Two Many Choices

Six months ago a bride came to me with 2 dresses and expected me to tell her which one to choose for her cowboy wedding complete with old broken-in, dirty farm boots.

The story went like this, “my sisters made me buy the David’s Bridal floral first dress“.


and then “I went online to order a custom made dress from China for $60.”P1210160-2  While the corset back is what she really wanted, you can see this second dress, when it is laced up, the 2 sides came together right at the waist so there was very little lacing showing below that and the side seams would have had to be taken in at least 4 inches to fit her hips…6-8 inches if she wanted the lacing to be open enough to look right. Also you can see the front hem of the lace layer was way too long and would have required the usual expensive cutting off the border and re-attaching it 6 inches higher. But she wanted quotes for both dresses so she could decide.

The main ingredient was the belt…it had to work for both dresses even though one was more country and the other was more blinged-out Las Vegas.

This week she made another 90-minute appointment to stand in front of the mirror and remain indecisive. The first floral dress only needed some side seams taken in and hemming and a bustle but the second dress was going to need about double the time in labor and she went with the floral embellished one.

I did all the required alterations and basted them for her 3rd 90-minute visit and she was pleased…enough. But then she sent an email telling me that she hated her dress because it did not give her enough curves. She wanted the dress to not have even a half inch of ease so that when she stood up you could not pinch any fabric…in other words…fit like a second skin. I tried to reason with her that she would actually have to sit down and be able to walk up steps and get into a car and at the end of the day…be able to pee without taking the dress off…but nothing I said could change her mind. The side seams were taken in again another 2 inches total this time.

Here you have the tightened dress on the mannequin…30 inch bust, 21 inch waist:


Under that top back ruffle is a 3 point bustle:P1210199

I sent her the photos and made the next (4th) appointment for this Friday and she seems pleased until later that day I got this email:

“While the bustle looks neat and clean, can I come by and try my dress on Monday evening or Tuesday evening? I’m afraid it still doesnt fit how I’m hoping, I’m worried and stressed another week down and waiting until Friday is going to make it harder to get something else figured out.”

So she moved the appointment to the beginning of the week instead, insisted on always arriving at 5 pm for her 5th 90-minute visit in front of the mirror and you can hear in her email that she may decide that she needs another dress for her wedding a month from now.

After the try-on she thinks this might just work. At this point after 5 appointments, I am wondering whether I actually made any money on this project. It will be nice to see this dress go out the front door.


The hot weather is ripening all the Fall raspberries early and the squashes are still growing along with red bell peppers:


And what is coming up? How about 13 brides in the next 2 months and here is just the first batch…all tulle…delightful!too-much-tulle

Wishing you all simple end-of-the-summer sewing projects, thanks for dropping by!

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39 Responses to Two Many Choices

  1. Carolyn says:

    You know she really wants to wear the Vegas dress and her family has pressured her into the floral one…poor girl…she should have chosen the one she really wanted. Sorry that this has drug on an on for you though! And 13 more brides…wow!

  2. Colleen says:

    I am seeing more bride drama all the time which equals lost time for their unrealistic expectations. They want the photo moment rather than a marriage. The one bride that wanted the dress so tight that I warned and warned that she could not sit down….mother returns after the wedding saying she was so disappointed because she could not sit down. The bride said at the fittings(s!) that she did not care if she could sit down she just wanted to look good in the pictures! Reality sets in a bit too late!

    • Sarah Gilbert says:

      Unrealistic expectations and poor decision-making skills. Doesn’t bode well for a lasting relationship.

    • mrsmole says:

      All you could do was do what was asked and you did. If the mother could not make her daughter see the sense in not going that far…there is no hope for her new husband!
      I tell the brides they have no sitting room for their ribs and some cannot even breathe standing up and they reassure me, “I won’t be breathing the whole day”…so sad. Such a contrast to the nice brides who are sensibly and want to comfortable and classy.

