What Size are You?

This week has been insane with more June brides wandering in for “simple” alterations which turn out to be 4-5 hour affairs so I thought I would share some before I delve into the mysterious/misleading world of pattern grading.

Enter the swimmer bride…she is a health nut and works out and she like many others bought her dress on Ebay from a company in China that makes dresses for $120-300. The tall Asian models on the webpages look absolutely gorgeous in the dresses so she thought she would too. She said they ask for your measurements to assure a perfect fit/toss in the trash can and then send you the dress in a neatly wrapped package/vacuum sealed with all the air removed flat as a pancake with wrinkles almost permanent. So, I asked, “is that what you did, send them your measurements?” “No”, she replied, “I am a perfect 10 so that is what I ordered”. Here is what she got:

2-frontfront-brooch  Not too bad so far right? Sort of a Downton Abbey vintage look covering arms version

The train is very long and it will require 5 points to get it up off the ground as well as the satin skirt needing the same amount as it is separate and shorter all around. Now let’s check out the back…I have it on my mannequin as it was way too graphic on the body:

back-model Just a slight problem. You can see this is corset time for sure!!! This will add $120 to the price along with the 10 pick-up points for the bustles. You can see the different colored safety pins marking the top points which match the same colored pins below so I can keep track of all of them/keep from screaming. Let’s see the solution:

loops-pinned First make the loop sections…pin, pin, pin and then stitch, stitch, stitch:loops-sewn Then attach to the dress and add a modesty panel with 2 rows of boning horizontally. I backed the panel with cotton pocket lining from Wawak as it will be cooler on the inside and stiffen the satin fabric that shows

.new-bustleinside-panel And did I fail to mention that this dress is also 12 inches too long and I will have to remove the front scalloped lace to raise hem higher? Yes, this is one fine internet dress…$300 worth of alterations will make it wearable and memorable.

Now, let’s see what Vogue 8791 patterns has come up with to fit our bodies. Here are some frightening Google images! I cut out this pattern back in January when I had 2 weeks off and never got back to it until I tried it on basted and discovered it was way too big after cutting my normal size…so I broke down and backtracked and took it apart and laid the pattern pieces all stacked up to reveal the difference between the smallest to largest. Here is what I found, now remember this pattern says it has cup sizes from A-D.1-side-front This is what I needed to use as the new seam line.

4-pattern-side-front From an A cup to the D cup they add 1.25 inches (total 2.5 inches) but all the other dimensions do not change, all side seams line up as does shoulder seams.

5-pattern-front 2-front To make this center front section work I will have to take in where the chalk line is on the interfaced piece.

6-pattern-back-slashed Here is what I do normally on my back patterns, slash and spread and make a dart if the center back is a fold. Please click on the photo for a clearer look and follow the sequence.7-what-to-cut-off Here is what I have to trim away to make it fit although I will keep the longer length in the waist. 8-back-pieces9-back-pieces While this looks complicated since it is a princess line, it just fits so much better if you put in the effort. If your pattern does not have a straight center back fold you can allow the back seam to curve and not add the neck dart.

Next time I hope to have the tunic pattern for my client all adjusted and ready for you to see what I did to add where the gingham was pinned…but this week it has been very difficult to manage everything…7 brides for June…too much!

Before I get back to this sea of ivory I wanted to share a site that will send you daily uplifting quotes from writers and famous people from around the world from all religions and philosophies: www.gratefulness.org/word/index.htm

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28 Responses to What Size are You?

  1. Well, I made it about halfway through your post before the laughing fit took control…! HOW DO YOU DO THIS?! Cannot even begin to imagine how you calmly walk a client through a disaster of this proportion…unless it is to see her face light up when she tries on the completed project and realizes wonderful Mrs Mole has saved her wedding/debut/special event…!

    I know we all love a good bargain…but events like this are perhaps the one time to actually try the thing on (in your present size!) to make sure it’s going to work for you. Not all of us have a Mrs Mole handy 😉

    BTW…thought of you as I helped my daughter choose fabric for a top pattern – she wanted knit…the pattern called for ‘woven’…:) Have decided that six months is long enough to put sewing on hold in the interest of selling our home! Potential buyers will just have to consider my creative use of the dining room table as a cutting area a decided asset!

    • mrsmole says:

      Well Carolina, no matter what walks in I know at 5 pm I get a rum and diet Pepsi to make everything OK. Some days I do let the client know that we have crossed over into “expensive” side and I explain it hurts me to quote in the $300 range but the dress requires so much labor and they are always told they can seek another opinion but they never do…sigh. This year has been filled with very complicated dresses…more to come…insane remakes and reconstruction. Being an eternal optimist helps me most days…or maybe it contributes to my problems…who knows? Glad you had a laugh!

  2. Tia Dia says:

    Gee… I guess the ability to *follow instructions* isn’t something very common these internet-ordering days… kinda like common sense…

    And now I have a question for you about your dress: do you have a “twin” that helps you fit your own clothes or do you try them on and make mental adjustments once you have a good look at yourself in the basted garment?

    • mrsmole says:

      I have a mirror in whom a chubby girl resides…as much as I try to avoid her, she shows up every time…ha ha. But I just try it on, pin out what I don’t like, try on again, pin again, and hand baste until it hangs right. Measuring the paper patterns first is the key to not having so much to pin out. I cut an 18 but discovered with the bust being graded out, I could cut a 16 so that was a pleasant surprise!

  3. sewbusylizzy says:

    All I can say is you are a miracle worker… and a tolerant one!!!!!

