Salmon Run

No, I’m not talking about the seasonable spawning of fish in our local rivers…this week the salmon relates to bridesmaid dresses…some good some bad.

While most dresses come with boning and all sorts of structure to make them look good for that special event…one showed up this week that had nothing going for it…literally nothing. It is a floor length tube top with elastic at the top, short lapped zipper and a knit lining covered with chiffon and no label. It seems the bride bought a load of these in little junior sizes and expected real women to wear them. How about this for fitting?P1180764 In order to match the rest of the girls, this bridesmaid did not want a corset back installed so I had to cut fabric off the hem to make panels…you have seen this before:


Pin up chiffon and knit to find 4 inches to play with/harvest.


Remove old short 10 inch zipper and install 20 inch invisible one.P1180768


Open both side seams for the new panels.


Make new panels 4 inches wide and 16 inches long with both layers. Serge the edges.


Zipper installed and first try-on…the back actually closes up! The girl may wear a strapless bra to help control the rolls in the back.

The waist sits on her actual waist but what about those side panels?



Side panels hand basted and pinned at the point…this may work!


Now all that is left is the hemming.

Four other Alfred Angelo bridesmaids dresses came in last weekend along with 6 ladies who filled up my sewing room. 


Five sitting down and one on the platform getting pinned up and in. The dresses needed to be take in on the sides as well as hemmed.

The one thing the mother of the bride wanted was for me to close up all the organza panels by hand. I said I would not re-design the dress and said I could close up the very bottom of the back panels 2 inches to cover a few of the bra bands. To hand sew all those chiffon edges together would have removed the whole reason the bride selected them.

She also asked me why the first layer of skirt lining closest to the legs had the seams facing away from the body. I said many gowns are made this way maybe to keep from snagging the seams on shoes with beads and straps. Doesn’t it make sense to have a smoother side inside against the body and shoes, no? Then she said she wanted me to change all of them to be the other way on all the dresses…I declined. There is a second layer of lining facing that way under the chiffon so nothing shows on the right side anyway.

Mr. Mole is always offering little tidbits to enrich my sewing life and recently he shared this link for all my readers who also crochet:man shorts

If you need a chuckle please visit this YouTube video and help these women trying to earn money to buy supplies for community charity sewing:

Thank you, Everyone and happy sewing!



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60 Responses to Salmon Run

  1. “Change the seams” “Sew up the chiffon”…good grief. I’m afraid I’d hate to be that bride! Why on earth would she want to ruin the style of the dress? There are boatloads of one shoulder bridesmaids gowns sans chiffon openings…! Whew, you do get the challenges! And that poor girl in the sad and WAY too small blush gown…! I sure hope she wasn’t forced to PAY for that gown. I do NOT understand brides…and I am currently dealing with TWO of my own daughters who will be brides in the next year+! It can get so expensive for these bridesmaids – why make it so much harder?

    Whew…hoping you make it through another crazy wedding season without pulling your hair out!!

    • Oh, and the crochet shorts…omg. I’ve seen those trotted out as a ‘fun’ style for men…um, NO. Just no. Stick to trees, please, if you must crochet/knit something out of the ordinary!

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Cheryl…I’m keeping my fingers crossed things go well and a bottle of rum handy. Bridesmaid dresses are in the $150 range for decent ones and I have worked on some for way more…such a waste for a one-time wearing. The “kind bride” tells her girls to buy a flattering dress in black and let’s them choose their own style so they can at least wear it again someday…this year it’s a salmon run…all swimming upstream never to return again.

      • rowsella315 says:

        I found dresses at a dept. store that were regular rtw for my 2 bridesmaids. Granted, they were not necessarily their style but they were also under $50!

  2. Colleen says:

    Miracle worker!! That 4 inch panel addition with a longer zipper was amazing. You are one talented lady. I don’t know that I would have thought about the longer zipper so I appreciate you sharing this alteration. I am pleased you said no to flipping the lining….she would not have gained a thing and probably not wanted to pay you for the time and trouble!! I had my store owner think another alteration lady did the hem wrong when the lining was turned to the inside. I said…no I follow what ever edge finish and direction the designer/factory created as she had done. You see it both ways in many dresses.

    Again, thank you for taking time to share your postings and helping to educate. I don’t know what the next generation will do for alterations without someone taking time to share and educate.

