Heavy Lace and Pearls

Isn’t this just a dreamy wedding gown? It is Wtoo Elise.

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The lace is very heavy and looks and feels crocheted so the trick is to work with this very bulky textile and make it look airy. The nude satin layer will be bustled with the lace with a 5 point bustle.


You can see in this photo that both side seams have been pinned and have to be taken in 1 inch (4 inch total) so that included beaded and pearl encrusted lace, under tulle and under satin and lining. Oh, and did I mention…there is a side zipper and pearl embellished straps. The look the bride wants is tight, tight, tight like a second skin. And I am not to trim away any excess fabric. In this first front view the added push up “D” cups were not enough to make a difference and the area above the cups collapsed back unto her chest…not a good look but more later about that. Just a note…if I have to take out 4 inches in your dress, that is 2 dress sizes.


Originally, the straps were attached nearer the side seams and did nothing to keep the straps from falling down…always a design feature but not practical.

Here you can see the amount to move the zipper (left) side over…1 inch both sides. Have you ever seen a horizontal dart at the hip level?


Taking in a side zipper or side seam always involves a “step-down” at the very top edge. As the front gets higher, the back section gets lower and in this case I was able to remove sections of lace to camouflage the difference. Then I had to add back the zipper guard.


See the curved section that was attached by hand on the left side and the right side (non-zipper).


Looking inside the right side we have a real interesting situation. One side was barely 1/8 inch wide before taking in the needed inch and the other side was 1 inch but is now 2 inches wide. The lining is pulled away to show the seam allowances..


Remembering not to trim anything away, I fold down the triangles and get ready to cover all this mess with the lining. There are 3 layers involved plus the lining folded inside.P1200891


I decided to hand stitch the lining to the seam allowances in case we have to get back in there before the wedding. I’d rather open a seam with hand stitching than machine and at this point I could not possible get that section under the presser foot.

Remember the bust cups problem? The caving in of the top of the bodice…well, my idea was to use a flat bust cup and turn it vertical to fill in that indentation. You may notice that I had to run the cups through my serger to trim off the sides to make them fit. Size D cups are so wide that they can get in the way of the side zipper and add bulk to the side seams.


Once you explain to the bride that her dress contains no boning and it is essentially a nightgown with no structure, she understands that you have to add a little more.


What’s left? Oh, of course, the bustle! While the first try-on had a 3 point bustle, the bride’s mother wanted every single lace edge very level with the floor so we had to go with a 5 point bustle. Each 20mm satin covered metal backed button has a clear backer button to hold the weight. Man, that sucker weighs a ton! While it looks a little flat and lifeless, once the bride gets her shape/bottom into that bustle, it will rock!


Now that this dress is finished, I can make plans to get to my son’s wedding. We will fly to LA and spend 2 days before flying back to tackle the July brides.

Try to stay cool, everyone!

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40 Responses to Heavy Lace and Pearls

  1. What a challenge! Wonder why the dress was so big and hope it wasn’t ordered that way…! Those bustle points are always such a tricky thing. My daughter’s dress had 26 points…goodness, it took a while to get it settled before the reception..lol!

    Hope you enjoy your son’s wedding – it’s your turn to sit back and have fun!

    • mrsmole says:

      Holy Moley…26 points! I did one with 18 last year and thought that would take 30 minutes to find the loops and buttons! The dress was a sample dress so she got a good price and could spend the money on a seamstress. Thanks, Cheryl, I will do my best to just be a good guest.

  2. Bunny says:

    Definitely time for you to enjoy a wedding, far away from the blushing bridezillas and their moms! You did an amazing job with that bustline. I never would have thought of that. Brilliant work as usual! Enjoy your son’s wedding!

    • mrsmole says:

      Finally found a dress online to fit me, altered the crap out of it to make it work and will just enjoy the casual backyard reception…nothing formal like my brides schedule…thank God!

  3. Cactus says:

    I guess I am old-fashioned, but that dress, that tight, doesn’t leave much to the imagination below the waist. At least she has the figure for that style of dress, it really is beautiful.

