My Seamstress Ruined My Wedding Dress

Seamstress helping future bride put on wedding dress after alterations

The gown shopping

Let me tell you the short version of a horror story that happened to me when having my wedding dress altered. As I mentioned before, we got engaged and married within six months, so I didn’t have too much time for dress shopping. I was lucky and got my dream dress on my first shot at the Bridal Garden in NYC. I paid $700 compared to the original $1,500 price tag. It was mermaid style, simple – yet sophisticated lace. The dress was just perfect with only one downside – it was a little big on me.  First, I wasn’t sure whether to buy it or not. I knew that alterations would cost additional money, but the sales lady claimed that it only required simple work that would cost about 200 bucks.

I purchased the gown, and my alterations quest began

I didn’t know any good tailor and all the ones recommended by the salon were unavailable.  So I did what everyone would do – I went online and found the seamstress that had the best reviews. She had a cool website and bunch of positive reviews. I was able to get the fitting appointment the next day, which made me excited. There was a $50 consultation fee where she would explain what alteration would be needed and the cost of it.

The first appointment was quick and very pleasant. The seamstress told me that all I need is to hem the bottom and a small reduction in my bust and hips area. The price she quoted was 300 dollars. It was a little more expensive than I expected but I liked her, and she seemed to know her stuff, so I agreed to everything. I was supposed to come in 2 weeks for the second trial and probably in 4 weeks my dress would be ready.

My drama started in the second fitting

She showed me what she had done with the dress. I tried it on, and I didn’t think the dress fit me well. The hem and bust looked good, but I’ve noticed a prominent excess of the material (it looked like a bubble) in my hip area that looked even bigger when I tried to walk. It looked awful to me, but my seamstress calmed me down saying that everything is under control. She claimed that the dress is just stitched and not sewn yet. And when I come in 2 weeks to pick the dress everything will look normal. It sounded a little iffy to me, but I had no idea about alterations, and she was “an expert” in wedding dress alterations, so I decided to wait patiently for the next trial and see how things go.

I almost had a panic attack when after two weeks the bubble still was there. I told the seamstress that I’m not satisfied with the dress and I want her to fix it. Her attitude totally changed. Everything that was smiley and chatty turned all of the sudden to bitter coldness. She started rolling her eyes, saying that I’m the first customer that isn’t satisfied with her work and that the bubble is just in my imagination. Also, that no one can make a dress fit the body perfectly and if I want I can take it to the another tailor (after paying her of course).

I almost burst into tears. I’m usually very chill and easy going so if this was just a little flaw I really wouldn’t make a big deal about it. I’m so far away from being a bridezilla, but at four weeks away from our wedding day, not only did it have major issues but I also maxed out my dress budget completely. I pulled my shit together and tried to talk to her as calmly as possible. After a while, she resistantly agreed to try fixing the issue and told me to come back in 3 days. Those were the longest three days of my life. This time I took my maid of honor as a backup with me. I was so stressed and nervous. The dress looked good. I sighed with relief – No f-ing bubble. But now we had another problem. The seamstress demanded 400 dollars more because of the additional work she had to spend on fixing my bubble. I just could believe it. With the extra $400, it would make the alteration total the same price as the actual dress.

How my maid of honor saved my ass

I just couldn’t think of anything to say. Luckily my friend jumped in and helped me. I was in a daze of shock and panic and barely heard anything my friend said to her, but I knew she was upset at how the seamstress treated me and was fighting with her and calling her unprofessional. She mentioned how unprofessional it was to charge more than double the original estimate considering she even charged $50 to provide the estimate. Eventually, the seamstress agreed to the previous price and angrily shoved the gown into my hands.

It was such an unpleasant experience. After this incident, I couldn’t even look at my dress or think about the wedding for a while. Luckily it all worked out ok, and eventually I got over it, but I wouldn’t wish this experience on any other bride. There is so much else going on during wedding planning that wondering whether you will even have a wearable dress four weeks before your wedding is unbearable.

Hopefully, I’ll save your ass

I’ve learned my lesson the hard way. I don’t want you to go through the same. I will try to put together some advice based off of my experience and what I think I did wrong and what you could do to avoid my mistakes soon, and hopefully, it will help others avoid this kind of wedding dress drama. UPDATE: Check out my advice on how to avoid these stresses and save money on your alterations. Let me know what you think about my story. If you, like me, had some drama about your wedding dress alterations, don’t hesitate to share.


