Can You Lengthen a Wedding Dress?
Mistakes can happen every once in a while during wedding dress alterations, and brides-to-be might end up finding out that their dress is suddenly too short before their big day. Although you could always buy a different dress, many don’t have the luxury of time before the wedding or the budget to afford something else. This stressful situation makes many wonder how to add length to a wedding dress and whether it’s even possible.
Depending on the gown, a seamstress may be able to make your dress a little bit longer. Whether your dress is too short because of an alteration mistake, or simply because you decided to switch your wedding flats to a pair of heels, there are some techniques for lengthening the gown that you may want to consider.
5 Ways to Lengthen a Wedding Dress
Sometimes a little too much fabric may be taken off the bottom hemline, or you may be wearing an heirloom gown you inherited for your special day, but it needs to be lengthened to fit your stature correctly. Or, while expert bridal stylists always recommend wearing your wedding shoes during every dress fitting, there’s always the chance that you will decide on a different pair of shoes before the ceremony.
Fortunately, if you’re worried about your dress not fitting the day of the wedding, there are a few tricks that can be used to get around this problem.
1. Remove the Hem
Some wedding gowns made of thicker materials, like taffeta or satin, typically have a wider hemline at the bottom of the dress. Bringing out fabric from the rolled hem can add length if your wedding dress is too short.
The hem is usually sewn with invisible stitches that must be removed delicately with a seam ripper and carefully plucked out. Working carefully with the stitches ensures that the dress fabrics won’t be damaged. Even if the dress material is thicker and more durable, it’s best to be as cautious as possible to avoid ruining the gown.
Once the hem is undone, the unfinished edge can then be turned up slightly and sewn back into place. To keep the edge of the hemline crisp, press it with a cool iron. While removing part or most of the hem may not add a lot of material at the end of the gown, it could make up for the couple of inches you need so the dress doesn’t appear too short.
2. Add a Lace Train
Sometimes extra material can be added to lengthen a wedding dress. Adding lace detailing at the bottom of the gown creates a decorative hemline that would easily blend in with the rest of the dress. You may even consider adding extra lace at the bottom to create a fishtail-style gown with a longer lace train. This is a great way to add material and length to a wedding dress while also keeping its elegant appearance.
Just remember that if you are thinking about adding a long train to your gown, you might need an expert bridal stylist to help you make and sew the bustle correctly.
3. Add a Tulle Skirt
Almost any wedding dress with a traditional full skirt can have an outer skirt of tulle added to lengthen the gown. You’ll want to use several layers of tulle to make an overskirt that will fit over the top of your dress and completely cover the outside of the original skirt. By making an overskirt of tulle to whatever length you desire, no one will ever know that your dress is too short.
4. Wear an Underskirt
You may also consider sewing extra layers of fabric into the underskirt of the gown. One way to do this is to purchase a piece of fabric that matches your dress, such as satin or tulle, and create a panel that can then be inserted and sewed to the gown’s inner lining layer. Afterward, the bottom of the fabric will peek out underneath the outer layer of your gown, adding both length and additional style.
If you don’t want to add extra fabric directly to your gown, you could also consider wearing an undergarment, such as a long petticoat, beneath your dress. This is a great way to add extra length to your dress without messing with any stitches or material. Additionally, this underskirt can be easily removed after the ceremony so you can properly dance the night away at your reception.
5. Talk to a Professional
The best way to have your wedding dress lengthened and ensure the beautiful appearance of the gown is kept intact is to talk to a professional bridal consultant. The bridal experts and seamstresses at your previous fittings are a great resource for finding ways to lengthen your dress. They can suggest ideas based on your specific gown and what exactly would match or look good with the style of the wedding dress.
Our bridal stylists at Savvy Bridal are experts at making the right alterations to retain the original beauty of your gown. If you need an expert bridal fitting or ideas for lengthening your wedding dress, contact us at 816-859-5699 at our Kansas City location and 314-312-6396 at our St. Louis location.