    • mrsmole says:

      If I had used the original zipper, she would not have been able to even get it over her head so it had to be replaced and it looks flatter and neater back there.I’m with you on the altering…original seams look one way for a reason and they look the same when I am done. You don’t have to agree with the seam techniques…just duplicate them and get out…ha ha. The future does not look bright for finding seamstresses…even now very few of us in our area still do bridal or even sew for a reasonable price.

  3. Oh boy, some brides do have odd mothers. I think they must be relieved to have you willing to stand up to their mothers – it must save lots of arguments when they go home.
    Be assured that those I crochet The Management will NOT be getting those shorts. Never.

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Kim, I do try to be the voice of reason in the room…someone HAS to be! LOL After celebrating a milestone birthday on Easter, it has given me more power to stand my ground…which is a good thing. Mr Mole will not be getting any of those shorts either although the granny square ones would give him some ventilation when gardening…but we won’t go there!

  4. SMH!! 50% of my business is from foolishness like this. They by this stuff cheap with a ridiculous plan to SAVE on the alterations, not realizing that alterations are just as expensive. I love to see the faces on my clients when I give them the total cost for their nonsense…they look like deer with their heads caught in the headlights, LMBO! Then, have the nerve to ask, why are alterations so expensive…”all you have to do is…”? Really? “I might as well have bought a dress….” Now you get it…DUH! But, unfortunately for them, it’s what keeps my business running, this and the cheap purchases made online from overseas.
    Seems that salmon is the color this year, along with coral (AGAIN). I’ve had 2 salmon lace prom dresses to alter and 2 coral BM dresses to make. You always make it work Mrs. Mole…what else can you do? Great job!
    As for the crochet shorts, I’ve seen this floating around on social media several times. And, for some reason, all I can think is that crochet, heat, and all that region down below will not mix well, IJS.
    Happy Sewing!

      • mrsmole says:

        You know I have never seen a dress that cheap with no label and hope to never see one like that again…so unflattering and un-fat-forgiving! But after quoting 3.5 hours of labor the bridesmaid said, “are you sure, it doesn’t sound like enough?”

      • Tia Dia says:

        The bridesmaid said what? Now that’s a lovely compliment to your work, Mrs. Mole. Ugh. I have 3 sometime-future weddings to be involved with for my DD’s, but at least they understand something about garment construction, watching me sew all the time! I love these posts – so much information that you’re giving away that we readers can benefit from. Thank you, you miracle worker!

  5. maryglenn says:

    If that Mother had come to me, I would be in Jail now! God bless you.

    • mrsmole says:

      The good thing was there were 5 other ladies to deal with like an assembly line…one jumping off the platform while another one jumping on…me sitting flat on the floor for 2 hours…and when the last bridesmaid said her feet were numb from standing for 30 minutes of pinning, I told her my butt went numb too a while back…then we all laughed.

  6. At least you had some hem to match it. That’s a ridiculous request I think. Kudos to you for doing it. Again, I hope you charged her plenty. You’re worth every penny.

    • mrsmole says:

      I am sure my fee is way more that that tube dress cost but she was willing to pay anything to match the rest. I’m thinking the bride could have put more thought into the sizing and shapes of the girls.

      • robindrush says:

        Brides should be more considerate of the sizes and body shapes of her bridesmaids. I had one bridesmaid who was a size 22 and the rest ranged from size 4 to 14. They bought matching (china made) black spaghetti strapped ‘date night’ dresses. The size 22 requested a simple princess seamed black dress. She didn’t care if it matched the others. Her statement “I want something comfortable that I can wear again. If the bride doesn’t like it, then I’ll sit this one out”. Smart girl.

      • I’m not sure that they ever do. Too bad, too. That gal would have looked really cute with a short jacket over the extra lumps.

  7. Mandykatt says:

    I’d love to specialize in bridal alterations because I love working on fancy gowns, but gah! The stressed-out brides and over-involved mothers stop me. I don’t think I can tactfully handle them at this point in my life. So I’ll just keep reading your adventures with them. 😀

    • mrsmole says:

      You do have to bite your tongue a lot and have a patient husband who listens to all this crap at the end of the day while he shakes his head. I am blessed.

  8. Susie says:

    Thanks for the laughs! People will never cease to amaze me. Sew up the organza?! Change the direction of the seams?! Imagine all the crazy ideas that lady must have.

