Rise and Fall

About a year ago a fire swept through our valley destroying over 3000 homes and businesses. 6,000 people were homeless in an instant. Three thousand acres were burned to the ground.

Where does one start to pick up the pieces and start the process of getting together documents for insurance payments?

How does one get over losing everything?

Today, driving past the areas that were burned, there is little in the way of resettlements and building. Folks are still trying to get their lots cleaned up and cleared of debris. Insurance claims are slow to appear so many folks have been left in a Limbo of burned paperwork and restrictions.

One lady in her 70’s has persevered through it all…my friend, Joyce. She is a seamstress who has been working tailoring clothes since 1969. Her home was flattened within minutes of her returning home from driving people to doctor and hospital visits.

She was allowed to run into her house and grab her medications and one doll…everything else went up in smoke.

After all the emergency vehicles had left, one of her friends told her that they should go to the ashes and dig through to see if anything survived. She was reluctant from the looks of the site but as they walked along to the back of the house, a jewelry box was found.

She opened the box and found one article…

Finding a thimble was her sign that she should continue her sewing business and rebuild. Luckily her tailoring shop was saved and she could continue working through this whole year.

The other single thing that was rescued was her doll. Joyce lost 4 chests of Teya’s clothes that she had made over the years. She said, “Teya escaped with the clothes on her back (t-shirt and leggings) as did I.”

But this month has some brought some good news…Joyce’s new manufactured home is on site where her last home was. Foundations are being poured and renovated and brought up to code before utilites are hooked up and she can move in. Her new front door is painted red as it reflects what a welcoming and generous person she is in the community.

Soon she will be in new sewing room and making new clothes for Teya and herself!

As the summer temps cool, we have been harvesting our two types of Butternut squash. Here is the first batch on Mr. Mole’s workbench in the garage. There will be more to join them once we have our first frost and the plants shut down.

Our Swiss chard plants are still producing:

The potatoes grown in fabric bags have done well:

The remaining green tomatoes will have another month to ripen and be brought into the kitchen to be scorched under the grill and then frozen for the Winter.

This week Mr. Mole got creative and constructed a “catio” as in a cat patio for Nadine. She can stay inside and watch birds safely when her humans are busy doing gardening chores. She is leash trained now and can be hooked up with a 60 foot leash and harness to roam around the back yard as she wants. Here is a stock photo, not in my back yard!

Halloween is fast approaching and I have already order 180 pieces of candy for the goblins. Normally, we pass out over 150 treats to neighborhood kids but last year and this year, we will have a box on the front porch with a sign to take just one in English and Spanish. Since half of our local population has refused to be vaccinated and our town was rated the most infected in the whole US, I won’t be getting close to the trick or treaters. It’s all about getting the most candy after all!

Wishing you all good progress on your holiday sewing projects!!!

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Adding and Subtracting

This Maggie Sottero dress fits the model like a glove.


But not all brides are models, are they? Let’s start with what has to be done:

The halter neck is supposed to join like this with two crystal buttons:

Pinning up the long scalloped lace skirt:

Taking in the right side seam:

Taking in the left side seam:

To make this dress secure, I suggested a different configuration for the halter and adding a new strip down the center to anchor it to the modesty panel. That way…NOTHING moves! The modesty panel will be moved over for the second fitting.

Always nice to let the helper know what the distance should be on lacing up day.

The bride can decide if she wants the bow to show or it can be tucked down inside.

Even with the panel moved over, I may still have to add to it.

As I was pinning up the one-point bustle for the satin layer, the bride grabbed the lace and it looked quite dramatic.

A better view:

A three-point bustle works well for the lace layer.

To take in the right side, first I remove all the lace. The same will be done to the left side. Even though this dress has a corset back, the side seams flared away from the body, especially the bust, and needed taking in right there.

The modesty panel will be detached and moved over just one inch…bummer.

The satin skirt layer is red thread marked for new hem.

Just folded under but will be trimmed later:

Same goes for the lace layer:

Lace hem border is removed like always:

Lace border is pinned 5 inches higher.

Before trimming:

Let’s not forget the lining!

Back to those side seams:

Those side seams require the boning to be removed. You can see the pins on the outside. The boning will be re-attached later.

Can you see what a drop-off will happen once the side seams are taken in?

