Making Progress

Remember the red dress that had been altered twice and then re-sold as new? Well, it is finished with all the seams let out, new wider straps, new longer belt and added inside boning and new side panels. I’ll take you on a little tour of the steps I made:11-side-panel12-panel Here is the shape that was needed to fill in the gap once the zipper was zipped up (hooray!) This is the actual muslin that was used so I drew with a pen on both and then stacked them to make them the same before I cut one in red fabric. There was no exact match at Joann’s in solid satin so I found this little honey that had flocked circles at one end…seemed good enough. Then I cut that shape and tried it:

13-fabric14-add-seam-allowance Adding seam allowances is a good idea.18-side-panel-football Here is is basted in…looks like crap doesn’t it?  So Plan B….make it a real triangle so it does not draw attention…well the wrong kind.

20-side-panel Way better, lays flat and could have been an original feature…shhhh…only you and I know it isn’t, OK? What else….oh yes, the new straps, they needed to be reinforced so I slid grosgrain ribbon down inside to prevent stretching too:

15-half-strap16-slide-ribbon-inside So maybe you are saying…but what about how long straps twist after you sew a long length….I start in the middle and sew to each end…keeps that from happening.17-straps Zigzag across each end and you have very professional straps…well actually better than anything you will find in RTW. The client is happy, the dress fits well, her bust is supported with sturdy straps and side boning and the new belt now fits all around her waist and into the zipper like it was supposed to:19-belt

Want to see a real monster? This Alfred Angelo gown came in a week ago and I have been dreading working on it but today it had to have my full attention. This very tiny short girl buys a dress that swamps her and has roses being vomited from a side seam. Now the side draped flounces are not attached to the roses panel or the dress…you can reach right inside to the lining…go figure…the photo does not show this feature:

b1861b64-759d-4275-be23-de54dcf733e6.enlargedNormal  b1861b64-759d-4275-be23-de54dcf733e6.enlargedBackDetail

Hands up, who knows how to gather up/bustle these roses and stuff them where they will enhance the dress/the sun won’t shine? After making 7 pick-up points I managed to get everything up off the floor for this girl to boogie on her wedding day…everything is just pinned but it is a start!

5-back-bustle3-right-side4-front And like most dresses it is heavy and will be very hot to wear this summer. Another bride who came to try on her dress before the final bustling walked down my hallway and did a turn and said it felt like she was dragging a small child in her train…Lordie, they never think of this when they are on a platform in the bridal salon…oh no…they see the dress from the waist up and leave the rest to the poor seamstress to figure out!

Stay cool everyone, drink fluids and stay in the shade! Next time more bridesmaid nightmares and bizarre bridal gowns…thanks for dropping by!

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18 Responses to Making Progress

  1. Marsha says:

    Your clients must think you’re their Fairy Godmother! One wave of your magic wand (and hours and hours of work) and everything is beautiful.
    I’m thinking there needs to be a new classification of a mental disorder–one in which the person buys a horribly ill-fitting garment and expects it to be magically transformed.

    • mrsmole says:

      If you can come up with the name of this “condition” I would use it! I have a friend who is a seamstress and she DOES have a wand…she brought it over one day when we were working jointly on a rush job. She does men’s clothes so she really needs a wand and probably some days a whip as well!

      • Elizabeth C says:

        I save reading your blog for when I need a good laugh and you never disappoint! What about calling that mental health condition something like “Delusional Gown Disorder”? It could even have qualifying descriptions just as in the DSM, like “Delusional Bridal Gown Disorder–Grandiose Subtype” or “Delusional Prom Dress Disorder–With Poor Prognosis.” What do you think?

      • mrsmole says:

        LOVE IT! DGD…certainly brides are delusional! I have more examples this week…Lordie…there is no end to this madness! Thank you, Elizabth for diagnosing and interpreting the condition! Are you medically connected?

      • Elizabeth C says:

        Dear Mrs Mole: No, I’m not medically connected, but my father was a psychologist and I have a degree in art therapy (among other things) so I’m pretty familiar with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Health Disorders and its contents. There are valid criticisms of the DSM, but I find that many diagnoses are quite helpful — even if on a metaphoric level — when trying to understand people’s motivations and behaviors. Such as why they buy gowns that are completely the wrong size, or they can’t understand that your time spent making the garment fit is worth every penny! Carry on with your excellent “treatment plans”!

  2. Jane Urbach says:

    It is pretty hot in Palo Alto, Ca if you try and do anything. I am trying to pack for a vacation with dog, while emptying completely the bedroom/cutting/storage/close room. My husband is supposed to put in a new floor (which I said NO to) while I am away. I am taking my sewing machine and serger and intend to not wonder what sort-of mess he has gotten himself into, while I just live in my daughter’s always cool basement sewing, embroidering and fixing anything of hers that needs done. Trying not to think of what crazy he can do. Not sure that tiny girl won’t sort of look like Mr. Doughboy with all that tucked up, but you managed to make it look good.

    • mrsmole says:

      Hey Jane, glad to hear you are taking a sewcation in a cooler place! Men will always do these things…it is in their DNA. My first husband truly screwed up our plumbing one day when I was at work so I can home to a weekend without water…he knew nothing about plumbing but thought he did…thankfully my second husband is way more handy and lovable. Maybe you might come home to something nice or at least passable?

  3. Bunny says:

    You really did a beautiful job with the red dress. That tiny little girl sure picked the wrong dress IMO. I hope the guests are able to see her come down the aisle instead of the fog coming in. You are a miracle worker.

    • mrsmole says:

      Fog or just huge cloud? It just reminds me of billows of whipped cream or mashed potatoes! The red dress client was so happy with the fit and you know they are thrilled when they say “I have a waist!”

  4. Lynda says:

    I’m so impressed that you can take complete disasters and make them into beautiful gowns for these young women who don’t know any better.

    I have had a few of these with daughters and granddaughters and it makes me nuts! My favorite was when a step daughter bought a gown in the size she was for a wedding in 4 months, knowing she was pregnant. Her comment… well, it doesn’t need too much altering does it? NO… just a complete remake of the front with not enough fabric to do it with! Next time I may send them over to you! LOL

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh No, Lynda…I have my hands full right now! You learn so much in altering difficult garments especially for pregnant clients!

  5. Cindy says:

    One possible name for the “condition” could be “the alterations cost more than the dress-itis”, a common disease suffered by customers that buy a dress way too big or way too small because it’s such a good deal. They should use preventative medicine(aka shopping) and pay a little more for a dress that at least is the right size. That is my prescription for the “condition”.

    • mrsmole says:

      Maybe “alter-itis” would work…a crippling condition that causes your seamstress to have great pains and confusion followed by great fees and elation at the completion.

  6. Sewbussted says:

    Congrats on that bustle. It actually enhances the dress.

  7. I laughed so much at your second to last paragraph! I had a winter wedding and walked through snow for some of my photographs. Everyone was fussing over me that I should put my shrug on or come inside. I was roasting under the skirt (and it wasn’t particularly big!) so I was glad of the 2oC outside!

    • mrsmole says:

      Imagine if it had been like this summer in the Northwest…we’ve been in the 100’s for a week and it isn’t even the hot August days yet! Those brides will be looking around for a place to sit…like on the beer chilling ice chests!Thanks for dropping by!

  8. prttynpnk says:

    My weddings have gotten simpler each time- the first one I felt like a giant float in the ungainly parade- they must have some serious mind-control drugs pumping thru the air systems in bridal shops!

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Anne, it must be like walking up to a Burger King they way they pump meat grilling smells into the entryway, the bridal shops must pump some mind-numbing/common sense potions into the shops.

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