Make Me Modest

Many brides select daring/baring dresses for their bridesmaids that make them feel uncomfortable. So, frequently I am asked what I can do to cover cleavage and open backs of dresses. If we are shortening the hem there is always extra fabric to come to the rescue. Here are the steps I use for these custom fixes.

The empty spaces have to have a piece of fabric pinned to fill the gap and then a pattern is made:



Cut out the shape with added seam allowances.P1170332 Fold back the top edge of pattern to have a top seam.P1170335 Then open flat, and understitch…notice the facing of this piece is the dress lining.P1170336 Slide the pattern piece up to the top seam, fold under the lower seams allowances and run a basting stitch to mark the lower edge for placement in the neckline. This basting will be removed later.



Here is the back section pinned above the zipper and the front panel in the background hand tacked.


P1170340 P1170341

The pinked edges are folded under and hand stitched to the lining. All the guide basting threads will be removed after the panel is stitched on the right side by hand. P1170342 Before basting is removed and here is a shot of the edge of the back panel and the snaps on one side that hold it in place:P1170343 Now the bridesmaid feels covered up and she can safely bend down to hug relatives without exposing herself.

Another little trick comes this week from a pair of pants that needed about 4 inches added to the waistband and upper hip area. Since I had no extra fabric to match the waistband I got really lucky when I looked inside and found the zipper guard was the perfect length.P1170411

The red dotted line show where the zipper guard used to be and you can see the addition to the waistband. A new buttonhole was added and the old buttonhole was covered. Two frontP1170410 pleats were also let out along with some darts above the back pockets. Even though what this client ends up with is a seam line in her waistband, it gives her the needed 4 inches once the waistband is re-attached.

I hope everyone had a super Easter weekend and once all the candy has been consumed you have a great week sewing up a storm!

Next time I have the prom dress from Hell and the princess who will wear it!!!

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15 Responses to Make Me Modest

  1. Angela says:

    Much nicer to dresses modest than those that the wearer wants make into something that looks more appropriate to wear in the bedroom! LOL!

  2. mrsmole says:

    Yes, Angela, if you have to wear a dress with open front and back the whole day it is way better to fill it in and be comfortable. This only works when you have extra fabric for sure!

  3. sewbussted says:

    Prom Dress From Hell and the Princess Who Will Wear It, sounds like a movie title!!! As much as you enjoy what you do, you must sit there at times and say, “I can’t believe this is happening.”

  4. mrsmole says:

    My response is usually, “How do they find me?” and then I wish I had just let the answerphone take the message. The mother told me, “The moment my baby girl was born, I knew she would wear sequins and sparkles the rest of her life!” So be prepared for some ugly bling from China!

  5. Tia Dia says:

    Great photos of that trouser alteration. I’m going to file that idea away – it’s brilliant!

  6. mrsmole says:

    Hopefully you will never need to add 4 inches but the zipper guard was just a bonus for me!!! I got lucky!

  7. Jane Urbach says:

    How much happier that bridesmaid will be, in contrast to that Bride-from-hell you had a few weeks ago with the too short dress, etc. I think about that horror story periodically, it stuck in my brain, I just can’t imagine that one. I remember when I got married a second time after being divorced for 11 years, I choose a white fabric with large soft flowers on it and decorated with tulle and flowers, one of those nylon “straw” hats in pink for my head. Someone told me, you “can’t wear a flowered print.” I told her that, “This ain’t no virgin bride, all my children are taller than me.” I still wanted to look pretty, as my husband to be had never been married before. Everyone in his family was pleased with what I wore and he didn’t care. And my daughter 23 and sons 21, and 18 were indeed all taller than I. You are great to fix things, so some people can really have a fun occasion. I have also found fabric in old waistbands and side seams or plackets when I was skinnier on things I have made so I could let it our where it did not show, for the new me.

  8. mrsmole says:

    You are right, Jane…fabric can be found on the backside of waistbands and pockets and don’t we get all excited when we find that? Small mercies! Your second wedding outfit sounds so nice. I have never had a wedding dress for the first or second wedding and each have lasted over 20 years but I told Mr Mole that in my next life when I come back as a tall, thin blond who can sing and dance, I will be wearing “the works” with a tiara and a train!!!

  9. theresa says:

    I just didn’t know you could add an astounding 4″ to a pair of RTW pants! I am floored and impressed. You are an amazing seamstress. Lovely job on the modesty panel. No candy here for Easter. I gave it all up the first of the year. Miss it sometimes, but there is still ice cream….;)

  10. mrsmole says:

    Yes, Theresa you can add and add until there ain’t no’ more. If the other 2 pleats had been able to be opened, they would have been included but thank God they were sewn into the pocket and would not/could not be opened. Ice cream…we can eat sugar free Breyer’s a little at a time. No candy here either unless it is sugar free!

  11. prttynpnk says:

    Is it weird to admire the delicacy of ones hand stitching on a snap panel? It was lovely….

  12. mrsmole says:

    HA ha…Oh Anne, I take compliments wherever and whenever I can get them…thank you for noticing!

  13. June says:

    I posted about my t-shirt, finally! It has been finished for >1 mo, but I hadn’t had time to take the pictures or write… I hope you will come take a look because I couldn’t have come so far without your generous help and patience. Thank you again!

    • mrsmole says:

      It was joy working with you, June. You worked so hard on every step and used other sources to confirm what we were doing along the way. It’s not easy looking at photos with my drawing on them and then trying to do what I ask but you were a real trooper and so glad we got a workable pattern and you learned so much about your own body and the variety of knits and their lack of performance…sigh. I only wish I could be with more people in person to pin out and slash their muslins and existing patterns…I see so many women with badly fitted clothes and they write that they do not know how it happened or how to make it better in the future so it was delightful when you responded that you would accept my help.

  14. Pingback: No Time to Waist | fit for a queen

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