Here is the real proof…what do you do with a one inch drop?

Well, thankfully, the top lace trim can help cover it. Right side seam:

Left side seam:

Getting down to the new vertical strap:

The overlap with crystal buttons coming to fill the gap.

Second try-on and we still need more width to the modesty panel to bridge the gap.

Second fitting also shows that the hem will be higher in satin layer

The lace hem border is also raised another 1.5 inches.

Using a strip of grosgrain ribbon, I can draw on it and get my markings.

With the lace hem border pinned for it’s final position.

What happens to the vertical strap? I use some of the lining trimmed away to cover a new ribbon.

Edges are folded to the back and hand tacked down.

Lace motifs from the hem border are attached.

The final look with edge stitching…crystal buttons to come.

Going to use a strip of new horsehair braid from Wawak instead of removing the old one first.

The dainty lace trim is removed and used later.

New horsehair braid is pinned into place.

After the second try-on, the side seams needed more taking in satin and lining.

I had to widen the modesty panel by 3 inches to bridge the gap. So, of course you need horizontal boning to keep the shape. The new boning is hidden inside the two layers of satin, not against her skin.

Two huge snaps hold the “tail” of the new strap and the lace trim fills in the gaps on the bodice.

Final touches include bust cups and back photo with bustle.

Final photos with Mr. Mole and his weekly harvest!

It is so nice to have our 100+ degree days are over for now and soon we will be gathering all the Butternut squash to store over the winter.

Happy sewing everyone!



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Too Much Tulle

This dress is Christiana by Wtoo.


Can you see a wrinkle just under the left breast running horizontally across that center panel?

My bride had the same issue with her dress and I tried to remedy it.

First, I removed all the hand tacking inside and steam pressed the panel…nothing. Then the bride tried on the dress and decided that she wanted all the hand tacking replaced and added another 2 rows horizontally. You can see the wrinkle is still there.

Hand tacking in place but still the main wrinkle:

Ready for final steaming of bodice using a pressing pad inside:

Ready for steam:

After steam pressing, the wrinkle is flatter but not perfect.

First fitting reveals that we need to take out 2 inches in the bodice.















On the inside we have to do the same altering to the lining:

To move the zipper over 2 inches the buttons have to be removed, first 9 and then 12.

Release both sides of the zipper down to the waist.

Just a small problem…the boning is in the way:

Now the zipper is pinned and basted to the new position.

When you move something at a dipping center back, you run out of zipper. That’s when I offer the bride to have the top edge reduced/dropped or adding hooks and eyes. She opted for hooks and eyes to pull the two edges together.

Could I have removed the entire zipper and moved it up? Sure, but that would have required a lot of diet Pepsi, gritting my teeth, grumbling and more labor charges.

Lining is folded under and hand basted for second visit.

In the quest to find out why there are horizontal wrinkles on the front bodice, I opened up the whole inside to find this kite-shaped panel but no wrinkles.

Outside is looking better:

Second visit shows that we have to take out 2 more inches at the zipper. Can we all say it together? “If you have to have 4 inches removed from the bodice, then this is NOT your dress.” The belt ribbon will be cut off at the zipper and attached without a bow.

There will be no bustle, just a loop inside to carry around all that tulle.

The inside elastic bra strap will be shortened 4 inches as well.

New position for the zipper again.

I know it looks weird being at such an angle but it does work for her body.

Once the zipper is attached by machine, I run a row of hand tacks to keep the tulle from getting caught in the teeth.

All the buttons have been re-attached.

I’m not excited about having 3 hooks but I just do what I am told.










At least the outside is closed!

Attaching the belt and making sure the center matches the center of the bodice.

The satin tie belt is hand attached at the top edge.

Final fitting and everything is tight! It was surely worth all the effort!

Last year we planted giant sunflower seeds but this year we didn’t and look what showed up! The heads are filled with little gold finches and chickadees pulling out the new seeds.

Our plum tree produced 2 bowls of fruit this year and the onions and squash are loving this 100+ degree weather. Today is predicted to be 106 F degrees and the next few days at 107 F degrees (41C).

A final shot of Mr. Mole with Nadine, both napping in the recliner chair.

Wishing all of you some time to relax, remove your masks and count your blessings wherever you are…I know I will be doing that!

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So Many Lace Flowers

                                                          I hate clamps!

