Heavy Metal Bride

Every day that the phone rings I hope that it will be a new bride with a simple alteration…OK…that’s just me the “ultimate optimist”. So this next dress was a little difficult for the mother to describe over the phone.

It seems that her daughter was not going to have a normal dress bought off the rack so they made a trip to a fancy Los Angeles boutique to custom order this dress from Australia. The models on the website are all very tall and sophisticated so that is the first indication of trouble. My bride is very petite and very young and nowhere close to having the dramatic body and attitude that commands such extravagance.

ShowThumbnail.aspx 2ShowThumbnail.aspx 3

The dress is all silk and the beaded/rhinestone collar must weigh over 5 pounds on its own. All the rhinestones are set with 4 prongs which catch on everything else on the dress especially the lace skirt. It consists of 2 sets of wrap ties, an elastic waist and its own set of 13 steps of direction on how to tie them:How to Tie MIRANDA2


How to Tie MIRANDA6

There is also a lace tail that has to be tucked into the back waistband and this controls the entire position of the heavy metal collar. Of course there is nothing holding that strip of delicate lace TO the waistband…just divine intervention. My first idea was to make a new longer loop for the 4 ties to slide through and a wide tab of silk fabric with 3 snaps to attach it to the elastic waistband.P1180709P1180611P1180610 P1180710 OK, first problem solved…what else do we need to do to this custom made-to-measure dress? How about the gap at the center back of the collar? It pokes out away from the body and need to have some of those precious rhinestones removed along with seed beads and sequins…tedious? You Bet! Here is the back side to see the thread tracing for a dart…Lordie…a dart in a beaded collar…I must be nuts!



Remove everything inside the dart and then hand sew the 2 edges together front and back.




OK, collar done, what else? Well, the first set of ties come off the front panels at a weird angle and will not lay flat after going through the back loop…the mother asks for a vertical dart on the outside and inside of the top ties…sure thing…the ties have only one seam so the entire top edge has to be opened to get to the inside to make the darts…but hey, it’s only labor. Let’s hand baste the darts first.P1180600P1180601

Oh, and while you are in there, how about adding another strip of boning, this time one that goes from the very bottom edge to the top, not like the skimpy original one? How does one add boning to a strip of silk without showing or managing to use a sewing machine? How about covering the boning with silk and hand sewing it to the lining…sure, it’s just labor. The first photo shows pinning the covered strip of boning to the outside for perfect placement before hand sewing it inside.


And are we almost done?Ā  P1180609 Wait…we have to remove 5 inches off the hem of the lace and lining and then the mother produces a little bag of something hidden in the garment bag…what could it be??? M&M’s perhaps or a Snickers candy bar? Nope…something white!

P1180612 How thoughtful of Anna Campbell, the designer, to include 5 yards of lace edging for the seamstress to attach to the hem. It’s only labor after all…let’s do it…and the final try-on…remember the little loop on the big loop earlier? Well, there is a small button that makes the train into the bustle and here is the back view and front view minus a few tattoos:

P1180739 P1180737-2

So with just 5 hours of labor and lots of hand sewing, we have a “custom” dress that fits…finally! After working and thinking so much on this dress I was just a little disappointed when the bride announced that she was going to sell this dress right after the ceremony…really? Try to find a bride who wants a $3000 altered custom dress…that may be harder than you think.

A friend sent this link of a deserving group of ladies who made this video for a competition to earn money to buy supplies for charity sewing. Each viewing is counted every 24 hours towards their goal of the most votes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBaIl4uRTac

Please share the link if you can !

Happy Easter everyone!


This entry was posted in challenges and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to Heavy Metal Bride

  1. Bunny says:

    Your work on this is incredible. Not sure I would have the balls to cut off those rhinestones. Will the bride cover her tats for the ceremony? Just wondered but I bet you blocked them so we could focus on the gown not the tats. Tats do have a way of distracting from a 3000.00 dress. I have seen some artists on music awards shows cover their tats with makeup. Things that make you go hmmmm…….

