Baggy Bridesmaid

Normally I don’t have time to squeeze in bridesmaids dresses but a woman called and said that I had helped her with a dress 8 years ago, kept my name and phone number on a scrap of paper in her pocket and well…she made it clear that I actually owed her the favor to now work on a bridesmaid dress for a young girl she knew…did I mention she called at 7 pm and expected to come over …right now?

Here is what the Sorella Vita dress is supposed to look like on a tall mature woman: 8640.1445979915.0-530x8458640.1445979902.1-530x845

But this is what it really looks like on a petite young girl:

P1200524 The pleated straps are 4 inches too long for this size 4 dress and tiny framed girl. I have basted the pleats where they will be attached to the bodice and side seam boning.P1200518 

Of course, the entire bodice lining is closed and the only way in is here between the boning strips in the lining:


Let’s turn everything inside out and see what we can do. The idea will be to open that boned seam and slide the basted strap inside and stitch it down.

Other things that this dress needs are padded bust cups and hemming of satin and chiffon layers and letting out the side seams which are so tight that the front of the dress is just one huge horizontal pleat across her tummy and hips and thighs.

Here it is on the mannequin as I didn’t feel comfortable snapping a shot of the bulging seams while on the girl:

P1200525 She could not even bend her knee or raise her leg to walk!!!

Letting out the side seams sometimes results in marks where the original seams were. The last couple of dresses I have altered like this have been stitched with very thin, nasty thread like serger thread that shreds as you cut and remove it.


After the second try-on the straps were adjusted and the side seams had to be let out all the way to the serged edges.P1200620P1200621

Side seams pressed open


The bodice lining and boning were about 5/8 inch too long so they were shortened:


Straps stitched to the side seam boning:P1200527


Trim off excess with pinking shears and make a loop extension for the neck:

P1200618  P1200625


So, the lesson learned from this Sorella Vita dress…hmmm…a size 4 is huge on the top and very tight on the bottom and the neck will choke the wearer. There are 5 other girls in this wedding and I am so glad that I am NOT altering this dress again. The bridesmaid said that after paying me for all these changes, she will not have enough money to buy a wedding present for the couple…maybe spending the money to make it even wearable for one day is enough to ask?

The poppies are making a show in the garden …something to celebrate!poppies


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31 Responses to Baggy Bridesmaid

  1. As if it is YOUR FAULT that her dress was all wrong for her shape. Maybe her gift to the happy couple can be the dress? After wearing it, of course…

  2. ceci says:

    I’ve noticed multiple times where the person who apparently selected and purchased the inappropriate dress feels that the inconvenience and cost are somehow your fault? If you can’t afford a wearable dress and a wedding gift maybe its time for some choices. Altho I do like the idea of the dress being the gift – its not like she would want to wear it again…..


    • mrsmole says:

      This time the bride bought all the dresses without a thought to whether they might fit well or look good on all her different sized friends…because it is all about her.

  3. Good grief. You could probably write a book just on the inane comments your bridal clients make! We all know it’s not the fault of the bridesmaids that the dress was ordered five sizes too small because she didn’t want to order a high number size…lol! I also love the imperious requests you get sometimes demanding that you work on someone’s dress because you (insert bizarre reason here) and you just HAVE to do this dress at the very last minute. Sigh.

    I wouldn’t have your job for anything. Well, maybe for yards and yards of some of that fabulous lace you work with…;) You’re amazing!!!

  4. mrsmole says:

    You are right, Cheryl…the lace is amazing but (sigh) I only get to hold it for a while and then it is gone forever….the other thing girls do is tell me that just because I worked on a dress for their friend a couple years ago….that I MUST work on theirs…really?

  5. Sharon P says:

    Mrs. Mole makes house calls? Another challenging dress but nice to see a color other than white ! So, so jealous of your gorgeous poppies. Chilly & rainy on the east coast, but irises & clematis are starting to bloom and roses are budding. Send a little sunshine & warm air this way please !!

    • mrsmole says:

      Did I say I made house calls, Sharon? Please wash your mouth out with soap! No, the clients came by after 7 pm to my house…was I just finishing dinner…yes, ma’am. Did it matter to them…No sir! The weather just does not co-operate…all I see is the cold stuff heading East…sorry!

  6. MDy says:

    You can work miracles!

  7. Char says:

    I am in awe of all you will do to alter a dress. I hope you have some clients who manage to convey extreme gratitude for your skills and your willingness to take on a challenge.

  8. erniek3 says:

    Poppies already! This has been the weirdest spring I can think of in Seattle. We already have roses blooming (the late season ones) before the rhodies have barely opened. The aphids are very confused.
    Which might explain this lady’s demands. Or perhaps not.

    • mrsmole says:

      It could be the moon or just poor purchasing by the bride…no matter what…it has to get done. Normally our poppies come out in the summer so who knows what is happening this season!

  9. Leiflynn Jeffery, Melfort, Saskatchewan says:

    Wow, you get the crazies. I just had the same weird alteration. I had to make a ladies small size fit an 11 year old girl for her sisters wedding. How fun to remove the bust boning, reshape the princess seams on the double lining and lace bodice front to fit a bustles kid. Then remove 11 inches of length from the dress. It’s funny when they say “just take a little off here, tighten there”. I feel like saying “I’m not Mrs. Mole”. But they wouldn’t know what the heck I was talking about. Thank you for showing so much when you alter, without your assistance from afar no way would I tackle these jobs. I eagerly await your next alteration, you help me a lot. Thanks.
    Love the poppies

    • mrsmole says:

      Hi Leiflynn, I used to visit your part of the country when I was married to a man from Saskatoon so it is nice to know the crazies are up there too! After 10 years of blogging and 45 years of altering, they can still come up with challenges and we are left holding the bag/dress…ha ha.