When I see photos of potential brides with clamps all the way down their center back…it makes me realize that a salesperson could sell any dress if it is clamped tight enough.

The devil be damned if a seamstress can’t make every chunk of fabric under those clamped lips disappear and fit like a glove and yet, every day a bride is promised that a seamstress can fix ANYTHING!

My job is to make the sheer back fit tight tight and hug the lower back curve like a second skin. Does any seamstress want to remove ALL those buttons and loops and try to snug it all up? When no clamps are present the fabric flares away from the lower back in a bubble.

There are side seams but even when they were pinned, that was not the answer, we still had the bubble. I believe that RTW clothing is produced without any reference to the lordotic curve.

As the lower spine curves inward, fabric cannot always follow that curvature and we are stuck with making the impossible possible with darts and all sorts of weird solutions. Also to sell this dress, the salesperson tucked ALL of the powernet downward to inside the dress. One small problem…the powernet is the ONLY thing holding that dress up on her shoulders!

Here is a close up of a similiar gown showing the dart at the shoulder of the powernet fabric. Now our dress comes with nude full length sleeves of powernet but they will be removed and the straps attached before trimming away.

You can see where that top dart should be, on her shoulder, but it will sit lower and cause a groove on her upper arm. It is always nice to see what the dress is SUPPOSED to look like on the website model.

Here is the Okasana Mukha Ulla dress without the long sleeves made in the Ukraine.

Why is this? Well, the weight of this heavily bead encrusted gown pulls everything down and the dress is short-waisted. Another thing to notice when dress shopping is boob coverage. Can you see the bride’s left breast is more exposed? Why? Well the flowers are not placed symmetrically and it appears that the left breast is droopy.

Other issues are the lining and satin layers are way too long, about 4 inches too long as is the front lace layer with a 4 inch wide horsehair braid at the hem. Every bead and pearl and sequin is attached individually through to the horsehair braid. What does the bride want me to do?

She wants to drag her dress around in the front and hopefully bustle everything in the back.

First pinning of the bustle will need more time to map out all the points of the lace layer and the satin layer under it. The lining layer will be trimmed at floor level.

To snug up where the clamps were, the zipper will be removed and moved over 1.25 inches for a total of 2.5 inches too big. More lace flowers to be removed to avoid bulk.

Same goes for the lining and then hand sewn later.

What happens to all the clamped powernet? I will tuck all the excess behind the back neckline and hand sew everything to secure it. Then it will be able to be released in the future if the next bride needs it.

All the extra powernet is tacked behind the edge of the lace.

Let’s add some boobs while we are at it.

The top edge of the sleeve strap is attached 5 inches from the shoulder.

The sleeve band is basted by hand before cutting the sleeves off.

In hemming the satin layer, we ran into a snag. So much labor would be required to remove the horsehair braid and then re-attach it that the bride asked me to remove it instead and hem the satin to floor level.

So that is what I did for the front from side seam to side seam.

After the second try-on, the bride wanted the zipper area even MORE tight…remember the lodotic curve? So, as I am removing the zipper to move higher up the skirt, I slide the zipper pull down past the lining inside and that is when I discovered that the zipper had no clamp/stop at the bottom. The pull came off in my hand and there were some swear words spoken!


Now, I know lots of you seamstresses don’t mind fiddling with trying to get the pull back unto the teeth, but I can insert a new invisble zipper faster, so that is what I did. As the “V” of the waistline goes up the further you place the zipper, it is nice to have plenty to work with with a new fresh zipper.

All the lace flowers that were removed before tucking the powernet inside.

Flowers removed and hand basted to the lace edge:

What else? How about a 3 point satin layer bustle.

More hand basting for the third try-on:

Just before cutting off the sleeves:

The lower sleeves were cut off:

New zipper basted:

With the new zipper sewn in by machine, I hand tack all the excess fabrics to the back of the bodice fabric.

You can see both sides all hand tacked down for the next bride.

Then the lining is hand sewn over all of this mess.

All bustled up and sleeves removed and that extra 4 inches of front hem to be dragged around:









Let’s finish with some beefsteak tomatoes…with 100 and 97 degree temps every day, these beauties can be harvested. Thank you all for dropping by, fingers crossed this hot weather will lessen and maybe move on and help the firefighters in their battle to control all the fires here in Oregon.

