How much does it cost to alter a dress?

Price guide

$8 - $200

low

$8

median

$75

high

$200

Low, median and high bar chart distribuiton

How much does it cost to alter a dress?

The best dress is the dress that perfectly fits. For a dress to be kept, worn and enjoyed for longer, it has to be altered to fit properly instead of being thrown away. It isn’t easy to part with a dress that you love, a dress with a style that looks good on you, or a dress that holds beautiful memories. That’s why alterations are a cost-effective way to keep a dress and continue wearing it for as long as you want to. It can also be a way to give life to a vintage dress you probably inherited from your nana.

So how much do dress alterations cost? Dress alterations cost anywhere between $8 to $200. It’s relatively inexpensive compared to going out and buying a new one. Aside from costs, alterations also save time and energy! And if you like to make your fashion choices more sustainable, alterations are a good way of doing so.

A seamstress or an alterations professional will inspect the dress and will take your body measurements. Sometimes the garment is downsized, while on rare times, it must be enlarged. To know the factors that affect dress or shirt alterations costs, read on.

What are the factors that affect the cost of alterations?

Various factors determine how much it does cost to get a dress altered.

Complexity of the alteration job

From repairing a zipper to let out and remaking, dress alteration prices mainly depend on the job’s complexity. Say you want to give a family heirloom dress a little makeover, or maybe you want to turn your daughter’s gown into something she can wear more often. The intricacy of the alterations will determine how much it costs to alter a prom dress or formal gown.

Shortening or tightening the garment is the easiest, most common, and probably most inexpensive type of alteration, which costs around $25 to $45. Sometimes, clients may require a dress to be enlarged (or the process of “letting out”) to fit bigger frames, which starts at $25. For this kind of project, the seamstress may apply various tricks to add more material that makes up the garment.

Ultimately, dress alteration costs depend on how easy it is to find similar fabric and materials, how many layers, and how long it will take to ensure that the finished dress does not look old and altered.

Type of dress

The more elaborate the dress is, the more expensive it can get. Altering a wedding dress may be a little more tricky. It is helpful to note that wedding boutiques often keep only one to two sizes of a specific design in stock for wedding gowns. Dresses like these are usually smaller than street sizes, so you may probably need to alter the dress you purchased. It is very common for wedding dresses to be designed as alteration-friendly and made according to possible easy adjustments than a standard, ready-to-wear gown. It will be easier and cheaper to take in a dress than to let it out. 

However, too large sizes may probably require remaking because the cuts will have to be remade. This includes neckline and shoulders to the bodice and skirt side seams. But everything will surely be worth it, because, without proper alterations, you may have to deal with a wardrobe malfunction. 

Costume alterations may also cost more since costumes are designed for a specific purpose, and they follow strict guidelines to look exactly the way they are. To do this, they require more complex fabrics and specialized threads. 

Stitch type

There are different types of stitching, depending on the style of the dress. A blind stitched (or invisible) dress hem alteration costs less than a top-stitched hem. Alterations that need more hand sewing can be a bit more laborious can take longer, thus costing more. Most formal attires and bridal gowns with delicate fabric, intricate lace designs, or elaborate beadings will require hand sewing to ensure that the designs are placed accurately on the dress. 

Fabric

The type, thickness, and machine requirements of the fabric to be altered also contribute to the alteration service’s cost. For instance, shortening and hemming a dress made of denim or other similar fabric will require a seamstress to use a sewing machine with heavier-gauge needles and threads. Although leather is a rare material to use in dresses, it’s good to note that it will usually cost as much as 50% more than altering fabric. 

Price range of common dress alterations

Below are tables of price ranges of common dress alterations for ordinary dresses and formal gowns like bridal gowns and bridesmaid’s dresses.

Skirts and dresses

Alteration

Price

Take in/out sides up to sleeve 

$20 to $30

Take in/out sides through sleeves, reset sleeves

$25 to $40

Take in/out center seam

$15 to $25

Take in through zipper, reset zipper

$30 to $40

Shorten from waist/back

$30 to $40

Raise shoulders, reset collar and sleeves

$40

Reduce shoulders

$40

Shorten/lengthen sleeves

$20 to $25

Shorten/lengthen sleeves, vented or detailed

$25 to $30

Shorten spaghetti straps

$15

Shorten shoulders/straps

$20 to $25

Shorten hem, plain

$20 to $25

Shorten hem, vented

$25 to $30

Bias cut hem

$ 35

Rolled hem, each full layer (price may vary due to size of hem)

$ 35

Rolled hem, each full layer and reshape (price may vary due to size of hem)

$ 45

Shorten from waist with reshaping

$ 75

 

Bridal gowns

Alteration

Price

Shorten

Starts at $200

Take in

Starts at $200


What are additional factors that affect the cost of dress alterations?

Aside from the complexity of alteration, dress type, stitch type, and kind of fabric, the location and skill level of the alteration professional or the seamstress can affect the overall cost.

The first is location. Like any other project, the location of alteration services or professional seamstress may affect the total costs of dress alterations. This is due to business costs such as storefront rental and taxes.

Another factor is skill level or experience. The experience and skill level of the tailor or seamstress in your area may also affect the cost of dress alterations. More often than not, professional seamstresses with decades of experience charge more than newer ones.

Dress alteration quotes from Taskers

For dress alterations, here is an estimated range of price quotes from Taskers.

For simple dress alterations, it starts at $30 to $100 for customized alteration projects, depending on the complexity, location, and inclusions. For a more accurate quotation, you may talk to a Tasker and provide the details of your project requirements.

Save time and make sure that your well-loved piece - especially the ones that hold beautiful memories - is in good hands. To get an accurate quote for dress alterations, put up a task now and connect with a reliable Tasker in minutes! It’s a fuss-free, convenient, and cost-effective choice. 

Price guide

$8 - $200

low

$8

median

$75

high

$200

Low, median and high bar chart distribuiton

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FAQs

What should I prepare to guide the seamstress before the alteration?

As you visit the professional seamstress, make sure you bring your shoes with you. Do not forget to bring the undergarments and accessories that you will wear. If you’re a bride-to-be, wear the wedding shoes to ensure that the length of the dress will be altered accurately.

How important is a dress alteration? Do I really need it?

Improperly fitted dresses do not look flattering on any figure. Most importantly, they are not comfortable to wear. Fashion nightmares such as unflattering photos and wardrobe malfunction are just some of the issues you may want to prevent by having your dress altered. Brides who want to ensure that they can comfortably walk on the aisle in the wedding of their dreams must include possible alterations in their budget. The professional seamstresses can help them look their best by ensuring that the wedding dress fits the bride, who will wear it only once in their lifetime.

Can I DIY my dress alteration?

The process of making a beautiful dress requires training and skill. Unless you have prior training or experience altering dresses, doing it yourself may pose more issues than resolutions.

How do I know if the dress properly fits?

A well-fitted dress must support and shape the bust. It should also accentuate the body shape. For most women, especially those who prefer wearing casual dresses, the dress should be comfortable to wear. For brides, a well-fitted gown should be long enough to cover the shoes (if applicable), but not too long that may pose a tripping risk.

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