Post # 1
I purchased my gown last week at The Sample Rack in Center City for my wedding next October – I love my dress and the price was right (whew). It fits pretty well, but needs some tweaking for perfect fit and a bustle, and the shop owner sends all her brides to Nilah. I’ve read great reviews of her work here and on Yelp, and am not concerned about the quality/service, but just want to make sure I’m being charged appropriately for the value – I have no knowledge of dressmaking and this doesn’t seem like an area of wedding planning where you can (or want to) “price shop”.
I would love to hear thoughts from anyone else out there who has specifically gone the Sample Rack/Nilah route, or people who’ve used Nilah for fairly minor alterations and feel like they got a good value for the cost. Alternatively, I’d be interested to hear if you found a better price for a seamstress of equal quality. Thanks, and happy holidays!
Post # 3
Hello and congratulations on your upcoming wedding.
I think you are quite right that wedding gown alterations are not one item you want to try to find the cheapest seamstress. Cheap could also mean bad and there are hundreds of stories where “cheap” ended up costing much much more. Or even ruining a brides gown.
Finding a good experienced bridal tailor or seamstress is so very important. She will provide you with the perfect fit and peace of mind that your gown will be everything you have dreamed it can be.
Bridal Gown alterations can be expensive, but believe me it will be worth it when your perfect gown looks amazing. The reason alterations are expensive is because bridal gowns are made differently from other clothes. They come with beading, crystals, lace, boning, corsets, delicate materials, many layers and so much more. One mistake on any of these can ruin your dress.
Best Regards and wishes for a fabulous wedding
Post # 4
Thanks very much for your thoughts! Any suggestions on what to ask the seamstress during my initial consultation?
Post # 5
Hi, I got married in Sept 2010 and Nilah did my alterations — she is awesome! I wanted a non-strapless dress and wasn’t finding anything. Had been to a bunch of the regular shops, as well as to both The Sample Rack and Sabrina Ann’s. I met with Nilah about a custom dress — she suggested that I go back to TSR and SA and look for a dress with a bottom that I liked, and that she remake the top for me. I ended up with a great A-line (but strapless) dress edged with Alencon lace from Sabrina Ann. Then the fun began! She gave me a couple of options: adding a lace overlay to the dress that would create the v-neck style that I wanted, or creating a whole new top for the dress. I went with the latter. She did an amazing job (3 fittings total, I think), creating exactly what I’d been looking for. We worked from a photo of a Jim Hjellm dress that was the closest to what I’d been imagining. The total cost, ie the top (including a fair amount of pricey Alencon lace on the bodice of the dress), hemming the bottom, creating the bustle and pressing the gown was ~$650, which for the amount of work involved, I thought was more than fair. (At Danielle’s in Center City, they wanted an extra $500 just to order the JH dress I liked with an Aline skirt instead of a mermaid, plus at least $200 in alterations when the dress came in.) I also priced custom work with 2 other dressmakers and thought Nilah’s prices were competitive. So yes, IMO, Nilah’s great at what she does, and also well priced. Hope this helps, and good luck!
Post # 6
@tancgirl: Did you end up going with Nilah for your alterations? I’m looking for a seamstress to hem my dress. Thanks!