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How Many Sizes Can A Dress Be Taken In? Useful Tips

Planning a wedding can be very stressful. Even searching for a perfect wedding gown can be an exhausting process in itself. You want to look stunning, and wear a dress that is fitted just for you. You’ve already bought a beautiful dress.

However, you’ve gained or lost weight, so you ask yourself the following question. How many sizes can a dress be taken in? No need to worry, we’ll answer your question.

Key Takeaways

  • A dress can be taken in 2 to 3 sizes comfortably.
  • A good tailor can help you trim and style your dress any way you want
  • Shortening the hem of a dress, and cinching in the bust and waist are the most common dress alterations
  • A good seamstress can help you take in a dress for even more than 3 sizes, however, making the dress bigger for more than a size or two is a lot harder
  • Don’t be afraid to alter your dress, for you do not deserve to settle for a dress that isn’t everything you want

How many sizes can a dress be altered?

Altering a bridal dress is a prevalent practice when it comes to wedding alterations. Rest assured, a dress can be taken in for about 3 sizes down without any crucial changes in the original dress.

However, a good seamstress can help you alter your dress for more than 3 sizes, or add extra material and help you go 1-2 sizes up too.

Of course, the smaller the alteration, the less money you spend on adjusting your dress size. And, the more complex designs, lace, or accessories that will need to be sewn off and on that require more effort put in by the seamstress, will also cost more.


What can be altered on a dress?

The typical areas where alterations take place are the neck, bust, waist, length, and sleeves. A lot can be done to a dress.

A seamstress or tailor can alter the bust, as in take it in or lift the neckline, the length of the dress can be changed, the sleeves can be tightened, you can cinch in the waist by a couple of inches or even add extra embellishments and shorten straps.

This is all something that can easily be done with a great tailor; and wedding alterations such as narrowing the shoulder or waist area, shortening the hem, as well as changing the back loop or the buttons of the dress are a common practice even if it takes a lot of time and effort for them to be put together accordingly.

This could become a daunting task if you have to restitch beading and make the pieces fit well together without any visible reworks, however, as said before, a professional will have it done for you in no time.

Are there any materials that can’t be altered?

A good tailor should be able to handle any type of fabric. This doesn’t mean that sheer fabric such as chiffon or silk doesn’t pose a daunting task and a challenge.

Lightweight sheer gauzy fabric is usually the hardest to work with, in fact, the fact that they are so fine and light results in visibility when it comes to seeing the mistakes, sewing, reworks, and stitches on the fabric.

This also infers that the quality of the material is a quintessential factor to be taken into consideration. High-quality fabric is way better for working with than low-quality fabric.

The former is a lot more durable and better at covering up any mistakes, while the latter isn’t able to take much of the rework without it looking rugged or being able to look as if it wasn’t worked on in the first place.

This being said, the sheer fabrics that I mentioned before, such as georgette, voile, gauze, organza, and chiffon are materials that are hard to work with. On the other hand, twill, cotton, linen, fleece, wool, or satin are the easiest and best materials to resize, sew, and work with.

Can any wedding dress be altered?

Yes, any wedding dress can be altered and probably will be. The most common alterations include shortening the hem, and cinching the waist and bust area, however, the opposite can also be done.

If you’re still not convinced that your dress can be altered and are asking yourself how many sizes it can be taken in, I have the answer for you. Not only can you get your dress 2-3 sizes down, but also making it a size or two bigger is also very much possible.

As much as the materials you’re working with matter, they aren’t the only factor that goes into determining what the alteration of a dress is and how it’s going to happen.

Wedding dress alterations are needed regardless

Asking yourself “how many sizes can a dress be taken in?” is a great starting question. Moreover, making wedding gown alterations and dress alterations, in general, are very common. Rarely anyone goes to their wedding without at least one trip to their tailor, and a wedding gown alteration.

This brings me to my next point. Dress alterations are crucial. Thus, they can be categorized into two:

  • Those that are a requirement and an absolute must
  • Those that add style and glamour to your dress

Required dress alterations

This kind of dress alteration is very obviously essential. You need your dress to fit you well and if you don’t do that, the dress doesn’t sit well on you. You can’t just wear a dress 3 sizes too big and feel beautiful in an extremely unflattering dress that doesn’t fit you.

My daughter had found a gorgeous prom dress she very much liked, but it wasn’t flattering on her. So, it had to be completely reshaped.

It had to be resized by 2 whole sizes and it had a lot of lace embellishments both in the front and back, so to make it fit it was quite the process for it to keep the original vintage look.

This was no joke, it required a lot of effort, but finishing the project myself made it very awarding. Seeing the finished result on my daughter was a blessing. The same can also be said for wedding dresses; the necessary changes that result in the flattering look of your dress fitting you well are key.

Altering a dress for style

These types of alterations aren’t necessary per se, however, add a lot to the dress. This doesn’t make them any less important.

It’s important not to settle for a dress that doesn’t fit your wants and needs. Make all the alterations you want in order to achieve the dress of your dreams.

Final words

In conclusion, wedding dresses, or dresses generally can be comfortably taken in for 2-3 sizes. They can be made bigger or smaller for your comfort and style, and in order to make you look beautiful, glamorous, and ethereal on your special day.

The alterations can go from just shortening your dress, to fully resizing it and changing the model according to the look most suitable for your body type.

Making fewer alterations means less stress, so I would personally suggest designing your own dress!