Meet The Fairy Godmother Of Hipster Weddings

In the land of sample sales and online shopping, buying the perfect wedding dress (or something that closely resembles one) is easier than ever. The tricky part now, it seems, is finding someone who can properly alter the dang thing — slinky silks aren’t so forgiving after all. Luckily, there’s Nayantara Banerjee, a.k.a. the Williamsburg Seamster, a modern-day tailor who is cool enough to get what look you’re going for yet skilled enough to not mess it up.
Because Banerjee works out of her Greenpoint studio (she travels to non-bridal clients), she strictly operates by word of mouth and has an impressive list of glowing reviews on Yelp to back it up. We met up with her recently (and tested her magic) to find out more about altering a gown for the perfect fit.

Who is your typical bridal client?
“She is usually a young professional, excited for her wedding but also juggling all of the other aspects of regular life at the same time. I tend to work with slightly less traditional brides — though I think the idea of a traditional bride itself is changing — but they tend to be pretty laid-back brides, eager to look good but also feel comfortable.”

What type of alterations do most brides come to you for?
“Many of the brides I see come to me for full alterations — usually that means fitting the bodice through to the hem, hemming, and bustling. I have removed zippers and added corset closures or extra panels through the bodice of a dress. I've also found a lot more brides interested in adding sleeves to otherwise thin-strapped or strapless dresses.”

How far in advance do you book out for weddings?
“I usually am booked up a few weeks to a month in advance, so I like to be in touch with a bride at least three months before the wedding. A wedding dress generally requires several fittings, usually over a period of six to eight weeks, with the final due date about two weeks before the wedding. This helps me know that the dress will actually fit the client the day of but also allows her to feel confident that the dress is taken care of well ahead of time.”

What's your number-one tailoring tip when it comes to the wedding dresses?
“In tailoring a wedding gown, I'd say go for a super-snug bodice and rib-cage fit but leave a little room at the waist if possible. You'll want a little room to eat and wiggle and dance, so if the dress can be a little forgiving at the waist, you'll be able to totally enjoy yourself and still look amazing.“

Photo: Courtesy of Nayantara Banerjee