How to Alter a Wedding Dress Yourself

The big day is fast approaching! You have worked out every detail of your perfect wedding, and all that is left are the final touches. One minor source of anxiety, however, is your dress. 

Everything about it is just the way you dreamed, but the fit strays a bit from perfection. Don’t worry! With our help, you’ll know how to alter a wedding dress yourself and have the perfect dress for your big day!

A Quick Answer

Each dress requires different alterations. One of the first steps for any changes is taking a measuring tape to your dress and ensuring everything is the right size. If you need to remove seams, gently take a seam ripper to your dress. To create new seams, get out that needle and thread! 

Now, let’s take a closer look at how to do those alterations to make your dress perfect for your big day.


Before we begin, we need to prepare. You’ll want to make sure you have the right tools. And, of course, before tearing seams and removing lace, it’s essential to consider where you want to make these alterations and to what extent.


There are some non-negotiables when it comes to alteration tools. You’ll need some thread, a needle, a seam ripper, pins, scissors, and a ruler or measuring tape.

A sewing machine very much comes in handy here but is not necessary. When it comes to thread, clear thread is very nice to have, but at the least, you’ll want thread of a color as close to the area you’re sewing in as possible.

Areas of alteration

There are critical areas on a dress that may need altering. The bust, the waist, the hips, and the hemline are typically the culprits of a poor fit. Determine the extent of alteration necessary for each specific area, and then it’s time to alter your own wedding dress!


You’ve tried your wedding dress on and felt like you need to make some changes. Well, before we make these changes, you’ll need to try the dress on again. 

Make sure you also wear the shoes that will be accompanying the dress on the big day, as well as any undergarments, as these will affect our final hem length and precise fit on your wedding day. 

With your entire wedding attire on, take note of the critical areas mentioned above. Is the bust too tight or too loose? Is the fit not quite right in the back or the front? Ask yourself the same questions for the waist and the hips. 

The hem will most likely need to be shortened, as most manufacturers leave extra length to accommodate various heights. However, especially in the case of wedding dresses, the hem can be a complicated process. 

So here, we will be covering the more straightforward alterations associated with the bust, waist, and hips. But still, take note of the hem length you want so that a professional alterations specialist can make the needed changes.


Remember the measuring devices and pins we told you to have ready? Well, they’re about to be put to use.

For each area that needs alteration, measure precisely how much you want to be taken in or out. Measure away from the original seam and insert the pins in a straight line where you want the new seam to be. 

Remember that you’ll want to do this on both sides, so account for this factor when taking measurements.

Removing Seams

Now we’ll take our seam ripper and carefully remove the stitches to the point where you want alterations to be made. You’ll want to be extra careful here not to damage any of the fabric or lace or remove any extra stitching.

Sewing in New Seams

Once the seam is separated, join the seam again where the pins are inserted. Reinsert the pins to keep that seam line in place. Once the seam is in place, it’s time to sew the fabric underneath, which will be easier with a machine, but you can do it by hand.

As you sew the fabric, remove the pins. Once you have sewn the seam, make sure there is no more than a half-inch of extra seam fabric if you had to take it in, and if there is, cut it away. This way, the extra seam fabric isn’t causing discomfort during wear.

And there you have it – you now know how to alter a wedding dress yourself. Your perfect dress is just a few steps away!