Crying Thighs 2

Just over a year ago, I had the challenge to get a volleyball playing bride into her “Crying Thighs” tight-fitting dress. Wedding gown manufactures require salons to measure the bride in the bust and waist and hips but sometimes it is the thighs that can get you into trouble when the dress is dropped waisted.  

So once again, beautiful dress, beautiful bride and a challenge.

I leave the bride and her mother to get her dressed while I step out. All I can hear is groaning and rustling of fabric and grunts and that is when I ask, “Is everything OK?” The poor mother is beside herself and overwhelmed that they cannot get the dress on the bride either by stepping into the dress or pulling it over her head…why? The dress circumference at the thighs is smaller than the girl herself. Finally we manage to get her in, smooth her down and the result is drag lines everywhere and she cannot raise her leg to walk never mind the thought of sitting.

You can see that the tightness of this dress does not flatter her figure and really draws attention to her tummy with drag lines. The back butt curve is so tight that she cannot move her legs. Not a great look!


The front waist wrinkles can be helped with double spaghetti straps on each side which she has asked for although only one strap is shown. The bust cups have had push-up pads pinned on but there is still a need for some extra padding later.

Ready for some real custom work? Open the lining and let out the center back seam. Like with other gowns, once I snip the lining threads, the dress almost sighs with relief as the lining is 1/2 inch smaller on each side of the zipper.


The lining is hand basted to the zipper leaving the lower half open. I explained to the bride and her mother that we may have to leave it open for the final fitting just so the girl can walk.

The lining is opened further down along with the layers of petticoat netting now involved as well. The lining seams vertically over the thighs are already fraying with the strain so all 4 seams are let out 1/2 inch each hoping it is enough.

The dropped waist seam is opened up to access all seams. Can you see the fraying after only one hour of wearing?


Second fitting appointment, even with the extra ease…this will never work! You can see the lace motifs that have been folded back to work on the seams. The solution will come with work done on the last 7 buttons area where the stress is the worst!

One reader asked me last time on how do I figure what shape the new panels have to be….well, I want to add 2 inches to the bodice and the same 2 inches to the skirt. I cut the strips and wedge from the center back skirt train so no one will notice. Then using some white satin and 4 layers of white and blush tulle, they come alive. The lace motif on the lower wedge has to be removed like all the others one stitch at a time…tedious work.

In the meantime, while I am inside the dress I wad up tulle into a ball and stitch it into the very pointed bust area to eliminate wrinkles on either side of the boning. Push up bust pads help but are too rounded to make a difference this time.

Back to the back…upper panels in and ready for the zipper:

Panels in and waiting for 7 buttons to be re-attached and all the lace motifs to be attached to the tulle layer and the 3rd fitting appointment.





Want to see what is under all this? The first layer (hidden) is satin lining hemmed with 2 inch wide horsehair braid that will have to be shortened 2 inches. Then the next layer is white tulle, then 4 layers of netting, some gathered which will be trimmed by 2 inches.


The next layer is thin satin and then another layer of white tulle the same circumference as the satin (the problem child) and then 3 more layers of blush and white tulle.

The bride and her mother are in love with the train and want all of it bustled up. I start with a 5-point bustle of the tulle and a 1-point bustle of the satin layer.

3rd fitting appointment and the butt and thighs are still very tight and you can see the lining seams are trapped up under the bodice layer so I have taken this picture to have the bride show her helpers where they have to pull down to get all the wrinkles out.

At least on the outside, the zipper works but it is still very tight under her butt. She still cannot sit down or walk up steps…but she says she will not be doing either on her special day. I tell her that she will not even be able to pee without taking the entire dress off and she says she is OK with that. The remainder of the lace motifs will cover all the spaces and seams all hand sewn onto the tulle layer alone while watching TV.

The side view is still exaggerated but the bride calls that her “drama” and doesn’t want to lose it…well, it sure ain’t going anywhere!





The inside tells another story…see the new panels and end of the zipper? See the edges of the lining…yes…you got that right…12 inches of ease has to be left open just to get into this dress.

But, from the outside…it looks fine and the bustle will need 7 points to get it all off the ground. Wait…what is that white stuff hanging? Remember the one white tulle layer the same shape as the satin? Well, it cannot be bustled with the other tulle layers and cannot be bustled with the satin as it is somehow stitched into the lower half of the zipper so it will just have to be trimmed off.


Did you think we were done??? Ha ha…oh no…let’s think about adding a blinged out belt too along with those double spaghetti straps. The bride is off to find ribbons and do-dads and sparkles.






