It’s Not Your Dress, part 2

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.

Open all the seam lines and get ready to pin..what a project…want to back out now?

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.

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4 Responses to It’s Not Your Dress, part 2

  1. Jennifer Padden says:

    That looks like the same David’s bridal BM dress I had to make the same alterations on. They must tell their associates to order them wrong so their alterations dept can stay in business. That dress had so much extra fabric in it, I almost could have made another dress when it was finished. I feel your pain.

    • mrsmole says:

      It does make you wonder time after time why women and girls buy such huge sizes and never think about the alteration fees later. Normally I leave all the excess fabric inside and tell the client I have left it there so they can alter the dress again or sell it to someone larger which they appreciate but I ended up serging everything off inside. Like you said, there was enough to make another dress…well almost…ha ha. Thanks Jennifer for sharing your experience with this dress…it helps ease the frustration we all feel when we are alone with such a project!

    • Alethia says:

      I can assure you that is not the case. As one of the alterations managers for David’s Bridal, there are many circumstances that meet for a person to have a dress that big.
      As a matter of fact, we tell our customers that you cannot let out non-bridal dresses by David’s because there is no seam to let out no more than about 1/2″. That’s just the way they are made. On the other hand, whether bridesmaid dress wedding gown, etc., we alert our customers that these dresses can only be taken in or let out ( for wedding gowns), in most cases about 2 sizes, depending on how they are constructed on the inside.
      Now, Mrs. Mole didn’t say, but this person may have borrowed this dress from someone, she may have lost weight, or ordered larger ( due to pregnancy issues), or in some occasions, some party members will order their dresses too late and we cannot get their size, so in order to stay in fashion with the party, they have to order what they can get and either have it taken in or gusseted.
      @ Mrs. Mole, better you than me, because with that extensive amount of work, I would never (personally) have taken that job in. It’s too much work for not enough pay. The amount of work that you had to do would cost above the price of the dress. Too much work! I hope she is completely satisfied and pays you a healthy tip ( wishful thinking for you). ;o)

      • mrsmole says:

        Hi Alethia, the client said she bought it to fit her hips but even then it was way too big. She said she went to the gym for a while but golly dropping 6 inches would be some miracle gym! I think most of the time they are just not really paying attention and dream up some size to order and figure that at least it will not be too small and bigger is better. I’m charging her 2 hours labor which is less than a new dress and since she is flying to the Midwest for the wedding next week I don’t think even finding her real size would have been an option. Like you always say “I’m sorry you waited so long to get this altered”…and then we wish we could say “So go find someone else less busy”….in our dreams. And we always think we will make it up on the next project…but it never happens….ha ha.

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