I Didn’t Want to Order the Next Size

Some days you just want to scream! A bride calls to say her dream dress from China has just arrived and it is a little too small.

Here is what it looks like on the model on the website.

The bride said she measured herself and checked her measurements with the size chart on the website and decided that she did not want to order that correct size and chose a smaller size. Here was her chance to actually make a good decision and pick a dress size that might have fit her…she had the power to do it. Does this make sense? It sure did to her when ordering so here is what you get for being pig-headed:



The zipper is 4 inches away from any hope of closing:


The further apart the 2 sides are, the more we will see gaps in the lace neckline. You can already see that in the top right in the photo.

And the armholes are so tight and tiny that they will have to be altered big time! Pins mark the new edge.


You can see I will have to trim away and rebind the front and back armholes just so she can move and this means all the lace overlays will have to be removed and re-attached by hand…lovely.


The back armhole needs more widening.


Once all the curved bits have been thread marked, I cut bias strips of poly organza as binding.


Once the curved edges are bound, I can make loops for a corset back so the dress will be wearable. The other issue is that the lace bodice offers no structure so I slide 1/2 inch wide Rigilene boning up inside the side seams to give some support.P1190581P1190562

The back neckline is sagging and flaring away from her back so I pin out 4 darts in the lace to make it hug her back. The zipper will remain in the lower part of the opening but is only 2 inches long by now. For some reason she did not want the corset back loops to go the extra 2 inches like normal.P1190587P1190585

OK, let’s lace this puppy up with my famous blue grosgrain ribbon which will be replaced by ivory satin later. The top gap is still 4 inches and the 4 darts have been pinned. They will be sewn by hand.


You can see the front armholes sit well and the satin bodice will be tacked to the lace along the top edge to keep it from sliding down and making wrinkles just above the waist. All things that should have been done in the factory.


Satin and lining have been hemmed, the 2 top layers of tulle will be cut with scissors and the original separate satin waist sash will be cut into 2 long pieces and joined to make a lacing ribbon to match the dress. Once tied, the tails can be trimmed off and finished with a point to make it easier to thread through the loops.


In keeping with the produce section of the previous posts…here is the harvest gathered this week:Aug-2015-3

The Asian pear tree has been prolific this year and the Autumn Bliss raspberries are packed with bees and buds and fruit. The basil will be turned into pesto sauce and the spaghetti squash will be given to some of my neighbors. The strawberry plants have begun producing a second crop as well.

Welcome to all the new readers and if you notice that there is a recurring pattern of too small dresses week after week…it is true, it is an epidemic!


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56 Responses to I Didn’t Want to Order the Next Size

  1. Mem says:

    You Are a genius
    I am concerned that someone so deluded is getting married . Scary

  2. I think everyone is a bit deluded when they are getting married!!!

  3. They must be confused and think the size tag is on the outside of the dress, not the inside, and fully visible from 10 feet away…cannot think of any other reason why someone would purposely buy a size too small!

    • mrsmole says:

      Ha ha…it IS all about the size tag and the first thing brides say to me when I look inside their dress to find generous seams to let out, “I’m not really that size, I’m much smaller”.

  4. Michelle Jadaa says:

    The signs of a bigger problem in society i think.

    • mrsmole says:

      The sad thing is, someone can buy a $200 dress from China and then pay me another $200 to make it fit and think they are still ahead of the game?

      • Denise says:

        They will also tell themselves and their friends that they are still wearing the smaller size that they bought…see! the tag says so!

  5. jenerators says:

    Do you ever get brides who buy too big and need their dresses taken in this much?

  6. prttynpnk says:

    Can I say it? My back fat would not be contained by a lace back- I’m not sure that this would have been flattering in its original incarnation- your fix is more flattering!

  7. wow, this is borderline miraculous! I hope you charged her at least as much as the dress cost to work that magic.

  8. Brenda says:

    You are saintly.
    I clicked on the link to see the original dress, scrolled through the sizes to see for $50 it would be custom made…
    I admire your patience!

    (And I will never look at a lace-up dress the same again! šŸ™‚ )

    • mrsmole says:

      She could have ordered a dress 2 sizes larger and it would have fit but pride got in the way. I can’t complain, it is income but I just hope these posts serve as a help to those who are thinking of buying online and never try on a dress in a store.

  9. jay says:

    Four inches two tight represent about two sizes too small. Was it one of those ‘I’ll shrink into this’ decisions ? Amazing save again btw.

  10. oh lordy me! I did some bridal work when i was younger…..i’m getting flashbacks šŸ˜‰ Your work is always beautiful and shows off the bride to best advantage. I enjoy seeing all the handwork, too.

