Every wedding dress has a story and history and I feel blessed to handle and alter them.
This month I accepted a bride with a dress she found and bought in a consignment shop. It was definitely from 1960 and too tight and too sheer in the skirt. The bride has come for fittings wearing different colored thongs complaining that you could see her underwear and I thought of how often this happens. It made me smile to think of how many hundreds of times I have told the brides to wear proper undergarments. I say “formal clothes require formal underwear”. It reminds me of the Dr. Seuss rhyme “Red Fish, Blue Fish“.
My poem would go like this:
Red thong, Green thong,
It’s all wrong
Pink Thong, Blue thong,
It’s still wrong
Buy, Try, Why?
Tight pants, Right pants,
Wear them for a while
Flat tum, tight bum,
Makes a bride smile.
But after digging around inside I found this tag: Yes, it IS a union label when seamstresses had protection when they worked in US factories. Back then, wedding dresses didn’t even have linings or boning or mounds of tulle and petticoats or a myriad of buttons and bows…they were just a dress to be worn once.
This dress was very tiny and had a metal zipper up the back which is being replaced with tiny loops for a corset back. The original bust measurement was 30 inches and waist of 24 inches but the side seams had been taken in 2 inches making the bust 28 inches…imagine!
The lace overlays were all intact, no tears or holes but the lining did have a horizontal tear at the hip level that had to be fixed using some fusible interfacing strips and hand sewn invisible thread.
The bride is opting for a 3 point bustle and will have ivory stain ribbon instead of the green color I used for a trial lacing up. A skirt lining was added and stitched by hand to all the raw edges inside to follow the empire shape. Now her underpants, no matter what she wears, will not show through:
Two things I want to mention this week are 2 solutions for strapless dresses that can make the day for a bridesmaid a lot nicer. The first is adding a halter strap. This is just a 1 inch wide piece of grosgrain ribbon covered with the chiffon I cut off the hem. One side is sewn to the dress and the other side has 2 big snaps inside so the bridesmaid can remove one side and hide the strap for the ceremony but use it for dancing.
The other is adding small straps on both sides to keep a big collared strapless dress from falling down:
These straps are organza ribbon but they will be covered with the lace removed from the side seams once they are taken in. This dress was made in China and was too long and too wide so the bridesmaid asked for a small bustle to help shorten the dress for dancing.
Before I get back to the October brides, I want to share half the harvest of butternut squash from the garden cages:
Happy cooler weather sewing whether it be for real clothes or Halloween costumes!