Meanwhile, I have finished 7 bustle buttons/loops and left the 2 extra safety pins in case we go with 9 points. The lace motifs look really nice when spread out:

The bride went crazy in JoAnn’s and bought wide satin ribbon and wide rhinestone trim but even though her mother and I said this belt would not add anything to the dress, she stopped everything and Facetimed her wedding planner to get her opinion. Who does this?

The mom and I stood there while the bride tried on all sorts of other versions of belts and ribbons, glittered and beaded while the bride and her consultant talked back and forth on her phone video chatting. Finally, the professional told her she didn’t need a belt and I could finish the appointment by trimming off the white tulle layer that hung below the bustle.

Now, we have a very neat bustle and they decided that they wanted a 9 point bustle for the tulle layer.








She is ready to dance up a storm and no one will know what is going on under all those ruffles…just you and I.

This week Mr. Mole decided to harvest a fennel from the garden for our dinner. Have a super week of sewing everyone!



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59 Responses to Crying Thighs 2

  1. Lee says:

    It beggars belief that the right size dress isn’t purchased in the first place?

    • mrsmole says:

      Can you imagine how disappointed I am every time I see a new bride and her dream dress when the zipper won’t close or the seams are screaming?There are days I tell Mr. Mole that I want to run away.

  2. Kim says:

    You have to ask yourself how on earth these situations arise. Is it the fault of the dress shop who may have taken the measurements incorrectly? Perhaps the factory sewed the dress too small and if so, where was their quality control? Whatever the cause surely these people must raise a song and a dance and totally kick up a stink at the shop as I have no doubt they are paying a pretty penny for a garment that simply does not fit.

    • mrsmole says:

      The story I hear is that before ordering these custom dresses and waiting 20 weeks for delivery the sample dress fit just fine. I’m beginning to think that a sample dress is like a sample pair of shoes…everyone else has broken in the dress ahead of time?

  3. Tia Dia says:

    I am continually amazed that people don’t understand fabric cannot be acquired out of thin air. How many times have people asked me to add a little of this or that, and it’s just not to be had? Let’s hope she doesn’t have to sit or pee or walk up stairs. Yeeeeps!

    • mrsmole says:

      Now that dresses have multiple layers of different colors of ivory and blush etc, it gets even more difficult to match what they need without harvesting from another area of the dress itself. If there is a generous train and side seams like this one, great, if not we have a problem. In our little town we have one poorly stocked JoAnn’s which specializes in carrying every darn color of polar fleece even when the temps reach 100+ during the wedding summer season.

  4. Chris T says:

    I do so enjoy reading your blog, its always so interesting and entertaining. I have nothing but admiration for your work and Mr. Mole doesn’t do bad either.

    • mrsmole says:

      Their are days, Chris, when the cocktail time has come, my brain is hurting…ha ha! Thankfully, every so often Mr. Mole and I can tend the garden and clear our heads of clients and impossible tasks.

  5. As always you do an amazing job, making a sweet lemonade from lemons. After reading one of these posts, I often wonder if the wedding is more important to the Bride than the marriage! You have an awesome gift and I’m in awe of your patience with the Brides and your skill to turn these I’ll-fitting dresses into wonderfulpieces of art!

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Carolyn, you know it is all about that one single day to be the princess and after that it is washing dirty socks and underwear and I’m sure some of these little honeys get a real shock when the credit card bill arrives and no one is gasping at what they are wearing. This bride said she wished she could wear a train EVERY DAY….yes, and I believe her!

  6. Fabrickated says:

    As someone with relatively large thighs I can commiserate with the bride, although I would never attempt a dress with this silhouette – choosing an A line or fuller skirt is much more flattering than Jessica Rabbit. In terms of measuring up I was always taught to measure “widest part” which is not necessarily the hips. My thighs are about 1/2″ wider than my hips. Nice job on the bust too.

    • mrsmole says:

      Thanks, Kate…it gets down to not even trying to avoid being tight in the thighs…it gets down to, “can you walk or step up on my platform?” and when sitting is a major maneuver that causes seams to pop and zippers to shout, “Help me”. It all seems insane these days. No wonder I get such joy from working with the rare sensible brides…ha ha

  7. maryglenn says:

    There are a few reasons girls get the wrong size. In this case Mrs. Mole you are right the store did not take into consideration the size of her thighs . But they should have noticed that in this particular style. Sometimes girls don’t want to order a bigger size because they think they will loose weight. Also they fall in love with a dress and assume that it can be fixed, great job Mrs. mole.

