Too Much Tulle

This dress looks so simple from the front doesn’t it? But are no side seams in the lace as the scalloped design is placed over the satin under-dress to form a continuous pattern all around. This will become the main problem for this princess bride.


How about the back? A six foot long train with 5 layers of tulle and netting is lurking there over a satin skirt and lining. What looks airy and ethereal is really just a mess of fabric that acts as a comforter/duvet for a hot late summer wedding.


The satin layer can be bustled up and the lining layer can be hemmed to floor level. Isn’t that tulle just lovely all rolled up?


The bride wanted twenty five new buttons attached down the back and bust pads sewn in. You can see the scallop pattern with all the sequins and pearls and seed beads up close.


But there is no way I am going to get all this train bustled up and looking nice and flat so the bride says she will just carry it around all day.


After sitting on the ground for an hour and trimming all those layers with scissors so they just sit perfectly level on the floor, the bride decides that she wants another inch taken off ALL layers after she takes the dress off. So, after she leaves, I trim more away. Lots of grumbling can be heard in my sewing room.


She returns 2 more times just to stand in front of the mirror with her mother (talking baby talk to her) to complain that the dress is not skin tight.

With the bodice being a dropped style and just above where the front of her leg breaks to walk, I explain for 2 more times that it cannot be any tighter or she could not lift her leg to walk at all but she keeps grabbing at the zipper and whining that she wants it all tight, tight, tight.

When she sits down to try out the circumference of the dress, I can hear the side seams screaming! When she stands up the entire lower half of the bodice is wrinkled up and has to be smoothed down many times to get it flat. The mother gets into the act of smoothing the fabric layers down while cooing to her daughter that everything will be OK. All the bride can do is frown.

So, I ask her to walk down my hallway and do a turn to see how the tiny excess of fabric at the lower edge is really needed to raise her leg and if we make it any tighter her tummy will really stick out. Finally, she gives in and realizes that nothing more can or should be done. In her desire/vision to be a fairy tale princess with a long tulle gown, it never crossed her mind that she would have to carry/drag all that fabric along with her all day and night.


After 8 months of dealing with 60 persnickety brides and not taking a day off, Mr. Mole booked 4 days away in a salmon fishing village to get me out of my sewing room. It was lovely to not hear a phone ring or client knocking on the front door or cooking or cleaning. Here is the view from the rented apartment:fishing-village

While the weathermen predicted 4 days of storms and unending rain, it ended up only raining at night and we had 3 full days to walk and breathe in sea air along deserted beaches and also see sights like this in town:dog-walker

This local lady walks her rescue Basset hounds around town and tries to keep them organized and going in the same direction.

After a 4 hour drive home, there were new messages on my answerphone from brides for November and December weddings…so, no rest for the wicked and it is back to reality for me. Cooler weather now makes sewing easier and I hope all of you are looking forward to fun Fall events!

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42 Responses to Too Much Tulle

  1. mary anne says:

    there are none so blind as they that will not see… do you find any correlation between the bride’s age and the level of (perceived) perfection required? if the mother is standing there using baby talk i marvel at the immaturity. bless your hubby for knowing the perfect ticket!

    • mrsmole says:

      It is harder to deal with/reason with a bride who is right out of high school when her mother is talking baby talk to her. 30 year old brides who are paying for the wedding dress themselves are much different! I once told a mother of one of these darlings that I am always tempted to ask if the girl can boil an egg and the mother ripped back, “my daughter can boil and egg and she helped raised the next 8 children in the family” so I haven’t asked again…haha!

  2. Carolyn says:

    See and my thought was – does the future husband talk baby talk to her too? Weird? You have the patience of saints and why when I did sew for others for a short while, I avoided brides like the plague. Glad you had a short getaway to refresh before heading back to the battle lines! *smile*

    • mrsmole says:

      It would sure be interesting to know what the dynamics of the couple are and I always ask for wedding photos of the couple just to see if there is any glint of life in the groom’s eyes but sadly few send photos. It makes me wonder when the couple met at their minimum wage job at 18 what chance do they have if neither see college or any further school down the road.

  3. robbie says:

    The dress is gorgeous–too much tulle is right. The transition from bride (fantasy) and wife (reality) can be a real deal breaker for the faint of heart. If mommy has to baby talk her out of mini-tantrum, what’s going happen when she and hubby have a conflict? Tsk-Tsk. I love your bride stories Mrs. Mole.

