Purple Problem

In the last post I introduced you to the mother’s skirt and today it is time to reveal the daughter’s dress.

To start with, like the mother, the girl was measured after she tried on a sample dress in the shop and her measurements sent to a land far, far away with all the hopes for a lovely custom fitted garment arriving in plenty of time for the wedding…way too optimistic. When the dress arrived it was 4 inches too large in the bust and waist and 6 inches too long at the hem. Now as my client was very tall and thin you might think that they would have measured better and been a bit more accurate but no.

The first thing to do was to pin out the side seams so the dress would not fall to the floor and we could see how much of the hem would have to be cut off. I did not get a “before” photo but managed to get all the alterations captured after chalking and pinning for you.

Ready? Here we go:

This will be tricky to meld the edge together to be a smooth transition. Now the front hem marked with rattail cord just laying at the floor level. The second photo is the small back train level.

Now where to begin? The dress has to be hand basted along with the lining as it is pretty dramatic to take 4 inches out of a fitted dress and think that it will hang correctly. Then the bubble hem which is being held up by a lining has to be measured and thread basted and all this tried on before a single machine stitch is applied.

The bubble skirt is shortened to 25 inches and you can see that 8 inches will be eventually removed from the hem.

The lining is also marked for shortening and then there is the “fold-under” where the bubble hem has to make the return back inside to make the rounded fold. It takes 2-3 inches for that to look right.

Here is the new side seam marked in the fashion fabric. The lining also must be taken in to lie flat inside once all the excess seam allowances are trimmed away.

After the client had her second fitting and I knew the hem was correct I was able to serge off the bubble skirt excess and then cut off the excess lining with pinking shears. The white thread basted line will be dropped one inch lower as will the bubble skirt itself and then all hand stitched as that closes in the entire dress and lining.

After 5 hours of fitting and pinning and sewing, the dress is almost done except to hold this heavy silk dress up the bridesmaid has decided to go with my first suggestion (on Day one) and we are adding a narrow 3/4 inch halter strap made from the excess silk from the hem. Then she won’t have to spend the entire time pulling her bodice up. Want to see the finished project on the mannequin?

  Well the side seams now are equal and you cannot tell they were about 1.5 inches off in the beginning. Now for the full view…unfortunately my mannequin is not tall enough to show the hem is just about 1 inch off the floor but you can get the idea. The halter strap is just pinned for now.


Having solved two silk garment problems I have to ask why this all started in the first place?

I hear people complaining that all our manufacturing jobs have left for Asia and yet when given the choice we still have people choosing to spend their dollars, and sending their dollars to Asia for wedding clothes.

Also this week another wedding client told me that all 10 of her groomsmen were ordering their custom made tuxedos from Taiwan instead of renting from local suppliers. ..all money leaving this country. Another mother told me that all her groomsmen and bridesmaids were having their entire outfits made in China with pink linen shirts and dresses and charcoal linen pants. The reason I know this was because I made the little 6 year old ring bearer outfit from local JoAnn’s fabrics to match the adults as the Chinese company did not make children’s clothes…again all US money flying out of this country.

As Steven Colbert would say “Nation, we have a problem”.

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6 Responses to Purple Problem

  1. Alethia says:

    “Nation, we have a problem.”~ YES!
    Our nation doesn’t want to pay qualified, skilled and willing tailors because we will not produce their fantasies for sweat shop dollars…it’s how much our nation thinks of us….
    Anyway, FANTASTIC job on both the mother and the daughter’s alterations~ especially this purple gown, it is not a simple and easy task! It is beautifully done!

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Alethia. since we are both in the same business of making people look better in their clothes I guess we should be grateful that folks keep buying ill-fitting clothes overseas but the vicious circle drains our economy. Each of my last two clients spent $1000 + on clothes made in a sweat shop in Asia when that money could have been spent in the US paying wages to our workers.

  2. Tina Blair says:

    Bravo Mrs Mole! This dress crossed my path. It seems this gal had it “custom” made in Portland. When she received the dress it was really not to size, as she expressed her fears to me. She was deciding if it was going to have to be sent back for “much” further fitting. I’m glad your skill and head shaking work turned this around for them! And who said you couldn’t find a good seamstress, there’s still a few of us die hards!! Glad to have you in my network! Tina

    • mrsmole says:

      That poor mother hit a few other seamstresses in town before one of them gave her my name since word gets around I will work on “hopeless cases”. I don’t think that the folks in Portland could have/would have fixed both garments during an overnight stay for her and her daughter in a hotel with 6 hours driving time one way. It’s like when brides buy their dresses out of town and then stand in front of my mirror and ask “who is going to steam my dress and re-attach all my dangling beads?” The answer is the folks who sold you this dress and made the profit but we end up doing it for them to save them gas money.

  3. Pingback: Be Careful What You Wish For | fit for a queen

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