Isn’t Bridal Season Over?

Most people think that June and July are the 2 biggest months for weddings and assume that I am now just kicking back with a margarita and reading romance novels in my spare time…NOT A CHANCE!

Here is what wandered into my sewing studio this week:

  Each dress comes with a story and a good price tag. The first one on the left is Alvina Valenta 9155 silk dupionni and a real designer gown custom from New York. It has those little covered buttons down the back all the way to the hem.

The second dress is Casablanca 1975 again custom made without the straps and covered in beads, the third is a peach colored St. Patrick bought from a consignment shop. While each one has it’s issues I have learned something working on each dress.

The smell that comes off the silk one when pressing is so distinctive, like newly cut lawn and the beaded gown showed me that removing beads and lace motifs can really add to the labor costs when someone wants small darts added to the bust area. Working around lots of extra boning in the bodice and lining can be maddening.

The third dress has lace straps/yoke unit that didn’t show up in the group photo but they were too long and had to be totally disassembled at the shoulder seam and that was the only place that had a seam. Again the lace motifs had to be patiently removed, lifted and repositioned and tacked down again onto the crinoline type base of the straps/yoke. It also had a sweeping chunk of fabric that was all pleated into some sort of hip lump on one side only which didn’t make much sense when it came to making a pretty bustle.

So you think…big deal 3 more dresses for the month of August and then another comes in with extensive alterations for a  wedding date 2 weeks later.


The dress was bought a size too big as the salon told the client that they would not let her buy the size 14 as it was a bit too tight…you know what is coming…the bride lost some weight and now it is two sizes too big. Yesterday, I pinned out with great difficulty 3 inches in the bodice at the zipper to snug it up enough and then she said too snug it up another inch when I was sewing it. Great and do all this and what happens at the end of the zipper??? You can end up with a huge bulge even if it is tapered slowly.

The most remarkable thing about this dress is that the bodice has boning every inch vertically so the only place to take in the dress was center back at the zipper which is my favorite place anyway…lucky me! She wanted the side seams really yanked in but there is boning on both sides of the seams and it would mean taking the entire bodice apart, removing all the boning, 4 sets and taking in the seams and somehow replacing the boning right next to the remaining ones….in 2 weeks along with all the other things she wants. If you click on the link you can see the back which leave no scope for an interesting bustle. Pretty much all you can do is grab fabric and shove it up underneath and hope it just joins the rest of the deep folds of satin all somehow attached to an underskirt. It will involve 5 points to get the train up off the floor.

After the client left I flattened out the back of the dress and took a good look at the inside. There were supposed to be 5 points already attached satin to underskirt but there were only 4…no wonder it hung funny. So once that was remedied I could get to work trying different lengths and pining and pinning. In the second photo you can see I pinned the 4 outer lengths to the out side of the dress just to see how much was needed to clear the floor but all that will be hiding under eventually. The bride wants me to tack down all the pleats front and back and sides and she removed the huge flower that was pinned to the front folds. She also wanted to model different veils, try on 3 pairs of shoes and discuss jewelry in addition to me pinning out and pinning down all the things she didn’t like about the dress…at one point I wanted to ask, “what exactly do you like about this dress?”

I warned her that zippers cannot really stand too much stress and taking in a dress almost 4 inches was going to be stressful/downright dangerous and I told her the story of a couple friends who were making a wedding dress. After getting the invisible zipper in perfectly with a struggle matching waist markings etc, the bride bent down to put on her shoes and the zipper burst apart leaving her backside open to the world. I had an extra heavy duty bridal invisible zipper from Wawak and gave it to them.

After hearing my little cautionary tale, my bride just disregarded it and snapped back, “I’ll put on my shoes first” …OK Honey and make sure you don’t have to sit down or use the bathroom all day…or your guests may be dazzled by more than a gorgeous bustle!

My vegetable garden is still producing squash and tomatoes and turnips and I have planted more turnips and lettuce for a second crop in the late fall. There are Swiss chard and spinach plants waiting in little pots to be planted out but the brides take over my time. There are 3 brides booked for October and one for November so there will be no margarita sipping days for me just yet.

Wishing you some peaceful times to enjoy the last days of summer.

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10 Responses to Isn’t Bridal Season Over?

  1. Alethia says:

    No ma’am, bridal season is NEVER over!
    You will ALWAYS have weddings, funerals, and babies being born….
    As for the alterations on wedding gowns, these are the things that people don’t realize make alterations expensive~ they are time consuming, especially if there is a lot of bead work, boning,and intricate details.
    People just see you fixing things, but they don’t see all that goes on before you can even “fix it”.
    1. Your time pinning them for the alterations.
    2. Putting up with their indecisiveness throughout the pinning process.
    3. Measuring and taking apart.
    4. Pressing/cutting in between.
    5. Second fitting to make sure all fits well.
    6. More indecisiveness~even griping and complaining.
    7. Redoing , sometimes.
    8. Finally, cleaning and steaming.
    9. Oh, I forgot, somewhere between #3 and #4, there’s re-beading, etc.
    That’s a lot of time. Not to mention if there’s a need to rush the process, ugh!!!
    Anyway, I had a young girl come into the shop one day this week. After she got into her wedding gown, I began to tell her all that needed to be done to get her wedding gown looking its best on her. Well, she told me that she wanted to wait for her mother. Fine, understandable. But, she also, went on to tell me that she wish her friend ~ who can speak my sewing language, since she sews~ were here so that she could tell her what to do. In other words, she wanted to make sure that I wasn’t getting over on her ( Why wasn’t this friend doing her alterations in the first place, hmm?)
    I simply told her that if she wanted to bring her friend back, she could reschedule. I don’t have time to go back and forth with you about something that I am trained to do. Go and waste somebody else’s time.

