Blush or Champagne?

She ordered her custom made dress 6 months ago. She wrote and asked me first if she should add an extended train to the totally tulle skirt…I said no, as it could not be bustled up for dancing…she ordered it anyway and didn’t tell her mother.

The appointment was confirmed, she and her mother arrived on time after rushing over to the bridal salon for the late but promised wedding gown of her dreams. Never thinking to open the garment bag before paying for the dress was the first mistake.

I welcomed them into the sewing room and unzipped the garment bag…the bride covered her mouth and shrieked, “That’s not my dress” and the tears started to flow. I sat her down, gave her a glass of water and discovered that the dress was meant to be ivory but had been confused with blush and now we have a very tan/pinkish dress with a very long extended train on our hands. The new garment bag was so full the zipper was already broken.

She tried it on anyway and we got all of it back into the garment bag for her to return to the salon to try to make things right. The salon owner refused to own any responsibility and would not do anything to remedy the situation. The next day, the bride called to tell me the bad news but asked if she could return and work with me to make the dress work. She said, “I own it and I’m going to make sure everyone at the wedding knows that I OWN it.”



The dress will need to be shortened in front from side seam to side seam and something done with that train. Because the train was lengthened in the factory, to control it the hem of the train had been tacked to the lining every 4 inches to look like a balloon shade. This would not allow me to make a proper bustle so I had to remove the tacks all around the entire train by hand.


The center back zipper area flared away from her back just below the waist as it had not been cut on the straight of grain. To bring it back to being flat, I pinned a huge chunk, you can see the pins:

P1190293 The first thing to do was take in the center back zipper (remove the zipper) area below the waist as it flared away from the body. Later, I would discover that it would have to be re-attached completely by hand as none of this would fit into the sewing machine. There were 2 rows of pearls on the cap sleeves so they had to be removed and the sleeve narrowed (removing the cap) so that a strip of lace edging could be attached. The shoulder seams had to be taken up 1.5 inches as well.

P1190304   P1190305 The bride wanted the straps to be 3 inches wide as the finished width.P1190306P1190294 Once attached and the under fabric trimmed away it looked like it was made that way originally.

The inside corset had to be taken in twice as the bride started losing weight which meant the skirt lining also had to be removed and taken in and re-attached.



After the straps had the lace edging attached, the underarm area had to have the original tiny bias binding re-attached by hand. I pressed them flat first and then got to work.P1190329P1190330


Another issue was the front neckline with lace edging and the bride wanted small darts made to keep that edge flat.



Now that the top had been fitted we move unto the 8 foot train. What will it take to get all that fabric up off the floor for dancing in cowboy boots?

One Saturday morning, the mother came along, and I used her to help me decide on all the bustle points. We both worked pinning up and down for 3 hours. Nothing pleased the bride…nothing. She actually wanted all that fabric to be perfectly straight across the bottom and the satin bustled with the lace as one unit. This would never work as in most dresses the lace layer is 3-6 inches longer for a nice effect. I sent them home and got to work on making all of this work.

How about 11 bustle points for the lining???


and how about 7 bustle points for the 2 layers of tulle??? All seven points are hidden up under all that bling hanging down from the waist. The bride was insistent that no one could see her satin bustle buttons. You can’t see the small clear buttons or the loops and the tulle folds nicely into flat triangles without adding too much bulk…well, we can only hope for the best with 8 feet of fluff to start with!

At one point during all this pinning, the frustrated, overheated mother asked the bride, “Remind me again why you needed such a long train?” and her answer was, “because I want one”. When the mother suggested trimming the tulle shorter to have a more manageable length the answer was “NO”.


In the end, it was a relief to have it all done and just thinking about all those points being attached the day of the wedding made me smile.

Another thing that makes me smile are the regular harvests from the veggie garden. Here’s what I found yesterday:July-2015-13

Wishing all of you easy breezy summer sewing and time to reflect on your blessings.

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51 Responses to Blush or Champagne?

  1. sewruth says:

    So many alterations is like starting from scratch! If the dress was “custom made”, why did it not fit the bride straight out of the bag?
    Your notions box must be a treasure trove of lace and buttons and sparkly things.

  2. mrsmole says:

    You do end up with many trinkets and things after a while. One sewing room contains all the buttons and laces and rattail cords for bustles and corset backs and my other sewing room contains cast off/removed netting petticoats from brides and prom dresses that were too fluffy. Keeping these ready made petticoats allows me to add them to new dresses that need some extra fluff to make them stand out properly. But I do long for the day when I can stop all this ivory chaos and sew for myself IN COLOR!

  3. Good heavens…you do get some interesting cases! Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall when that bridal party is trying frantically to get all 18 bustle points buttoned? LOL! High price to pay for all that tulle train, which, btw, looks a bit ridiculous!

    Poor thing…I know she was glad she found you! (Who on earth leaves a bridal salon without looking at/trying on her dress???) Sigh.

    You’ve outdone yourself with your garden!

    • mrsmole says:

      She learned a valuable lesson with a long-awaited garment bag…look first before writing the check! The garden just takes care of itself, I just pick what shows up and whatever the birds don’t eat!

  4. Fabrickated says:

    As ever you have done a great job on that dress Mrs M. I had the same thought as Ruth. Why would she even book into see you if she had a “custom made” dress? Did she know it wouldn’t fit when she ordered it? How does that work. And although it is pinky/tan I do quite like it. And the way you have reorganised the preposterous train makes the whole thing look like a Victorian skirt – nice work. And aubergines…

    • mrsmole says:

      Custom is supposed to mean no alterations later but it might as well have been bought off the rack/peg for all that I had to do…10 hours of labor and charging for 18 bustle points…quite a chunk of money.

