Just when things were going along smoothly for the Fall season, I got a phone call from a frantic mother.
Her daughter’s dress is being held hostage at another sewing center and the seamstress there is not co-operating with them and they realize this is heading in the wrong direction. They are also running out of time and patience as the wedding is in 9 days. I tell the mom to just go down and demand they release the dress and to be strong as it is HER money and HER dress. I got a little suspicious when it was the mother who was doing all the arranging for her 40+ year old daughter’s second wedding.
The dress and bride arrives and we inspect what has been done already and it is not pretty and barely salvageable. There are still dozens of big old plastic head yellow quilting pins everywhere!
There is excess fabric in the satin side seam (from pin to pin) but I can feel that the lining layer (with boning) is way too tight and the last seamstress stopped at the lower pin and did not continue the seams to the hip and left a lump there…nice. Some seamstresses cannot be bothered to remove beads to continue a seam…sad.
The other issue is the hem. There is an organza embroidered border strip that can be removed and re-positioned up higher on the satin which has been done in the front but the bride wants most of the train removed as well. I pin up the excess.
The previous gal also cut off the horsehair braid that must have held the lining and satin together but did not leave enough to even do a narrow hem. While I am pinning up the tiny hem, the bride tells me that unlike most dresses that have the satin hem 1/2 to 1 inch shorter than lace to show off the scallops…SHE wants the satin to show exactly 1/8 inch lower than the scallops all the way around. Can you see this may be impossible?
One reason why this dress was altered so poorly could have been that while the owner pinned the dress, her assistant/apprentice may have done the sewing. What clients do not realize is that as we pin, we notice other features that need work and can correct them along the way.
Inside we can see what was done. For some reason the side seams were taken in, but not equally. The front edges were taken in 1 inch and the back were taken in 1/4 inch. Also, you can see when the seamstress ran into some beading at the hip, she just stopped and left a lump. My job will be to smooth all that out.
When side seams are opened out flat, you can see nothing was trimmed away. We have the original seams plus 1.25 excess inches on each side, so 2.5 inches of excess satin fabric under each arm…for what? Absorbing sweat?
The lining is equally untrimmed..nothing like double bulk under the arms. All this will be trimmed. There is a line of damage from opening the seam too.
Other cool features are at the hip , no need to remove the original stitching, just leave it in there to cause puckering. No need to remove beading and make the hip line smoother either, I guess.
The other side seam looks the same:
Letting out by straightening the lining layer side seams and replacing the boning will make the bride more comfortable.
Here is another WTF adjustment. For some reason, the front top edge of the bodice was being pulled to the wrong side and I thought that I could release the top edge of the lining and let it drop back inside but when the bride took off the dress I could see the problem…who does this?
Inside the top of the side seam there are huge long hand stitches holding the seams together and the top beaded edging. There is no understitching- just a mess.
Let’s flip this to the right side…can you see the edging is badly overlapped and most of the beads are hanging? Who sews like this?
Hold on, it gets better…how about the straps? Attachments held with 2 hand stitches…sure that will do nicely for dancing and tossing the bouquet!
But when I remove the straps for a new position…guess what I found? How can you loose beads on a strap? Were they chewed off?
Another nice feature occurs when you don’t care about side seams in the lining…puckers and pleats…we love them!
Let’s check out what is left of the satin hem and lining hem. In some spots, I have less than 1/8 inch to fold under for either one. Originally the two had been stitched together along with a 1 inch wide strip of horsehair braid…where’s the braid… rolled up in a ball and pinned to the outside of the dress.
I tell the bride and mother (who claims she sews) that the only way to salvage the hem is to put the horsehair braid back unto the satin layer and use a 1/8 inch seam allowance. the bride balks and says, “I want it drapey”…well, honey you can have it drapey and frayed. They agree that I might know what I am talking about.
The finished horsehair braid lies flat on the backside of the satin layer.
The lining will be hemmed separately. How about the previous gal’s attachment of the organza border…surely she used a sewing machine to stitch the swirls down…no? Who sews like this, long hand stitches spanning the curls and leaving gaps? Of course, I will remove this mess and make it right, as from now on, this dress has MY name on it not the first gal’s.
So, now after all the ripping out and re-sewing…what do we have?
On the mannequin, we can see the hips are smooth and less drag lines at the waist.
On the bride, it feels better and it is the first time I see her smile. With each visit the bride has been murmuring under her breath that she never wanted her second-time wedding dress to be beaded or fancy or shiny…just something simple but her mother had other ideas. Her mother is repeating over and over, “But we got a bargain” and that seems to make everything alright. Once the bride remembers to wear her wedding shoes, stands u straight, the hem will not touch the ground except for a very slight train.
I never asked what they had to pay for the first alteration but for the second one, they got their money’s worth in corrections in less than a week.
I must apologize for not visiting other bloggers posts for a week or so. For a couple weeks there have been more emergency brides coming to the sewing room…I’m sorry for not leaving comments on your blogs…hopefully this month will allow me more time to sniff around the web and see all your new creations!
I’ll leave you with the Word for the Day from Gratefulness.org
Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.