Competition Jacket

Last time my friend needed a favor for his son’s upcoming Martial Arts competition, I ended up covering the whole jacket with the American flag. You can click on the link to see more of that project from Nov 2019.

Thankfully, this time all that had to be done decoratively was adding ribbons and small flags and…removing 9 extra inches in the front triagular panels. First thing to do was remove the inside and outside ties as the boy wears a belt over the jacket. The dad thought I could just fold under the excess fabric and stitch through everything…ok, he is a gardener and not into sewing.

Open the band seams and release and remove the ties:

I soon realized that the triangles would have to be removed and/or repositioned to avoid any more bulk.

Then I have to open all the front seams and along the front bands. Using my scalpel helps and on the back side, the bobbin threads/chain stitches can be pulled to release.

Here is the mess with both fronts opened:

Once released, the flat fell seams look lke this:

Both flat felled seams are pointing the same direction so only one will be repostioned and not cut away. That would be the left one:

I measure over using the old seam as a guide and thread trace for the new positon. You can see at the hems, they do not match up…geometry going on here?

I will serge 3/8 inch away from the new seam line and press it up to meet the old flat felled seam edge before stitching everything down flat again.

Left side finished, sorry no more photos, and we have the right front panel. As with the left side, the old edge will have to move 4.5 inches towards the band instead of away from it. The under side will be trimmed away and serged close to the band and the old edge stitched down flat again. In order to make the junction where the band meets the panel up higher, I had to open the band seam to get a better angle.

Here is what it looks like on the inside of the right side. Of course, all this excess will be trimmed away on both sides.

Original edge pinned along the band…notice the gap/step-down along the hem? Yeah…of course this happens…what to do? I’m going to open up the hems, all 3 rows of stitching and make them all line up. In the end, all of the hems will be covered in ribbon so it can look like a dog’s dinner on the inside and no one will know. Well,  just you and me!

The left side has a slight dip in the middle of the hem too but I’ll treat it the same way…wrestle it into submission and slap the ribbon over the whole mess!

Once the body is done, let’s pin the ribbon on the bands. It is just 1/4 inch narrower than the band so just a tiny 1/8 inch of white will show along the edges. Sometimes when we do custom work, it ends up looking so professional when things sit well and flat. If the ribbon was wider, it would have had to slide over the edge and look….well…homemade…horrors!

Ribbon bands attached, wrist ribbons attached and hem ribbons attached…the special request was to have small flags attached to the armpits so when the boy wins his heat, he raises his arms to show the flags and his pride.

There was no way I could get those flags to fit flat in the armholes so I moved them into the sleeve area and even then it was a challenge. Besides being awkward, did I mention that this jacket/ghee was made out of the thickest duck fabric on earth? Lordie, this was meant to be a tent but somewhere in a factory far far away, using industrial machines and methods, this duck cloth managed to be made into something wearable. It is mind-boggling that something so stiff that could stand up on its own would be just the thing for little boys to wear and compete in and wrestle each other to the ground

The back is left blank for attaching award patches. The ghee and all the ribbons and flags were pre-washed and pre-shrunk.

Beside sewing this week, I want to share our new housemate with you. Her name is Nadine and she was a rescue cat found with her 5 baby kitties and fostered until the shelter could find a home for her. As our local ASG makes and donates cat blankets to this shelter, it was funny to see a cabinet filled with the same familiar flannel blankets when we went to meet her.

She was the most chilled out cat and started purring like crazy as we approached her cage…OK maybe that was her way of luring us in to pet her and fall in love…OK …it worked. We took her home after her kitties had been adopted and she was spayed and micro-chipped.

We are learning to keep the doors to my sewing room shut to avoid any bridal CATastrophes.

Hoping your Valentine’s Day was pleasant and filled with little treats! Our neighbor who makes the BEST cookies dropped some by to share. Thank you so much Melanie!

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Tighter and Tighter

If you are looking for a long sleeved wedding gown you might seek out David’s Bridal.

This dress is very stretchy crepe with a non-stretchy poly lining.

