When the phone rings and it is the bride’s mother asking for an appointment I ask two questions; when is the wedding and what do you want altered.
Usually the first question is answered quickly except in one case this season the answer was “I don’t know maybe in a year or so when my divorce comes through” with screaming children and brand new baby crying in the background. She made the appointment and then never showed up. My hubby said that maybe it was a situation where the girl forgot to mention this to the boyfriend but went ahead and bought a dress on her own. Once he found out the matter was null and void.
But the second answer goes like this for 90% of the clients; “It needs a little tightening under the arms”, “it is a simple alteration and will not take you very long.”
That is when I mention inside side seams are rows of boning and if there is a slope down to the center back, as with 90% of strapless dress, taking in a side seam makes a step-down junction and the front section must be shaved down to meet the back so you will lose boob coverage. My first choice is always going in through the zipper to do tightening up.
So when the Casablanca dress showed up last week and I photographed it for you along with the 3 others maybe the thread tracings did not show up. Here is what the bride’s mother told me over the phone: “We bought the dress at a high end salon in Eugene and it was custom made to order.” Since the Casablanca website shows the dress with spaghetti straps and this one is strapless it surely must have been made to order and thus the reason for all the vertical boning. “They told us a seamstress could just take a few darts in the bodice to make it fit in the bust area.” WHAT? Why can’t a custom made dress fit a girl without darts and extra padded bra cups sewn in?
First, I pinned out a 3/4 inch dart on each side of the upped edge of the bodice. Then I thread traced the center line front and lining as there were those pesky but necessary boning lines to avoid.
Then what to do with the attached lace motifs? Surely one cannot just grab that dart and sew it without opening the top seam (understitched) and take in the beaded fabric and lining separately? Well you know there are people out there who would and make a real “dog’s dinner” of it thus leaving a lump. So here is what I did…carefully remove the lace motifs (stitched down with invisible nylon thread, Lord help me!) and flip it back on itself after removing all the beads and crystals and sequins and saving them for re-attachment later. Then we go inside between the lining and fabric and open the seam and pin out the darts in order to baste them.
See the already padded bra cup detached for access, I will add another padded bra cup later.
Then we go ahead and sew them each and then sew them together, re-attach the bra cups and flip the whole thing right side out and re-attach the lace motifs and add all the beads and crystals and sequins that we originally removed so no one will know and this is what you get:
Pretty nice and you will also notice that I did a row of backstitches about 3/8 inch from the top edge to hold the lining down as before all this alteration it was creeping up and out of the dress and could be seen. The weird thing was there was nothing holding the lining inside so it could sneak up at will.
SO there we go…a “simple set of darts”… lots of hand labor for something that should have been made correctly from the beginning.
Next time more “simple” alterations that never take much time…BALONEY!