A Treasure Hunt and a Save

You bought your dream wedding dress at a high end salon on the other side of the state, the salon assured you that the alterations would be perfect…so you left the dress with them. A week before the wedding, you picked up the dress and paid for it but they told you that you should not try it on because …WHY?…they have steamed it. (FIRST MISTAKE!)

You get home 5 hours later and try it on and realize that there is only one bustle point and the rest of the dress is dragging on the ground (like basset hound dog ears) and there are weird “wings” of fabric protruding from your hips. (SECOND MISTAKE! ) What now? The wedding is 4 days away!P1170799 copy You ask your friend who is a hairdresser who just happens to live across the street from Mrs. Mole for a favor. I accepted the 4 day challenge because I wanted to see inside the dress and make the 2 additional points on the bustle (see safety pins). Like many brides with their heads in the clouds, they try on a size 14 dress and need it to be a 8 or 10…no problem the salon says…”our back room seamstress can handle it”. Someone pins out the seams, and someone stitches them up…not necessarily the same person…and how can you tell?

Let’s see some telltale signs, shall we?open-liningFirst we open the lining to get inside,take-in-r-side here is the right side to be taken in…but where do the wings come from?P1170803




No matter where I looked there were chewed off bits and where the pencil line stopped, so did the stitching…guess the sewer did not know that she was supposed to trail off to nothing below the last pencil mark. Was this dress marked and then bagged up and dropped off at someone’s house for the sewing part? It is anyone’s guess/probably.


Beads have to be removed when they fall unto the seamline but not all seamstresses do this. Once all the new seams were sewn, EVERY seam allowance was trimmed and pressed flat and the dress was perfect and on time. I didn’t have the heart to ask what they were charged for this half-ass alteration job but there is no way the bride would have gone down the aisle looking so bad. She wrote a glowing review online for me and sent a thank you note too…it means so much to be appreciated!

Before I go, I want to share a new addition to my sewing family…drum roll please…instead of me droning on and on about my new machine, please click on this link for another seamstresses photos and reviews of the Juki 2010Q. Yes, it is targeted for quilters but it has a vertical bobbin case that I dearly wanted/needed and such a huge clearance for thick gowns and netting.JukiMy Elna has a new place to stay! A couple months ago I saw an ad for a 1930’s sewing cabinet on Craigslist. It was $30 but needed a patch of wood and some TLC as in sanding and staining and varnish to make it new again. My neighbor who built my platform added the patch and cut the chewed up legs off by 2 inches to match my counter top height.


What more does a girl want or need?

Have a super week of sewing everyone! And if you want your latest wadder featured on the SEW BAD Saturday, just email me at: surroundedbywhite@gmail.com

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33 Responses to A Treasure Hunt and a Save

  1. prttynpnk says:

    Those bastards! That’s all I can say.

  2. Marsha says:

    I think prttynpnk is being kind and very lady-like in her remarks.

  3. mrsmole says:

    Wish I could warn all brides about in-house alterations! Not all houses are the same quality!

  4. I wouldn’t doubt it was outsourced to an individual sewer. The production manager I interned for had a long list of sewers who’d do samples for us in a crunch, all with varying levels of timeliness and proficiency. Although, you’d expect a high end salon to be more choosey about who works for them (but then again, some people have no pride in their work).

    I worked on industrial Jukis at school, so I tend to prefer that brand.

    • mrsmole says:

      The feeling on a Juki is like driving a Subaru vehicle…sturdy, reliable and there is no delay waiting for a computer to kick in. The stitches just follow the command from the foot pedal and the pedal allows you to cut the threads with the push of your heel…quite cool for a straight stitch machine!

  5. Cindy says:

    Her first clue should have been that they didn’t want her to try it on! We encourage our brides to try on their dress, that way if anything needs to be tweeked we can take care of it.

    • mrsmole says:

      So many of my brides write the check and never try on the dress until they get home and then the tears start. It is almost an equation that the farther away the bridal salon, the less they get for their money…driving 7 hours to buy a dress from a posh salon is no guarantee of quality. If they think about returning for minor tweaking they have to add in the gas, and hotel stay and meals…when they could have a local seamstress do it way cheaper. So glad to hear that you work in a reputable salon, Cindy!

  6. Val says:

    Good Grief! (1) Congratulations to the bride’s parents who taught her that courtesy and respect to others plus the good manners to write thank you notes still matters; (2) Congratulations to the bride for absorbing and practicing these lessons, (BTW: hope you had a FABULOUS wedding!); (3) Has a copy of this posting been sent to the bridal store and are they suitably horrified and have they refunded the cost of alterations to the bride ?