This year to avoid spreading Covid, some brides in the Northwest still plan a wedding ceremony for a limited family group ….where else but… on the windy beach. This dress will be the star of the show/photos as it is dragged across wet sand and rocks and without a bustle, the whole front hem and train will be filthy.

This model is showing off her J-lo butt and with buttons from her neck to the floor, it makes quite a sight!

For the first try-on you can see there is some wrinkling of sleeves and side seams.

Sleeves are meant to be skin tight aren’t they? So tight that when you bend your elbow…it is very restricted. Brides don’t like to compromise on that tight fit.

If the elbow is that tight, when you try to bend it what happens? Well, like water seeking its own level, so does fabric. The poor sleeve is screaming and it has to “borrow” from either the wrist area or the shoulder…guess which one wins? Hint: (not the super tight buttoned wrist).

No bride seems to need breathing or eating room these days so let’s just take in the side seams too.

Shortening lined and looped and buttoned wrist hems…not looking forward to that. While 2.5 inches is pinned, later we run into trouble.

Front hem in need of shortening so you can walk through sand and seaweed safely, Madam? Oh No…the front hem must “puddle” just the right amount for the photos.

By now you all know how to get into a hem that is sewn to the lining:

Once everything is pulled to the outside, the new hem is thread marked with red thread from the right side. Only little tacks show in the wrong/inside side. 

Bodice side seams are also marked with red thread on the outside.

Do the same for the one underarm sleeve seam, yes, there are 2 underarm seams on each sleeve. I used the non-loop seams for taking in.

Here’s the little trouble I mentioned:

So the bride will have to compromise on the extra 1/2 inch because she does not want to pay for me to remove all the loops and move them up.

You can see the thread marking on the wrong side.

Shortening and narrowing…I might as well just open up everything to get a clear shot.

Lower loops to be removed:

So what does the second fitting bring?

Sleeves have to be taken in more and more thread marking.

The same goes for the bodice side seams…in the end the bodice will be 4 inches narrower and the sleeve 2 inches narrower and shorter. Most of the excess will be trimmed away and seams flattened and pressed and French tacks holding the lining to the crepe replaced at the waistline and underarms.

Can you see how far the new red thread is from the original seam? Once all this excess is trimmed away, the seams can be pressed open and flat as that is such a drastic curve.

Second basting done with white thread by hand:

Same goes for the bodice lining…a huge difference from the original.

More hand basting for the sleeves:

What I didn’t show is the fact I opened the underarm sleeve attaching the sleeve to the bodice. but you know what that looks like.

When I was opening all the sleeve seams, I discovered why some of the buttons didn’t sit flat.

Just basted sleeve hems:

What was cut off and saved:

The front hem:

Pin lining and crepe together:

Ready for machine basting:

The bride decides that she wants the 4 removed loops to be attached higher up the sleeve seam.

Just to give you an idea about how all those back buttons are attached. Did you think that they were each secured between buttons? Ah…no, they are all just connected loosely and if you cut one button loop…you lose the ones next to it.

Once the front hem is stitched, I hand baste the edge before pressing.

I used a very fine thread for the hand hemming: Metrolene but I see it is not still available and it has been replaced with Seralene.

This thread is so fine that it just slides right through my favorite size 11 Milliners needle. Some sewers choose to use silk thread.

Inside the sleeve hem…new upper loops installed and the seam is pressed flat and then clipped and pressed over. Here you can see the second sleeve seam. I used that one for narrowing by 2 inches from armhole to wrist.

Now the fun stuff…hand hemming and seaming around loops and buttons:

Pinked lining hem held in place:

I wanted to save 2 inches of sleeve hem for the next bride. I had already cut off 1.5 inches in the photo above  and then all was hand tacked down at the edge and middle.

Being such a deep hem, the raw edge needed to be tacked to itself before adding the lining.

Lining hem folded under and hand attached:

Just to finish…the front hem side seams were tacked flat originally. I went ahead and hand tacked all the other seams too.

