When should you get your dress altered before your wedding day? Who should you trust to make your gown fit perfectly? Susanna at Looking Sharp Alterations has the expertise and years of experience to ensure each bride, groom, and everyone in the wedding party have a personalized experience.
Below, Susanna chats why you should always go with a professional seamstress, her favorite wedding fashion trend, and how you can make an appointment with her!
Q: Let’s get to it, what’s Looking Sharp Alterations’ specialty?
A: Looking Sharp Alterations is the go-to stop for quality, professional alterations that put the final touch on your gorgeous gown and your wedding party’s looks. A well-fitted gown makes all the difference in achieving comfort and confidence on a day to remember!
Q: Where can we find you?
A: The fitting studio can be found on the second floor of the 1500 building in Rochester, Minnesota, at 1500 1st Ave NE, Room 201-A.
Q: Tell us when and how your business began.
A: After earning my Bachelor of Science degree in Apparel Design and Development, I entered the apparel industry as a technical designer. It was then I realized sitting and working at a desk day in and day out felt empty without seeing the final user’s reactions to wearing the clothing. I left my corporate job and returned to my hometown, eager to open my own alterations studio and begin helping brides, wedding parties, prom girls, and those needing basic repairs.
Q: What makes Looking Sharp Alterations unique from others?
A: Getting married is a very personal event from start to finish, and after working for many bridal salons and alterations practices, I could see the frustration in their faces when brides felt as if they were being “funneled” through an impersonal system with limited choices. My goal is to make every bride who comes to see me feel celebrated and unique in her custom choices that will reflect who she is to those celebrating her and her partner’s new life together.
Q: How long have you been in the industry? What do you think has changed the most since then?
A: I’ve been a professional seamstress since the age of 17; legally not allowed to use the cleaning chemicals in my first workplace! Since then, I’ve been able to take my skills to different parts of the country to learn new methods from extremely talented women. I owe a lot of my talent to their willingness to teach me their tips and tricks. The bridal industry has also been ever-changing in that time, most notably in the evolution of fits, fabrics, and new colors seen on wedding gowns today.
Q: Walk us through your average day.
A: Before leaving home, I get dressed in head-to-toe black or a variation of it; I want to make sure all focus is on the bride or clients I see. On a typical day in the studio, I have them change and we talk over some of the fit problems I see happening. We start from top to bottom: the shoulders, the bust, the sides, the hips, and finally the hem and bustle. I pin to correct them and markdown any other changes or customization’s she’d like to make. After the appointment, work immediately begins on sewing the gown and making the magic happen!
Q: What would you want couples searching for your business type to know?
A: Many people assume that alterations should be done as inexpensively as possible and choose either an older relative or a corporate chain store to do their alterations. Alterations are an essential step in getting both the perfect look and making the dress functional for your day, so skimping out on quality or majorly needed changes will leave you uncomfortable and distracted the day of. Choosing a small studio brings high-touch personal service, and a level of quality you won’t see in major chains or amateur sewists.
Q: How far in advance should a couple book with you?
A: While you can book online up to 6 months ahead of your appointment, the actual fitting date should be booked about 6 weeks to 3 months ahead of time. If you tend to fluctuate in weight, aim for a shorter time period of 6 weeks before the wedding so that your body’s shape will be as close as possible as it will the day of the wedding. For any questions you may have about the process or timing in action, don’t be shy—send me a message!
Q: What’s your favorite wedding fashion trend lately?
A: Rhinestone sashes, definitely! Rhinestone sashes are one of the easiest and most elegant ways to add an extra touch of glamour to your gown with the bonus of perfectly defining your waistline. Looking Sharp Alterations carries a hand-picked selection of rhinestone sashes for you to try on while in your gown and options to keep it in place other than tying in a bow.
Q: What trends can we expect to see more of this year?
A: Non-traditional colors continue to trend and are a very welcome change from the limited ivory or white choices! These colors go well with the other trends such as delicate vines and flowers, really giving a feminine and romantic look overall.
Q: What’s your best piece of advice for couples on the hunt for their gown or suit?
A: Oh, so many pieces of advice I’m not sure what to start with… For brides: Don’t overexert yourself! Trying on many gowns at multiple stores on the same day or weekend will exhaust you both emotionally and physically and leave you in a sour mood. Also, keep in mind that the process isn’t supposed to be difficult or frustrating; if one of the first gowns you try on feels right for you, trust your gut instinct. For grooms: Communicate clearly with your fiancée on the color scheme and formality level, and your stylist to find the right cut and fit of suit for you. Men have style options, too!
Q: Do you have any favorite podcasts?
A: I’m unquestionably a true crime, conspiracy theory, and paranormal mystery lover so my most binged podcasts are “Crime Junkie”, “Stuff They Don’t Want You To Know”, and “Unexplained Mysteries.”
Q: Who’s your most played artist on your streaming service?
A: Brendon Urie of Panic at the Disco. No shame.
Q: Heels or flats?
A: Depends on the occasion. 90% flats, 10% heels
Q: Mountains or Beach?
Q: Go-to cocktail (or mocktail)?
A: I’m a big fan of a cocktail I discovered while working in Charleston, South Carolina, called a “Crippled Crab.” The recipe of Cruzan Mango Rum, pineapple juice, sour mix, and grenadine is so heavenly that one sip will make you think you’re on the beach instead of the Midwest.
Q: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I was a Jill-of-all-trades, but master of none when I was young until I discovered sewing. All I firmly knew is that I had a ridiculously strong entrepreneurial spirit and would one day own my own business!
Q: You’re at brunch. Are you going for something sweet or savory?
A: Why not both? A sweet mimosa paired with some breakfast potatoes, bacon, and eggs sounds amazing.
Q: Go-to comfort food?
A: I’m a real sucker for a full Thanksgiving feast including the turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing.
Q: Duck Duck Grey Duck or Duck Duck Goose?
A: Duck Duck Grey Duck, no question! I’d be ashamed to call myself a true Minnesotan if I’d answered otherwise.