  10. Kim Hood says:

    You make me feel like such a bitch – I would have turned that time down hard whilst offering a time that fitted my schedule better. At least allow your dinner to digest before dealing with the nutters! I’m getting an acid tum just thinking about this. Another job well done – she should have needed to sell a kidney not just buy a lesser wedding present for what you achieved. Take another bow Mrs Mole.

    • mrsmole says:

      Thanks, Kim…another lesson learned…the woman who brought the girl said, “I sew, but thought you might want to do this one”…thank you so much! What i want to say is, “please lose my name and phone number!”

  11. Bunny says:

    Your poppies are spectacular. And your patience even more so!

    • mrsmole says:

      Wish I could just sit and look deep into those flowers instead of cranking out ill-fitting garments….one day….patience is a gift from God…I am grateful for it!!!!

  12. jay says:

    Those poppies are truly beautiful! I don’t have words for this dress fiasco… who buys gowns that really really really don’t fit properly, anywhere? You worked magic of course.

    • mrsmole says:

      This is what happens when the brides pay for the bridesmaid dresses…no thought as to how their girls will look or feel or fit. Then the poor bridesmaid gets stuck with finding a seamstress willing to re-make it. If they would just tell the girls to go out and buy a dress in one color at the bridal salon in the style that works best for them, things might be a little easier. The “kind” bride tells her girls to buy a nice black dress they can wear again and one that will flatter them.

  13. sewruth says:

    You mean you eat and sleep? I thought flowers grew all on their own and weeds pulled themselves out – at least that’s what most of your clients think too.

  14. mrsmole says:

    Ha ha, Oh Ruth, my clients think I am sitting by the phone just waiting. My answerphone now states that I am booked through Sept and to only leave a message if your wedding is after that, so that takes care of a lot of last minute gals and men wanting their work pants hemmed or zippers replaced.

    • I LAUGHED at that…”my clients think I am sitting by the phone just waiting’ 🙂 2015 was the first Prom season I let the answering machine pick-up. I was FORCED to do it because of NUMEROUS calls from POTENTIAL customers calling me for alterations THREE DAYS before Prom 😦 NOT POSSIBLE 😦 My message said I was fully booked until whatever date and that was that 😦 I didn’t have to listen to PLEADING 😦 I LOVE YOUR BLOG 🙂 I am slowly working my way through your previous posts 🙂 I am up to..June 2013 🙂 Fortunately, 99.9% of my customers adore/appreciate me 🙂 I have been doing this since the-mid-80’s. Re-opened my business FULL-TIME in 2006 🙂 ZERO Bridezillas or Momzillas 🙂 ONE unhappy bridesmaid out of hundreds of customers. I ‘qualify’ potential customers on the phone and save MY time with BARGAIN shoppers or people who NEED next day delivery..I offer NEITHER 🙂 I can squeeze in a one week delivery only during the slower months, Oct thru Feb. OCTOBER is becoming a BIG wedding month here in Ohio, at least for 2016 🙂 I read your blog when I am trying to fit a meal into my day 🙂 You make me LAUGH and you make me NOD my head in TOTAL AGREEMENT 🙂 THANK YOU 🙂 CHERYL 🙂 PS-I also GARDEN 🙂 My plants are out there SCREAMING to get into the ground 🙂

  15. maryfunt says:

    Another potential disaster saved! You would think the dress manufacturers would have the sense to leave reasonable seam allowances for alteration but they save every micron of fabric. Good idea to set up your answering machine with a booked through September message to ward off the last minute crazies.

  16. I don’t really understand why the bride pays for all the other things, but the bridesmaids have to pay for their dresses (or the alterations). If you don’t have the money to pay for that, then you can’t afford the wedding you want.

    It’s so rude when people want to volunteer your time. But repeat customers are nice to have, so I guess there’s good with the bad…

  17. mrsmole says:

    Some brides buy the dresses of their choice for their girls and expect them to pay the seamstress while other brides expect them to buy their own that might fit better avoiding a seamstress…either way, it is a dress that no one will ever wear again. A national poll states that the average cost for a poor bridesmaid to attend her friend’s wedding is in the range of $500 which includes the dress, hair and make-up, shoes and nails, a present, the bachelorette party, bridal shower, and transportation to the venue which may be out of town.

  18. barbara says:

    in the NYC area that amount barely pays for the gown and shoes, if at all. my daughter regretfully had to turn down an invitation to be a bridesmaid to her “friend” when she learned that she would be expected to pay for everything you mentioned, dyed-to-match shoes and purse, plus the soon-to-be baby shower and baby gift. both the girl and her mother were insulted and annoyed but not enough to turn down the generous wedding gift my daughter was then able to give. not only had the bride already chosen the gowns, shoes and purses, but had made appointments for the fittings for each girl without consulting them. for some reason this was a friendship that hasn’t survived.

  19. Dara says:

    Thank God for wonderful people like you! You are a Godsend! I only hope your customers realized how Blessed they are to have you!

  20. I can’t believe she told you she couldn’t afford a present now! That’s just poor manners! So rude! What was she trying to do saying that? You did a beautiful job re-making that dress!!

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