It’s NOT Your Dress

While many of you may think that this poor seamstress spends days adding fabric and making corset backs to wedding dresses to squeeze big girls into small gowns, the same thing happens in reverse…taking in seams and zippers to “make it tight”…the battle cry of so many of my clients.

If you watch “Say Yes to the Dress” where hopeful brides try on expensive dress after dress in the New York Bridal Salon, Kleinfeld’s, until they emerge from the dressing room with a smile on their face and happy tears in their eyes and declare, “Yes, this is my dress” to an applauding entourage of envious relatives/bridesmaids, you know the drill.

This week one of the dresses that needed work really fit into the category of “NOT”.

If a women brings in a dress that needs 1.5 inch wide panels added to each side seam…it just ain’t/never will be her size. Here is what I mean:

Nice enough dress if it fit, the price? $220 cotton fabric made by Beth Bowley. The problem is the client needed 3 extra inches in the bust to fasten the buttons. I used one of the side seam pockets to steal fabric and added all the way down to and through the waist area.

One problem is the huge buttons and even huger buttonholes being spaced wide apart. My client has a real bust and sometimes these designer dresses do not allow for that. It seems as though the dresses are never tried on to see if the front bands gap or lie flat. In the end even adding this much barely adds enough ease but I do the best I can. The lining needed a patch and I also let out all the darts in the lining to give enough ease.

Two other women dropped off dresses this week. One a size 16 David’s bridesmaid dress that should have been a size 6. So taking out the zipper and snugging everything up 4+ inches down to the puffy hem should work. I like doing all the altering through the zipper as it avoids all the side seams and boning etc.

The second dress by Tatyana is also too big…by 6 inches! Six inches says this is certainly NOT your dress!

But the client says she fell in love with it as soon as she saw it online…. yawn….have we heard this before? In the end she will pay me almost as much as she paid for the dress to take in all the seams, remove the zipper, replace the nasty black metal one with an invisible zipper and move those rattail cords over one inch in the center back. The fabric is very thick Bengaline that is woven but acts like a knit so not a lot of fabric breathing hence the open lattice top for heat exchange. The venue for the wedding? Washington, DC in August…whew!

Two more new brides coming in this week so there will be new photos next time and way more problems and alterations.

Meanwhile, in my veggie garden the peas and snap peas have been going nuts! Since our spring/summer has been cooler and wetter than normal they have had the best season ever and not dried out from excessive heat. The green beans have been slow in producing flowers as well as the Japanese eggplants which by now should have been producing lovely slender items just perfect for the barbeque. The fennel have bolted but the turnips are getting bigger by the day.

This is the first year we have seen baby chickadees accompanying their parents to the feeders and the hummingbirds are ravenous for the Crocosmia flowers in bloom.

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5 Responses to It’s NOT Your Dress

  1. Elle C says:

    Every time I read your blog, I alternately admire you for the work you do and wonder at your craziness for doing the work you do. 8-D

  2. mrsmole says:

    Thank you, Elle. You do have to be a bit crazy to fulfill client’s dreams! Friends say they would like to spend a day with me in my sewing room(s)…I think not! I tell clients that I cannot sing or dance but I was given patience…it’s a necessary asset most days!

  3. Shams says:

    I would never have the patience for this. I read a statement on some blog recently, though I can’t remember which one. She said she didn’t want to work for people conditioned to RTW pricing for clothing. This goes to the crux of the problem. I recently was reading yelp reviews of tailors in SF. Some people are SO IRATE that a tailor might have the audacity to charge $60 to perform major alterations on a garment. I just shake my head and think about that statement about people being conditioned to RTW pricing.

  4. mrsmole says:

    Well Shams…these same people willingly pay $60 an hour for a hairdresser or masseuse or nail tech to do work on them that has to be repeated month after month. At least a tailor’s finished project last a lifetime…pretty good return for your money. My clients EXPECT compliments on their altered or from scratch clothes and that comes with a price tag although I cannot charge anything like $60 an hour. Thanks for dropping by!

  5. Pingback: Mini Betty Page | fit for a queen

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