It has been quite the week! I don’t remember getting in so many gowns quite so early in the season and with so many alterations needed/
As I totaled up the costs per hour on some of these dresses, I questioned the brides as to whether these are all worth it…they nodded and said, “YES!”
OK then…let’s start with the most expensive and work our way down.
Paying over $3000 for your dress has some advantages…you are way more careful with the fit and style…enter Alvina Valenta 9155…silk with jeweled flowers. All this dress needed was to be shortened 1/2 inch and a 3 point bustle…easy peasy and a sweet bride.
Remember this fairy tale Tara Keely layered lace dress from last year?
Well this bride is shorter and needs the lower level shortened by at least 4 inches so a horizontal tuck will be taken under the upper level of lace and of course the petticoats will need to be shortened as well by that much. Then let’s add a bustle.
People ask me if I ever re-make a mother’s dress into a gown for her daughter and I say it has not happened…until now. This dress was given to another local seamstress who made a real “dog’s dinner” of it. The bride said they had left the gown for a month and what the woman had done was horrible. A belt was added to the empire style Gunnie Sax dress, 2 inch unnecesaary side panels and huge vertical darts and she also cut off lots of fabric inside to make a fluffy dress into a mermaid…an insane request to start with. Here are some nasty photos of bad work:
I took over 40 photos of ugly work, bunched up seams, blood stains, 4 rows of uneven seams and told the client that even though I am never one to make work for myself or inflate fees, this dress had to be taken back to the original to make it right. She and her mother agreed so that is what I did. All seams were opened up, restored and pressed to reveal a pretty dress.
Then we had a try on and changed a few more things. The back belt was shortened and pinned lower in front to eliminate folds in the satin. In order to keep the huge ruffled back panel while allowing the front to mimic a mermaid, I decided that a false panel sewn to the lining side seams would keep this all towards the back. The ribbon pinned to the side seams will give me the exact dimensions. Then I will make long vertical tucks under the lace panel to pull the front tighter and give the illusion of sleekness. Click on the photos for a closer look. A French bustle will be added under the new corset back:
Here’s a real honey…the bride says she got it for a half priced song ($1200) since a wedding was cancelled and she just had to have this dress…never mind that it was 4 sizes too big. This bride sees herself flowing through a park, train sliding through damp grass and a wider corset and tight, tight back section (Is there any other kind?).
All I have to do is put 5 hours+ into this to make it fit. The petticoat and lining will be shortened 4 inches, the center back of all seams taken in 4 inches and widen the corset back by 4 inches and move the ready made loops over and make a bustle.
And finally a dress that was bought online for $89. Yes there are dresses out there for that price. Now they leave off boning but they are lined and the chiffon is nice but this poor girl had some fitting issues. First of all, not all brides are a size 4…some are a 24+. On the phone she said her weight “fluctuates”. Be prepared! The size 20 dress needed a corset back to span the 8+ inches across the top center back. I made loops yesterday and strung some white ribbon across just to see the total effect. Darts were added to the massive front section for some shaping and boob containment. A modesty panel was made with horizontal boning and attached on one side to be snapped on the other. Here is the result: The white grosgrain ribbon in the photo will be replaced when I get in my ribbon order from Really Reasonable Ribbon in NY as they are the only ones who carry off-white in 5/8 inch wide. So far it has been quite a week of pinning but my new platform has been wonderful!
Next time…it’s Prom season too….get ready!