  3. That’s a whole lot of convincing she’s doing in order to be ok with the floral dress. To be honest, I’m not a fan of the floral dress either, the skirt design is weird. lol Hope she figures it out very soon so it’s not a loss for you…

    • mrsmole says:

      She picked it up yesterday so only a couple days left to change her mind. Once they are all in barn and its rustic charm and her old boots, things will all look good.

  4. Alex in California says:

    I’ve worked with men and women who have made the tailoring process a misery. Hours and hours of nonsense. I can get through it once because I know I will never say yes to that person again.

    • mrsmole says:

      People ask if I have memorable brides and I say I remember the really good ones and the really bad ones so you sure don’t want to be on the latter list. I also have a list of brides who never show up for appointments and then expect to call and make more appointments…months later…this does not fly at all!

  5. racurac2 says:

    You should write a contract like this: ” I was told by Mrs Mole on this date that I would NOT be able to sit, eat, breath etc. if I insist on these alterations” !!! Mrs Mole you are a saint!

    • mrsmole says:

      You are right! But the other thing that drives me nuts is the weight loss…they never tell me that they will stop eating from the first try-on to the last….and I have to guess how much tighter to make the zipper etc or I will be altering things twice in the 4 weeks I have the darn dress. I want to put a scale near the front door and weight them on the first day and the last day to compare. Some gals faint on the platform from not eating for days…just to have a small waist to walk down the aisle…it is crazy!

      • Kim Hood says:

        Mrs Mole I know of a bridal company locally who do exactly that – they weigh and measure the brides and have them sign as a true record. If they lose (or put on) weight before they collect the dress and it needs further alterations then there is extra cost. I was initially horrified at this until I spent time in a bridal studio where I realised how much sense it made.
        I think this girl (like so many) wants to be a bride rather than a wife. I feel for the poor husbands.
        Well done you for not taking the shears to them 🙂

      • Kate says:

        Lol I’m seriously considering weighting them. I’m so fed up with brides and bridesmaid weight loss. I have a bride that lost 2 dress size after the muslin fitting. That was a nightmare…

      • mrsmole says:

        It is sure tempting. I had one bride last year who never told me she was going to stop eating 2 weeks before the wedding and lost 20 pounds. It was a custom made dress from 3 vintage dresses all combined into one, maybe you remember that one, and in the end I had to remake it completely on the top. She paid twice for the same work…insane really. It would be less invasive to measure the brides first and write down their measurements “for the record” so then at least we would have a leg or two to stand on at the end and final fitting.

  6. sewruth says:

    You could have suggested gingham and denim for the cowboy wedding…….

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Ruth, you know she would match the decorations too much that way! Mason jars with candles and gingham ribbons wrapped around them and grasses used for bouquets…all ready for a real hoe-down!!! One bride dyed her white horse’s tail in rainbow colors so the smaller children at the reception would want to ride her “My Little Pony” to keep them happy. Remember, I live in the wild west and rodeos are the main entertainment and county fairs with bulls and hogs being the main attraction for the auctions.

      • erniek3 says:

        She dyed the horse’s tail…well, doing something to keep the small fry happy at your wedding is a rare mental feat for a bride. I will just keep that image in another corner of my brain for another day. And then I’ll google the pictures.
        You think you’ve heard it all……

      • sewruth says:

        Honest to goodness, you live, or at least your brides do, in some alternative reality……

  7. If a woman does not have enough curves to look the way she wants, you could just add some padding to the hips? Problem solved! Fill the dress! Nothing a bag of wadding won’t fix.

    • mrsmole says:

      Funny you should mention that…I did suggest padded butt panties but she was not amused. I have used quilt batting in the past for some brides to help in that area and to hold the bustle better…but not this girl!!!

  8. Mindy says:

    You make me want to get married again.