    • mrsmole says:

      I wrote once to a salon in San Francisco that was selling “sample gowns” but when I got inside the dress it had been worn and altered 4 times by the stitching lines beside the zipper. I sent all the photos to them and said they should be ashamed to call these samples when they were just recycled and used. They said some had been used for fashion shows across the country…yeah right…

  7. Sarah says:

    Lovely for you to be appreciated, Mrs Mole! Shocking mess on that dress, but you worked your magic as usual. Love your 1930s cabinet, it looks great. X

  8. Julie says:

    Well done you for sorting out that horrid mess and helping make someones special day extra special. So glad to hear that she appreciated what you had done for her, after reading about some of the divas you’ve had to deal with I’m glad to hear someone appreciated your talents.

    • mrsmole says:

      Since seamstresses rarely get tips of any kind, the thank you cards and online reviews fill the gap. Some brides and mothers have tears in their eyes when they come for the final fitting…it makes my job worthwhile.

  9. Tee says:

    Wow, that’s a hot mess!!!! Love your new machine!!! That’s my dream machine!!! Congrats!

    • mrsmole says:

      I love everything about this machine even though it is just a straight stitch machine…the foot pedal cuts the thread if you push with your heel…fabulous except some days I get tired and forget and let my heel relax back flat and whoosh…the cutter does it’s job when I don’t want it to…ha ha! Another bonus is it uses Organ needles like my Janome and Elna so my stockpile of needles and feet all can be interchanged…hooray!

  10. poppykettle says:

    That poor girl… and amazing you for saving the day!!!! I can’t even begin to process how half-assed that alterations job is. Just terrible.

    • mrsmole says:

      Even from the outside you could tell something was fishy…when the mother called to say she had never seen her daughter cry to hard and for so long, I knew they needed me…it’s such a nice feeling to be able to help…that is why on my business cards it says “Desperation Alterations”.

  11. Cindy says:

    Congrats on the new machine AND the last minute bride save! I’ve had my eye on that machine so I’ll look forward to an update on how she performs.

  12. Tia Dia says:

    Years ago at a very upscale bridal salon in North Toronto, I was trying on a maid-of-honour dress, and in walked a bride in a drop-dead gorgeous designer gown. It was hemmed ankle-length, and I overheard her desperately talking with the head alterationist about the error they had made in the hemming of the garment. The poor girl had no choice but to take that gown, as her wedding was the next week. I will never forget how the staff did not give a rat’s *ss about her tears and horror. Bastards, indeed.

  13. mrsmole says:

    Once the dress is paid for it is hard to get any sympathy or service after that. Maybe they don’t think that a bad review to their friends and relatives counts…but it surely does!

  14. Kimbersew says:

    Whoever did the steaming should have noticed a problem in the side seams! That’s doubly shameful of the shop to hand it out the door hoping the bride won’t notice!!

    • mrsmole says:

      Probably the person who did the steaming is just another person they hired to do that job and she would not be the one to mention the “wings”. It is shameful!

  15. JustGail says:

    Wow. I think your blog should be required reading for all gown-shopping brides. Or maybe not – they may get the idea that there are alterations wizards everywhere who can do short-notice miracle fixes of bridal shop and internet ordered mistakes.

    Nice machine – I keep seeing more and more people getting Juki machines.

    • mrsmole says:

      Having a booklet to take on the wedding gown buying trip would be handy. I spoke to Mr Mole about making such a thing but since it would include many photos it would be expensive to publish. It would be written from the inside of the dress…things the salespeople will not tell you can or cannot be done within financial limits. Wizards are in short supply…ha ha.

  16. CarmencitaB says:

    Just use a chainsaw to cut your fabric will you and please feel free to sew with pop rivets while you are at it, it’s on the inside it won’t show right? Wrong!
    You are a saint and you perform miracles. I’ll write to the Pope so you can get your canonisation quicker!

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Carmen but as we all know…you have to be dead to be canonized and I can’t wait to retire so I can have some fun before that fateful day. Meeting the top Jesuit would be quite an honor!

  17. Monique says:

    Congratulations on your new machine! 🙂
    And reading your stories, I realize how incredibly capable our bridal shop was – how caring, professional and wonderful they were, during all the fittings she needed. It was only afterwards we realized what nightmares others go through! I’m sure you were one of the most important people on this day.

  18. Monique says:

    meant our daughter of course. These people realised how important the dress and everything else is. A once in a lifetime occasion, right?

  19. symondezyn says:

    Mrs M, you are amazing 🙂 I’ve been so behind on my blog reading, commenting, etc, but I just wanted to pop in and say, I ALWAYS make time to read my posts because you never fail to entertain and inspire 🙂 XO

  20. mrsmole says:

    I love reading your posts as well, Amanda…love your new mannequin too!

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