    • Cheryl Designs says:

      I agree maryglenn 🙂 With GOOD customer service, the consultant takes a brides’ BODY into account. I have seen THIGHS a few INCHES larger than hips. Of course, the shop has to order to the LARGEST measurement, necessitating altering in the bodice, waist and hips 😦 Brides, maids, etc. are NEVER happy to pay for alterations but it’s just what is NEEDED to make a gown fit properly 😦

      • mrsmole says:

        So few women meet the perfect requirements of the dresses. Are you larger on top? Larger on the bottom or larger in the middle? Flat butt or rounded hips? If so, you will have to see a seamstress. It is heartbreaking to see the price tag for these dresses and then have to add about a 1/3 more cost unto them to get the right fit. Maybe in the future bodies can be scanned in advance and a real custom dress can be ordered…but wait…that would put us out of business!

    • mrsmole says:

      Almost every bride tells me 4 weeks before the wedding that they will lose 5 pounds which never happens. They are so obsessed with the size tag on the inside and they tell me that that they had to order a size larger than what they really wear. Yes, dear, the bridal industry does this little trick of sizing down so if you wear a size 8 they will slap a size 10 tag on your dream dress. I offer to remove the label to make them happy. You are right, Maryglenn, they fall in love with the dress from the waist up and from the waist down it is my problem…but at least I get paid for this and I am not related to them and they expect the service to be free.

  8. That was a lot of adjusting. Well done. You always seem to find the extra inches from somewhere even if it means leaving inside seams open! The dress is lovely!

  9. Sarah Gilbert says:

    She can’t pee or walk up the stairs but she’s going to dance? Also, she just added “drama” to my family’s list of names for body parts; i.e. “Don’t sit on that hot bench, you’ll scald your drama.”

    • mrsmole says:

      You are so funny…just thought about the Kardashians and all their drama and how they parade it around for the paparazzi.When the brides stand on my platform and stare into the mirror, they think that their whole day will be like that…admiring glances and being the star of the show standing upright…I try to tell them that being the star means they will be hugging and tugging and working and not even mentioning how much fun it will be (not) dragging around a 15 pound gown tacked unto her butt. I tell them that it will be a busy day and not one for just standing still but they have the look of “deer in the headlights”.

  10. Sandi Benfield says:

    Oh that really turned out gorgeous and I am sure she is a very happy bride!

    • mrsmole says:

      She will have the most custom dress her relatives have ever seen, or not seen in this case. No one will know that she has a 12 inch gap in her lining…ha ha. By them time she has on all her jewelry and bridal make-up and hairdo…she will be smiling all day!

  11. maryfunt says:

    Don’t you wish they left wider seam allowances, especially in bridal wear which almost always needs altering! I guess that would cost the manufacturer more so you are left with coming up with these fixes. The belt was a total miss, thank goodness she decided against it. Nice job.

    • Cheryl Designs says:

      I MISS the 80’s 😦 I altered gowns in the 80’s 🙂 MOST manufacturers left us a SOLID 4″ or so to alter. I NEVER-EVER had to add gussets in the 80’s 😦 I hate to REMIND everyone of this fact…we WERE slimmer in the 80’s too 😦 Overweight issues just weren’t common like they are now 😦

      • erniek3 says:

        Wait a minute. I was slimmer in the 80s but we had those wide silhouettes and don’t forget those linebacker shoulders.
        And I’m wrong. I was bigger in the 80s. Smaller in the 90s

    • mrsmole says:

      Yes, I do wish that, Mary, because the stress on the seamstress and the seams can be horrendous! Brides forget that trying on different belts, jewelry, tiaras, veils, shoes all take time while the seamstress just stands there waiting. when they bring their posse’ it takes even longer as they all give their opinion and I guess I was lucky that her wedding planner gave her a thumbs down on the belts.

  12. Jenny lark says:

    So no peeing or sitting. How is she getting to the church? Presumably in a car. Will she be standing up like in a Pope mobile or will she get into her dress in the church?
    Silly girl.

    • mrsmole says:

      Standing in front of a mirror is way different from being the star of your own wedding and I’m sure some girls wish they had chosen a more practical dress as the day wears on. I send them out with the warning to practice walking in their shoes (new and tight) with the bustle up to get the feel of the extra weight and job of carrying it around. If I could tell them to strap a 5 pound bag of flour on their butt and wear it with high heels for 6 hours…then that would give them some idea of how off balance they will be while performing their duties and drinking champagne. Pope mobile…now that’s a thought, Jenny!