OK….done enough, let’s close this puppy up…close the lining and find the hanger.

Knowing how stunning this dress looks on a real body, it is a wonder it gets to be tried on much in the store. On the hanger is looks so sad and shapeless.

So what else is going on in the Mole’s home? Mr. Mole’s lettuce is doing well.

First harvest washed and ready to eat:

Tiny Tim tomatoes producing like crazy and so sweet!

Thank you all for dropping by and enduring so many photos that show all the steps to making “simple and easy” alterations…yeah right! Now the wait is on to get the Covid vaccine!

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Lots of Fluff and Stuff

Looking back over the bridal gowns of 2020, most of them were normal, restrained and could possibly be used or altered to be worn again for different events.

But not this one!!!

This dress is Yocelyn by Wtoo and it is described as:

This wedding dress features a tiered ball gown skirt with horsehair layers, a sweetheart neckline, and the option of a grosgrain ribbon or horsehair belt for the waist.

It reminded me of an upside-down pink cupcake. First look under the top skirt reveals lots of layers all wrinkled from being in a shipping box. Normally I offer to press the dress for free and have it ready for the ceremony…but not this time.

Can you see the layers are all edged with 3 inch wide horsehair braid…lots of wrinkles and tucks that will have to be steamed out with my pressure iron.


Once the top layer is lifted, we try for a bustle configuration…will three be enough? Hold that thought…

With the lower skirts pinned up, the top skirt covers everything…what a relief!

But let’s get busy with the Hi-Steam mini boiler generator iron and smash those wrinkles, folds and tucks shall we…fill the reservoir with one quart of distilled water and wait to produce enough steam to shoot across the room…thank goodness it is a cool winter day and not the middle of summer! As the humidity level in my sewing room rises and beads of sweat from on my top lip and under my chin…I count the layers.

Starting with the lowest layer, the lining and working my way up to the top embroidered layer.

Fifteen layers done and I check the clock…2 hours have passed and I am dripping wet but the dress is wrinkle-free!

Another issue with this dress is the top edge of the bodice…that usual problem of too much dress and not enough boobage…push up pads are installed over the original ones along with the twill tape trick to snug in an inch for each cup. I have placed instructions on how I do this on the home page.


Once the dress is pressed and all the layers have settled down, adding 2 more bustle points gets the back skirt up very evenly all around.

Here are the many layers of netting and tulle holding the skirts out and proud. The tulle layers have been trimmed to just floor level.

Here are the final bustle points with clear buttons and loops to follow. Every button and loop will be backed with smaller backer buttons to hold the weight. What looks airly and light is rarely weightless…to the contrary…these suckers can really weigh a lot!

Every point is sewn through multiple layers of the 15 so the thickness has to be figured in as well.

The final front view is worth all the labor. When the horsehair belt is tied over the grosgrain belt, it will be perfect!

Now all that is left to do is to stuff this puppy into a garment bag…but wait…it will never fit a regular bag will it? We searched around and found this one on Amazon that had 24 inch wide panels on both sides. The dress is being flown 3000 miles to the wedding venue on the East Coast so I hope that someone has a steamer when it gets there!

What about the puzzle making? Yes, I have finished the next one:

Maybe some of you know about the movement of women wearing pearls on Jan 20 to celebrate the inauguation of Kamala Harris. No matter where you live or if you cannot attend the momentous gathering in DC, you can show your support for our new Vice President.

I’ll be digging out my collection of pearls for sure and wearing them with pride in honor of all the women who  have passed and went before me paving the way for equality and justice…Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Shirley Chisolm, Rosa Parks, and Maya Angelou.

Stay safe everyone, wear your mask and social distance….we can beat this Covid with vaccines and common sense!



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Goodbye 2020 and Ivory

Anyone else bored with a year of ivory dresses???

What about adding some back and neckline color? This style comes in red and also other colors.

This Forever Yours Bridal dress was available in the garment district of Los Angeles at:

My bride chose this pink version that is corsetted and very heavy satin embroidered with pearls and beads .