    Gorgeous dress but I have to offer my thoughts on the 3000.00 design. Those rhinestones should have descended to the top of the skirt. It looks like they ran out and grabbed a piece of lace to make do. Also, does this girl have a bra on or will wear some sort of bra? The girls seem to be searching for nuts on the ground. And a gathered waistline in the back?

  2. mrsmole says:

    The bride will not cover her tats but I do blur them to make her less recognizable. This year I have more girls with arms completely covered in colors and animals and symbols and while they are fine with their friends and family, it is all about the photos and they want to be covered up for those. Maybe a little regret goes a long way in thinking about future generations viewing such body art? No bra can be worn and you can see even in the model photos, the boobs just sag and sit above the elastic waistband which goes completely around the body. The rhinestones were removed by cutting the threads that ran through the underside of them, like regular beads so they can be re-attached if necessary. At least they were not glued on..that would have been a whole different story, Bunny! Love your latest skirt! http://lasewist.blogspot.com/

    • Wow, I can’t believe how unflattering to the boob area this is on their official model photos. Looks better on your girl, but I’d rather just have a dress where a bra can be worn…

  3. Laura says:

    The work is amazing indeed. It does fit as well, but I don’t think the style suits. Pity, but nothing you can do about that in any case.

  4. Susie says:

    A special trip to LA to order a dress from Australia? First red flag. Yeah, it’s not a flattering design. The models bust is very odd shaped due to that heavy neckline and no bra and I agree with Bunny on the rhinestone design. I love your blog.

  5. mrsmole says:

    Thank you, Susie! Your latest creation making a fleece jacket look so elegant! http://madamesewandsew.blogspot.com/ I admire your determination and buttonholes!

  6. Tia Dia says:

    Wow. What amazing materials that ended up in a so-so dress. I checked out the website – great ideas with a specific aesthetic – but one would need to be a walking stick to pull any of it off without looking dumpy… kind of a Downton Abbey wannabe look. I just don’t understand the concept of a custom dress that doesn’t fit. What the heck did they pay for? Materials only? That collar is gorgeous, and I feel the pain of undoing and redoing all that beading….

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you Tia, it is a real head scratcher…get measured, order the dress, and it arrives not fitting and it should as it is only 2 sets of straps that wrap around a simple elastic waist…what could go wrong?

  7. birdmommy says:

    The idea of the dress is interesting… in theory. In practice? Not so much.
    It seems like when it comes to wedding dresses and evening gowns, women seem to think that the dress will magically turn them into the model.
    When I was looking for my wedding dress – back when dinosaurs roamed the earth – I absolutely knew that I had to be able to wear a ‘regular’ bra with it. And that all of the mermaid gowns in the world wouldn’t make me look like a have any sort of curve from waist to hip. Ther only mermaid that could make me look like I have a booty is Ursula the Sea Witch from the Little Mermaid!

    • mrsmole says:

      Most of my brides get it right but a few just are clueless and when they are told in the salon that a seamstress can transform their dress into something wonderful…they fall for it.Thankfully for both my weddings I didn’t wear anything but a dress I could wear to dinner.

  8. Shari says:

    Can’t add to the above perceptive comments- great minds think alike. It always cheers me when I see a new Mrs. Mole post!

  9. The dress is so beautiful. The alterations you did were amazing. Too bad the bride thinks she will sell it.
    Shortening it seemed to take away some of the design but better that than tripping on it I guess.
    I loved the ASG ladies. I’ve been a member for about 35 years. Next year I take over our neighborhood group. It’s a great organization.

    • mrsmole says:

      I ran a neighborhood group for 3 years and it sure makes you get good at planning and printing out technique sheets. Our chapter has about 300 women who do lots of charity sewing as well for runaway teens, homeless teens, lonely seniors in care and children entering grammar school for the first time.Lots of love goes into those clothes and bags.