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2 Comment

  1. I completely understand and probably have a bigger horor story than you. I am very petite and it was extremely hard trying on sample sizes and envisioning how the dress would look on me as the back would have to be clamped to see the front and then the front would have to be clamped to see what the back would look like. I was pretty frustrated while i was in one bridal boutique and the owner could tell so she recommended i get a custom dress as one of her staff designs bridal gowns and is pretty well known in the south florida area. I was pretty excited as the dress i dreamed about was within reach and would be a custom design/fit tying in elements from renown designers (berta, pnina). We settled on design and price in January 2016. The dress completition date was July 2016. Wellllllll this is where my nightmare starts. After deposit we were suppose to select lace and fabric within a few weeks. She was always too busy saying “I have so much going on its crazy no worries we have time youre wedding is in January 2017”. Point taken but c’mon im a bride and im excited to see this dress come to life. She didnt finally go lace shopping until June…one month from the due date. Following that was several cancelled appointments to try on the base dress to ensure fit and lace placement. I started ti get upset because the dress should have been done by July and here it was it was August …still no dress. She kept putting me off saying there was so much time left and that she was just so busy. She saud the dress would then be ready September. Ok. Cool. October rolls around still no dress. After two postponed appointments the dress i tried on look okay but did not look a thing like the sketch or inspiration photos i showed her. After pointing out several areas that needed adjustments and tweaking the dress was promised to be done November 11th. Thanksgiving rolls around and the dress is still not done. Hello December! I go in thinking my dress was finished. Nope…and to make matters worse things i never said i wanted tweaked got tweaked meaning they would have to be untweaked and i was not leaving with my dress. We had previously discussed her making my veil as well and she asked if i still needed it. I asked well how much would it be. She stated $500 and quoted my total $1000.00 more than the agreed upon amount. I lost my s*it. Not only was my dress overdue and her professionalism non-existent but she had the nerve to up the price midway through without discussing anything to me and i was less than 60 days out from my wedding. Well needless to say i tild her she would not make my veil as i wouldnt give her any extra business and that i neber agreed or signed a change order agreeing to an extra $1000.00. I was furious less than two months from my wedding who has an extra $1000.00 just sitting around??? She then said she couldnt bead my dress as much as we AGREED upon due to the current budget. I had to step out and get some fresh air because I was ready to flip the table. I left that day feeling defeated. My bridal dress experience had been ruined by delays, lack of interest and professionalism by the designer and honestly the dress dud not look like what it was suppose to. The next day she text me and said she woyld do her best to make me happy and we would meet in two weeks with the final dress. Well its Christmas weekend and still my dress is not done. The last appointment the zipper got stuck and she let out the material to allow more room so I could sit more comfortably ….but now the dress looks loose and bunches in the waist/hip area. The dress does not photograph well at all! My wedding is on January 15, 2017 and there’s really nothing left that can be done. I’m terrified if i ask her to take in the dress so that it reduces the bunching my dress may end up ruined. At this point I’m just praying my dress is finished by my wedding date. I know the most important thing about a wedding is marrying your best friend and in the grand scheme of things its just a dress but thus us a special part of the bridal experience and my designer really stole that from me. I’m over the dress…really don’t have big expectations when it’s time to finally slip it on and walk down the aisle. Thankful my wedding is open bar and hopefully I’ll just be too drunk to care…but i paid too much for the dress and my photographer for the dress not to photograph well.

    I plan to renew my vows in a few years and when I do I am not designing my dress I will save up and get the dress of my dreams from a bridal store as this journey has been a nightmare.

  2. Ania says: Reply

    Hi Sanchia.. I’m so sorry that this happened to you! I’ve been there and know how stressful it gets to hang in uncertainty waiting to see if you will even be able to wear your dress on your wedding.
    I totally understand when you say that your bridal experience was ruined. It cost me a few sleepless weeks and an outbreak of acne three weeks before my wedding( another horror story of mine). It’s even more frustrating considering how much advanced planning you put into it and how your seamstress kept blowing you off.
    ***Stop here if you were just venting and didn’t want to here my advice***
    There are still a few things that can be done. It all depends on how bad your dress is damaged and most importantly on your mental state.
    In my case, I was so tired and stressed that if it weren’t for my amazing made of honor, I would probably just accept the dress and suffer on my wedding day.
    You wrote “nothing can be done”- are you sure of that?
    My seamstress first said the same but after my friend’s intervention she “miraculously” found a way to fix it.
    I inspected my dress after the wedding, and I’ve noticed that she actually took in some material from the front area of the dress to reduce the bunching. It was probably more time and work for her but it worked in my situation.
    You need to make your tailor aware that it’s not only your dress but her career is at stake. In the age of internet and social media, word gets spread fast. No other bride will want to give her business if she sees your ruined dress. Also,
    look for other tailors in your area and ask for their opinion. Maybe yours isn’t seasoned enough, and there is some solution to the problem.
    Call the bridal boutiques that recommended getting a custom made dress with her. Tell them about your horrible experience and ask if they can do anything to help considering the failed recommendation, and how close you are to the wedding.
    Regarding photography – It all depends on how bad the damage is. Does it bunch only when you walk or sit? If yes, talk to your photographer ahead of time and make him aware of the problem. He should be able to come up with some poses that won’t accentuate the bunching.
    Remember that your wedding day is just one day, and your marriage is the rest of your life. You seem like a super happy and truly in love couple and anything that doesn’t go perfectly on your wedding day will be something to laugh at. Even with all my wedding dress drama, once the wedding started you get so in the moment that all these worries float away. Your wedding will be full of people laughing, dancing, and having fun.
    By the way, congratulations on being our first commentor! I have been writing since august, and you are the first. And in celebration of you being our first commentor, the spirit of christmas / the holidays, and to try to give you something extra to look forward to, we decided to buy you a few drinks on your honeyfund page. I know it won’t fix your situation, but hopefully it will bring a smile to your face during this tough time. Just promise us that on your honeymoon you’ll be having a few drinks and laugh about all this 🙂

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