Another day, another bad bridesmaid dress ordered too large arrived in my sewing studio. Usually the dresses need an inch or so taken out but this puppy was 6 inches too big in the bust and graduated down to 2 inches at the hips. I started pinning out the side seams and since it was one shouldered, the naked armhole was very sloped and taking in 3 inches on that side would bring about the “drop down” for the joining of the seams. I explain to the client that she would lose about 1/2 in of boob coverage but she did not mind.
The front top edge of the dress was gaping open so I suggest taking a small tuck behind the bow and also tacking down the pleats under the bow to make the bust look flatter. Normally I like to take the zipper out but this dress was designed to have a 45 degree edge at center back so that was impossible to match edges after taking away 6 inches!
Some of you may not know what is inside a simple bridesmaid dress and even foolishly offer to take in such a dress for a good friend…prepare yourself for a seaming nightmare. To start with the satin fabric on the bodice is totally lined with some sort of black twill fabric for stiffness. Only one side seam had boning (mistake or on purpose?) and the lining had the same sewing sequence which had to have serging removed and then seams taken in and serging replaced. How many hours does this entail? Don’t ask.
Momma Mia…where to start?
Remove understitching at armholes and chalk mark the lining seam lines.
Lordie, I feel a headache coming on….heading to the fridge for a Diet Dr. Pepper…that will help. Let’s do something simple first, ease into this mess, like tack down the front pleats over the bust.Then make the hidden tuck under the bow to make the top edge lie flatter over her chest.
Then stitch all 12, yes 12 sections with the new tighter seam lines, serge off excess, press open the gathered sections and flatten. Everything looking good except…da-dum, da-dum…what about under armholes??? They don’t sew together nicely because of the “drop-off”…the cliff, the ridge, the precipice of 2 seams at least 3/8 to 1/2 inch apart.
Well something has to give and it is always the larger seam, the front which has to be shaved down to match the lower one.Let’s pin them and chalk them to get some idea if this will work…OK…let’s baste with orange thread and flip to the right side.
Looks like it might work so let’s machine stitch and see. All that is left is to understitch like the original and press. Speaking of pressing, look what I borrowed from a salon to press a very large wedding dress: What a little honey…it is a Jiffy 4000 that holds 3 gallons of water and will steam for hours. Here is the dress I steamed with and without a 3 point bustle:
For those of you who think things have eased off…guess again, there are still 4 dresses left to do for the next 4 weekends with Oct and Nov brides coming and I hear there are some Dec ones too who have not yet booked their appointment. Looks like I won’t be getting around to playing with my new fabric for a while.
Wishing you a great weekend filled with fall sights and sounds and cooler weather.