    • mrsmole says:

      There were more comments and pointing along the way but I said no to all of them. Even after I pinned all the side seams tight she inspected all of them and said that she did not want to see any excess fabric billowing out from the body…these bodices will be skin tight…nothing will be billowing but my bill…come on, Mom…sit down and take more photos.

  9. erniek3 says:

    I just hope the Salmon Bridesmaid did not have to pick up the cost of her junior miss dress (what, were they sold in a set of five, shrinkwrapped on a pallet at Costco?). And I am glad you could make silk out of soot for her; I suspect that dress says a lot about her relationship to the bride. And I’m glad Mr Mole can listen; patience is the best gift in a marriage.

  10. jay says:

    That was a very inconsiderate bride, with a too nice friend! (salmon horror). The organza saga has me speechless.

  11. sewruth says:

    Really, you never fail to amaze me. Talk about silk purses and sows ears! Crochet shorts – Now I bet those don’t stretch when wet!

  12. Suzanne says:

    I’m utterly confused at the idea of changing the direction of the seams. But I have to wonder why you didn’t humour her and charge her? Was it that she expected it to be done free? If you told her that you thought it was so unnecessary, but you would do what she wanted and it would cost x amount then she could decide how badly she wants this ridiculous thing done.

  13. Emma Jane says:

    ugh! I am in a similar position to the girl at the top! The bride asked me to be a bridesmaid then decided to go dress shopping weeks later with her future sister-in-law (the other bridesmaid) over the Christmas holidays when I was out of the country. I didn’t even get to see the dress or comment on what size I was, let alone try it on! So now I am racked with anxiety about trying to get this dress to fit me, and growing in animosity towards the bride. Surely this is not how things should be done?! Does common decency and thoughtfulness just disappear out the window when you plan your wedding?! I think I will just elope…
    Anyway, I love reading your blog and all your exploits! I just wish you were near me to “fix” my useless bridesmaids dress!

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Dear, Emma….can you take a photo of the back and see what the spread is?

      • Emma Jane says:

        its a good couple of inches! there is a separate lace overlay though, so I think I can let out the side seams or add in some fabric and at least the overlay will cover up the extra fabric. It could be worse, but it is just frustrating and inconsiderate!

  14. Stephanie says:

    OK I laughed so much at the salmon swimming upstream thing… Poor girls. I always enjoy reading about your adventures and ingenuity! PS My boyfriend keeps on asking me to sew boxer shorts with a buttoned fly that actually opens, unlike the all-elastic-all-the-time numbers they have now, but I think a crochet pair might be cuter….hmmm…

  15. fabrickated says:

    Another lovely tale, thank you Mrs M. I am glad no one asked me to wear salmon – there are not many colours which suit everyone, and salmon isn’t one of them.

    My mother was a bridesmaid in the early fifties and the bride supplied her with a strapless evening dress on to which shoulder straps were to be sewn for the ceremony. The idea being that my mum could remove the straps have have a lovely dress to wear later. Problem was the dress was in sulphurous yellow.

  16. mrsmole says:

    Sulfurous yellow…now that’s a color or could it be a medical condition? Yes, salmon/coral a trend this year that doesn’t look good on everyone but we have to wade through it until the next season rolls around. Makes you wonder if being asked to be in the bridal party is really an honor anymore and more of a penance?

  17. poppykettle says:

    Oh geeeez. That lady wanting those ridiculous changes reminds me of being in a fabric shop about a year ago, well known for selling bridal/bridesmaid dress fabrics – so it’s full of people who know zilch about sewing buying fabric for their dressmaker. I stood in line behind a woman who could just not grasp the concept that her poly lining fabric cost more than the poly chiffon fabric that would go on the outside. I guess the fact that the weight of the fabric impacting on price never crossed her mind – she kept going on and on and on!!

  18. mrsmole says:

    That is why nylon tulle is less than $2 a yard…it is mostly air held together with thread…when they start the sentence with, “I don’t know anything about sewing….” You have to believe them!

  19. Monique says:

    Coming out of commenting hibernation to wish you a belated Happy Birthday, Mrs Mole. I hope you enjoyed your day and can look forward to a wonderful new year.
    But goodness, what ugliness we get to see (before you get involved, that is). So glad you’ve been able to put your foot firmly down against those requests. You are, after all, the expert, no matter what the mothers think. Keep up the good work! 🙂

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Monique, the day was mostly sewing for clients but I got some lovely cards and flowers. Hope your weather has been kind to you and your own sewing adventures will all be fun ones!

