Mothers of the Bride/Groom have it rough in our little valley when looking for dresses to fit and flatter.

One mother had a headstrong/controlling daughter/bride who planned a 3 day event/wedding. She told her mother to buy this dress to wear to one of the events. I wish I had taken a photo of the actual dress but I made a sketch to remind myself of the odd angles and scraps of fabric that made up the skirt.

The dress was made out of some black gauze fabric and was cut very low at the non-existent side seams, center front and center back. The mother asked me if I could just stuff some lace triangles into the vacant areas so it would be wearable. I stood back and took a deep breath before I told her, “This is not your dress”. If you wear this dress is says, “I don’t know who I am”. Everyone will think it is an apron. Well, this came as a shock, but she did ask for my honest opinion and she got it.

She explained it was very expensive and her daughter wanted her to wear it. OK, maybe a flat chested 20 year old would get away with this much exposure, but not a mature woman who wanted to impress the new in-laws and celebrity guests. I suggested she send the dress back and visit a local salon to see what they had to offer that would be more fitting and flattering for a grown-up woman.

We have a small Macy’s, a David’s Bridal and a couple small salons so the internet comes in handy. The first 2 dresses came from a local salon and were sample dresses that had been discontinued. Original price was $250 but the owner let them go for $50 each! Both are thick satin and have pockets.

Here is one dress:


and here is the other one, only the skirt is black satin.


Yes, both will be worn for the 3 day event/wedding in a Southern state. 

THEN 12 other dresses were ordered from Bloomingdale’s in New York by the daughter/bride to decide which dress her mother needed to wear to mingle among celebrity types. Out of the 12, the black knit with gold lace was chosen below. Here is a third one:

25f508c866987a9019d13ccbe5e77e17513f2c193727243f47462f0471e5729aThe black knit dress only needed hemming while the first 2 needed hemming and raising the skirts at the waist seam for the short-waisted mom. The cream/black topped halter one needed the top of the back zipper moved over 1/2 inch each side to pull the front up higher.


The blue floral skirted one needed a halter made from whatever was left from trimming off the hem. Lucky for me, the hem was curved slightly.p1210583

Folded in half to cut a lining, you can see the curve betterp1210584

Once sewn down one side, the seam was clipped and understitched. The raw side was folded under and hand basted as I do not know how wide the strap needs to be until the MOB tries it on.


The halter is just pinned to the side of the boning under the princess seams.p1210588 p1210669-2

Halter is finished and sewn to the bodice.

p1210693 p1210703

The black knit with gold lace has a funny hem. You need to open the 4 side seams and remove the lace from the tulle after thread marking the new hem line.

The word should be “knit” instead of knot:


Once the knit portion is hemmed, the side seams are re-sewn. The seam is flipped to the knit side.


To keep the side seams under the knit, I top stitch over the lace.p1210606

The wrong side shows the new stitching.


Flip the lace and tulle back down and ready for trimming off with scissors:

But wait….as I press the tulle and lace I see a piece of metal on the wrong side…what is that?

It is just a pin left in from the factory from when they were attaching the lace with clear monofilament thread. One thing I noticed when removing the stitches on the knit was that the mono thread left holes as it cut into the knit…something to be aware of next time.


In the end, the mother and bride are happy and I am thrilled to have the check in hand and out of the drama!

With Halloween less than a week away the phone has been constantly ringing with requests…masks needing stronger elastic and one man in an Egyptian mummy costume who wanted to know if I could install a zipper in the crotch so he could relieve himself. Thankfully I can refer them to another friend who may have time. Hoping none of your projects are scary ones!





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36 Responses to Indecision

  1. ceci says:

    Your final products make a lady like and flattering wedding weekend wardrobe, congratulations. Don’t know which Southern state was the wedding site, but in my part of the south MOB is supposed to look like a grown up, not like she is wearing a slutty Tinkerbell Halloween costume.


  2. mrsmole says:

    Don’t hold back, Ceci…ha ha So glad the mother went with my suggestion and then told me later…”You were 100% right!”.

  3. Bunny says:

    I gasped when I saw the daughter’s choice. Yes, it appears her mom has a lovely figure, but really? Must be a lot of hoochie in the bride herself. Kudos to you for giving this mom the straight skinny. She will be a far lovelier vision of herself for her daughter’s big day thanks to you. Go Mrs. Mole!!!

  4. mrsmole says:

    Her 3 dresses say “I am elegant and poised” to the new in-laws and guests and isn’t that what you want to portray at a wedding? Thanks, Bunny!

    • Monique says:

      Hear, hear! Such an improvement and “classy” too. I know I wouldn’t feel comfortable in that tulip-type dress and that would ruin the day.

  5. I had to hem the black dress also. I did it the same way you did it. At least she listened to your advice about the dress, they don’t always.

  6. Aww! I would have liked to see how you put a zipper in a mummy costume! I was never a fan of the bride or any other member of a wedding dressing up like it was a New Year’s bash… but that’s just me. I’m glad she didn’t wear the first dress.

  7. Mem says:

    Good on you for being honest . She will be eternally grateful and in time so will her daughter . Maybe it will give her more confidence to stand up to her daughter and improve their relationship

    • mrsmole says:

      Some women who have only one daughter seem to want to do everything they can to make the bride happy by following orders and succumbing to the bride’s whims. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an equal relationship instead of one controlling the other…call me crazy!

  8. Slutty tinkerbell! That is just too funny. And when you wear a dress you really don’t feel comfortable in you start to hunch and move oddly, better to wear something with panache and pride. Good on you for telling it straight. Who is the girl marrying, I want to know. Might be money, but is it style?

