Crying Thighs

This gorgeous beaded dress is stunning…if only it fit! It has the most unusual train…uneven layers of tulle and organza. My first thought was – what would the bustle look like? But let’s not go there just yet…


What bridal gown factories don’t want you to know… If you custom order a size 4…your dress probably started life as an 8 or larger and someone took in the seams and trimmed away the excess and shipped it out as a 4. Anyone looking at the inside seams can see what a hack-job was done to make this dress smaller.


As a result, the seams in the thigh area after one try-on are shredded and strained with French seams in the organza.


A patch was needed so I cut away a wedge from near the hem to use at the top of the skirt.

The new wedge in place to give some ease to the rest of the organza seams.


What else had to be done? How about adding new panels to the under skirt/satin layer. Center panels were added under the zipper and 2 side panels were added for a total of 8 inches so the dress would actually drop down over her thighs and get rid of all the wrinkles and bunched-up fabric around the waist. No amount of yanking would get the hip and thigh area down where it belonged without some intervention/patching.P1200497P1200498P1200529

After working on all the top layers…what about the lining layer where all the netting/petticoat is attached? Well, I opened the entire seam and netting seams down to the knee level and folded back the edges and hand stitched them down. When the dress is on, the opening is 8 inches wide and the bride says she wants it to stay open without a patch so she can have “air conditioning”. Last year, when I worked on a $6000 Lazaro dress, I discovered that their linings were not attached and left open below the zipper so it is works for Lazaro, it’s just fine with this dress.


How about bustling all these sheer layers, first we start with the satin layer, one button-one loop. Then drop the skirt back down and see all the 5  bustle points (safety pins) with the matching safety pins below:


Let’s attach them all and see what happens…on the flat-butt mannequin we have a few “dog ears” drooping down but on the bride herself…


The bustle clears the floor and with a little extra hemming in the front (still pinned) to be done, she is almost done and she can actually lift her knees to walk and dance and sit down…all it took was 8 extra inches in circumference. So we went from a size 4 to a 12 if you figure 2 inches between sizes.


What is the lesson with this dress??? The lesson is the same as for any dress and that is to check the hips and thighs circumference. Many dresses that LOOK like they have volume and flare from the waist only do that with the top layers and you are stuck with a tight pencil skirt underneath which will not allow you to dance, climb steps or even pee. There is a bridesmaid dress that displays this even better in an up-coming post.

Also, Nancy is back with more goodies and things to fit and finish!

Happy and successful sewing everyone!

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30 Responses to Crying Thighs

  1. jay says:

    Beautiful dress, but what an eye opener the state of the seams was! The bustling is super.

  2. mrsmole says:

    Thanks, Jay…it is a real shocker and stinker to look inside and hope to find nice wide seam allowances and find raveled skinny seam allowances…makes me want to scream!

  3. That is a lovely dress. Are they trying to be economical with such small seam allowances or is it really shoddy workmanship? I would have thought all seam allowances would be large just in case any adjustment is needed. Great idea with the patching!

  4. patsijean says:

    I wonder why the bride, closer to a size 12, would order a size 4 dress?

  5. I always find it so much easier to take in than let out. Thankfully you don’t often have to deal with the chaos you discovered inside this dress, but it is disappointing how often ‘new’ dresses have evidence of previous work done on them. Another near miracle performed Chez Mole.

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Kim…don’t wide seam allowances make us smile???? It’s bad enough when opening up a “consignment” dress to find a hack-job but on a brand new custom ordered one it is downright disappointing!

  6. SJ Kurtz says:

    Usually I savor each and every detail, but the cutting and patching of the organza gave me flashbacks so terrifying I had to skip ahead and then lie down.

    Love the interior ‘vent’

  7. Your title had me in stitches…no pun intended. How interesting that dresses supposedly made to order are actually cut down from a standard size. Doesn’t seem like the wedding dress industry – especially the ‘premium’ designers – would be able to get away with doing that.

    She’s lucky you were there, as usual, to make things right!