Other than some waist wrinkles from the tight lacing, it fits very well and a 3 point bustle will work.

So what else does this dress need? The front hem is pinned up. The lining is attached to the satin at the hem edge and also has 1/2 inch wide horsehair braid sandwiched between them.

Like the previous gown, the side seam of the lining is opened and the hem is exposed and thread marked with red thread so I can see where to put the pins. Once the horsehair braid is removed, the two raw edges were basted together to keep them from shifting. Now I know I didn’t HAVE to remove the old HH braid and just add a new strip but sometimes I just want to do it this way for the photos.

Re-attaching the old HH to the new hemline:

Once the HH braid is sewn, it is time to trim away very close to the HH lower edge.

To make the new hem match the original, I need to stitch two rows through the HH braid. The lining is pulled away.

OK, hem done and tucked back inside and side seam closed we move unto the layers of netting. Dresses always have a generous length of tulle and netting to hold the hem of the satin out and fluffy but when a bustle comes into play, you need to trim it to ground level.



The three points for the bustle…the pink waist button will be replaced with a larger ivory satin covered on.

Pinned up bustle and no netting showing at the hem…hooray!

The final buttons and loops:








Remember the veil with all the silk flowers that was dragged through the mud?

Well, the gown and veil were sent for preservation and here is what came back:

The red line marks the edge of the veil as it is displayed over the bodice of the dress. Every section is like new!

Speaking of new…a new puzzle was completed this week:

Mr. Mole has stocked up on his English treats and it proves that 6,000 miles is no impediment to enjoying Christmas.

For me, I am looking forward to popping open this bottle and waving goodbye to 2020:

Wishing I could hug all the devoted caregivers who have worked so hard this year keeping people and schedules running when surrounded by viruses, greedy politicians, fires, severe weather and disasters.

Wishing I could hug all those who are homeless due to no fault of their own and the hungry children they are trying to protect.

Wishing I could hug the teachers who have battled along making videos and classes and preparing lessons that may never be seen and homework never turned in.

Wishing I could hug all the farm workers and postal employees who have worked in the most adverse conditions but still delivering food and medicine and letters and most importantly…BALLOTS!

A toast to all those who have worn a mask to protect their fellow human beings and may 2021 be filled with hope and empathy sorely lacking these past 4 years.

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Heavy Dress, No Support

Another backless dress showed up Wtoo Oona/Ursa:


First try-on revealed gaping under the arms, too long in length, 3 point bustle and too much room in the bust area with too high bust pads. New bust pads were attached and lowered.

A quick pinning up on the outside to imagine the over bustle shows me that regular buttons and loops will not hold all the weight of the train.

The top back closure does not lie flat and has only two hook and eyes. I will add a third one.


















Under her arm, I fold over the lace motif to tighten it up and give more support. Then the sides will be basted with red thread. Nothing will be trimmed away and left in place in case the next bride needs it.

Right side bodice.

Left side bodice under the arm:

Front hem pinned up on the outside:

Hem pinned on the inside…can you tell that the whole original hem is 3 inch wide horsehair braid? The lining is also attached to the braid as a sandwich. To remove all this and re-hem the entire dress would cost a lot so the bride says she will be fine with just folding it under and stitching by hand. That way, the next future bride can drop the hem if she is taller. With the HH briad being flat, in the back where the train curves and the HH doesn’t, I have to make tiny tucks which won’t show on the right side.

Right side bodice basted:

Left side bodice basted:

Inside of the hem basted:

New push up bust cups attached:

Adding extra hook and eye for strength:

As with another recent gown that had a very heavy train, I suggested that this should be made into a French under bustle using 3 thick crocheted loops and grosgrain ribbons. Here it is just safety pinned up. Bustling under can make some lovely folds and always hangs flatter than an over bustle. You have to ask your bride if she is going to be dancing or sitting as it can determine what style you make.

The side view…I know it sticks out but at least it would not fall during the dancing. This fabric is so thick it has been like working with cardboard even though it is lovely and reminds me of Imperial Russian court gowns.