    I see a lot of ‘the customer is ALWAYS RIGHT – ALWAYS’ around the net and even in the sewing blogging world. I worked many years as head of customer service at a point of sale software company. The vast majority of customers are indeed quite reasonable with honest concerns which may or may not make sense for the business to address from a fiscal perspective.


    There is that small % who are – ‘pigheaded’ is as good a word as any. In your line of work you are able to charge that type of customer enough to make it worth your while, but this is not the case in every business model. Thank you for providing a perfect comeback link the next time i run across a case of raging ‘customer always right-is’!

    • mrsmole says:

      They should change that to “the customer FEELS he/she is always right”. Sometimes the customer is just plain ridiculous and those who have worked in the service industry can certainly tell the stories! I love hearing sewing customer stories…don’t you?

  11. Mrs Mole you deserve a medal. Not for your magnificent sewing skills, though that would be justified, but for not laughing this idiot out of the studio. I take my hat off to you. Again.

    • mrsmole says:

      The feeling that she is in a right pickle comes to mind and I know that with a few loops and ties we can make this fit or die trying…ha ha. Good thing her seamstress likes attaching laces by hand and infinite patience and can wait for the payment…this too shall pass as Mr Mole reminds me.

  12. fabricfan says:

    She probably thought it had Lycra and would stretch like a t shirt and emphasize every bit. No one understands sizes or fabric characteristics.

  13. Birgit says:

    Imagine the world where she would have bought a dress in the proper size… How much easier would that have been. Seriously, I don’t know how you keep up with it when I read all these stories, respect!

    • mrsmole says:

      All that would have been done was hemming and sliding boning up the side seams…how boring is that? We need all this other stuff don’t we….yes, we do or it would be a boring blog posting…the more crazy, the better for you, the readers…ha ha.

  14. Well, the dress re-make certainly speaks for itself. I’d like to know where you are (generally) located so that I can decide whether or not to plant an Asian pear tree. they are one of my favorite types of pear!!

  15. fabrickated says:

    Wow. She really looks quite good in this dress once you had remade it. It was much too small, but it was also badly designed, wasn’t it? Even on the tall, skinny model the front looks like cardboard and the back is soft and droopy. By putting in some boning, and recutting it around the arms I think you improved it no end.

    I am just thinking of someone I know who is definately a s14 (UK) and she swears she wears a s10! I suspect she may actually buy a s10 as her clothes always look uncomfortably and ridiculously tight. However she, and many men, think she is sexy.

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Kate, there is a fine line between sexy and hoochie mama…I stress to my brides that you don’t want to take a dress from classy to trashy….but they never listen.

  16. Cactus says:

    Laced-up backs that gap that much scream “I bought my dress too small”! My husband and I do cowboy reenacting and I can’t tell you how many women wear corsets that are WAY too small! There should be at most a 1″ gap, even from top to bottom. Most have more like a 7-8″ gap (or more) and the gap usually varies in width from top to bottom. So not attractive! I always feel sorry for the lacing strings, straining to contain all that pulchritude.

    • mrsmole says:

      Ha ha…lacing straps can only contain so much VOLUME! Boobs or backs…it is a challenge to contain and maintain it and look flattering…I’m picturing saloon girls…and them taking the cowboys upstairs for a ride…oh no! Thank you, Cactus!

  17. Robin says:

    wow, another fantastic result MrsMole! It really looks very nice on her now.

    • mrsmole says:

      Well, she can actually dance and wave her arms around and everything is neatly tucked away…the goal for all my brides. How are things going with your project?

      • Robin says:

        Things are coming along nicely. Based on reading your blog, I understand how I’ll do the bustle (so thanks for that!) and I still need to make the veil and a sash for the flower girl. All the other alterations are finished. Boy I learned a lot!!

  18. Tia Dia says:

    What?! She could have purchased a size that fit and she didn’t want to? What the….? Well, it takes all kinds, and the nice part of so many dimwits is that they need you!

  19. maryfunt says:

    Nice fix of a difficult mess. Brides need to realize that manufacturers don’t always adhere to the current vanity sizing and pay attention to the measurement chart. Lucky for me that custom gowns don’t have sizes. I tell the bride she is “her size.” She got a bargain and I hope she realizes it.

  20. Val says:

    I was sort of “going with it” – giving the gal some benefit of the doubt until I saw your picture of the boning along the side seam and the size tag that reads “12”. I saw that and compared the sizing to the top photo in your post and thought – sheesh! I could have told the bride sitting in my living room in California some 1000 miles away that she is no where close to a 12; she’s a size 14 if not 16. Even though Mrs. Mole worked miracles with the back there’s nothing that could be done about the fact the satin skirt has horizontal wrinkles below the waist seem in the back because the dress is too small to fit around this lady’s hips.