  13. Colleen says:

    I always learn something! Today I learned about the “wads” of tulle inside the upper cup area. I have added flat but fluffy quilt batting to stiffen this area but I never a wad of tulle! I will consider this next time. I really tried to study the photos to see the difference. You surely flattened that out a bit. I had just done a similar alteration in the hip area but thankfully not as much was needed requiring the added piecing. You are a miracle worker!….as one girl called me “The Dress Doctor!” I think you have earned this title more than I because you revive some “dead on arrival” situations! Thanks again for sharing!

    • Cheryl Designs says:

      I agree Colleen 🙂 I am basically self-taught for formalwear alterations 🙂 I took things apart..learned ALOT and put them back together 🙂 NEVER thought about the tulle wads 🙂 WONDERFUL idea Mrs.MOLE 🙂 THANK YOU 🙂

    • mrsmole says:

      I have used quilt batting in the past too for hips and butts but all she needed was a little filling in on either side of the boning so from what I cut off her hem just got recycled into her bust…if only real life was that easy…ha ha. The tulle was better and lighter for squishing into that space and more I stitched in down, the flatter it became, just enough and i surprised myself…but I say that I learn something from every gown…and that changes every day, I’m sure you find the same thing, Collen and Cheryl!

  14. Paola says:

    No peeing or sitting – can she not imagine her wedding day will be memorable for all the wrong reasons? Bonkers.

    • mrsmole says:

      A wedding is not the red carpet. Granted there will be hundreds of people with cameras and cellphones snapping shots and drinking shots but there will come a time that she will have to pee or sit down. A summer wedding is hot here with temps in the 100’s so maybe even escaping to a cool bathroom would be welcome?

  15. Trish says:

    Why oh why would a bride buy a dress which obviously was not designed for her body shape when there are so many thousands of other options on the market?
    A truly amazing ‘save’ on your part Mrs Mole, and, as always, I am in awe of your patience!

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Trish…the question is why oh why do we accept these challenges? At least when a MOB comes with a horrible choice of dress, I can say, “this is not your dress” meaning it is not at all flattering or will cost more to make it right than what she paid and she can return it but these poor deluded brides are stuck with a $1000+ wedding gown and visions of perfection…not thoughts of a river of sweat running down their back or a back aching from carrying around all that fabric in the bustle.

  16. ceci says:

    Even when I was young and very silly I would have not even considered an option where I couldn’t pee all day……. The belt was ugly, glad cooler heads prevailed on that one, although I suspect she will be looking for a last minute addition in that department anyway.


    • mrsmole says:

      You are correct ceci, I’m sure she still has a belt in mind! I do get calls days before the wedding with request to stitch on a belt or belt loops…I don’t mind as it is all about the photos isn’t it?

  17. Kathy says:

    You remind me of the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella. You do your “bibbity, bobbity, boo” magic and the princess leaves with a beautiful dress that appears from your magic wand. I am amazed.

    • mrsmole says:

      The magic wand needs to take a well deserved rest in the fridge for a while next to the ice tray for cocktail time. My sports massage therapist says he does not know how I can get through my day without “day drinking”. He has the task to unwind all the stressed shoulder muscles every month and he just shakes his head.

  18. Mary Keeling says:

    You make miracles happen. I am in awe of your skill and artistry.Good for the bride for loving her shape. I think the dress is lovely on her.

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Mary, in the end she will carry off the show and be admired and her photos will be lovely and the dress will spend the next 30 years in a garment bag at the back of the closet. But for one special day, she was royalty.

  19. Cheryl Designs says:

    Mrs. Mole will tell you….BRIDES want what they WANT 🙂 NOBODY (prom chicks AND brides) THINKS about..going to the bathroom 🙂 You are going to DROP your gown to the FLOOR because there is NO WAY it’s coming UP over your thighs with a tight mermaid style 😦 If it is a corset-back, you MUST have a companion to help you get back INTO your gown. Yes, that sash was terrible. Hint-AMAZON.COM has some AMAZINGLY beautiful rhinestone yardage for $10-$50 per yard. RELIABLE companies… Buy some, put it on a ribbon or just stitch it to your gown-SAVE LOTS OF MONEY 🙂 The bridal shop will charge a couple of HUNDRED dollars for those sashes 😦

    • mrsmole says:

      Just when i was thinking that those real blinged out belts from last year were disappearing, brides are slowing starting to bring them back. I think a lace dress looks great without a belt and it is overkill but they are influenced by magazines, Pinterest and, of course, their friends. Those belts can weight a lot and need some tacking to the dress so they don’t droop and spin around. Etsy has some beautiful ones too and not too expensive. I have seen some belts for $500…in some cases, more than the dress cost! crazy!