Can you see the drag line/ridge between the bust points? How did that get there? Well, if you attach bust pads that are too big, that happens. We dropped the pads down a size and the ridge disappeared. Also, even with the first alteration of folding over lace motifs, this dress has more issues of wrinkles from the underarm to the waist…why? When a bride is shorter waisted than the dress, this happens. Excess fabric wants to released and drop but cannot in this case because the waist and hips are too tight.

On other dresses, this could be fixed by shortening the straps but the bust curve is already too high by design. I pinned out two horizontal darts in the lace to make it all lie flat. Once they are stitched flat, no one will know that they are there.

Then I added 4 new boning strips inside for more support as this dress with all its weight had no boning at all…imagine!!! Sorry no photos of the boning.

The basted hem looks good.

The bride still did not feel secure so I pinned on some beaded belt straps to anchor the top to the skirt. The top closure hook and eyes will be overlapped to make that flat as well. I wish brides would realize as they are looking for backless dresses, they will have no support back there. Also, there could be excess skin folds and tattoos that you don’t want in the photographs. Most of her tattoos have been erased in Photoshop.






















Smaller bust cups = no ridge/drag line.

After all this, many of her family decided not to travel during the pandemic and the date has been moved to next year.

Other brides this year have delayed their wedding dates and one bride confessed that she did not have the money to pay for her alterations after everything was done. I handed the finished dress over to her, unpaid, with the hope of never seeing her again when she chose the future date. It makes me wonder when a bride gets a reasonable quote from me, I take all the photos for her, do my alterations, adding lots of hand sewing and handmade corset loops etc, she expects she will get it for nothing. Sometimes it is just best to hand the dress over and call it a day…lesson learned.

I know you all will say I should get a deposit up front but I have also learned that if a bride puts down money in advance, she becomes the boss of my work and demands more and more fittings and free time and I have lost control of time and labor.

Before I go, I wanted to share a couple things…I made a mincemeat pie for my British husband.

The last puzzle has been completed…2000 pieces on a cardboard platform and a month later it is done. Did you know that you can buy used puzzles on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist really cheap? So nice to find $25 puzzles going for $5…OK…it can get addicting!!!

Wishing you all stress free sewing as we approach Christmas! Thank you for dropping by!!!

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Trimming Embroidered Tulle

This figure flattering dress didn’t need much altering except hemming and shortening the straps and adding a bustle.

Enchanting by Mon Cheri dress

When a bride sends me a pre-appointment photo like this, I just wonder what else is lurking to be altered.

















I am always amused that a bridal salon makes the brides stand on a tiny little foot stool. In all the excitement, she could fall off!



Even with the front view, the stool offers no clue as to what the hem needs. The bride buys it thinking that just as the salesperson says, “The seamstress can fix that”.















Straps are pinned to remove at least 2 inches each side.

A one-point bustle will work here.



















Side view shows a nice flat bustle. But wait…what is that hanging below it?

Of course, the lining will have to be hemmed but what about the lining train?

Not my most favorite alterations…cutting off all of the train satin and lining layer.

The front hemming to be done.

Red thread marking the finished lace hem and the rest folded under and basted up for the second fitting.

New white hooks added to the back bodice.

The right side view:

The new hem basted up:

How to tackle the new hem edge…let’s try this. First run a straight machine stitch along the fold.







Then run a tiny narrow zigzag over that straight stitching:

Compared to the original factory hem finish:

Once the excess lace is trimmed away using duck-billed scissors it will look nice.

Continue trimming and press:

Some of you know that I also offer a final service. I use the firm in New York called Wedding Gown Preservation. They have been preserving gowns for over 100 years and stand by their methods with a 100 year guarantee and so far I have never had them call me to say that they could not get out any dirt/leaves/twigs etc. from a gown or veil.

This veil was heavily embossed with silk flowers and pearls and was about 12 feet long.

After the ceremony near a river, the photographer suggested that the couple wander into the stream for more photos. Guess what happened to all those flowers???

