The Blue Dress

Some of you spotted the blue dress in the collection hanging up. OK…it is unusual, but we have the same problems we do with all gowns from Chinese websites…it just doesn’t/will never fit. Here it is on a model: Blue wedding dress


It made me laugh when the bride said she could only find this gown in 2 places in the whole wide world…one was Paris, as in France, and the other some website in Canada.

So, since it has been her fantasy dream dress her whole life, she ordered one, from Canada, that had no resemblance to her size. Before the first fitting, I was told over the phone all she wanted was to chop off the train and straps. Seemed simple enough and since I am booked through November, I agreed to see her and her small alterations.

I left her alone in the room to get into the dress and always offer to do up zippers for the girls if they need help…well, she got the zipper up but the entire dress was hung up on her hips and butt…no amount of pulling and grunting would bring that dress down to the floor level…now what?

Sure, I can cut off the straps, but re-positioning them would work well and look more modern…let’s try that. Yes, cutting off the train will work but we have no idea how much to cut off with the hem dangling a foot or more off the floor…OK,  let’s pretend shall we? I put some pins in the hem and just shake my head and explain that what really has to happen first is to open all the side seams of the satin and lining and hope to Hell that they left something in there for us. Fingers crossed!



The hems are the traditional crappy cheapy cheapy polyester that uses colors that don’t match and like to cling with industrial strength static. It involves opening the lining side seams and pulling out everything and running basting rows all around for the next try-on.

The front straps are removed and slid towards the armholes. She wants droopy hanging straps…like looking all romantic and coy…you know that look…temptress and virgin at the same time. We can do that.


Then I get to the removal of all the invisible nylon threads that were left from the factory lace attaching…I spent one whole evening cutting and stacking this stuff into a pile.


Besides letting out as many seams as I could, I did have to take in 2 front lace princess seams from the hips to the hem by 4 inches (8 inches total) for each. She could not have any flare.


After everything is basted we can slide the dress down over her hips to the correct position and see what we have:


Straps are now almost in her armpit. A 5 point bustle will work out OK.


How did this happen? Luckily there was excess fabric in the seams so I could open them up and re-stitch them adding at least 4 inches all around. P1190651P1190652P1190653P1190654P1190655

You can see the holes in the lining that were caused by the dress being too tight when tried on. The new stitching line is at the very fraying edge.



Then that train had to be marked with thread basting and pins before it was machine stitched and trimmed off. You can see how the familiar hem seaming is done by cutting the lining and fabric the same length and then slipping the lining 1/2 inch down to pull the fabric to the inside. Only one problem, the lining is over an inch too narrow to lie flat so I have to take in the satin fabric to avoid puckers. Could I have left it and said…”the lace will cover it”…sure…but it is not my style.




Another funny thing about this outfit was the fact that the bride had a pair of simple white pump shoes and did not want to leave them at her house for fear that the groom would see them. So I stored them. Once the dress was done and steamed and looking the best it could, she just rolled the dress up into a tiny tight ball and stuffed it into a shopping bag along with the shoes. So much for the Cinderella effect.

So some of you might be thinking…isn’t the wedding season over yet? OH NO…brides are booked through November so there is no slowing down yet. The venues change, more Hawaiian and Vegas weddings in the fall but still the same issues and drama.

The season looks to be filled with very large dresses, in volume and size that will need to be cut down and fitted with a few ugly alterations done elsewhere that are re-done in my sewing room. And a new jacket for Nancy is in the works…hooray!

Happy sewing everyone and thank you for all your questions and challenges in private emails!

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

67 Responses to The Blue Dress

  1. Michelle jadaa says:

    She rolled it up in a bag arrrrrrr that would have made me nuts after all that work ….sigh.some people lol

  2. Am I the only one who HATES these awful dresses that hug the bride’s rear end and look good on NO ONE? What an ugly trend…I’m looking at YOU, Kim Kardashian! How do they even MOVE in these things? I had occasion to sit in David’s for about an hour too long one weekend and saw TONS of girls stuffing themselves into these awful dresses and looking like sausages – and that’s not pretty! NONE of them looked even remotely attractive. I wanted to go shake each of them and ask them if they REALLY want to look this way on their special day! Can’t imagine working on trying to make these things fit…I’d have bitten my tongue in two…lol!

    • Susie says:

      I think I threw up in my mouth when I saw how tight that was. I don’t think it is flattering to her at all. Better off in a classic A-line, I think.

      • mrsmole says:

        You are right, Susie but would you tell a bride that she cannot have the alterations she wants? It’s hard to be the seamstress and not swap over into “mom mode” and besides they don’t listen to me anyway…oh well!