  9. ceci says:

    The only time I had something custom fitted there was an hourly fee for any fitting beyond the first and last. Well worth it, the lady was a genius, but I certainly would have hesitated to spend 90 minutes of her time and my money dithering……


    • Val says:

      Makes good sense to me! It seems like two fittings is plenty of time for an experienced seamstress. If the bride wants to diet or dither then it’s only fair and reasonable for the seamstress to be compensated accordingly.

      • mrsmole says:

        Maybe I need a new sign stating all visits over the required 2 will be charged regular labor. Of course, Mr Mole has been telling me this for years but it pains me to enforce such a rule….but maybe I am getting closer to doing it.

    • mrsmole says:

      It would be like having you hair stylish, after having you for an hour in her chair and working magic to make you and your hair look younger and fresher, you book 2 more appointments just to sit there again, all for free, to stare into the mirror and say you want things a little different…who does that?

      • Sharon says:

        I am in total agreement with Mr. Mole. Charge for ALL time spent on the bride.I doubt the venue, caterer, florist, photographer, chauffeur or band will work extra hours for free. Why should the wardrobe department be any different ? Any time spent in front of the mirror starts the clock ticking ! And if you have to cope with Bridezilla, an overly difficult MOB, half the guest list to ‘experience the moment’, or heaven forbid they drag along small children, make the bride aware that the P.I.A. tax will most certainly be tacked onto her bill !!

      • Kim Hood says:

        Listen to Mr Mole. You don’t need to waste your time for free. Perhaps if they had to pay more it would concentrate their minds.

  10. JohnnYingling says:

    Do you build fitting time into your estimates ?

  11. Leiflynn Jeffery, Melfort, Saskatchewan says:

    Ok, sounds like you should come back to Saskatchewan! I don’t get that many crazy brides at all here. Poor you your tongue must be sore from biting it so much when dealing with the silliness. I refuse to cut off trains that is what they paid for, they can go elsewhere if they insist. But you do make your trials and tribulations very interesting, I commend you for putting up with all this madness and making it a learning experience for us with your prowess for making the brides look so good and showing how you did it.

  12. mrsmole says:

    Thank you, Leiflynn, The whole reason for my blog is to share and educate others and let them know that they can try any of these techniques when faced with nervous brides in a bind. One other blogger says I do it to humiliate brides but I am lucky to get such tough challenges that make my rapidly aging brain do some new calculations. If the dress fits well and the bustles perform their job, I am happy!

  13. Tia Dia says:

    Ugh and ugh. You are truly a saint!

    • mrsmole says:

      If only we could screen clients for technical difficulty and appearance and ease of altering…but you get whatever wanders in the front door! ha ha.

  14. Marina Porter says:

    My charges are hourly and I only give an estimate, never know whats inside till you open up the dress.

  15. Kate says:

    Mrs mole, just out of curiosity – what’s the difference in terms of quality between the David bridal dress and the $60 made in China dress?

    • mrsmole says:

      The China dresses lack a lot of stability like boning and interfacing. The fabrics are very thin and cheap and the laces are not as dense as well made dresses. But from the outside and on the websites they look fine. If this bride’s dress had been smaller in the hips and shorter in length she would have been OK. Knowing she paid $60 and the alterations would have been around $200, she went with the floral dress. I have seen dresses made of lace from China where the bodice lace did not match the skirt at all. One bride bought 2 dresses, one larger and in the 2 dresses there were 4 different styles of lace like they were just using whatever was on the shop floor at the time…why bother matching? The linings in these dresses is cheap and rarely is the same size of the dress. Lining can be 2 sizes larger or smaller depending again what is stacked in the factory…but for $60-$100 you are not going to get a high end gown no matter what the website shows. Some sites have even used the exact photo and model from say Casablanca gowns website for $1200 and claim they will sell you the same dress for $120 so it is a gamble.

  16. Shams says:

    It’s painful to read how you are abused by some of these brides. Please please start charging for more than 2 (or whatever) fittings.

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