      • Cheryl Designs says:

        I am in Southeastern Ohio…. ‘Blingy’ sashes are still VERY popular. I wrap them with plastic wrap while I am working with the gown. Tulle/netting gets caught on all of those blanket-blank PRONGS 😦 I warn my brides about that. If something gets CAUGHT on something else…STOP and CALMLY untangle it 🙂

  20. maliw says:

    I love your blog and the fantastic results that you achieve. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, I’ve learned an enormous amount and I only sew for myself and family.

    • mrsmole says:

      Beware maliw, sewing for family can include formalwear…one day when you least expect it…wham…someone gets engaged and you are left to do the sewing!Happy that my blogs can help you gain some confidence without having to pull your hair out!

  21. Elva says:

    A dress that she can’t even pull up for a pit stop to pee??? That’s a disaster just waiting to happen! Kudos to you, Mrs. Mole for working your usual magic. And that’s why I don’t do brides. Custom jodphers (sp?), reproduction War of 1812 military uniform, elkhide jacket, take some work, research and planning, but NO WAY would I ever do an other wedding gown.

    • mrsmole says:

      One day when i am retired, I’d love to make reproduction clothing but for now it is 11 months of ivory fabric and sewing to a date. Can you send me some photos of your work, please, Elva?

      • Elva says:

        Thank you for your interest. To see some of my work, go to, click on Gallery. Photo #3 titled “Calf Shirt at Kipp’s Post” shows an Indian man wearing the war shirt I made. The Thunder Horse Mask was one I did some work on, then Tom painted directly on the canvas mask. The August Rain painting shows a pioneer mother holding a small girl and an infant, all wearing clothing I made. Thunder Buffalo Horse Mask shows another mask I made. Wild Garden — I made the girl’s buckskin dress. Patriarch South Piegan — Tom photographed the elder Indian many years ago, but he wanted to show the man’s hand holding a pipe, which was not in the original photo. So, because I have large working hands, he took a photo of my hand holding the pipe. The Yellow Gate painting shows a woman’s apron that I made. The Courting Blanket shows a reproduction Navajo Chief blanket that I made — it’s a replica of a blanket in a Canadian Museum. There are many other items I’ve made for Tom, but he doesn’t have them all up in his gallery.

        The elk hide jacket is in planning stages. I have a very similar men’s jacket in my pattern archives. I have already figured out where to add seams so as to make best use of the leather. It will look like a shearling jacket, but because client is allergic to wool, I will use poly fleece shearling look, and will make it a zip out lining so it can be washed as needed. I will first make a mock-up of felt, client is extra large, so will need to make the felt slightly larger to allow for fitting over the fleece.

        I could go on at GREAT length, but, because this is YOUR blog and I’ve probably posted enough here, and because I am not equipped to send photos over computer, if you are interested in seeing other items, you could email me your mailing address, and I can send a few copies of photos of things I’ve designed and made. I’ve been sewing since WWII, so really don’t have photos of everything. I do have photos of the finished wedding gown I remodeled — originally mother’s, then passed down to various nieces, then to daughter. That’s a whole long story right there. And as always, my hat is off to you for all the miracles you work!!

    • mrsmole says:

      Wow, Elva, thank you for the link!!! I will certainly give you my email: so I can see the real life garments!

  22. Kim says:

    Keep it up Mrs Mole, you are working miracles and making brides very happy. And making me so happy that i don’t do that any more 😀 (Sorry)

  23. Kerri says:

    Congrats Mrs Mole. Whatever they are paying you, it’s not enough.

  24. sewruth says:

    You lost me at the first layer of tulle – LOL
    One reason why I don’t make jumpsuits is because the whole lot has to come off just to pee – maybe I’m just getting old……..

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Honey, if you were old enough, yoiu would have the enjoyment of wearing adult diapers and not worry about having to unzip or unbutton anything.

  25. Miss Celie says:

    Her figure is slamming and your alterations really show it off.

  26. mrsmole says:

    Thank you, Renee…she will surely make an entrance! I imagine her dancing too!

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