  3. Brenda says:

    I’m baffled with the tight fit (and have been with other gowns you’ve shown). What happens when she sits down? This is not a rhetorical question. Is there stretch in the fabric & lace? Will the seams tear? What happens if she eats more than a piece of lettuce or drinks some champagne?

    I’m feeling very old and comfortable in dresses that flare out from my high waist!

    • mrsmole says:

      Hi Brenda, there is NO stretch, it is cheap polyester sewn with narrow seams as in the photos…all I have to do is get them out the front door with such a garment. They have been warned and warned by me and yet thet reply, “make it tighter”. I give up. They cannot sit or walk up stairs nor pee…what a dilemma all for the sake of making the men in the audience jealous…crazy girls.

  4. mrsmole says:

    Oh Cheryl, in 10 year’s time, when they look back on the photos, they will be horrified if they are still married! They cannot walk up stairs or sit on chairs nor pee…all for the sake of making other men jealous with their shape…how can woman be so darn stupid.

  5. Tia Dia says:

    She rolled it into a ball and STUFFED IT IN A BAG? With SHOES?!?! Good grief. Where does all the stupid come from these days?

    • mrsmole says:

      She said she would go and try to find a garment bag but as she had her child in the car, stuffing it in a shopping bag was the next best thing to keeping it hidden from everyone. Every day I hope to see smart brides but you just don’t get to pick them. We have to make sure our daughters do not fall into this category, Tia!

  6. I must echo, “…rolled in ball and stuffed in a bag”. So-o-o classless. I don’t get the style either. Hopefully, these sleazy ‘bridal gowns’, will go the way of stirrup pants and Naugahyde. It’s unflattering and a nightmare to work on. Keep on ‘rolllin and stuffin’… the big butts and their checks, too! You crack me up! So glad I found this blog…Gloria

    • mrsmole says:

      Welcome, Gloria…yes, this is just a sampling of the stuff that finds its way into the sewing room. Working on 100 gowns in 11 months tends to make the eyes glaze over by September…ha ha I loved stirrup pants and Naugahyde but obviously so did a lot of others as we have made the Nauga extinct. I’m hoping the stirrups make a comeback although by that time I won’t be able to reach down that far to my ankles!

  7. The thing that gets me is that this bride has a lovely figure but by choosing a dress too small she looks quite sausage like. She could have looked so much better. You did a great job finding so much extra fabric in the dress!

  8. Cactus says:

    My great-niece just got engaged and she has found a wedding dress she loves – from China. I sent her mother a link to your blog and told her to READ THIS BLOG before you order a dress from China! lol I did offer to help any way I can, IF I am given more than a week like last time I was asked to alter a wedding dress. I was working full time and the bride wanted the hem and sleeves shortened. “It’s an easy job, my grandmother used to do alterations.” They were mutton sleeves and the hem and sleeve edges were scalloped lace, so it was not just a matter of trimming off the bottom and turning up and restitching. I declined the work and she said she would take it to her grandmother who was a professional seamstress. Gramma turned her down also! No way was it happening in one week! We would have had to remove both sleeves AND the skirt, trim away and re-attach.

  9. I am still trying to figure out why these ladies want everything so tight! I know the “stars” do it too and some of them are lumpy. But why would they consider it pretty or sexy or whatever to show it all. Even the lumps! I have lumps. I don’t wear tight clothes to so off my lumps. I would rather have something that flatters so no one sees my lumps. When are they going to grow out of this?

    • mrsmole says:

      I tell all my brides, even the skinny ones, “These are formal clothes, they need formal underwear”. Some get it, some don’t. If you think a pink thong is enough to hold everything in, it ain’t! Some brides have lost weight and want to show off the curves and some can only see the dress from the neckline up, everything below that is my problem. After they have their second child, they will discover comfortable clothes with ease…we hope!

      • Fashionista says:

        “….some can only see the dress from the neckline up….” Hahahahahahaha. Laughing VERY hard at this!

  10. fabrickated says:

    I am always amazed by your professional work Mrs M, and how brides actually do look quite reasonable given all the challenges they create for you. Thank goodness there was lots of fabric in the seams. It makes me wonder if they just cut out one or two (fairly generous sizes) and then sew them to different sizes as ordered. Or if they know that few know how to measure accurately and honestly so they leave a good margin for the “local dressmaker” to finish the darn thing.

