Why do a consultation at Rapids Alterations if someone else will work on my gown?

Why should I do a free consultation at Rapids Alterations if I’m going to have someone else work on my gown?
Every year we have brides coming in to Rapids Alterations to “fix” alterations done by someone else.  Alterations are complete but the dress still doesn’t fit correctly or just doesn’t feel right when she has it on.
The bride, at her Rapids Alterations fitting, will tell us how she feels about the fit of her dress. We will listen to her, study the dress and offer an answer of what is needed to be done make the dress fit properly.
Most times we hear two replies: “My girl said that couldn’t be done” or “My girl said she wouldn’t do that”. While there are many fine seamstresses who work out of their homes, this is an example of the difference between a professional shop and home seamstress. Our strength is in the skill set of our 8 seamstresses and with over 125 years combined years sewing experience there isn’t much we haven’t seen or tackled.
Many times what couldn’t be done by the other person, is just a standard bridal alteration to us. Altering the sides of the bridal gown for example; to some it my seam a daunting task with all the layers, rouching, boning, lace and bead work. Taking in the sides of a bridal gown is a common alteration to us.
The bustle is another area that many home seamstress’s are lacking talent in completing.  Most of the time the bustle is too long with inches dragging on the floor. Sometime the bustle is just uninspired for the glory of the dress. We have been told by brides that her girl said this was the only bustle she could do. Believe me there tons of different bustles you can choose from rather than settling on what your girl knows how to do.
Like I said, there are many fine seamstresses who work out of their homes. Before you take your gown there though, please consider coming into Rapids Alterations for a free, no obligation bridal consultation. We will look at your dress and suggest alterations to be done along with pricing. Then when you go to “your girl” to do the fittings, you will be armed with knowledge of what needs to be done to your dress and what can be done to your dress. Then, if your girl says no, you have an option other than a dress that doesn’t fit.

I Love the Lace – Can it be shortened?

A beautiful lace hem adorns the gown of your dreams. It is beautifully intricate and just what you dreamed of. Some lace hems are a breeze to shorten; and unfortunately, shortening some lace hems can also be timely, tricky and expensive.

There are 3 basic structures of lace hems:

1. Lace trim edging with or without beads/sequins sewn directly onto the lace edging

2. Lace trim edging with beads/sequins sewn to edging after it is sewn onto the dress

3. Lace that is all one piece with no separate trim edging

1. Lace trim:

The lace trim is removed from the fabric. The gown is hemmed and the lace is sewn back on.

With lace trim with beads/sequins sewn directly to it, the beads/sequins are sewn onto the lace and then the lace is sewn onto the gown. The lace and beads come off the fabric together when removed. The gown underneath is hemmed and the lace sewn back on.

2. Lace trim edging with beads/sequins sewn to it after it is sewn onto the dress:

In this case the lace cannot be removed since the lace is sewn onto the gown first and then beads and sequins are applied sewing through the lace and dress fabric together. If the lace is removed, the beads will come off. The lace is carefully cut from the fabric, moved up and sewn back on.

3. Lace that is all one piece with no separate trim edging:

One piece lace hems are sometimes cut along the pattern or they can receive a traditional rolled hem. The choice depends on the type of lace and the wishes of the customer.

Many things effect the final price of a lace hem. Lace hems are charged by the number of layers with extra time charged to deal with the lace. Extra charges for lace hems can range anywhere from $10 to $200. The complexity of the lace and how it was sewn onto the gown all contribute to the time consuming the hem.

The use of can-cans or crinolines can sometimes eliminate the need of working on a hem at all. Putting a can-can under the skirt will lift it and sometimes it lifts it to a proper hem height. Rapids Alterations carries a myriad of styles and sizes of can-cans and rents them for $50 or one may be purchased for an average price of $70.

At Rapids Alterations we are always concerned with your bottom line and will make suggestions in different price ranges to help you choose how your gown will be altered and what the final cost will be for your perfect fit.

Is My Dress Too Long?

To determine whether your dress needs a hem try this simple test. Walking slowly and with your head up looking straight forward, walk forward towards a mirror or someone watching. If the dress curls under while you are walking you need to hem your dress shorter.

Wear Your Dress Properly – Is it on correctly?