      • Our group has a member that takes clothes to Haiti children that we sew. We also have a charity that is for low income moms of newborns. They only have a paper towel to send them home in. Some of the moms live in their cars. I’ve also made burial gowns for the preemies that don’t make it. I can’t imagine. It’s so nice there are people that care so much to help.

  10. Laurie says:

    As always I am impressed with the work you do! Off to view the video! šŸ™‚

    • mrsmole says:

      Hope you get a chuckle out of it…these ladies are trying to win the competition for the most viewings so they can buy more supplies for charity sewing for returning vets and children who have no clothes to attend school. Every 24 hour viewing counts!

  11. Kbenco says:

    I am impressed with the marketing of this dress. Its an interesting idea, but even your very clever work doesn’t quite make the bride look like she is 190cm tall and very athletic in build. I was a spectator (driver!) at a fancy glamour photo shoot not long ago, and the highly accomplished photographer and stylist team had a few dresses of this ilk, quite beautiful in their way, and “customisable” as in, you tied the garment on the subject so it “fit”, but really, they could only be photographed in it, not actually move anywhere!

  12. Tereza says:

    What an impressive alteration for such a tragic dress to body combo. That company seriously has a great PR campaign. I bet if that bride felt like a queen in her dress, she wouldn’t even consider selling it. I wonder how that dress was chosen: mom or daughter?

    • mrsmole says:

      A little of both…you know when presentation is the most important feature of a wedding just by listening to mother and daughter chat during the fitting. When a bride wants you to know that she has chosen the most expensive photographer in the area…well it kicks it up a notch doesn’t it?

      • Tereza says:

        Ooo la la. I hope that expensive photographer is able to capture those show-boating memories for years to come. And I hope the groom knows what he’s getting into.

  13. I like rhinestones but this does seem a bit heavy. And seriously, $3000? If that is true, I would rather have the money than the dress, Thanks! Come to think of it, you did your usual professional work, perhaps you should be paid $3000!

  14. fabrickated says:

    I was enjoying the story so much I felt a little let down (like the bust) at the end – nothing special to look at. but it will stay on and not create a trip hazard due to your wonderful alterations. The collar is lovely but her hips look a bit wide. I agree with everyone else – buy or make a dress that is a version of your normal style that will really suit you.

    The video is great!

    • mrsmole says:

      The fact that the model’s bust looked saggy it should have been a clue that the bride’s would too. There was nothing inside to support them until they drooped to the elastic waistband. In a way it was a darn fancy nightgown with a fancy collar. She wanted a Great Gatsby look but with perky boobs…I sewed in bust pads to help but she kept saying the dress gave her “grandma boobs”. Thanks for watching the video, every 24 hr. viewing is appreciated!

  15. CarmencitaB says:

    Of all the peeps I know, you are the one who will laugh the most about this collection of wedding wardrobe malfunctions http://itheedread.jezebel.com/your-best-worst-wedding-wardrobe-malfunctions-1695217001

  16. Martina says:

    Couldn’t she get one or those stick on bras? I’ve used them, and they’re not the most comfortable thing in the world, but surprisingly, they do add support if you’re a C or below. More comfortable than adhesive tape used to be!

    • mrsmole says:

      She may have decided to add those type as well as the ones I sewed in…who knows. Since the top kept getting looser as the elastic expanded there was hardly any lift or support at all…one more thing to think about when trying on high-end dresses!

  17. JustGail says:

    At first I thought “that’s not the same dress – there are no waistline gathers on the model (left photo)”. After looking at how it fastens with the ties, now I’m thinking they clipped the snot out of the gown even on that model. The model has no gathers at the waist, the skirt looks like it’s pulled around from back and she’s posed oddly. Or they photoshopped the photo like crazy.