    • mrsmole says:

      You must be right, Kate! There is no other reason to have 2 inch seams for one size. I have noticed this before along with the linings not always matching either. I’m sure in a factory in a faraway land, linings are just grabbed from the stack and sewn without regard to matching the size of the dress. I have seen size 10 linings on size 16 dresses and vice versa as an example. The former cannot get the zipper up and the latter has the linings hanging out over the edges. I do believe the girls measure well but like with many of these “custom” dresses, those measurements mean nothing at the other end, you are lucky that it even comes close!

  11. Valerie says:

    How do you do it Mrs Mole? I’d be crying out to get my hands on some real silk and beautiful lace and a bride that has some common sense. They must exist. Please tell me they exist!

    • mrsmole says:

      They may exist on TV shows like “Say Yes to the Dress” but rarely find their way into my room. Once or twice a year I get a slinky silk nightgown dress custom made in Portland but being in a rural town limits the selection and budget. This year I worked on a David’s dress that was damask…gorgeous with wisteria bloom designs, and it complimented the size 24 bride so well with the dull side on the outside and the blooms being slightly shiny. I loved working on it and the feel was very luxurious even though it was polyester.

  12. I must say, it’s nice to see sleeves or straps back in style at any rate. And lace, so pretty. The silhouette isn’t my favourite, but it’s not my dress.

    I think the thing that gets me is most ladies in their 20’s, or even really pre-babies, don’t put a lot of thought into their underpinnings. That style needs a powernet slip to stay smoothly in place I think, but I know none of my friends started wearing slips or such things until about 30. The few bridesmaid dresses I’ve worked on I’ve been adamant about wearing the correct undergarments, and the answer is always “well, I have a strapless bra…” sigh.

    Wonderful sewing, as always. I wish I could apprentice under you to learn at the hands of the master. 😀

    • mrsmole says:

      Yes, Mandy…an old strapless bra and a thong just won’t cut it! I tell them to get some tight underpants and or Spanx type control undergarments but not all take the advice and with 100+ degree temps here in the summer, they want to feel cool. If you ever find yourself in the Pacific Northwest, let me know and you can help me out!

  13. JLC says:

    At least this bride is not wearing cowboy boots….

  14. jay says:

    Ye gods! Why, why why does anyone still get fooled by the websites? Basically, you made a dress out of a recycled disaster zone.

    • mrsmole says:

      The model’s photos, the cheap price and the promise of walking down the aisle looking so thin and radiant…who can resist? Only the young can believe that such a dress will make all their dreams come true…the rest of us do not bother and go to a real store and try things on, then give up and order a margarita. Jay, I should put that on my business card, “Let me recycle your disaster”…ha ha!

  15. Liz Thacker says:

    I love your blog. As a seamstress specialising in bridal it makes me laugh with relief that I am not alone with my ‘extra special’ brides.

    • mrsmole says:

      Unless you write down the stories no one believes this is all reality instead of a bad dream! Once I start taking photos, it just takes shape and I can share and we can all gasp or have a laugh. Makes you wonder if seamstresses back in the 40’s and 50’s have the same stories or were things much more controlled and sophisticated? Where do you work, Liz?

  16. Helen says:

    Why oh why don’t these women instead buy fabric and get their “dream dress” made properly by a seamstress with beautiful fabric instead of cheap polyester. You can see in the pictures that the fabric is cheap.

    • mrsmole says:

      If they can buy a dress for $200, they like that. The lace was so stiff on this dress…more like craft lace to glue unto lampshades and things like that.

    • rowsella315 says:

      One of my coworkers ordered her dress online and said it was so bad she gave up on it and bought a different dress from a local salon that she was able to try on first.

      • mrsmole says:

        Smart move…trying on something first helps you realize what style works and what doesn’t and you may fall in love with the dress and buy it in your size…hooray!

  17. Robin says:

    The pale blue is very pretty – from a distance anyway! I have wondered what kinds of machines they use with all that fishing line thread. I imagine they can go a lot faster with their special machines. It does boggle the mind. Always a pleasure to see a new post from you MrsMole!!

    • mrsmole says:

      I’d love to see the machines that tack lace to tulle or lace to satin…they must be very wide and very noisy!

      • Robin says:

        And trim – they must use something special to attach trim. When I removed the beaded “belt” at the waistline of my daughter’s dress, it came apart! It wasn’t a tape with beads applied to it. It was more like some kind of chain stitch that attached beads directly to the dress. I had to purchase more trim to replace it. Well, that’s how they sew this stuff up so fast they can sell it so cheap.

