Mystery Solved

Do you remember the post that had the Oriental/Asian looking garments?

Well, Claire responded with this:

Hi Mrs Mole! The Chinese wedding outfits you have here are called Qun Kua or just Kua, they are traditionally worn by the bride for at least part of the wedding ceremonies (usually the tea drinking) and they are almost always elaborately decorated with beads, sequins and embroidery. If you look you can see the traditional marriage symbols of dragon (for the man/groom) and the phoenix (for the woman/bride) on the pink set. The red skirt is missing its jacket, it was probably beautiful and kept by someone to wear on its own. Red is a lucky colour for weddings in China and even though many modern brides there now choose to wear white western style dresses for part of the ceremonies, almost all brides will have a kua too.

Many Thanks to Claire for researching for me! More about these garments and prices here.

This week, I find myself down with a nasty cold like many other bloggers and have had to cancel bridal appointments but I want to share a killer gown that will be worn at a ski resort in the snow in 2 weeks.

This Lanesta dress was made in Greece, shipped to a company in Canada and then sent to the US bride:  


The bride is tiny and so the shoulders were too wide and kept falling off her shoulders. The lace is very very thick and heavy and the dress weighs over 6 pounds with most of that being the train itself. The back corset has 2 flaps, one being wider than the other and it slides under the narrow side to look centered on the body when laced up. The bride will not have a bow on her butt and will slide the laces down the opening at the bottom of the corset.

You can see how much has to be cut off of the front hem with the bustle just pinned up to ground level…over 6 inches!


Shoulders pinned out and feeling more secure:


Almost 2 inches will be taken up to help pull everything up and also get rid of the front bodice droop. So what do you do with the sleeve cap? All the seam allowances are bound with a strip of tricot so that has to be removed first. The sleeve cap was condensed by moving all the open bits of lace closer together to make it fit the new armhole. I did not cut off the excess fabric as it aided the stability of the open lace. It will be flipped to the back and hand tacked flat. p1220209p1220153p1220202

The next thing was the hem. The original hem was also bound with a tricot/tulle strip before a tiny lace edging was applied. I removed all the tiny lace edging and ran a thread basting line in red thread to make the new hem edge. I had a roll of Seams Great tricot binding and sewed it to the right side of the lace.p1220211p1220213

Once the binding is sewn on and the red thread removed, I trimmed away the excess lace.


The binding was flipped to the wrong side and stitched down so the tiny lace edging could be re-attached.


What about a bustle? Sure…all we need now is a one point bustle and sturdy loop and button, some bra strap guards to hold the shoulders to her bra.p1220217p1220218

Using double threads for the loop…this puppy has to be strong! So, no button shows and the threads blend in. On the day, the bride and her bridesmaids will be wearing fake fur jackets as they walk through the snow but at least the hem of the dress will be dry…fingers crossed!

p1220219  p1220220p1220221

Going back to my sofa to sneeze and blow my nose and drink Theraflu. My sewing sister Sharon says it tastes so good she would drink it every day…hopefully it is working!

Stay warm and dry and stay well my friends!

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22 Responses to Mystery Solved

  1. Sandi says:

    Oh Mrs Mole in spite of the sniffles you have done a gorgeous job!

  2. Colleen says:

    Very Impressive! I learned a lot. That thick lace is very difficult and heavy. As more bridal dresses have shoulders and some with sleeves that alteration is becoming more common. So far most have been manageable but I like seeing your post on this.

    Do you often put the button inside the corset as this one or did the open lace require this? I most frequently use white square style bridal hooks and loops because I am afraid of the thread loops breaking especially when brides sit on their bustles.

    Feel better and thank you again for taking the time to share your knowledge.

    • mrsmole says:

      I have never done an inside button with such a heavy train but the bride did not want a button showing. I used the pre-made loop thread from Wawak which is pre-knotted and very strong and I hang the bustle for a week to make sure it holds. I have never used just those square white hooks as the amount of trouble my brides get up to by the look of the dress later, I don’t think they would stand up to that much punishment…haha. My brides run through forests and climb over rocks trucks and such…crazy girls…some even arrive at the reception in a helicopter!

  3. Carolyn says:

    I’m so sorry that you’re not feeling well! And I’m so sorry that I missed the original post, it just seems we’ve become a country that can’t agree to disagree and respect each other’s opinions. You don’t have to believe as I do but why must you promote laws that restrict my freedoms?

    I’m always intrigued by the alterations that you make for the brides as well as the wacky stories that accompany those alterations. The fact that you make alterations to at least 80 dresses a year is just astounding! Is it that no one can purchase a gown off the rack that fits or is it that everyone purchases their dream dress and finds someone to make it fit?

    I guess we should be grateful that they do any of those things because it gives us wonderful blog posts to read and new alterations to learn for our personal sewing arsenals. Again feel better soon!

  4. mrsmole says:

    Every day we realize that many of our freedoms will be taken away with the swipe of a pen…so we must be vigilant for these are very troubled times. Sewing helps me stop being so anxious and angry and of course the brides jolt my brain right back to reality!
    Brides buy dresses close to what they want and then imagine that a seamstress can work a small miracle to boost them from ordinary bride to princess status! I have one new bride coming up that will make you gasp at what I had to do to get her into her mother’s dress from 1973. So as I start the season and the first 5 brides have arrived the first week…I have to grit my teeth and agree to do whatever it is they want and record their stories and photos for all of you to enjoy.
    Even if you never have to open up a wedding gown, you can appreciate the toil that goes into one. Thanks for dropping by Carolyn…anytime you are tired of that new vest of yours, send it my way!

  5. That’s a beautiful lace! And it does look very heavy. Again you have done a lovely job. The sleeve alteration is invisible. So sorry you are ill. Get well soon.

  6. maryfunt says:

    Feel better soon. I’m awaiting your hilarious tales of brides expecting you to work magic. You manage the impossible and I hope they appreciate your talent. Very pretty dress and perfect for a winter wedding.

    • mrsmole says:

      It will be worn and dragged through the snow at a ski resort…I am imagining the snow sneaking in and out of the lace holes if the sun is shining and she encounters some slush. The new crop of brides have been booked in and of course, all have stories of their own…stay tuned!

  7. karen says:

    Lovely, lovely lace. Enjoyed the Chinese wedding info to go along with those beautiful oriental outfits too. Feel better soon.

  8. ceci says:

    Stunning alterations – the bride will look lovely, and I hope there is no rock climbing etc added to the wedding day (at least without a change of clothes!). I’m laughing at the idea of yummy Theraflu, although I have found it effective. Hope you are done with illness now!


  9. sewruth says:

    Can still work magic, even in lace, when feeling poorly – you’re fab! Get well soon.

    • mrsmole says:

      Wedding dates don’t wait for sick seamstresses…I always say…”no dress, no wedding”.
      Things went right downhill and ended up in an emergency facility.

  10. jay says:

    Such lovely lace, and you have done a beautiful job as always. I hope you feel better soon.

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Jay, you know how handling quality fabric just makes things go better and this lace even though it was really thick, did perform well and do what I wanted…so lucky!

  11. racurac2 says:

    I love this internet community! Mystery solved!!! Feel better and get strong for the new season!

  12. Interesting info on those lovely pieces! Hope you feel better soon. Let yourself be pampered – you deserve it! Pretty lace on your client’s dress 🙂

  13. mrsmole says:

    Mr. Mole has been a very good nurse during this time and making sure I follow all the doctor’s orders to beat this darn chest infection. I think he is very tired of hearing me cough 24/7 for 10 days and want it to stop as much as I do!

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