    • mrsmole says:

      With no boning in the dress, I think she wants the lace to be the stabilizing force by being so tight. You never know what brides are thinking…or their mothers! The lace up close is covered in sequins and pearls and crystals just to add to the weight.

  4. Laura Douville says:

    You are stunningly clever. I look forward to every post – thank you!

    • mrsmole says:

      Well, thank you , Laura…I too look forward to posting all these challenges in the hopes it helps others looking for fast and cheap solutions.Every bride is a possible blog post…easy or difficult.

      • erniek3 says:

        And that is why I read your posts before anything else. And even if I never have to do a lick of bridal wear again, I learn loads.
        Us crazy humans! Why do we want what we want? Who knows? Only Mrs Mole…..

  5. karen says:

    You do such amazing work. It will be fun to see your son’s bride in her dress! Have a great time.

  6. Mem says:

    Well done and I wonder why you weren’t allowed to trim anything ? Is she going to sell it afterward ? Enjoy your son’s wedding .

    • mrsmole says:

      You never know what will happen to the dress…some girls think they can sell the dress but the value drops dramatically especially if it has been altered at all. The wedding will be casual but as he has waited until he was 38, it will be worth it.

  7. Sharon P says:

    You are not only talented for your remaking gown skills, but your capability of explaining/teaching us your solutions to such challenges is amazing and greatly appreciated. Thank you Mrs. Mole. It’s your turn to step out from behind the scene and enjoy a family wedding !

    • mrsmole says:

      Thanks, Sharon, just hoping to blend in as it is not MY day but the bride’s day to celebrate marrying a darling hard-working man who can make people laugh and feel at ease. As some seamstresses say they could not sew without a serger, I find I cannot sew and blog without a camera…ha ha. I take way more photos than needed and then have to edit.

  8. Jenny Montgomery says:

    Love this dress and how you altered it. Wouldn’t have the nerve to tackle it but so grateful for your blog. I was asked to alter a prom dress and based on your blog posts took 3″ out at the top of the zip. Worked a treat. Thank you.

  9. Karen in PA says:

    That’s a beautiful dress, but I’m struck by how unforgiving many of the dresses you work on are. Back in the (long ago) day, when I was trying on dresses, I remember being struck by how well-engineered the better dresses were, to make the bride look taller/slimmer than she really was (yes, I was chubby then, too). Now it seems they are often, as you say, no better than beaded nightgowns. Too bad if the bride is not model-thin.

    Enjoy your family wedding!

  10. fabrickated says:

    Amazed at how much additional bust padding you needed – but the double cups appears to have done the trick. Do you ever add boning Mrs Mole, when the dress is heavy and in need of a bit of support?

    I failed to comment on last week’s chiffon jacket (which I thought was rather lovely) and your son’s wedding – how lovely. A wedding always cheers everyone up so I do hope you have a great day and a little rest, if possible.

  11. mrsmole says:

    Yes, Kate, I have added plenty of boning, even in open lacework and sheer dresses while covering the white boning with skin-toned lining fabrics. This dress just needed boobs and plenty of them! I rarely drag out the “bags of boobs” in size D…those suckers are so wide and thick! I am looking forward to seeing old friends and family at the reception and toasting to the couple.

  12. I’m not a big fan of the mermaid gowns, having most of your body trussed up in something so tight all day and into the night doesn’t sound like an enjoyable time.

    Hope you enjoy your time in LA, I think you’ve missed our overly hot 100+ degree days. Congrats to you and the happy couple!

    • mrsmole says:

      Young girls don’t seem to understand the benefit of having some breathing room and air conditioning inside the gown…but when the sweat is running down their underpants, they will. It’s been in the high 90’s here for weeks, so I am really looking forward to the 80 degrees predicted! Sure don’t want to be a hot and grouchy guest!