  5. Shari says:

    Beautiful work as always, Mrs. Mole.
    What was her reason for removing the cap sleeves?
    I was amused by the catalog description of the fabric: lace and net. Poly? Nylon? Silk? As someone who endured a scratchy lace mandarin collar on her wedding dress, inquiring minds would want to know ahead of time!

    • mrsmole says:

      Her “vision” was narrow straps so that was the first to go. She had purchased extra lace for the edging. It was all polyester and metallic braid at the waist and rhinestones. The lace edging might have been nylon as so many are…hard to tell even with the labels.

  6. Susie says:

    Ahhhh, the importance or seeing a swatch before a purchase!

    I only had a few bustle points and my mates still had a hard time aligning them correctly. I was shocked to see a disheveled rear end after I had been walking around at the reception for a few hours.

    • mrsmole says:

      I hear that from other brides about their drunken bridesmaids not being able to tie ribbons under the skirt. I use buttons and loops which is a bit easier but once you go over 5, it is a mess, in the dark under all that satin and tulle!!!

  7. On one hand I feel sorry for her that she probably paid a lot of money for a dress that wasn’t what she wanted, and that the bridal salon was so unhelpful. On the other hand, I just want to smack her for not listening to her mother’s sensible advice to just chop it down to a more manageable length! Attaching those bustle points…glad I’m not a bridesmaid in her wedding!

    • mrsmole says:

      When the mother picked up the dress her question was where to start with the loops and buttons…I said pick either end and count them first in case you lose one in the chaos.

  8. Another great “saved the day”. I bet the bride leaves and never thinks twice about all the hard work you put into “her” dress. Yes, she should have listened to her mother.
    Love all the veggies!

  9. beansmum says:

    I wonder if that ‘because I want one’ attitude is going to carry over into her marriage? 🙂

  10. Another win for Mrs Mole. Bet her husband is going to have trouble. How about a sweep on how long it lasts?

  11. mrsmole says:

    A sure bet on trouble in paradise, Kim!

  12. Wow! Pretty dress. But I’m glad I made my own and was forced to keep it simple. I would have gone nuts with all those bustle points and such! Too much for me!

  13. Mary says:

    That is one GORGEOUS bustle!

  14. Alethia says:

    That is so horrible what happened to this bride. She was a good one to “own it”.

    • mrsmole says:

      She had no other option with the wedding 3 weeks away and only wanting her dream dress…you know how they get attached to their “vision”, Alethia!

  15. Martina says:

    Thinking of bustles brought me back to my sister’s wedding day…she had made her dress (it was gorgeous) but none of us really knew how to do a bustle. We ended up using tiny safety pins which were still in the dress when we pulled it out of my mother’s hope chest 20 years later! That bride was very lucky to have you to help her!

  16. Shams says:

    I would laugh about the 18 bustle points, but it will be the bridesmaids’ and MOB’s problem, not the bride’s!

    • mrsmole says:

      Yes, Shams…the bride stands still whether it be on my platform in front of the mirror of at her reception expecting EVERYONE to do her bidding. I imagine she gets pretty impatient as well and wants them to get a move on so she can join the party. I can;t imagine having to tie up 18 sets of ribbons instead of buttons and loops after having a few drinks…ha ha!

  17. erniek3 says:

    Gravity will out, at the end of the day (or at least partway through the reception). I do give her props for ‘owning it’. But that bustle…

  18. Val says:

    Mrs. Mole: you are a superstar. I know you have worked hard to gain all the experience that you have but I’m convinced that you cannot be paid enough for the miracles that you perform !

  19. Val says:

    Ooops forgot to ask: did you ever happen to learn if the bridal shop refunded a portion the this gown’s cost since it wasn’t what was ordered ??

    • mrsmole says:

      That particular salon never assumes responsibility and never backs down. People wonder why they are still in business especially with so many bad reviews but they carry different brands than David’s and in a small rural town they can get away with murder.

  20. jay says:

    What a saga! The result is lovely though. Does no-one ever say – look, just make my dress from scratch?

  21. mrsmole says:

    They do ask but with altering 100 gowns a year, 9 a month, I have no time and less space to be making from scratch. No one else in this valley can do that job either so they have to go out of state for that service.

  22. girl in the stix says:

    I wonder why more brides just don’t go with a detachable train. Get all the glamour and glory for the ceremony and pictures, then unhitch the caboose for a carefree reception. Are there reasons for NOT having a detachable? As always, love your stories!

  23. Morgan says:

    Mrs Mole – nah, Mrs Miracle is nearer the mark.
    Love the gardening philosophy.

  24. rowsella315 says:

    Once a princess….

  25. selina says:

    Fab vegetables. My juicer would love them. Do you grow them or does Mister Mole do the garden? Can’t believe she was so precious about wee bustle buttons while planning to wear cowboy boots!!! Selina.

  26. Once again, you are calming my nerves mightily Mrs. Mole!! My daughter’s gown is also by Allure and there is a lot of similarity to this one. I find it very reassuring to see you also taking it (almost) completely apart and putting it back together with hand-sewing. At this point, my daughter’s skirt is in the den where it has room to sit un-touched, the original corselet has been discarded and the lace overlay is folded in pieces. I made a separate corset for her to wear instead. The train is short, but she still needs bustling – thank you so much for showing how you did it with the tulle. I have suggested it would be easier to just let me bring scissors and cut it off after the ceremony. She didn’t care for that idea.
    Fortunately, she has given in to the notion that I know what I am doing and I don’t know what I would do if she acted like a typical bride – it seems they are all so self-absorbed and rude!! I totally understand that they are emotional and going through a big transition, but still – the bratty behavior is astounding! So glad you have your blog to let off steam!!
    I will not be able to post about my work until after the wedding, because she doesn’t want her gown to be seen until then. I am taking lots of pics along the way, though!!

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