensive, but to be honest, I’d rather talk to the person who is actually going to be doing the alterations than a random salesperson at Macy’s (though it’s also possible that the tailor will come to your appointment, something worth finding out).  So I’d still say shop around.  Ask them specific questions…like if they are moving a zipper, how will the do it.  Exactly what seams will the open etc.  I know a reasonable amount about sewing/tailoring so I can get a good feel, but even if you don’t the specificity with which they answer your questions will tell you how good they are.  If you are paying a lot for alterations, then you want to know they will be done well. 

Post # 9
43 posts

I would definitely say ask for recommendations-it’s your wedding dress so you definitely don’t want it messed up! I bought mine out of town so alterations at the bridal store would have been super inconvenient. I called the local bridal store and they won’t do them if you didnt purchase your dress there, but they did refer me to a lady who does alterations in her spare time out of her house.

For a bustle, adding cups, removing a sash, and shortening the length one inch it is going to be $65.00-$85.00, I’m sure in part because she has no overhead!

Post # 10
613 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

I shopped around. I was quoted $650-$1200 for what i thought were ‘simple alterations’ by various bridal salons.  I ended up getting my alterations completed by a couturier for $250.  Make sure you get reccomendations though!  If your bridal salon scews up, they can probably get you a new dress.  If an outside place does something wrong, youre screwed.

Post # 11
360 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2009 - Westwind YWCA camp

usually the price of alterations depends heavily on the type of dress.  

My dress is simple, but lace.  I needed it hemmed, and on a lace dress, this is NOT simple.

My alterations (fix the v-neck a bit, shorten the straps, get a french bustle, hem – similar to you) came to $500, but I’m getting them done with a cute little russian lady that does alterations out of her home.

I’d look up reviews for good seamstresses in your area – that’s how I found mine, and she’s amazing! 

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