    It’s kinda sad. I’d like for every bride to feel confident that she looks like a princess on her wedding day. This lady’s pride ended up getting her a dress that works instead of a dress that could have been perfect.

    • mrsmole says:

      Waving to you 1000 miles away, Val!!!! Yes in the photo the horizontal wrinkles do show up but I think if she were laced up looser, they would disappear…fingers crossed and she did say she might lose some weight in the 3 weeks before the wedding…that would help too. Bridal gown sizing don’t really match regular RTW and most times are sized down to make the girl buy a bigger size which really they should go the other direction and make brides think they are smaller than they are…let’s start out on a positive note…you HAD to go down a size for the wedding…makes me smile already!

  21. You DO get the challenges. What a shame this girl didn’t follow the measurements at least…although from the looks of things, she’d have needed two size larger. At least you’ve made it so she’ll look her best given the awful sizing. Nothing like a wide corset back to scream ‘this dress doesn’t fit me’…:(

    On the plus side…your vegetables are beautiful!!! And the fruit…so jealous. I’m gardening vicariously through you!

    • mrsmole says:

      Mother Nature has been very generous this year in all the veggie beds and trees…or it could be those red worms I brought into the garden a couple years ago have really been doing their thing. Everywhere you dig, you come up with handfuls of worms turning crappy dirt and compost into rich soil. Think of nice it would have been for that bride to call me asking to have the dress only hemmed because the waist and bust and armholes fit perfectly….I must be dreaming…slap me awake will you?

  22. Shams says:

    Wow, your altered version is so pretty on her! She’s pretty darned lucky that you could fix it for $200! I recently dodged a bullet. Someone (to whom it is hard to say no) asked me to do a “very minor” alteration on her I-bought-it-used-for-$100 wedding gown. She seemed to think that the spaghetti strap, beaded dress only needed to have the straps shortened. Nope, the entire bodice is too big, so I referred her to an alterations person. Just ’cause it seems easy when you grab the excess fabric with your hand, doesn’t mean that it is. šŸ™‚ Thank goodness for experts like you!

    • mrsmole says:

      Sending someone to another seamstress is so wise. I do the same with men’s wear…there is someone that likes doing this type of garment and is faster and better than I would ever be…so she gets all the men that call me. Same with sewing on patches and repairing sleeping bags…Lord knows I don’t have to do everything because i own a machine! smart girl, Shams!

  23. Sharon says:

    You have waved that magic wand of yours once again! Great job! Purposely ordering a dress too small is crazy. Wishing won’t make it so! When is everyone going to realize that there is no standardization of women’s sizes? I attempt to explain this to my customers everyday. If the average woman goes to her closet and if everything in that closet fits perfectly, chances are the little tag with the size on it will not be the same in each garment. It’s just a little ribbon with a number on it! It means NOTHING !! I’m convinced that at the end of the day, in the factories, they put their hands in a basket filled with these little number tags and whatever number they pull out of that basket, goes onto the garment. People/women are obsessed with sizes. I’ve even had a few customers request that I remove those little size tags and replace them with a smaller number size. A regular customer that purchases clothing marked size 12 or 14, pleads with me to make it a single digit size. Her fear is that if she takes off her jacket and places it over a chair, someone will see the 2 digit number. Get over yourselves ladies, it’s just a number. Get your reality checked!!

    • mrsmole says:

      You are right about those baskets of size tags, Sharon! Then when they send out a dress to the poor bride, she might even think she is getting what she ordered …but no!

  24. sewruth says:

    I think some your ‘brides’ should eat more of what comes from your garden rather than Big Macs. Then they could possibly order two sizes smaller!

    • mrsmole says:

      True, Ruth…but they are so busy celebrating with their girlfriends, they lose track of everything…one more margarita, more nachos…and then the crunch day comes when you have to visit Mrs. Mole….bad news.

  25. The dress looks better now than it did in the ad. The drawstring was a nice touch – and you saved another bride again! Why would someone order too small for such a special dress?

    • mrsmole says:

      Corsets backs save many a dress! Ordering your real size is traumatic, so picking a size or 2 smaller must make them feel better in case anyone looks inside the dress and sees the tag. Crazy, I know!

  26. symondezyn says:

    Mrs M, you are AMAZING!! It’s nothing short of magical that you managed to get such a spectacular fit on a bodice that was so horribly wrong when it came to you – superb job as always, and lucky lucky girl – i hope she not only learned her lesson, but sends you tons of referrals for much easier alterations ^_^

  27. mrsmole says:

    Oh Amanda, if there are easier alterations out there, they sure don’t find their way to my door…ha ha. The blue dress and this one were China specialties…less would be better!

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