  20. BeaJay says:

    Wow – what an amazing save. I would never had thought it could be done. You are a miracle worker.

    • mrsmole says:

      Makes you realize the value of panels stolen from a too long of a hem…some days we get lucky and can get creative, BeaJay. “Saving their bacon” in the phrase so many of my clients use….ha ha!

  21. You did magic with the salmon dress, Why would anyone ask her friend to wear a dress that clearly doesn’t fit?

    • mrsmole says:

      When brides are selecting and buying a single style and color they are not thinking rationally…after all the event is all about them and the bridesmaids are the backdrop.

      • That’s true. I guess this lady had or will have her chance to squeeze her friend into a dress that might not suit her.

      • splendidcakes says:

        It makes me ill to see the self absorption of these brides. Had I been the young woman in the first dress, I would have bowed out of the wedding. You are an absolute magician! I hope she gets some good smoothing undergarments to wear underneath- of course I’m so old ( only 50 actually) that I can’t believe people don’t wear slips any longer- my mother could tell from a mile away if I didn’t have one on! Yes thin knit maxi dress ladies, I can see your thongs and and every little bump and mosquito bite on your back ends… yuck.

  22. accordion3 says:

    Awesome save!

    In my previous life as a church organist I was often struck (knocked sideways) by the unstoppable mother of the bride…or bridesmaids…

    • mrsmole says:

      You know how men like to compare and posture to each other about the size of their truck or boat etc by bragging and trying to out-do each other? Well it is the same with mother who have a little knowledge of sewing. They want me to believe that they COULD have altered the dress themselves “if they only had the time”. It’s weird to me because I don’t get my hair cut and colored and tell the hairdresser that I COULD have done it at home if only I had the time. It’s not a competition…you seek out the help of a professional for a reason, don’t you?

  23. prttynpnk says:

    I’m back to my theory that brides hate their friends. Surely you could find a dress that flatters the body types of all of your ‘friends’- making that girl get so many adjustments to a dress she won’t wear again feels like bridal mean girlism!! But you will make her the best looking gal there- take that Demon Bride!

    • mrsmole says:

      Makes you wonder if the bride is thinking that her friends will never look good in that dress and the voila’ they actually carry off that weird look or color in spite of her, Anne. Why would a bride want her friends to upstage her?

  24. Shari says:

    1975 was also the Year of Salmon. I was still a flower child and not into matchy-matchy, so I asked the girls to just wear something formal of their choice. We had a nice assortment of aqua and salmon, totally unplanned.

  25. girl in the stix says:

    That was an incredible fix! But what an unfortunate choice of dress for that poor bridesmaid!

  26. mrsmole says:

    Wouldn’t you love to see the rest of them??? I sure would!

  27. maryfunt says:

    Your posts are an absolute riot! I shudder at altering bridesmaid dresses: horrendous construction, lousy fabrics and no seam allowances. I charge PLENTY for this and most times it is more than the dress. Scares away most and those who do want me are happy. Keep those stories coming.

  28. mrsmole says:

    Well Mary, I wish you much good luck in the wedding dress you are creating from scratch! Thanks for dropping by and I’m afraid these crazy stories will not end for a while.

  29. Mary says:

    I just dodged a bullet — and I have you to thank!

    A friend with a history of needing (but not returning) favors just called. Her daughter is in a wedding in 5-6 weeks and got pregnant after her bridesmaid’s dress had been ordered, and the store from which they bought it ONLY does alterations on bridal gowns. Mom says: “I just know you can do something with it!” Well, I could if wanted to . . . but I NEVER sew for anyone but myself and my daughter (see wedding dress from last year on my blog), and furthermore, from reading your blog I could only imagine what I was in for, so quick like a bunny I Googled “bridesmaid alterations my town” and found someone in the next town over that does what you do, and wrote down her name and phone number on an index card to have handy. . .

    The dress was actually worse than I imagined: tall, long-legged girl in a short dress, so no excess fabric at the bottom; ruched crinkly georgette/chiffon bodice, boning in side seams, no matching shawl or extra fabric. . . But I could tell my friend’s daughter that the seamstress could insert a gusset and fix it .
    . .
    Knowledge of your stories gave me the courage to just say NNNO!

    • mrsmole says:

      It is always good to have some phone numbers of others who want the work you do not want or need. So happy that you were ahead of the game!!!! Thank you for sharing, Mary!

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