As the bride emerged from the water, like Aphrodite, her veil managed to scoop up all the mud and pine needles. Beford I packed it into the box to send off, I thought to take a photo just in case.

The latest finished puzzle…it was one of the better ones with lots of different colors and stripes.

What has Mr. Mole been up to?

His indoor winter garden is producing lettuce and Tiny Tim tomato flowers:

Now that we have had our fill of leftover turkey and turkey soup, I wish you much success with your Christmas sewing projects! Thanks for dropping by!

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Change of Heart and Dress

Some brides have too many options. Some brides buy the wrong dress and think of all the other things they can put over the dress to make it right.

Let’s start with what she bought: Wtoo with pleating, ruching, asymetrical neckline and an added belt.

The added belt removed and the right front neckline flounce tucked under the top edge.

Then she wanted the entire front “made straight” and for me to make a lacey bolero. After telling her that I did not do that sort of thing, she started sending me links to lots of options to cover her dress. Now, thinking of all that front ruching, I could not recommend using any of her jacket/blouse suggestions as it would be too bulky and lumpy. But here they are all from Etsy vendors:


Then she went into capes:


At this point you realize that this girl has waaaay too many options and cannot pinpoint the look she wants. She told me that she wanted a sleek form-fitting dress from the beginning but bought the wrong dress. Then she went back to the internet and found this dress.

She came back to me for about 25 different measurements and I recorded them thinking that WOW, this seller really has got it down to a science and I probably won’t need to see this bride again as her dress will be perfect…what a dreamer I am!!!

Here is what showed up:






Can you see the pins all around her waist and down her sleeves and the hem? What doesn’t show are the white bust pads sewn up too high to do any good between the lining and the crepe outer layer. Lots of drag lines were in the back as well.

What went wrong? Well, the description says Crepe…lovely…but they left out one defining word…STRETCHY! There were wrinkles galore at the waist and while I just pinned 3/4 of the way around her, I ended up dropping the crepe bodice all around  3/4 inch below the waist. The sleeves were too wide and the custom hem length…well…who knows what happened there? Attached to all this was a lining…a tight woven polyester lining that did not stretch at all.

Here’s a word that it seems designers have missed…compatablity. Both fabrics have to marry together and not cause problems for each other…sounds like pre-marital counseling? It seems these days, either the lining is thick heavy knit and stretches past the satin outer layer OR the reverse is true, the outer layer stretches and droops while the lining does not.

There is a little consideration for compatibility between lining fabric performance and crepe performance. The crepe stretches crosswise and can cause drooping while the happy tight lining does not.

What you cannot see are the hems of the crepe and lining…just raw and serged and filthy. For a custom made one-of-a-kind dress, it had issues and I pointed them out to her as I was not going to be accused of making her dress dirty or causing dark fold lines down the back. I told her that I would serge all the way around both hems and narrow machine hem them properly.

New waistline seam marked with red thread:

Second try-on revealed more center front bodice in need of tucking:

Once the lining was separated from the crepe you can see how much the bodice was shifted.

Have to line up all the dart seams:

Trimming away the excess bodice:

In the end, the bride wanted boning attached at the side seam…didn’t the custom gown come with any boning??? Ah…no. I used covered boning and hand attached it to the lining. The covering can be folded under at the top and bottom to cushion the sharp edges.

The dress, now fitting well, looked a little plain, so I showed her some pearl straps that might look good as a belt. It was just enough to hand tack all around the waist seam. The white bust pads were removed too. The factory silver hook and eye were replaced with a white ones.

Normally, I ask the bride if she has a veil and I will press it for free…how about this one? In the end the bride got what she wanted…sleek and simple dress and then high drama with an 18 foot long veil. Steam pressing it took a while!!!

All that is left is to try and carefully fold the veil lengthwise and unto a hanger. Once the lace edging is pressed, it relaxes a little and is not so stiff and will not curl up as the bride walks down the aisle in church.

One of my readers, Rena, sent this link to me and it really made me chuckle and brightened my day. I hope it does for you too!