    • mrsmole says:

      We all would like to think that ordering your perfect size would be made-to-order but at the end of the season the warehouses would be filled with lots of odd sizes. I have opened up many dresses from online Chinese websites and found 3 inches of fabric in every seam allowance so sometime they don’t trim or go the opposite direction thus leaving bulk that shows from the front side. It’s a gamble…no it’s a jungle out there.

  8. Val says:

    You just have to wonder at what seems – frankly – incompetence on the part of the retailer who sold this bride this dress. (I suppose it could have been an on-line retailer or a brick & mortar store.) In what world would a competent store in particular sell a bridal dress without checking bust, waist, hip, and hem length at a minimum? It’s OBVIOUS from the designer’s photos that this garment is meant to be closely fitted at the hip and thigh. I’m shaking my head.

    Am I crazy or did this bride have every right to refuse to pay for this dress, (or demand her money back) from the store because the store didn’t measure and advise on sizing properly?

    • mrsmole says:

      I’m sure this bride tried on a size 10 sample dress and found the top way too big and didn’t think about the thighs being too tight as they would have only been a bit snug. Neither she nor the store owner would have known that this under skirt lining runs that tight and then ordering for her bust and waist would bring such disastrous results. The owner might have been able to re-order the dress but there is always a 20 week delay. Both the mother and daughter were so determined to have this dress, they were happy to pay my fee and save all the hassle. Measurements are never taken at the thighs, sadly, where even skinny girls carry their weight/muscle if they are athletic.

      • Val says:

        I believe you ’cause – obviously you do this every day – but gee that’s eye-opening. I would expect a bridal retailer to *know* what’s involved with the dresses they sell. I’d expect a dress manufacturer to have bust, waist, hip and lower hip (or thigh) available for all the garments they sell.

      • mrsmole says:

        Yes, Val, in a perfect world we would have all the measurements and the resulting dress would fit like a glove but there are so few options even when the dress is ordered “custom”. The salon owner can do all the right things but halfway around the world, the factory workers are responsible and then it filters down to the poor seamstress to make it all right.

  9. Great save again. I hope the bride knows how much work you did to make it fit.

  10. sewruth says:

    The inside of this dress (pre-Mrs Mole) makes my sewing look almost good. Of course, post-Mrs Mole, my sewing looks like the original!

  11. Robin says:

    I learn something every time I read your blog. I’m about to get off the laptop and head into the sewing room to alter the wedding dress for a very dear daughter of a good friend. Thanks to you, I know how to approach it.
    Keep up the good work Mrs. Mole!!

  12. mrsmole says:

    Fingers crossed you don’t have so much to do!!!!!! While there must be, as my grandma used to say, “more than one way to skin a cat”, there must be faster and easier ways to do some of these fixes but the ones I come up with come from my head. I don’t know if there is a book out there to document altering wedding gowns with such problems, plenty to show you how to make from scratch and then nothing for this end of the sewing…the real challenge! Good luck, Robin!

  13. maryfunt says:

    Another excellent fix. Don’t you just love how “custom size” is really made. The bustling really compliments the gown.

    • mrsmole says:

      I think the phrase, “close enough” must be used a lot in production while in our sewing studios, that is never used…”skin tight and Jessica Rabbit” are most often heard. That wacky bustle was a hoot…so many layers and fluffiness!

  14. 5216char says:

    I was watching some episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress” and saw that they had the brides step into the dress when trying it on. That may be why tight thighs aren’t noticed.

    • mrsmole says:

      Some days the dress won’t go up or down a body when the circumference is too small. At least a too small top can get a corset back treatment but when it is the thighs…Lordie…call for the inserts and let out seams!

  15. You do such amazing work and your detailed explanations with the pictures is an invaluable help to us new designers!! Great job!! I look forward to every post! ♡

  16. mrsmole says:

    Well thank you, Diana, I’m sure most people reading this blog will never alter a wedding dress but it is still fun to see the changes and I love reading comments from other seamstresses…we all face such challenges in one way or another.

  17. Pingback: Crying Thighs 2 | fit for a queen

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