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Hot Summer Wedding

                Here is the Maggie Sottero dress on a model.

                                                 Here is the dress on a bride.

What needs to be done?

Shorten straps, shorten lining all around, hem satin layer side seam to side seam to start with.

First, the straps are red thread marked 1.25 inches for a total of 2.5 inches. Then they are basted for the try-on.

Hemming the knit lining all around:

To shorten the lace embroidered layer at least 5 flowers will have to be removed before trimming off the floor.

Each flower is machine stitched down so I have to cut every stitch to avoid making holes in the netting.

The first of 7 flowers to be removed.

Unto the satin layer bustle:

The three point lace layer bustle will just need a trim at the bottom to remove excess tulle.

Not all bust cups are in the right position to support breasts, so these will be dropped 2 inches.

Original position of a flat cup:

Once the cups have been lowered and the straps finished, the fit is just the way she wants it.  By shortening the straps 2.5 inches, the back neckline sits nice and flat along her back with no gaps. You can see the hem of the bustle is off the ground and the front hem just covers her shoes.

With our temps rising to 115F last week and continuing this heat streak at 100 + for another week, it has been a battle to water the veggies to keep them alive but here are the first 2 squashes.

These sunflowers are just volunteers from dropped seeds last year.

Do you remember the new empty raised bed from last time? It is now filled with 3 different types of squashes and watermelons and other melons.

On the other side of the new bed are bush beans, tomatoes, purple peppers and leeks and onions.

A newcomer to our garden is an artichoke plant.

Another group of squashes and corn in the background:

The old asparagus bed filled with…yes, you got it…more squash and watermelons.

Meanwhile back in the sewing room, Nadine has found a new spot to nap.

Even when the cat food box is empty…it becomes something special….

Mr. Mole discovers her sleeping/hiding in the hall.

Three more brides to finish all for the same date July 31st and then there is a dress from 1981 to repair and make a little more modern. Remember the 80’s? Big bows on butts must have seemed pretty necessary!!!

Stay hydrated wherever you live!!! Happy sewing!

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Shop-Worn Repairs

This dress is from David’s and quite a bargain right now.

Here it is on my bride with bust pads pinned in.

It had been tried on by many other brides and there are some damaged areas but first the shoulders are pinned up. You can see her right shoulder needs more taking up. Most of us have a low shoulder and it shows up on formal clothes.

The loops are not elastic like on most gowns so they take longer to fasten:

The train will need bustling up. See the clamps, I hate clamps!

Testing a three-point bustle:

Brides love pockets. I ask them what do they put in there and it is always, “my phone, of course”. Do they silence it for the ceremony at least?


The dainty beaded belt will be worn with the organza bow in the back.











If you can imagine the damage done when brides jam their arms into those dainty sleeves, here is proof of what you are buying. I used my snips to show the width of the hole.

All of the red hand basting on the edges is holding the lining to the wrong side. It will be hand-tacked with white thread and small stitches to make a nice smooth edge.

The missing teardrop shape:

The other armhole was damaged as well. My little finger fits inside the hole in the organza lining.
















Looks like the other side doesn’t it?

Nope, it is way worse with the missing seam allowances. All the edges were brought back into position and hand sewn so no one would know what was there before.









After the second fitting, the bride wants even more taken up at the shoulders.

Almost done…needing 5 bustle points, safety pinned into position:

The final back photo with lace covered buttons and loops. All the folds are even and angled down for a flattering look mirroring the top edge of the bodice lining.














Back to the veggie garden…Mr. Mole is emptying our 3 compost bins and tumbler into his new raised bed for all our squash. The caged bed is filled with strawberries.

The raised bed in the background is filled with leeks and onions and broccoli and califlower. The other bed is filled with tomatoes, peppers and bush beans.

Last year, I took my amaryllis bulb outside after it failed to bloom a second year indoors. It was in a plastic pot all winter and I forgot about it. Then when clearing pots and plants this Spring…look what I found blooming under a bush? Of course, it got rescued and is now indoors to enjoy. Who knew a bulb could be so hardy?

With half our state vaccinated, things may open up soon and restaurants can seat more than the 25% they are doing now. Schools are closed now for the summer after only having students back a few months in a real classroom.