  4. mrsmole says:

    The other transition comes when a baby arrives and the ultra-thin bride has to make room in her tummy for that and all that it entails for the next 18 or more years. I see so many very self-centered girls who demand things on their cell phones while being pinned. They are so self-important, so “in charge” for their one day. I want to say, “enjoy your day because the rest of your life will be washing dirty socks and underpants” but I don’t, I just smile and think it.

    • erniek3 says:

      Oh Mrs Mole! Snark does not become you! You already know that for some of these people, this is the closest they are going to get to being special or important, and they know that already, having seen their mother and their friends’ lives unfold. I do hope that they can use some of that self-centered energy to get out of that situation and move into a life where this is just one great day among many. Do I believe that? No. They won’t appreciate your good and hard work, but they will pay you for it, and that’s going to be good enough.
      I know, it’s been a long season, and if we couldn’t complain about the customers from time to time, the work would be unbearable. And a rest is as good as a change.

      May all your brides be fair and kind and your skirts be less…..tulle-y.

      Is that what they mean by lost in the tulies?

      • mrsmole says:

        Yes, this year being lost in the tulies is certainly apropos! I have to laugh and gripe about clients and when I am at the hairdresser’s I listen to them gripe too about their clients. Thankfully, I only see mine for 3-4 visits and not every month! We both know, Ernie, that marriage is more than dirty socks and underpants…ha ha!!!!

      • Sharon says:

        ‘Lost in the tulies’.. I haven’t heard that expression in ages, but it certainly fits.
        Thanks for the giggles!

  5. accordion3 says:

    I work with older adults in a residential care facility. Levels of frailty and cognition vary a lot, from moderate to very.
    Today we got to talking about wedding flowers. Only one could remember what flowers were in her bouquet. One gentleman said quite firmly “roses”, then said “that’s all we were allowed”. Which brought the discussion around to dresses/food & ceremonies. They all talked about how every tiny detail mattered SO much at the time, but was subsumed by the very mundane after the wedding. A few mentioned the difference between their first and subsequent weddings. Do you have many second time brides? Are they different?

    • mrsmole says:

      Second time brides and third time brides are so sensible…well most are. Some surprisingly want the full shebang…white dress, flowers, 12 foot veil and bridesmaids and flower girl and boy and everything that did not work out the first time. In a way it is sad but maybe a “do-over” is what they need to move on. Even though we may think that 2nd or 3rd weddings should be low key…in my own life my second with Mr. Mole was everything the first one was not…joyous, exciting and filled with love with 2 witnesses at the courthouse and I would do it all again after 22 years. As for most weddings, the guests will only remember if they had a good time, not the flowers or dress or food…that is why we take photos to jog the memory isn’t it? Bless you for working with older folks!

  6. Elle says:

    Wonderful that you had salt air and small town sights for a well-earned rest with your sweetie.

    • mrsmole says:

      They say getting away lets you see things differently…seeing life from a seat in a restaurant or coffee shop and having wind off the sea almost blow you over certainly does clear the mind!

  7. Kim says:

    I’m so glad that you enjoyed your time away. Those dogs look like mobile chaos!
    I would comment about your latest bride but I think it has all been said already 😉

    • mrsmole says:

      It was a hoot to see what joy those dogs brought to that woman. At this point in the year the enthusiasm for a new bride and her wedding dress is waning…you know that feeling too, Kim.

  8. I sometimes work as a wedding photographer’s assistant, my next job is a wedding on a farm with a couple of hundred guests and an unusual couple, for me anyway. They are both intellectually disabled. After dealing with a great many brides who are like the ones you fix dresses for, I am thinking this has all the promise of a great wedding. Will wait and see. I look forward to it.
    People are going to step on your bride’s tulle, all night long! My photographer often makes me crouch down and hide behind tulle like that to backlight it.

    • mrsmole says:

      You mean they use tulle skirts as a prop? Do you use different colors of lights? wow i would have never thought of that…makes me have a new perspective on all that fabric! I hope the wedding is really special for the couple and their guests!

  9. maryfunt says:

    Another amazing story. Why can’t the bride understand she has to walk, sit, and somehow use the bathroom. Mr. Mole sounds like a winner. What a man to take you away from the insanity for a few days. Your vacation spot looks so tranquil and I’m sure you had a wonderful and well deserved break.

    • mrsmole says:

      You know Mary, once a girl gets engaged she loses all reasoning powers…I blame the Kardashians. There is something magical watching fishing boats launch and and then return to the harbor while seabirds cry overhead and seals frolic…totally different environment from the sewing room. It takes 4 hours to get to the Pacific ocean but it is truly worth it!