  18. Janet Smith says:

    Hi Mrs. Mole,
    After enjoying your posts for so long and living in Melbourne Australia, I couldn’t resist replying to this post/ I’m intrigued that an American woman would buy a wedding dress from an Australian website. As always, I am in awe of, and overwhelmed by, your incredible processes of redemption, but it’s quite possible the dresses on the website are pinned at the back of the models with a huge spring clip to make them look fabulously fitted; this is often seen at the back of department store dummies in Melbourne. Interestingly, a lot of wedding dress designers set up shop in Melbourne, then, after a while, disappear forever. Keep the posts coming, absolutely adore your website! Janet

    • mrsmole says:

      Hi Janet and welcome. You may find that some bridal salons in your area carry US designed dresses? It is the unending quest for a “special one-of-a-kind” dress that lures these girls and mothers into high end boutiques. They think that guests will be gasping in awe but we all know the wedding is just an excuse to chow down some food and guzzle drinks and for the singles…possibly hook up with someone as drunk as you are and dance the night away. Pattern companies do the same with their sample dresses to make us buy them…Lordie, if they left them looking like the sad bags that they are…no one would take the bait! In the instructions for the AC dress it said you could scoot all the elastic to the back or the front to make either smoother but the real deal was just making sure both sets of wrap ties covered up the gathered mess. Without the dart I made in the top wraps there would have been a huge gap of fabric showing…some place to stash tissues?

  19. prttynpnk says:

    Well, it’s….different. You definitely improved it- thank you for adding bust cups- why so braless and droopy, designer lady?

  20. mrsmole says:

    The instructions say to place the elastic under the bust where under wires would/should go…for that price they should have added some!!!

  21. jay says:

    I really like the dress now that you have re made it.It works because the bride is slim, and can manage without foundations, but I think the price is hefty for the work and fabric the original includes. I’d guess that the beading at least is outsourced to a cheap labour area. Hmmm.

  22. girl in the stix says:

    Once again, you’ve rescued the wedding dress! Pretty creative fixes!

  23. June says:

    You could have been an architect or an engineer, Mrs Mole! What am I saying, you ARE are an architect and an engineer! I can’t believe you could do all that in only 5 hours. You must have fingers like the wind!

  24. mrsmole says:

    Oh June, I wanted to be an architect but my high school only allowed the boys side of the school to take such things…the nuns and brothers did not allow us to mix in classes…but it is true, I really am doing the same job only with fabric and bodies instead of bricks and mortar.

  25. symondezyn says:

    The dress really is gorgeous on the model, but definitely overwhelms your girl. Nevertheless, you are ingenious as always, and solved the problems beautifully – she will feel like a princess indeed on her day! šŸ™‚ (hope the gigantic price tag was worth it LOL)

  26. mrsmole says:

    Well, Amanda…take this as a lesson…when it comes time to pick out your wedding dress…skip the big collars and wrap ties and elastic waists and go for well fitting normal!!! If you can!

    • symondezyn says:

      Mrs M… I’m doing the sensible thing and making a well-fitting dress that’s just a bit dressier version than my normal attire (i.e.: no lace, heavy embellishments or anything that requires instructions or assistants to put on LOL)… that way I know it will suit me, I’ll be comfortable, and I won’t have to worry about anything falling out haha! ^__^

  27. Sarah says:

    Goodness, a dress that can make a model’s and a young woman’s bust look saggy? That’s some achievement! For brides with Erte figures, a fabulous look.
    On another note, I was surprised to see that the dresses are “made in Melbourne”. We used to have a thriving rag trade – 35 years ago! I suspect the collar sections would be made in China or SE Asia. The Aussie seamstresses who could do that kind of thing are all long retired or passed on. But I could be wrong – I’d dearly love to see more garments made in Australia. Although it would be nice if they were flattering and practical šŸ™‚

  28. poppykettle says:

    Amazing work, Mrs Mole. I’ll admit I’m incredibly partial to this dress, and it’s not at all got anything to do with being Australian šŸ˜‰

  29. mrsmole says:

    Is it the Egyptian queen effect of the collar or the Great Gatsby vibe? Or maybe the contrast of hard with soft?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s