    • mrsmole says:

      Thankfully I did not have to work on the bride’s dress because she was so opinionated and controlling that her mother could not even manage to buy a cheap shawl and sparkly bracelet or new shoes without her daughter’s approval. Money can’t buy style or class…the less I know about this event, the better! Somehow it seems that pockets give women confidence…go figure?

  9. Fabrickated says:

    Gosh that petals dress is a shocker! I like the other dresses though, especially the blue and white with its new halter strap. And I laughed out loud about the mummy costume with a zip – I wonder if he was a “heavy breather” just trying to get you to talk about his “needs”. What a fun life you lead – with so many comedic moments.

  10. mrsmole says:

    That first dress was a shocker! The first thing I thought of was, “where is the rest of it?” or “are you wearing a bodysuit under it?” Lord knows there are enough strange men who call wanting odd alterations!

  11. ParisGrrl says:

    Can we all take a moment to admire your sketches? Clearly you are a woman of Many talents. (I’ve often wished someone would hire you to write a Radical Alterations for Real People book; now I know you could illustrate it as well!)

  12. jay says:

    I love the black with the lace! The black guaze number – what can one say? Forced to wear it I’d set it over a floor length black sheath, hoping to marry up the bodice with something that covered the essentials.

    • mrsmole says:

      It still would look like an apron, and not even as nice as a traditional French maid one with ruffles. Knowing you, Jay, you could have whipped up something quite nice!

  13. Lisa Emery says:

    My assistant accuses me of being rather brutal in similar situations. I just can’t take that mother /daughter power struggle that goes on!

    • mrsmole says:

      The funny thing is, even women who are not MOBs drop buy with new dresses with tags to ask my opinion…are they all dying to here me say, “that is not your dress”? Mothers and daughters manage to argue over every single detail from the bride’s weight, her ample/too small bust, too big/too small backside, cost of flowers, size of cake, best D.J….you name it! Life would be just dandy if I could wear ear buds and sit on the floor and pin up hems…ha ha

  14. Rena says:

    Every year my phone rings off the hook with bizarre costume requests. I just don’t answer the phone! I also do not sew for men (except my hubby). At least the mom had the sense to be uncomfortable with her daughters dress choice. More money than sense!

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Rena, in my mind I want to shout, “No one will remember your dress or the flowers or the music…only if they had a good time, enough booze and the couple even looked like they liked each other”. Throwing money at a wedding does not make it wonderful or the marriage longer lasting!

  15. sewruth says:

    Now that’s a turn up for the books – a dominating bride and a submissive mother.
    Go spend the cheque on yourself, not the mortgage, you deserve it.

    • mrsmole says:

      My sewing money affords me heavy duty sports massages once a month so I can continue this madness! There are so real doozies coming up, Ruth! Two emergency brides who have given me less than 10 days to make everything right…stay tuned!

  16. symondezyn says:

    Wow, Mom sure has a nice figure! I’m sure she looked beautiful in all three dresses… but one does ask oneself… what level of narcissism does it take to insist upon three days of wedding events and force your mom to order twelve dresses to choose one from??? :O

  17. mrsmole says:

    Enough to fill a room, Amanda, and then some. If only I could capture the feeling without letting too many cats out of the bag, you would be astonished and angry…I bite my tongue and keep my head down to shelter from the heat of the blast.

  18. Kim says:

    Bless you Moley. That mother must be so glad she met you. The daughter, maybe not yet – but when she looks back she will 👏😃

  19. urbanite says:

    When Boris Karloff made The Mummy in 1932, costumers spend hours wrapping him into his costume and getting his makeup perfected. After hours, the costuming was completed and they were ready to shoot. The only problem? Yep, no fly. Karloff had to film the entire day without a bathroom break. This story was related on TCM by his daughter.

    Great alterations on the gowns. A smart mummy came to visit you, too.

  20. Robin says:

    Oh wow, I love the way the strapless was modified to have a halter strap – it looks so nice! Funny that you mention Halloween, I altered costumes for my daughter & one of her bridesmaids recently. My ‘rule’ is that I do the alteration while they wait. I want them there to make any decisions, be there for fitting and take the finished ‘favor’ away 🙂 I don’t need Halloween projects sitting around in my sewing nook!!
    So glad this MOB got such good advice and beautiful dresses.

    • mrsmole says:

      At least she will have the confidence to walk around either with her hands in her pockets or carrying a champagne glass and smiling. Halters draw the eye to the face and I wish we had more of them…think Marilyn Monroe, that woman could rock a halter!

  21. Bonnie says:

    In my one summer in alterations in a clothing/bridal shop, my sewing area was adjacent to the bridal salon, so I got to hear all the conversations. One day, a bride, whom I knew from school, came in with her mother to buy a MOB dress. The bride insisted that Mom wear this mint green floor-length fitted dress made of Qiana. (Polyester knit at its worst. Think men’s shiny disco shirt. This was the mid ’70s.) Mom was an older woman with a large abdomen and other saggy parts. The dress was totally unflattering, and Mom said she wasn’t comfortable in it. “Well,” the bride said, “if you won’t wear this dress I don’t want you at my wedding.” Of course, Mom gave in. The sales clerk happened to be the bride’s former kindergarten teacher. “She was a brat when she was 5, and she’s still a brat,” said the clerk after the family left.

    • mrsmole says:

      Brats…yes, they certainly abound in this valley…the privileged princesses who don’t work or go to school and live off the folks. They will have a rude awakening when the husband asks for his laundry to be done or dinner on the table!

  22. Pauline Wright says:

    *snigger* @ Mummy outfit request. I have one customer and when he comes over I don’t always quite know how I will keep a straight face at his requests! Still, it pays the bills!

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