One result of the year-long quarantine is prices of services and items. My hairdresser wrote to me to say she is back and instead of charging $75, her rate has gone up to $130. A fancy restaurant in town that normally would charge $29-39 for a meal is now charging $49. So, we the public have to make decisions. I myself will continue to color and cut my hair at home for $7 a month instead.

Happy sewing and wishing you all a super Father’s Day and first day of Summer next week!




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Pretty in Pink part 2

Let’s do a few finishing touches shall we? Once the interfaced facing/collar is attached, it is pinked and flattened and top stitched. The blue thread mark the center front line for button placement.

At the turning point just above the button, at the waist, the seam is clipped and flipped awaiting topstitching.

Here is where the hem meets the side seam and where the front excess will be trimmed away to make the front hang flatter.

The sleeve hemline is thread marked.

I use fusible tricot interfacing for sleeves and hems from Wawak.

Making sure to have only 1.5 inches in the hem.

Apply the interfacing under the seam allowances. I don’t remove the thread marking until it is finished.

As the sleeve is tapered at the wrist, the hem has to reflect that change and become wider nearer the top.

See how my pin shows the new angle of seamline.

Nancy wanted a right side seam pocket to keep her car keys handy when running errands so here it is pinned for postioning. It will be lined with thick ivory satin for durability as the silk is thin. The selvedge edge/straight of grain will be attached to the front princess seam with small strips of elastic for ease.

The jacket hem with rayon hem tape applied.

Last time, Sue, commented that the shoulders looked like they were falling off her body. Can you see what I added to the paper pattern to make the shoulder more evenly square instead of the sad droopy? You can see the first altered armhole seam and then there was another 1/2 inch taken in (sleeve cap moved over) in the final fitting. The shoulder pads helped hold up that angle.

The yoke lining is topstitched through all layers and basted at the armhole ready for the sleeve insertion.

All this mess of layers will be serged to clean it up before attaching the sleeves. The fabric sleeves are attached by machine with the lining done by hand.















The sleeve caps will have rug wool bias strips.

Making sure to have a nice foldover of 2/3 the width.

Here is the nice soft cap being supported by the wool.

Inside the lined sleeves are hand attached…TV watching work for sure!










What’s nicer than covered removable shoulder pads? Dry cleaners can make a real mess of shoulder pads, so making them with snaps or velcro helps. Using bias silk, the pads are wrapped and then serged.

The pins mark the shoulder seam placement. also in this photo you can see the dusty muted wrong side of the silk compaed to the right side bolder colors.

Inside the side pocket. Before attaching, I used interfacing along that edge to keep it from stretching in the future.

Nice and flat

Closeup of the decorative button.

At first, I tried using a purse magnet to keep the jacket closed but the weight of the fabric layers kept it popping open so nancy was able to visit Josephines in Portland and they had a perfect brass snap.

Nancy has the choice to wear the collar up or down as ahe loves layering and wearing scarves over her jackets. I didn’t get a final photo of her actually in her jacket but she was thrilled.

The roomy back view just the way she remembered Pendleton jackets back in the day.

With Spring temps flipping to Summer temps of 100+ this week, Mr. Mole set about emptying our 3 compost bins to fill the new raised bed for all the squash plants.

First harvest of strawberries before the heat arrived!!!

Happy sewing everyone and a good growing season if you have veggies and fruit to harvest!

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Pretty in Pink

During the past Covid virus lockdown, I was able to start on a jacket for Nancy. She buys the nicest fabrics in Portland and has a good eye for classic patterns. Back in the 80’s, I had a sewing mentor, Bobbi Tyler, who used to avoid Very Easy Vogue like the plague. She said that they never fit as well as the grown-up Vogue patterns and they had fewer less accurate pieces. I have to agree with her opinion but the drawings draw you in thinking everything will be OK. If you are looking for a great fit and maybe a lining pattern piece or two or three…forget it!

But, let’s make a gingham muslin and see what needs to be done. You have seen this alteration for Nancy many times. Why is this? Well, even though this pattern is a princess seamed front, it has no idea what a real woman needs in the bust area. You can see that slashing and spreading allows the horizontal lines to drop and be parallel with the floor.

While many gals tell me that all I had to do was to add at the side seams…I say no, add fabric where you need it.


