Off to the Ball

I’ve had this dress in my sewing room all summer…you got a peek at it in this post:

Now that it has been finished and ready for the Asian-themed Charity Ball next week you may want to see the steps that went into re-making it. Lots of photos coming your way!front To start with it had some weird vertical and diagonal tucks that stuck out at the tummy. It also had no side coverage so I put some chiffon in that area to show my client what could/should be done:chiffon-side-panel

Next, I got to work and looked inside to get an idea of what the seamstress(s) had done before I got it.1-inside-pleats

Here are the tucks from the wrong side…click on the photos for a better look.2-wider-side-seam The side seams were very uneven as well.5-inside-tuck6-cut-bead-thread7-inside-corner

To open the tucks the bead threads had to be cut and everything flattened.9-open-pleat10-inside-pleat-opened

Great and now what? Where does all this extra fabric go?21-remove-neck-fabric

Some of it slides north to the neck…see the extra…2 inches and the rest, see the green thread tracings? go into the side seams:23-remove-fabric24-remove-excess-side-seam20-side-seam There was so much wrong with this dress that I had to open the side seams to find more tucks done previously.

OK, have I mentioned the silk lining? Oh Yes…it was very large especially in the bust cup area and had to be reduced:11-lining16-bust-lining But along the way after opening the lining side seams I discovered this white line:12-side-seams

Hands up, who knows what that represents? It had been stitched twice and then dyed later…it was white fabric dyed after construction. Once the side seams were re-pinned and ready for final stitching guess what?5-uneven-hem

They did not match since the previous seamstress let one side gather up to make them even….how tricky, no?4-lining-pinned

Here is the lining pinned to all the edges of the dress ready to be hand sewn.


To make the chiffon side panel I had to make a pattern so I started with ivory chiffon and used my favorite pattern making medium, True Grid from JoAnn’s .14-add-seams-and-curve15-stitch-2-layersThe chiffon is used doubled for modesty and here you can see I have the pattern still pinned while I sew them together.16-2-pieces17-drape-pinned18-drape-pinned-back My client tried on the dress and we discussed the shaped and drape of the chiffon tails. She thought the dress needed a little extra WOW factor so I bought more chiffon and cut two 60 inch squares so the drape would be diagonal and fall nicely. The chiffon was cut doubled, rolled hem all around the 4 sides and sewn doubled but the issue for me was how to attach it without looking homemade??? The top edge of the fold would be 15 inches gathered down to 6 inches. 19-draped-folded20-basted-edges Finally, after many hours of basting and flipping and ripping out and many diet Dr. Peppers, I decided on using the very center of all this chiffon folded over on itself and hand stitched to the dress while letting the second layer flip over to cover the stitches. Then the machine would stitch over those to make it more secure. The top edge follows the shape of the waist which is very flattering.

21-right-side23-left-side22-back On the mannequin it looks a little sad but on a body it really zings!

It sure is nice to see a project finished and out the door!



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25 Responses to Off to the Ball

  1. theresa says:

    Wow, talk about turning a sow’s ear into a chiffon fantasy. That’s a beautiful dress now!
    I am so flippin impressed both with your creativity and your skill to pull it off. Just WOW!

  2. Andrea says:

    Mrs. Mole, when I read your posts, I am always impressed with your spatial reasoning skills. Your ability to deconstruct a badly constructed garment and make it into a beautiful garment is both an impressive skill and a gift. How I wished you lived in my neighborhood!

  3. mrsmole says:

    Andrea, some days you just have to be bold and take things down to the original version to see just what a heck of a mess you have…all this after you have promised the client that you will make her beautiful….Oh Lordie!

  4. april says:

    Fortunately, I do live in your neighborhood and can happily say your work on two of my daughters-in-law’s dresses saved the day! Thank you again!

    • mrsmole says:

      They were both a delight to work with, April! One of them is coming back this week for work on a new bridesmaids dress so the appointment will be fun!

  5. amazing, I love to see your creative fixes to these puzzling dresses. very pretty.

  6. mrsmole says:

    Thanks, Beth…and isn’t that dress just perfect for a “sunny gal”? Bright cheerful orange with waving chiffon tails…imagine her dancing the night away working those tails!

  7. accordion3 says:

    Oh my, I really enjoy seeing your superb skills.

    Was the client happy?

    • mrsmole says:

      Yes, she got her WOW and I think when she walks into that event that she is the organizer for, people will think she had something custom made…well in a way she did.

  8. Tia Dia says:

    I love these remake posts! And dress is so pretty with the chiffon. Thanks (again) for sharing all your thinkings and doings behind each project.

  9. Bunny says:

    wow! It is nothing like the original dress and a way lot better. Great work, Ms. Mole!

  10. mrsmole says:

    Thank you, Bunny…just adding a little chiffon modesty really kicked it up a notch!

  11. Gjeometry says:

    Oh wow, did you ever do a fantastic job on this dress! It is so elegant and all your alterations really tweaked it properly. Your client must love it!

  12. mrsmole says:

    She was sure smiling when she wrote the check, Catja! It is amazing what 3 yards of cheap chiffon can do! Thanks for visiting!

  13. BeaJay says:

    What a transformation. You have turned this dress into something special

  14. symondezyn says:

    Wow, what a transformation!!! From pumpkin to princess, I’d say – lovely job, well done!!! šŸ™‚

  15. June says:

    This reminds me of those fabulous goldfish – the ones with the really ornate tails. You always impress, Mrs Mole!

  16. mrsmole says:

    Yes, yes, June…what are they called Mollys? Those luscious creatures with fancy tails…perfect!

  17. prttynpnk says:

    That dress is awesome! Like lady superhero arch villian hottie! How you got it that way once more proves that you have superpowers yourself!!!

  18. mrsmole says:

    I just need a flowing orange chiffon cape and I can fly! Thank you, Anne, for pointing out my many attributes…ha ha!

  19. Sarah says:

    Your remodeled version makes me think of fabulous 1930s Hollywood costumes. Except they would miss the fabulous orange!

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