Meanwhile in the garden, we have had a couple days of rain…hooray…and the robins are back bathing in the frog fountain.

Being back in a lockdown again and hoping our state can control the spead of Covid. Many of the local new cases arise from too many family members attending weddings, birthday parties and other getogethers without masks or social distancing and ignoring the 30 person restrictions. Our hospital ICU beds are filling up and medical staff are exhausted dealing with virus deniers. So sad that wearing a mask causes so many people to rebel against common sense and science.

To finish on a happy note…the butternut squash have been harvested and will spend the winter in the garage waiting to be made into soup. Wishing you all a safe and small Thanksgiving gathering next week!

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Scary Straps and a Heavy Bustle

This stunning Kitty Chen Sloan dress showed up and needed lots of engineering to get the bride down the aisle.

The bride wants a bustle of course!

Here is the front hem dragging on the ground with the bustle pinned up at the first fitting. While the fabrics make you think that this dress is airy and light…the real fact is…it weighs a ton and those teeny tiny straps are holding everything up!

Those dainty beaded straps had to be reinforced front and back before the second fitting!













As with many dresses, the satin layer and lining are stitched together as one hem. Here’s a tip for buying wedding shoes…while we love rhinestones for a little pedi-bling, if your hem is tulle or lace, the rhinestones will grab at those fabrics and make a mess. The bride changed her mind and bought different shoes.

The scalloped lace hem needs to be moved up the normal 5-6 inches. I tell every bride that she has learned a valuable lesson when buying a dress…know that raising such a hem adds labor costs and to warn her friends for the future. The red thread tracing shows the floor level and the green thread tracing is the new attachment line.

The scary bit…find a good place to cut away to make the border:

Sometimes I use the curved embroidery scissors to cut around flowers.

Re-pin the border about 3/4 of the way around:

Pins removed and hand basted in place for second try-on:

All the excess is just folded under and basted flat before being trimmed away.

With the lace hem in place…let’s tackle that satin/lining bustle. Did I mention that both the satin and lining layers were thick polyester knits? It will call for 7 points to get all this up and even off the floor but the weight will be a problem. As I normally use covered buttons and hand-made loops…this calls for some heavy duty solutions!

First the lining center back seam is opened and the whole hem is pulled out. The new hem seam is marked and hand basted for the second try-on. You can see the red thread markings.

The excess 5 inches will be trimmed away to just 1.5 inches.

If I didn’t run a basting stitch along the new hem, it would not lie flat. Once machine stitched and understitched and pressed, it will obey.

First fitting with all the lace bustled up as a trial:

Five points will get the lace off the floor. Notice the buttons go the full length of the center back seam.

In order to get all that knit into position and to hold everthing in place, I used pre-made crochet loops from Wawak. On the wrong side, each loop is secured to a square of grosgrain ribbon for strength. Then the clear buttons will hold the 4 outer points.

The center 3 bustle points will be grosgrain ribbons tied unto each loop.

The finished hems bustled up:

The final back view, tattoos covered, and only every other button looped.

This week one of our local NA tribes put out a call for mask making for their teen groups. I ended up offering to make 100 of the 1500 that were requested. It is always a treat for me to work with COLOR!

End of the season experiment for Mr. Mole’s garden…he planted sweet potato “slips” not knowing whether they would produce anything edible. Seven months later when the green vines on the ground turned yellow, he dug up our first batch! The blackened skin is where the tuber was exposed to the sun. Next year there will certainly be more!!!

If you are lucky enough to have a Southern Magnolia tree, this time of year they produce pods that contain red seeds and our local Northern Flickers love to eat them.

Happy and healthy sewing to all my readers…after the election my blood pressure has dropped back down to normal…hooray!

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Nip and a Tuck

Coming to the end of the Fall brides, we have a Rebecca Ingram/Maggie Soterro “Hope”


A close-up reveals the thick lace but not the needed alteration to get this bodice to lie flat. The bustle is pinned up  just to see if it can clear the floor.

You will notice that the front lace hem is dragging on the floor but the bride did not want anything done.

