What happens when you combine the bodice of this dress:
and the skirt of this dress:
The back and train.
The bride custom ordered this from Lazaro and had it custom made but you know what is coming don’t you? Alterations to make it fit…yes indeed. You would think that if a salon charged you over $6000 for a custom made dress it might fit and be the right length?
First, remove all the beads and flowers so we can take in the bodice zipper 1.5 inches on each side…total of 3 inches…is this custom? Hand baste the invisible zipper and sheer backing and hope it is enough.
On the outside you can see that every flower petal and motif was sewn by hand one at a time:
This hem has to be shortened at least 5 inches, maybe more, along with 4 more layers of netting and a lining and a layer of super gathered netting ruffles…all 5 inches shorter.
See the back side of the top layer…beautiful, no? I told the bride that she could wear this skirt inside out as it is a work of art. Every row is stitched in a chevron pattern.
How does one shorten this? Once the hem length is determined, each layer of ruffles will have to be removed until there is just one layer hanging down to cover the hemmed organza base…well, that is the plan anyway. You can’t just cut it off and fold a hem under can you? You can’t toss it in the serger and make a rolled hem can you?
I planned on not cutting off any of the 5+ inches of the hem and hand sewing that edge up on the wrong side in case this dress was ever sold or given to a taller girl. All of the removed bias ruffles were saved as well so they could be attached as well…so in a way, a versatile skirt.
First, I tried making 3 over-bustle points for the satin layer below. They were OK, but by making the same points as under-layer bustle points that satin will lay flatter before the ruffled over-skirt falls over it.
Here is the result below, soft folds that can be flattened and way easier to sit on for the meal. You do have to think about the whole event and not just the walking down the aisle or photo sessions. You don’t want your bride to be sitting on her own “tuffet” the whole day.
The bride preferred the ruffled over-skirt to also be bustled under. (The straps in the photo are just to hold this heavy dress on the mannequin). I know, it looks weird…and I preferred the over bustle as the chevrons looked prettier but it is not my dress.
Here is an insider’s view of how I shorten all those lace petticoat layers. I make deep horizontal pleats all around using a long machine basting stitch. If the bride ever sells or gives her dress to a taller girl, these can all be let down.
The red thread basted line below is the new hem edge of the satin layer. The green thread line is the horsehair attachment line. The horsehair braid is attached with a 1/4 inch stitching line down the unmarked edge and flipped to the wrong side and everything trimmed off.
Quilters will recognize the 1/4 inch foot above…it sure does come in handy!
Here you can see the 1/4 inch folded edge and now after trimming off all the excess beyond the horsehair braid edge, it will be hand sewn to the lining.
On the final day for her fitting, the front was a perfect length, the bodice was tight enough to hold up her bust and no one will know what was done to this custom gown. (Tattoos have been photo-shopped away)
This dress was the most expensive I have ever worked on…was I nervous, overwhelmed, scared shit-less? YOU BET! But with lots of thinking time and working backwards, the puzzle was solved and the bride gave me a tip…that makes 3 this year and I appreciate that!
So, is the bridal season over yet?….ha ha…is it 2016 yet?
More on the horizon and already 8 brides are booked in for next year from one salon.
Thanks for visiting and spending time reading through all this…happy sewing everyone! Hope you still have some leftover Halloween candy!