    • mrsmole says:

      Alethia, you made the best list I have ever seen!!!!! I should print this out and give it to my brides! Yes, it is all true…the indecisiveness of bride and mother and sister and friend and then the arguments about lengths of train and bustle shape…like did they not think of this BEFORE they came to my studio? Do your clients take photos with their cameras and send them to people who could not make it to ask their opinions? Mine do! They drag out boxes of necklaces and earrings, gloves and garters and all want to try on the veil and prance around. The friend that they bring along “who speaks your language” makes pillows and pot holders…she has never seen an understitched facing nor understands French tacks or horsehair braid. I have had 9 people in my little studio sitting on all the chairs, sofa and floor directing me until I wanted to scream after the semi-productive 90 minute session…and then they ask how many more of these sessions can they have since it was so much fun. Then they pick of their collection of iced latte grande cups from the front porch on the way to their cars as I never allow food in my room.

      • Alethia says:

        “Yes, it is all true…the indecisiveness of bride and mother and sister and friend and then the arguments about lengths of train and bustle shape…like did they not think of this BEFORE they came to my studio?”

        ~ You’re right, everybody that comes along has an opinion and seems to know better than the expert… But, I have a rule…If the bride comes with her entourage, she can only bring one other person back to the fitting area with her~ be it mom or whoever~ the bride makes that choice. This cuts down on my frustration and people getting in my way.

        “Do your clients take photos with their cameras and send them to people who could not make it to ask their opinions? Mine do! They drag out boxes of necklaces and earrings….”

        Sometimes they do. But it mostly unnerves me that someone will take pictures without asking my permission for me to be in the shots.
        As for the prancing around, trying on “other stuff”, I politely tell them that they can do that after I have done my fitting, and if there is time in between other clients. They can take their “stuff” and move out and free up my fitting room.

        “The friend that they bring along “who speaks your language” makes pillows and pot holders….”

        You are so right, the “friend” that sews does nothing with bridal and formal wear~ maybe she attempted to sew her daughters prom dress once. But, she’ll act like she knows what she’s doing because the bride has boosted her with all this confidence.
        What gets me is when I get a bride in that will not let us hem her gown or size down a beaded gown (because of cost)~ but she will take it to friend, mom, or grandma. However, she just wants us to bustle it ( I could scream!!!) HELLOOOOO! YOU CAN DO ALL THIS FANCY WORK , BUT YOU CANNOT BUSTLE THE DARN THING…GO FIGURE!

        (SORE SPOT)

  2. Jane Urbach says:

    You have more patience than I do. I finally gave up sew for others and said “No more costumes,” unless you can come to at least 6 fittings, (for which I charge) They live an hour away, and wanted me to hem a circular skirt without marking it on her first. I sent off a 1860’s style blouse and skirt (Individually they lookd O.K.) and it looked terrible, but she did not want to come for a fitting to mark where to put the hooks in front to keep the skirt up at waist height over her 11 month pregnant shape of excess weight. The waist band had to be loose so it did not cut into her belly/waist area, and the skirt had to be hung from hooks to make it do so. Her husband worked on this side of the bay, but they lived on the other side. I tried to guess with a dress dummy, but it still did not hang right.

    • mrsmole says:

      Ha ha….fitting an 11 month pregnant body sure requires some fancy fitting!!!!!!!!!! I’m picturing you with a padded out dummy, hoping the poor thing won’t fall over while you drape more fabric over it. Oh Jane….people have no idea what is involved and expect you have a magic sewing wand like in Cinderella. Well, some days there is very little “bippity, boppity, boo” in my sewing room.Thanks for commenting and dropping by!

  3. prttynpnk says:

    You also have to contend with people talking over/thru you because “the help” can’t hear!? My mother in law is the worst for that. I loved that lace shouldered gown! So pretty!

  4. mrsmole says:

    Being on the floor 90% of the time and on my knees I do fit the image of “the help” or servant girl. Clients ask me how long I have been doing this and if I ever get nervous working on the dress. I smile and say I have been on my knees for 40 years and I learn something from every dress…sometimes it is something I learn about the client. If you listen long enough, people tell you who they are. And I am in the position to be a good listener as they ramble on. It is a joy to see a dress with shoulders from time to time and knowing that the bride will NOT spend the whole day pulling her boobs up to her neck.

  5. theresa says:

    I swear, the next time I buy a wedding dress, I’m taking a seamstress with me! 🙂 That goes for anything formal I might need ever. The dresses are lovely BTW, but I just can’t believe anyone would want to be zipped into that tight a dress, wedding or not. As you said, it’s to her peril to go that extra inch tighter. I guess she doesn’t want to enjoy her meal either. Considering what it’s costing her, she should though!

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Theresa, you crack me up…brides eating at their own wedding? One mother told her daughter that her dress was so tight (she didn’t dare try sitting in my chair) that she would be standing the whole day. It was so tight that there were horizontal drag lines across the front and she was a size 2 or smaller…there is no size that makes a bride happy…she has to be cinched in like Miss Scarlet in Gone With the Wind.

  6. Pingback: Simple Bridal Darts | fit for a queen

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