Is it my imagination or just plain weariness after completing 48 bridal gowns and 41 bridesmaids this season that the last one is more challenging?
First, the bride lives 111 miles from me through a dense National Forest with mountains and rivers and the trip one way is almost 3 hours. Second, she bought the dress Allure P960 many, many sizes too large. No additional pressure but she is getting married in India with hundreds of local guests and family in attendance to fawn and inspect her authentic American wedding gown.
Let’s start with some first try-on photos and see what she wants and doesn’t want:
First, we have to hike up the shoulder seams almost 3 inches (remove beads, take in seams, replace beads), then narrow the shoulder straps to one inch (remove beads, stitch a guide line, trim away excess, replace beads). Whatever I cut off the straps has to be inserted into the center “V” for modesty as this will be a Christian ceremony in a Hindu culture.
Let’s pin out the center back (remove lapped zipper, remove 12 buttons, remove beads, take in 4 inches, replace with invisible zipper, replace beads, re-attach 12 buttons. What you can’t see is a long hook and eye boned corset inside that also must be taken in and boning re-arranged and re-attached to the bodice.
The front lace hem is about 1 inch too long but she decided to keep it that way as long as I can hike up the entire train so she can dance. Initially, I had hoped/
prayed to have only 3 bustle points but the weight of all that tulle will require 2 separate bustles like in other lace dresses.
After she leaves the dress, I get to work basting the new invisible zipper in and trimming the layers of tulle and netting that are way too long. “Why change the zipper” you might be thinking…well, have you ever tried to make a lapped zipper curve into the body 4 inches and then back out again…at least an invisible one will make the turns needed and I use the thicker ones designed for wedding dresses. First, the entire train is flipped up and over the front of the mannequin and clipped. All the netting and tulle will be trimmed level and bustled with 3 points. Using my favorite scissors I’m ready to sit on the floor and trim away.
Next I try a 3 point bustle but lots still hangs in drooping “dog ears”.
What next? Let’s see about those straps and find the best place to cut off the extra. I run a line of short machine stitches to keep the lace and tulle under it together. Thankfully there are breaks in the lace design that allows for separation and won’t look like the edges were chewed off by a hungry badger. You can see the narrow and shortened straps and the modesty section. Every bead and sequin and pearl along the neckline front to the back was hand sewn/secured as they were all very loose and dangling.
The final 12 buttons were re-attached and now all I need is the bride to arrive the day after Thanksgiving for her final try-on. This lovely heavily-beaded dress will be stuffed into a suitcase for the long trip and hopefully steamed before the ceremony.
Before I leave you, I want to say I bought myself a gorgeous cashmere scarf this week from a site that was set up by American Air Force servicemen to help Afghanistan women be more independent. If you have a chance please click on this link for some real affordable beauties! www.flyingscarfs.com