The back yoke gets slashed (later photos) and spread and neck darts added to start with and then the horizontal lines droop a bit and I can pin out the excess gathers. You can see that the shoulders are wider than we need and the sleeves will be droopy too. But if we can see the potential at this stage in cheap thin gingham, it will work!

With green gingham stitched into place, the lines all look good. The side seams will need some taking in and the hem raised in the jacket and the sleeves. I will also add one inch to the collar edges to make more of a statement. Still looking like a Halloween costume?

Paper pattern front gets the 1.5 inch addition by laying it over the green gingham.

The hem is folded up in the paper pattern.

The side front section also has an additional section added across the bustline decreasing to nothing at the armhole.

One piece sleeve has an elbow dart and the hem will be shortened just below it.

Here is the common yoke adjustment for a rounded back with added neck darts.

The lower back with gathers is also shortened.

The side front piece is shortened too.

Once the paper pattern is altered, the jacket is cut out of the fashion fabric. It is a blend of wool and other fabrics and has a sort of solid backing as you can see the wrong side of the collar. First try-on reveals lots of things to pin out !!!

The lower back hangs nicely.

Center fronts are thread marked and the button position is decided upon. The button will not have a buttonhole but maybe a snap or magnet to keep the jacket closed.

The fronts are generous and to take in the side seams, all we need to do is reduce the front width by 2 inches each side and leave the back alone. Nancy also wants a side seam pocket for her car keys.







Droopy sleeves need to be moved up 1/2 inch and probably more later as the fabric relaxes.

Have you ever seen such a low elbow dart? Yes, it was a whopping 4 inches too low!!! So that will get moved up and re-stitched.

Left front panel is also pinned out 2 inches like the right side.

Plaecment of the pocket along with removal of excess fabric front.

New seam and cutting lines are chalked and altered on the paper pattern.

Every jacket deserves and needs a good lining and a couple years ago someone gave me a bolt of 35 inch wide silk. It didn’t draw me in at the time, but Nancy liked the dusty wrong side so that was it…solution!

As the silk lining is thin, I used fusible tricot to beef it up.

The sleeves are lined first before attaching. The final hem is chalk marked.

What would a jacket be without interfacing? Pretty much just a big blouse, so let’s add some fusible stabilizing to the front side panels.

The back yoke and lower back are secure.

Collar/facing unit is interfaced and added with lining pinned to make sure of enough ease for wearing. The outside edge is hand basted for now. It will be understitched and topstitched for the final.

Third try-on is looking more flattering but the shoulders need to be narrower and shoulder pads added.

The sleeves need to be moved in almost an inch this time. The loose weave fabric is “growing” so I have to be agressive! You can see the white thread marking the vertical center of the sleeve cap lining up with the shoulder seam.

I’m going to leave you now before going into all the fine tuning and finishing touches that make a jacket look and feel wonderful after steaming and adding covered shoulder pads.

Still more brides to come and good weather photos from the garden.

Thanks for hanging in there! Happy and productive sewing everyone!

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Making an On-line dress Fit

This dress is from JJ’s House.

It is a lovely, well-made modest dress. But like most dresses, it just needs a few tweaks to fit better.  The shoulders look very nice on this model but brides this year seem to all need the shoulders taken up more and more.

Here you can see that the shoulders are pinned up but I explained to the bride that because the sleeves are fittted and the sleeve cap is flat, that I will have to add tucks or gathers to get the sleeve re-attached. By shortening the shoulders, we have to remember that the armhole will also be shortened and much higher up and restrictive.

The bustle will need 3 points attached at the waist.









The shoulder seam is marked along with the 1.5 inches to be taken in on either side of it. The lace motifs will be lifted and removed to make a flat seam. The extra fabric will not be trimmed away in case the next bride is longer waisted and needs longer straps.

What do I find inside? The entire armhole is bound with a folded strip of tulle so that has to be removed as well.

Here is the sleeve cap. With the lace flower motifs, it just was too bulky to pleat/tuck so I made tiny gathers to reduce it by 3 inches which seems like a lot…ok … it is. Then the tulle binding covers all this like the original. While the shoulders will be more of a feature, the eyes will think that her waist is smaller so a win/win.

A side view shows the new gathers but also reveals a need for some small hand made darts in the back. The lace flowers can be tucked over the tulle to make small darts done by hand and then be released for the future.