  13. MIchaelC says:

    More great work. And don’t trim any excess fabric. Sheesh that seems bulky. I see you answered that question. Have fun in LA. I am in Pasadena. Hope you have a great time

    • mrsmole says:

      Thanks, Michael, we will be in Orange County and sharing the event with my ex husband and many others from my past life…. My brother lives in Flintridge. Mr. Mole will keep me sane and occupied before we fly home. All that thick lace in the side seams will add to the lack in the bust…padding is padding…ha ha!

  14. Gorgeous, but I can’t imagine how you managed to hide the seam allowances when it’s that tight! You clearly have a better magic wand than I do.
    Enjoy the wedding – you deserve a bit of ‘down time’.

    • mrsmole says:

      I think my magic wand is older than yours, Kim…that might be the answer. Watching younger folks celebrate and dance will be a welcome break!

  15. prttynpnk says:

    I’m in love! Seriously- that lace on that color and shape- beautiful! You made it even more lovely.

  16. jay says:

    Amazing work on that beautiful dress. I’m astounded that you not only find the time to do these complicated jobs, but also to take blow by blow photos and explain it all to us. I do wish the bride had allowed you to put,say, one inch extra ease at hip level, but I’m fuddy duddy on fit. Have a great time at your son’s wedding.

    • mrsmole says:

      Ha ha…you know I make the brides do a “test sit” to make sure the side seams don’t rip open and these brides like it tight all the way to their knees…amazing! I try to be the voice of wisdom but it gets lost these days…ease in the rib area to breathe…”No, I’m not going to need it”….OK.

  17. maryfunt says:

    Enjoy the wedding and a much needed break! Wonderful fix for this dress. I love your bag of tricks; you have something for every problem. Please post a few pics of your son’s wedding.

  18. mrsmole says:

    I’m hoping to get a couple with me and my son to share. Your last blog post was wonderful, Mary! http://atelierdesigns1.wordpress.com/

  19. Tia Dia says:

    What a beautiful gown. I cannot imagine the work that goes into the miracles you make, Mrs. Mole! Enjoy your son’s wedding, and stay cool!

  20. mrsmole says:

    You know, Tia, there are times when I find such weird stuff inside the dress, I wish I could just close it up and drive to the airport to fly away. If lace seams were equal and not everyone wanted 4 inches removed from the circumference, things would be so much better! But coming up, I have the reverse…corsets and corsets and grandma clothes converted into granddaughter clothes when I get back from the wedding. Miracles on hold now for a few days!

  21. Shams says:

    Aye aye aye aye aye aye aye, Mrs Mole.

  22. sewruth says:

    Honest to goodness, you are way too kind and obliging……..
    Are you making the mother of the groom outfit? And will we see the journey – like not but buying a dress 2 sizes too big……….

    • mrsmole says:

      Well Ruth, I DID buy a dress online 2 sizes too big and spent many late hours taking that sucker in along with the lining and removing the useless center back zipper (ala Anne of https://prttynpnk.com/) in the knit bodice and shortening the chiffon skirt and tacking the front wrap to cover the bunnies. Then, I wore it with a new minimizer bra and tight underpants and comfortable flat sandals. At least I was not still sewing just before boarding the plane!!!

  23. My niece just had a $5000 (originally) wedding dress altered to fit her. She bought it for $1000 and a wonderfully talented lady like you did the work. This dress is beautiful and you did perfect job altering it.

  24. mrsmole says:

    WOW, Linda…your niece hit the jackpot! I have a bride right now who saved a load of money buying her dream dress on Ebay and then realized she could not zip it up…corset time coming! Love your blog post on making a denim skirt! http://imadeit362436.wordpress.com/

  25. Ashley says:

    Thanks so much for this post! I bought the Wtoo Felton gown which is very similar to this and was wondering what the 5 point vs. 3 point bustle would look like, since another bride recommended the 5 point. These photos are super helpful!

  26. mrsmole says:

    The more points you have, the more even the hem will be. You can go with 3 points if you don’t mind what I call the “dog’s ears” drooping down.

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