  4. mrsmole says:

    Thank you, Lizzy…I see your blog photos and remember what it was like to live in the UK and travel around to ethnic areas and different countries close enough to use cheap airlines and eat new foods. You have to remember that people actually pay me to make miracles…so there is a reward…but mainly it is entertainment! If you could see what I see when these brides turn around, the tattoos and back fat and ratty underwear or lack of undies…oh my!

    • Been there seen that. Yuck! The leopard skin briefs (and boy were they brief!) were not really what I expected of a bride.
      Enjoy your rum and coke and know that there are many more of us out there! I have just quoted ‘large’ on a job that I really didn’t want. I got the work (darn) but at least I will be well rewarded!

      • mrsmole says:

        Oh Kim, you crack me up! Quoting “large”…holy crap….I know that “living large” means living swell but quoting large just has to be a great phrase!!! You see what happens when you go away on a relaxing cruise…YOU MUST PAY THE PRICE! Send me a photo or two and I will send you some too of what cannot be shown on a public blog….

  5. ellecsews says:

    Apparently your bride thinks there is an international code of clothing sizes. If only. Hasn’t she ever noticed that some size 10’s fit differently than others? Of are the ones that don’t fit imperfect size 10’s. You are a saint.

  6. mrsmole says:

    Laurie, you just wish you had this business don’t you??? The excitement of every new day, every new phone call, every new wacky client…dream on…it is my slice of heaven here in the Northwest and there seems to be no end. You probably have such fine specimens in your valley and just need to get your name out there…or maybe not?

    • ellecsews says:

      I am not even remotely skilled enough to do what you do, hell, I don’t even understand it. IF I was capable there is no way I would do it in the city in which I reside. Everyone is a princess and I am not capable of being nice to them.

  7. BeaJay says:

    How funny is that! Even the clothing companies can not decide what a perfect size anything is!! Mrs Mole – you are a miracle worker! The link to your philosophies don’t seem to be working.

    • mrsmole says:

      I fixed the link but here it is again: http://www.gratefulness.org/word/index.htm
      You can subscribe to get it every day to start your day off with an uplifting thought from great thinkers.
      Is there such a thing as a perfect size 10? I think the dress IS a size 10 but it has been a long time since the client was one.

  8. Bunny says:

    You sure start my day off with a smile! Thanks for that.

    As my very Irish Catholic mom would have said, “Mrs. Mole, you have gained your crown in heaven.” and then some! I am so impressed with your work and even more so with your attitude. Keep ’em comin’.

    • Bunny says:

      I just wanted to add that I think that gown is gorgeous. It is so refreshing to not see a strapless gown. All those floobies and tatoos hanging out of strapless gowns are just too much to process as the bride walks down the aisle.

      Have you thought of making a private pinterest board for all your horror shots? I have one of some of the horrors people are selling as patterns or passing off as tutorials. It makes me smile when I am having a challenging sewing day.

      • mrsmole says:

        Hi Bunny, I didn’t know you could have a private Pinterest page. Is the point that you have something no one can see or something only certain people can see? It would be delicious to have something like that since we all come across horrible examples of what passes for “wonderful”. Do you ever share your private page or can you?

    • mrsmole says:

      One thing I have noticed this week, if you have a happy face and a good attitude some people feel they need to leave a tip and it has been a real nice thing to get a couple dollars extra and if someone leaves a tip you know they will recommend your work. This means I get more weird stuff…hooray! Doing my penance now shortens my time in purgatory doesn’t it? The Irish nuns taught me that…I’m sure it is still true. Did you have to put the initials “JMJ” at the top of your school papers?

  9. prttynpnk says:

    I’m so excited! It looks like from the pictures that I am a perfect 10 too! Hurray! I haven’t been a 10 in years and I sure can’t remember last time I was perfect…..that floral print is making me swoony. I love it!

  10. mrsmole says:

    Soon my little one…the floral print will be revealed along with the skirt section which is totally different…I’m saving that for the big reveal…ha ha…by the looks of your fun clothes on your blog I am sure you are a perfect “10” and your husband must think so too!

  11. Tee says:

    OMG! I tell my clients this all the time. By the time you pay $300 for a cheap ill-fitted internet gown and then have to pay $300+ for alterations not to mention the frustration!!!!! Who wins with this rationale. The same thing with some of the bridal salons, they have the brides order gowns 2-3 sizes bigger and then do all these alterations! Better to have custom gown made to your exact measurements I say!!!!!

    • mrsmole says:

      You are right but it baffles me as to what the logic is unless it is to make more money? They have the girls order up 2 sizes and then the bride goes elsewhere for her alterations is she lives in another part of the state. Many of my clients shop out of state and never return to the salon so I get the dresses that need the most work! Custom gowns command a hefty price and 16 weeks waiting time…Lordie, they should be closer to the right fit!

  12. Pingback: Tunic and a tea cup | fit for a queen

  13. PoldaPop says:

    Greetings, Mrs Mole! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and as someone who only recently started doing alterations and custom garments for other people, I appreciate your humor and your willingness to share your knowledge – especially as I am largely self-taught!

    I need to do something similar to a client’s dress. She has gained weight since she first purchased the dress and can no longer zip it all the way. The dress cost her $600, so she’d like to be able to wear it again. I like the idea of creating a modesty panel and lacing and I have a couple of questions: 1) What did you use to make your loop tape? Is it ribbon and elastic or something else? 2) How does the modesty panel attach to the dress?

    If you don’t have time to answer these questions (I’m sure you are busy in your own life and don’t need to take on mentoring folks long distance!), do you have a book your would recommend?


  14. mrsmole says:

    I have sent you an email privately so please check your inbox for something from surroundedbywhite@gmail.com

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