  18. sewruth says:

    Ever heard the phrase – “start from scratch”?
    Or rather, do brides-to-be know of this concept? Totally agree with Jay – go buy 6m of crap with a bit of lace and Mrs Mole will make a fab dress that fits first time.

  19. mrsmole says:

    Some days I wish I was making men’s jackets like you have done recently, Ruth, than see one more tight dress…ha ha

  20. missceliespants says:

    I gotta say, I don’t know that this is a good look. Is that mean? I’m not feeling the cupping under the butt…

  21. maryfunt says:

    I’m amazed there was enough fabric in the seams to let out. Another amazing fix. You must feel like you are working with a ball and chain on BOTH legs. Nothing like being expected to make a dress made from the cheapest quality materials look decent. Why don’t these brides realize what they are getting with a $200 dress from China.

    • mrsmole says:

      It may even be more like a competition like the tight butts…”I only paid so many dollars for this dress…I saved a fortune”. You never know what drives these babes?

  22. JustGail says:

    I had asked a few weeks ago on why not many brides get custom made, after reading some of the bridal salon alterations horror stories here. Mrs Mole is right I suspect – the cost of fabric, lace, stones/spangles/sparkles would be more than the imports, and that’s before you start the labor costs. The brides want to be able to say they “only spent $200 for the gown”, conveniently “forgetting” the cost of alterations & rescue. Sort of like buying online to save a $5 but forgetting to add the $20 shipping to the cost.

    I also suspect there are not enough knowledgeable seamstress/dressmakers who are willing to put up with the attitudes of many brides.

    • mrsmole says:

      We are a dying breed and I don’t see any youngsters coming up to replace me and my sewing sisters here in our area. Maybe when there are fewer of us, they will have to go back to David’s bridal and try on something and have them do the altering which will really run into some high labor costs!

  23. Sharon says:

    Dream dresses …..Yeah, we all have dreams. But some of us wake up and realize it was a nightmare !! Once a gal accepts a guy’s proposal, do all brain cells escape her head? I do so appreciate when, on a rare occasion, I have a bride that is level headed and has had a good dose of reality before she has chosen her wedding gown!!

    • mrsmole says:

      Yes, Sharon, you know the wedding day hormones take over and nothing makes sense!

    • rowsella315 says:

      I have a coworker who is a groom and his bride has totally taken leave of her senses when it comes to wedding plans. She is insisting that the average wedding is a $30,000 expense. I’m sure her dress is the last place she is economizing but since she is mesmerized by the wedding industry, it is probably some white frothy trendy strapless mermaid dress nightmare.

  24. Mary says:

    Please know, we do have beautiful bridal gowns up here above the 49th parallel ! I went wedding dress shopping with my daughter-in-law a couple years ago, and was very pleasantly surprised by the gowns. (And I have a DIL who is knows what looks good on her & what doesn’t–thank heavens!) Beautiful work again, Mrs. Mole.

  25. prttynpnk says:

    White lace, anemic blue- it looks like Betty Drapers nightgown. I wonder what she sees when she looks at it- it’s making me yawn and you put so much into it!?

  26. Bunny says:

    I am so tired of first, strapless gowns and second, the tight butt with the cupping underneath. I just don’t get it. Are our young women really craving to look like Kim K? So gross. You did an incredible job of “making it work” for her. That’s all that matters, I guess.

  27. rowsella315 says:

    Why does anyone think Kim K’s look is a good look? I don’t get it.

  28. symondezyn says:

    LOL! I had to laugh at this, partly because of the usual circus, but also because I’m always intrigued to see the glaring differences between the model photo of the dress and the actual stark reality ^_^ It’s a TIGHT one isn’t it??? hooooo boy, I wouldn’t want to sit down in that! LOL Not to mention I wouldn’t want my posterior being so grossly emphasized by the cheapest of cheap polyester… i bet it smells like a plastic grocery bag – how romantic! LOL 😛

    As always, you have performed a miracle… just to have her roll it up and stuff it in a shopping bag – sigh – at least we, your faithful readers appreciate the magic you work ^_^

  29. mrsmole says:

    Factory odors…when you hit that polyester with a steam iron…you can be overwhelmed by the smell of formaldehyde! When they first bring the gowns into my room, I open the bag and let the smells out…I even ask them to take the bag home with them and bring it back when the dress is done…the cheap plastic smell never leaves and I encourage them to buy a fabric type bag that will breathe. Some days I can hear all of your laughing and gasping…honestly, I do!

  30. Linda Craig says:

    Hi Mrs Mole,

    It is so much fun reading your posts “like looking all romantic and coy…you know that look…temptress and virgin at the same time. We can do that.”


Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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