  10. Val says:

    I like the addition/change to buttons — it’s a pretty touch. It doesn’t look like this dress has a built-in corset and I think it would have benefited from one. (But hey! who am I?)

    • mrsmole says:

      Not sure what a corset would have done for this girl…she needed an attitude adjustment more. As each Saturday passes with the names of brides on their special day on my paper calendar, it brings such a feeling of relief that there is no more I can do for them.

  11. Mem says:

    I wonder if their is any correlation between the stupidity of the bride , the tightness of the dress and the length of the marriage ?.

  12. mrsmole says:

    Now wouldn’t that make a great study??? People always ask me about the ages as well…does younger mean more trouble or older make them wiser? The only thing I know is that many of my brides are carrying around new babies about 18 months later so something good comes from a well thought out union. It is sad when I hear about divorces within that time frame as well.

  13. Tee says:

    Wow, what a job. Tip for you: unthread your serger and run the tulle through–it cuts precisely and it’s fast!!!!

    • Sharon says:

      Head slap !!! Why didn’t I think of that 20 years ago ? Brilliant. Now you tell us !! I have recently closed my alteration shop and am now retired. That little hint sure would have come in handy. I hope to never, ever have to touch tulle or netting again.

  14. mrsmole says:

    Thanks, Tee…only problem is my 3 sergers are wedged into a corner of the room with not much space for perching a wedding gown in there. But what a great idea!

  15. ceci says:

    Lovely tribute to Mr. Mole2!


    • mrsmole says:

      He watches after me and monitors my stress levels…he pours me a drink at 5 pm and calms me down when needed. I wish everyone had a Mr. Mole of their own. Thanks, Ceci!

  16. Laura says:

    You are truly amazing! I just finished with a bride who continued to lose weight, and insisting that the dress be tight-tight-tight, despite my advice to leave a little more room. I built the dress, then altered it smaller several times. When I got a text message that the zipper split at the wedding, I just rolled my eyes. Not my problem! And no, there would be no adjustment in the bill. Geez, people!

    • mrsmole says:

      LOVE THIS! Thank you, Laura, for sharing this little zipper tidbit…yes, they do break under stress and stress can be just sitting down or tossing the bouquet!

  17. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t like it when wedding gowns are so tight the bride looks like a stuffed sausage. I just like them when they flooooow from head to toe! (sorry!) So I think this dress looks lovely as is, no tighter please. Those buttons are amazing – I would not want to dance with that train – and Yes, Mrs. Mole, you have survived another one to take a lovely, sunny, well deserved holiday with … PUPPIES! Look at those PUPPIES!!!

    • mrsmole says:

      Those hounds were so sweet and the woman is a local legend walking them half for the exercise and half for the attention and photos. The bride got everything her way and her mother was happy and I got paid…some clients just take more out of you than you expected. Thanks, Linda!

  18. fabrickated says:

    The best photograph is the one with the tulle rolled up to the side. Looks like a hurricane vortex, swirling around. Otherwise I am not sure this dress is that nice, especially as you say draped over her arm and carried around. Anyway I am glad you got a little break to the sea side. How refreshing to be in a place where only the dogs are crazy.

    • mrsmole says:

      It was a swirling vortex for sure and I’m sure the bride’s arm was tired after lugging it around all day and night…but that’s the price a princess pays for the attention, I guess? Getting away from all of that and seeing seals and sea birds was the best recipe!

  19. Suzanne says:

    I’ve never had a professional alter my clothing (except for basic hems). Do you charge by the job or the hour? When she makes you take up another inch all over again, basically twice the work, is she paying for that? If she is, when you tell her that its another $x.xx does she just say “that’s fine”?

    • Cheryl says:

      A PROFESSIONAL SEAMSTRESS, like myself and Mrs.Mole, will have a basic PRICE LIST. We can give you an estimate of your labor charges for your bridal/formalwear alterations. If you gain/lose weight and change your shoes, or HORRORS!! YOUR bra 😦 thus altering the LENGTH of your hem or the FIT of YOUR BUSTLINE 😦 … You WILL have additional alteration charges 🙂 It’s only FAIR to your seamstress 🙂

  20. mrsmole says:

    I do charge by the hour as there are few features that carry over from one dress to another. Bustle points are a set fee as is taking out a zipper and re-attaching it. If I trim off tulle, the bride normally tells me as I am trimming that the length is perfect and I just keep cutting but this chicky had afterthoughts and I did not charge extra…I just wanted the dress done and out the door. If I do have to do extra labor, I do tell the client that it adds another $12 or $24 and they are always fine with it.

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