What really needed to be done was to tuck the back side bodice into the skirt. The red thread line will be dropped to below the waistband and sewn by hand. This way it can be released for any future bride. Here is the right side photo.

Here is the wrong side photo…you think I could hold the camera steady?

Once the lower edge is secured on the inside, the back will be snugged up and lie flat.

Here is the right side all neat and tidy.

The shiny lining/satin layer can be bustled with just one point…hooray!

The lace layer gets 3 lace covered buttons and loops to make the bustle.


This side view is for making sure the hem is not dragging and the bride can walk without having to kick her dress going forward or backward.

I always tell the brides to practice walking in their shoes with the bustle as the weight can thrown off your balance and posture. It’s a long day to have all that tacked to your butt!











Another end of season in the garden and this year we just piled the sunflower heads on the top of the outdoor cabinet under the kitchen window. It was fun to see all the birds coming to pull seeds out of the flower heads so close to the window.

One of the last harvests of the summer…Swiss chard and tomatoes.

Two more mango melons ripening in the house. They are more like a cantaloupe inside.

Still making time to relax with a puzzle. This one was really fun to do with so  many different colors!

With a week left before the US elections, I hope all the mail-in ballots will find their way to the voting offices in time!!! I marvel at the good people in states where they have been standing in line for up to 8 hours to cast their vote. They are determined and worthy of praise!!!

Will you be handing out candy on Halloween? We have decided to just put all the goodies outside in a box and with a sign that says to please just take one and leave the rest for the other children.

Stay safe everyone as the virus continues to ravage our communities in cities and rural settings all over the world. Wear a mask and wash your hands and stay home if you can. Don’t forget your flu shot!

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Sleek Sheath

David’s Bridal Galina Sheath dress is a nice basic shape.

The back is interesting too.


What has to be done? Here is the center back zipper which will have to be taken in at the top and tapered to the bottom on both sides.

The lining is also affected and will have to be trimmed and re-attached after the zipper is moved over.

Both new seams are basted with red thread for placement.

The zipper is removed and basted into place.

Moving down to the hem, I pin out a almost 2 inch (4 inch total) tuck side seam to side seam to raise the scalloped lace hem. Now you know this runs into some labor charges!

The new hem length will allow the bride’s toes to show slightly and enable her to walk without having to kick her dress forward.

The 2 inch tuck becomes a 1.5 inch tuck (3 inches total) when measured accurately.

So let’s run some green placement thread lines so I know where I am going once the lace border is cut away.

With the hem finished and all the excess trimmed away under the scallops, you can see the zipper in place with new edge stitching along the teeth to keep it flat. New grosgrain ribbon replaced the original Petersham ribbon that was too soft to hold the neckline tight.



Not a great photo of the scalloped hem as it curved under before all the escess was trimmed away. The satin and lining layers were also shortened.


The bustle only needed one point to get the train up for dancing. I didn’t get a final photo with the lace covered button and loop but you can imagine how nice and simple it looked.

With the summer veggies harvested, it is time for Mr. Mole to start new seedlings indoors under his grow lights. Tiny Tim tomatoes on the left and the rest are different types of lettuce. Once they are big enough, they will go outside under plastic for the winter along with spinach and chard.

Last week, I had the chance to see my friend/client Nancy after not seeing her since March. We missed celebrating our birthdays together but being older we have been self quarantining since then. Sometimes we both think alike and she presented me with this pin. Did you notice that the middle letter is the medical symbol for female? Clever, but most men don’t see it.

It will go along with our latest arrival in the mailbox:

And I gave her this pin as we both believe in science and wear masks:

Just a few photos of puzzles I have been working on and then donating to the fire relief funds in our valley:

Thanks for dropping by and I wish you renewed interest in sewing for the coming season of Thanksgiving leading up to Christmas…oh no…not the “C” word already! I haven’t bought my Halloween candy yet!

P.S. I forgot to mention that today I have 4 brides getting married as they thought picking Oct 10 was a good idea to help the groom remember what date they married…10-10-20-20.

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