Almost done except for hemming the lining, the satin layer and trimming layers and layers of tulle. Even though I red thread marked the hem after I pinned the shoulder seams, when the bride returned for her second fitting…well it looks like she grew an extra 1.5 – 2 inches as I had to remark the hem lower with brown thread. This happens when brides finally find their perfect shoe, usually a 3 inch heel and platform sole after swearing that they will only wear flats…ha ha.

The bride also decided to ditch wearing a bra and went with teardrop bust cups instead.

The almost final photo…

The final back view as I leave the bustle loops attached to the buttons to make sure the loops hood for a couple days before the event. The huge clothes pins are from the Dollar Store as they hold the shoulders on the hanger without slipping off. This dress is very heavy so I recommended using a wooden suit hanger, too.

After 4 years our camillia has decided to produce flowers!

Nadine hiding but still curious:

Lovely domestic scene…eggs, over easy for me with spinach, sunnyside up for Mr Mole and a cat just waiting for the bacon to appear from the microwave.

And one last teaser…the beginnings of something for Nancy…see more next time! Happy sewing everyone…OMG, it’s May already!


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Repair and Re-Hem

Here are some photos of what NOT to buy when searching for your dream dress. If your dress has been tried on a million times and the whole side of the zipper is hanging loose with no hook and eye…walk away.

If you can shove your fingers through the ripped zipper opening…walk away.

If the label has been removed and also any sizing or fabric content tags...walk away. With no label, I could not give you a website link.

These are just some of the obvious problems but if the salesperson tells you that if you don’t buy this dress today, someone else will snap it up tomorrow…walk away. If they tell you that it is a $2000 dress reduced to $1700…smile and walk away.

Inside some dresses there are built-in elastic bra-type straps at the waist. To make this one side fit her body, I pinned out all the excess on each side. Another clue that your dress has been tried on by many others. There are boning strips sewn to the elastic for support.

Once the safety pins were removed after measuring the proper length, it should be 6 inches but it is almost double that in a saggging mess.

The side seam of the lining will be opened and all the excess will be shoved through and the rest trimmed away.

Just checking the zipper tape and moving it over about 1/2 inch, you can see the holes left by the previous stitching and how stretched out they have become…why? Well, it is back to all those other brides trying to stuff themselves into this dress…zippers cannot handle that abuse!!!

Once the zipper is moved over, I can stitch close to the old stitching catching the tape with the loops too.

Then everything is folded to the inside and stitched flat again for extra supprt.










Let’s tackle the shoulder seams…I have to deduct 3 inches from each side…that seems like a lot and it is. The first basting was 1.5 inches and then I had to go back and increase it to 3. The back view is stunning even with the loose zipper.


The back straps are sheer while the front straps are lined, so all should look like the original when done.

All the beads and sequins will have to be removed and lifted and this French seam opened up to reduce all the bulk. No bride wants to look like she has lumpy lace epaulets on her shoulders.

The sheer base is exposed.

All the lace motifs will be lifted and removed.




After taking in the shoulder seam 3 inches, the seam allowance is divided with the solid going towards the lined front. The sheer is flipped to the back and all hand stitched down.







The original large flower motif is returned and hand stitched down.

Then there is the hem…ahh yes, with 3 inch wide horsehair braid attached to the hem seam and the lining at the top edge. Nothing as tedious as removing this stuff anf re-attaching it 5 inches higher up. Once all the red thread basting has been done, the machine stitiching of satin layer and lining has been done, then that horsehair braid is stitched 1/4 inch away from the new hem edge/seam.

You can see the two rows of stitching and the trimming away about 1 inch away and removed. Now to tuck everything back inside the skirt and finish.










Reaching inside the skirt through the side seam lining, I can pin the top edge to the lining.

Ready for stitching and closing up the side seam.


Stitching between the pins and going by “feel”.










What’s left now??? How about this train?












A one-point bustle works well and the organza layer over the top of the satin layer has been narrow hemmed to just cover the hem edge.

To brighten your Easter/Passover, I wanted to share this photo of my orchid. It has been trying to make a bud and flower for the past 3 years. There are 8 more on the stem ready to open this week…so happy to have not given up and tossed it out!!!

Wishing you all a blessed week to celebrate Spring and for those who are still waiting to get their vaccination…we all have to be patient!!!

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