First you need to determine whether the dress is on your body properly. This might seem like an overly simple thing but it is not that easy and this first step will reflect on everything else that happens to your dress.

The dress needs to fit onto the bust, not below the bust. There should be no more that about an inch between the arm pit and the top of a strapless dress. If there isn’t, have someone zip your dress up in back, pulling up before zipping while you physically hold your dress up in place in front. It may take two people to zip if the dress is tight.

Some dresses have a seam or band that lays below the bust. When pulling the dress up, be sure this seam stays below the bust. If you are unable to achieve both up on top and below the bust marks, the dress may be too small for you. You will want to purchase a bigger size to give you more real estate to correctly cover the bust.

Do I really need 4 fittings? The 4 Steps of Alterations Completed

Most alterations have a domino affect. Which is why we do dresses in a certain order with a fitting for each step.

At the first fitting we look at everything from the waist up. Sides, straps, and bra cups are done at this fitting.

The second fitting is for the hem.

The third fitting is the for the bustle.

The fourth fitting is for the final fitting. Make sure everything is perfect. Teaching your attendant how to secure the bustle and/or corset the dress is also done at this time.

Does My Strapless Dress Fit?

A strapless dress needs to be skin tight at the waist. The waist is the narrowest part of the body and making the waist fit perfect will ensure the dress cannot slide up or slide down. It will stay in place at the smallest part.

If it seems tight, but you’re not sure, grab the waist of of the dress and see if you can pinch excess fabric. We usually do this test at center back.

Another test for the waist is to simply put your arms up in the air and jump. If it slides down, it is too big.

Straps alleviate the need for tight bodices. However, making the bodice tight will make you appear skinnier.

Does posture affect the fit of my dress?

Good posture can take off 10 pounds and dramatically improve how your dress looks on you.

Try this: stand with your back against the wall. Line up your head, shoulders, rear and heels against the wall. Now step away from the wall keeping everything aligned. That is your body with good posture.

I have stooped shoulders in my graduation picture. Every time I see it I wonder why the photographer didn’t tell me to sit up straight. Remember good posture all day long.

What if I’m not on time for my fitting appointment?

Rapids Alterations makes appointments for all formal and wedding gown fittings. An appointment ensures that someone will be there to do your fitting when you arrive, and also that you will receive the attention you need during that time. While we do accept walk-ins, we really appreciate appointments for planning out the day.

Please arrive early and be dressed by your appointment time. We schedule appointments back to back and one delay can back-up the schedule for the whole day.  A courtesy call to us at 320.255.9083 is appreciated if you will be late or not coming at all.  In certain circumstances no-show fees or late cancel fee may be applied to your ticket.

How do I come prepared to my fitting?

Allow enough time in your schedule for fittings, typically four. We make appointments for fittings and schedule brides for an hour. Please be on time. If you can’t be there, call and reschedule your appointment. This is especially important during the height of bridal season when fittings are booked solid 3 weeks in advance.
In order to have your dress fit you perfectly on your wedding day, fittings need to be done with you, the bride, wearing exactly what you will be wearing on your big day. You will need the exact undergarments at your fitting that will be worn on your day. If you are planning on wearing these items, the exact ones need to be brought to each of your fittings: bra, spanks, slip, can-can, shoes and anything else that goes under your dress. Not having these items with you may cause your fitting to be rescheduled.
Your last fitting is very special. You get to wear your dress in all its splendor. We teach whoever you bring how to hook your bustle or how to do up your corset or buttons. We suggest using this time to try on your veil or decide on jewelry.
When your alterations are complete, you will be able to walk and dance and party in your dress. Granted, if its strapless, breathing might be optional. ( A little strapless humor there.)
Perfect Dress. Perfect Fit. Perfect Day.

Can a gown be drastically altered?

So you know exactly what you want and can’t find it. We can take 2 or more dresses, tear them apart and put them back together how you like. Sleeves from this dress, bodice from another dress, skirt from the a third dress. Look at fabric color, type and weight for best matches. The alterations will be a bit costly – but it is possible.
Take your ideas, picture, magazine clipping, drawing, what have you to the bridal shop. Tell them you want to shop their back room where the deals are.