8 Questions To Ask Your Quinceanera Seamstress

You have finally chosen your perfect dress, congratulations! Of course, there are a few things you’ll need taken in and altered. When you have a dress that is so special (and not to mention, so expensive!), you don’t want to trust just anyone to alter it for you. But how do you find the right seamstress? We talked to expert seamstress Teri Lively of Concord, MI, who has over 25 years of experience. She even handcrafted her own beautiful wedding dress!

Thanks for sitting down with us Teri! Let’s get started:

  • What are the most important questions someone should ask when hiring a seamstress?

    • You will most likely want to know approximate cost, how much time should be allowed before the event, and how much experience the seamstress has working on formal attire.
  • On average, how long does it take you to alter a wedding or quinceanera dress? What kind of alterations takes the longest?

    • I try to get these dresses back as soon as possible, but it can depend on the time of year since early spring and summer are very busy for seamstresses!!  Wedding gowns definitely take the longest since they are intricately made. If the quinceanera gown is heavily beaded, crystallized and/or sequined, they can also be very time to consume because the sewing machine can’t sew through these things, so they all need to be removed and reapplied.

      My best advice is to communicate with your seamstress early on and check in prior to your important deadlines to make sure everything is still on track.


  • How many fittings do you usually have with a bride or quinceanera?

    • Normally I have 2 fittings: the first one is to see what needs to be done, and the 2nd is to make sure everything is fitting great. Most often, 2 is all that is needed.
  • How can your future customers gauge the quality of your work before hiring you? Can they see the work you’ve done on other dresses?

    • It’s generally not possible to actually see the work I’ve done on other gowns because they are not with me any longer…however, if my customers like recommendations, I can get them from past clients.
  • Do you have any advice for how a quinceanera or bride should communicate with her seamstress?

    • I would say at the first fitting to be open and honest about what they want…don’t be afraid to say something is uncomfortable if it’s pinned too tight, or if they want it tighter, shorter, longer, those types of things. We want to make you happy, but we need you to help us out!!
  • What is your favorite part of being a seamstress?

    • Seeing the end result and knowing I played a small role in the special day.
  • How much can one anticipate spending on her dress alterations?

    • This is the age-old question that can vary so much it’s hard to answer! It all depends on how the dress is made, and what they want to be done to it. I try to give my clients a general estimate if they ask, and just let them know it can vary once I open the seams up. If it’s going to be much higher than I originally thought, I will ask before continuing.
  • Can you give any advice to young women who are searching for a seamstress; how do they know who to trust?

    • I think you can get a sense when you first talk to them if you’ll feel comfortable. Definitely don’t be afraid to ask for referrals!



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