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Top 5 things to consider when buying an off the peg wedding dress – from your seamstress.

26 / 01 / 24

What is an off the peg wedding dress?

There are multiple different ways to buy a wedding dress for all different budgets, timings and requirements, but most can be split into three.

  1. Bespoke – This is to make a dress from scratch to your exact designs and wishes. It is very exciting and stay tuned for our upcoming bespoke blogs and brides’ journeys.

  2. Made to order – this is usually through wedding dress shops, where you will try on a sample dress and then your own will be ordered in for you. This will then be fitted to your exact shape and size.

  3. Off the peg – This option is great if you have a tight time frame. These dresses are available from wedding dress shops to try on and take away the same day.

With the huge benefits of the dress being able to take away that day, and (normally) at an appealing price tag, often the dress might not be in your exact size. This is not a problem and shouldn’t put you off your dress. Dresses can be made bigger, smaller … The Modiste even had one bride fitted before lockdown as one size and when she came to her wedding over a year later, she was 38 weeks pregnant and gave birth the following week! We still managed to fit her in the same dress. (and she looked STUNNING!)


One of the key points we always tell our brides (and The Modiste will always be so proud to say) that in 7 years and thousands of brides, we have never had a bride who we haven’t been able to fit into their wedding dress. You are in safe hands.


When buying ‘off the peg’, there are some top tips we advise are good to look out for, to make the best decisions.

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Bust Size

One part of the dress which is more difficult (not impossible) to change is the size of is the bust.


Due to your bust being on a curved seam, it isn’t just a case of ‘taking the seam in’ you must consider the fullness of the volume in the circle, which can normally mean adding seams or darts into places they weren’t in to begin with.


We normally advise brides that it’s not impossible, BUT (if you are looking at especially a plain dress with no detailing) try to review the bust and whether it’s working for your size? Don’t worry about the overall fit as we will take care of that, but it’s always good to review the bust and just be conscious it if is too small.



This is key ladies, pay attention.


Almost every bride we have ever seen, needs her hem shortening. But it’s always good to questions; Is your dress too short? Will you be wearing heels, if so, make sure to stand on your toes.


It is not impossible to make a dress longer, by ways like adding a lace trim to the length, adding extra material or even remaking the skirt… but just be conscious that all of these will either not be the exact original design or will cost more money. Especially if deciding between two dresses, we would always advise that this should be a contributing factor.

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Dry Cleaning

Is the dress you are looking at second hand? Fabulous, it is always such a good environmental choice, and we are all for re-loving dresses again.


Just take some time to look at the condition of your dress. It is normal that you might want it to be dry cleaned which is not a problem at all. The Modiste can organise this for you, but are there any stains that you 100% want removing?


Just be conscious that, due to the delicate nature of the fabric, some stains (a good example is wine) can 9 times out of 10 come out of a dress, but there can always be the chance it won’t. The worst material we find is silk, for completely removing stains. There is a chance there can still be a trace left.


Don’t let this worry you, but we would always advise to not to set your heart on a dress on a proviso that a stain is completely removed.


Matching Fabric

We love to make additional parts to wedding dresses to change up designs for each bride. Whether it is adding sleeves, jackets or lace veils, it really makes your dress unique and your own.


The Modiste have an extensive lace and material library for you to match to your dress. If you are buying off the peg and you would like to add to your dress in matching material, we always suggest sending us a picture of your dress beforehand for us to confirm this is workable.


Ask the seller if the dress has been altered before

When buying any second-hand dress, we always recommend asking this question.


It is great that your dress has been loved already but it Is always helpful to know the history of where it has been worked.


Please don’t worry, we don’t need to know everything… but if you can get an idea, it’s always a benefit.


With all the above, The Modiste are always happy to answer any questions before purchasing your dress. Please do email us on


Happy shopping ladies! Enjoy and we are always here if you need us.

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