Here is the story: “I just went into the bridal salon not expecting to buy anything but once I tried on this dress, I had to have it.”
It is a lovely dress on the proper sized model, 2 layers of embroidered lace netting buttoned down the back…only one problem…this one is a size 10 and she really needed a size 2 or smaller.
She told me that the salon owner “clamped” her in the back and it looked wonderful. I told her “clamping ain’t sewing” and by the looks of my pinning, we had a huge job ahead.
Here you can see the first fitting with push up bust pads pinned inside and the famous blue grosgrain ribbon testing out a halter. The side seams are pinned and 2 inches will be taken in each side down to the hips, 4 inches (10 centimeters) total in circumference. The petticoat and layers of netting were shortened 3 inches (7.62 centimeters) all around.
Next area of pinning is the center back zipper, another 2.5 inches each side for a total of 5 inches reduced from the circumference…OK, let’s add that up…4 plus 5 equal 9 inches (22.86 centimeters) to be removed…why am I complaining?
Each seam has 6 layers to contend with, 2 lace layers, 2 tulle layers and lining and satin fabric layers…all have been seamed individually so that is how they will have to be altered. OK…let’s count those up – 6 times 2 areas…12 plus the zipper seams for only 14 different vertical seams and some horizontal lining seams inside. Removing all the buttons and the zipper and 2 strips of boning is the first step.
Here you can see the waistline in the lining and the horizontal seam that joins everything together. That has to be opened up since it was sewn last in the sequence of construction. See the red thread basting lines.
There was a elastic bra sewn into the side seams and that had to be tightened by moving it over 3 inches each side along with the side seam lining. The lining is knit…odd for a bridal gown.
Once the waistline seam is opened you can see the interfacing layer too, a gauzy kind of stuff.
Zipper is basted in for her second try-on. Halter is pinned on too. Everything went well until the bride whipped out a bag from JoAnn’s filled with 5 yards of 104 inch wide folded red tulle. OH OH…where is that going?
How about making hundreds of mini pleats and attaching all of it to the bottom layer of the lowest layer of netting?
Sure what else can we add? How about making a red and orange satin belt from ribbons and a chunk of bling. Sure. All I have to do is sew 2 layers of ribbon together, attach all the beads and then attach it to the dress…let’s get started.
Let’s use the Blind hem foot with the black metal edge guide and crank the needle all the way to the left position. I hand basted the edges together so let’s get sewing.
Belt is done and attached to the dress by hand with a final 22 inch waist measurement, just have to finish the halter attachment:
Attaching an extra long hang tag from the back zipper area to the center front area and under another French tack helps keep the dress hanging upright on the hanger. This can be done with any dress using satin polyester ribbon.
Buttons (19) re-attached, hook and eye at the top, all that is left is the one point bustle and we are done! At least seven hours of labor were packed into this dress.
Yes, you can see the red tulle layer through the dress but the bride is thrilled and she can fly to her destination wedding in Mexico and dance knowing that her red tulle will show and her belt will celebrate the Fall colors. For those of you who want to know what kind of shoes the bride will be wearing…none, as the ceremony will be on the beach.
Maybe some of you have seen this story about the heirloom wedding dress that has been worn by so many brides in one family. Here is a the link from the Daily Mail newspaper in the UK: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3249835/Something-borrowed-tenth-time-Woman-11th-member-family-married-wedding-gown-s-handed-120-years.html
Wishing you all a great week of trauma-free sewing!