Hawaii – Here I Come!

This dress came delivered and packed in a small pink shoe box. It cost $179 from Lulu’s.


But my real life bride did not like the thick shoulder straps so they will be removed and replaced with ivory nylon rattail cords. She also wanted push up bust pads to look “as sexy as possible”. She also wanted the front leg slit to be higher to expose her whole thigh.

p1220235   p1220236

The bodice had some ease (breathing room) in it so the one side seam has to be taken in while leaving the other zipper side alone. Taking in the outer ruched chiffon layers and the 3 sections of lining inside will be tedious. Each of the 3 sections will have to be separated, taken in and then re-attached and the same for the lining pieces.

Here is the new rattail cord strap and the 2 upper sections of lining finished.

p1220261  p1220262

When I went to hand sew the middle lining section to the skirt lining, I discovered that it was done so poorly that there was 1/2 inch or more of fabric bunched up/rolled up in the seam. So, I did what any good seamstress would do…first screamed and then steamed the life out of the wrinkled layers and then hand sewed it the correct way…but, of course, this just makes more problems lower down at the hem…I am assuming it will be at least 1/2 inch or more longer than when I marked it before…but it has to be done right and a second fitting and more hem pinning and marking will be worth it to be even.



Here’s a question…why do they use a thick industrial zipper on a delicate chiffon gown? Check out the size of that zipper tab…you could use it to open pop-top soda cans! Who wants that rubbing under your arm all day???


When the bride came for her second fitting and the bust pads were basted in, the weirdest thing showed up…the lining started to creep up and out and flare over the top of the neckline. After she had left, I discovered the problem…like many quickly made factory dresses…if the correct sized lining is not available, another sized (usually bigger) lining piece is just used…and this one was from a size larger as I pinned out and sewed a 1/2 inch tuck vertically and horizontally to make it fit properly before inserting the bust pad again.

I have even seen this factory trick on gowns costing $1000 or more. Now the lining pulls to the inside and the cups will lean into the bust instead of leaning out.

The 2 layers of satin will be machine hemmed and the chiffon top skirt layer also needs to be shortened after all the other alterations are done.


With a Hawaiian wedding no shoes will be worn so she is just about ready to fly to the islands!

Mr. Mole snapped this photo of the blooming hyacinths:

Next time a gown worth it’s weight in gold……gold bugle beads and embroidery! Happy successful Spring sewing and Fall sewing to the readers down south…we all look forward to the changes for different reasons!

This entry was posted in challenges and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Hawaii – Here I Come!

  1. Love the smell of hyacinths. We are still a little way off in climate so have to wait! I wish the bride had kept the original straps, the thin ones cut into her shoulder flesh and also make the dress more unbalanced. Each to their own…

    • mrsmole says:

      It’s funny how adamant brides can be with their “vision” of their dress and day…all I have to do is fulfill all that…small challenge.

  2. Arted1 says:

    I look forward to reading your blog. The challenges and how you solve them are great. I learn so much. For me, the original dress is nice with the wide straps. Lol

    • mrsmole says:

      I liked the original too but, hey, what do I know? If I can help one seamstress with seeing some of the weird stuff that comes my way, then I have succeeded!

  3. Linda Craig says:

    Your hyacinths are beautiful. Would a nightie have worked just as well?

  4. MDy says:

    Your hyacinths are glorious! I’ll bet the fragrance is wonderful too.
    Your skills are amazing. Thank you for sharing the stories and pictures.

  5. Char says:

    I admire your ability to be non-judgmental. I guess I’m old school. Why a bride wants thigh-high leg slits and major cleavage showing in order to be as sexy as possible – I just don’t get it for a wedding dress. I’m trying to imagine my granddaughter walking down the aisle in that dress. On another note I love your process pictures and appreciate all the skill you put into making these brides happy.

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Char…the funny thing is one reader told me she found my comments degrading and awful…believe me, I could reveal a whole lot more and throw in my 2 cents if I wanted to, but I keep those things to myself. Every bride has a vision and a story and we never know what heartache has come before this special wedding day…half of my brides have children already as this girl does and it may be she is marrying the father or found a new special man to take her and her children down the aisle.

  6. ceci says:

    When I read the title I thought you were going to Hawaii! Relieved to hear that an initial scream upon finding some disaster is part of “what every good seamstress should do” – at least I have that part down pat! I would have perhaps preferred retaining the wider shoulder straps and eliminating the ones that look like they are sliding down the arm, and the enhanced cleavage seems like too much of a good thing but I have certainly been to weddings where a good deal more bride is on display than I enjoyed seeing. Fascinating about the lining, I had no idea!


  7. maryfunt says:

    Don’t you just love fixing all those factory messes! Nice job and it does look like a dress for the beach.

    • mrsmole says:

      We know that every dress is a treasure hunt….not always a chest filled with gems…per se…but gems anyway. At least all of the irregularities were fixable!!!!

  8. Colleen says:

    I have had the problem with the lining coming out over the bodice edge and I never thought to make the tucks like you did. Good idea. I occasionally would add some tacks or under-stitching to hold the lining. I will check this differently next time. Yes…this is getting to be a more frequent problem!! Smart lady and a skilled seamstress! Thanks!

    • mrsmole says:

      Sometimes tacking the lining inside really works great…but this monster needed the big guns and lots of wide tacking to hide 1/2 inch of extra fabric. Just so your know there is “more than one way to skin a cat”…as my grandmother used to say.

  9. erniek3 says:

    I don’t do as many big formal dress alterations, but I am very familiar with the differently sized interior pieces – this panel is 1/2″ shorter, this one is cut waaaaaay off grain, this one…where did this one come from? It’s getting to be the default error in RTW rather than the ‘now and then’ error. I have this vision of a giant stack of wedgeshaped satin pieces that are shipped to every factory in the world, and the seamstresses there do their best to make do with the mess they are given. And I guess as long as no one has to alter it or open it up, no one would know.

  10. mrsmole says:

    True true true, Ernie….if you have ever worked in a small factory, this is so true!!!! Bundlers do their best to match up components but things happen along the way and we get to deal with them.

  11. celeste says:

    I was at a funeral where a granddaughter read a piece to her deceased grandfather. As she walked up to the podium I gasped so loud my children had to stifle their giggles; she was wearing a tiny tiny short short tight tight black skirt and a neckline to rival this bride’s. It would have been risque in a European dance club, never mind a mid-western Catholic church. I am pretty chill about most things but this was a showstopper, believe me.

  12. mrsmole says:

    Maybe you can be thankful that with all the flesh she was showing that none of it was a collection of tattooed artwork. Sounds like what she needed was a choir robe to be more modest and respectful of the honor to speak. Times have changed, Celeste, back when I was young you wouldn’t dare enter church without at least a chapel veil or Kleenex pinned to your head.

  13. Tee says:

    I love the thinner strap! Beautiful dress for the cost!!!!

  14. birdmommy says:

    I can see the benefit of adding bust cups to fill out the structure of a dress, or give a bit of support, but I’ve never understood adding so much padding that it looks like there is no relationship between the bustline of the gown and the actual shape of the cleavage beneath.

  15. poppykettle says:

    I actually think swapping out of the thick shoulder straps to thin ones really improves the overall look of her dress – far more well balanced to my eye! Obviously a slightly different opinion to other commenters. You’ve done a wonderful job at improving this dress to suit her!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s