Purple Haze

This week, let’s take a break from all those scary complicated dresses.

This Alfred Angelo dress for around $300 looks pretty nice.

It comes in a dozen colors. But…the big but…can you see how the top edge of the shoulder drops down unto her arm? Nice, sweet coverage…ahh no…what they did to make that armhole cup that shoulder is make the actual armhole waaay too small. Clever? Ahh no…all that does is grab the arm so tight and make it impossible to reach forward or up. What can be done, the whole edge is bound with more lace over tulle with no seams to let out?

Just a little history…the MOB tells me she can sew but is only “letting me do this” as she has no time. She travels for work and only buys her clothes at an exclusive boutique in California. She continues to tell me that she has a gorgeous body for a middle aged woman but then has to admit that her boobs rest somewhere nearer the waistline than the high bustline of boning. The back of the dress offers no support even if I sewed in bust cups, she has to find a strapless bra that lifts those puppies up.

The other issue is after only trying on the dress once, her daughter has pulled the loops so hard to get the back to close, that the tulle around each loop and button is tearing and making small holes.  

To get some ease in the armhole and back the side seams should be released. As the original seam was a perfect straight line, I make the new seam at the top edge more curved. You can see the sleeve band of lace that was sewn as a unit and will be tucked inside for the next seamstress.

Flipped to the inside and pinned before understitching:

Side seams and linings have been let out to the edge to gain 1 inch each side.

The outside before pressing: You can see the lighter lace edging stops at the underarm and has a gap but there is no excess to patch it.

The finished project with 2 layers of satin and one layer of chiffon shortened and seams let out:

Another interesting thing is that even for the final try-on with a new strapless bra, the bust boning was still higher on the chest than the client’s boobs. So, I wadded up more tulle like in the previous blog post and padded on either side of the boning to at least fill the vacancy so there were no vertical drag lines. In the end the MOB says that this dress was made for younger bridesmaids even though the style screams a more matronly customer. At least the zipper went up with the added 2 inches in circumference! I didn’t dare try to button it up and make those holes any larger!







It is time to get back to the brides but before I go I had to share these photos from a woman who wants her very young pageant daughter to wear this in a competition and thought that I would love to recreate this outfit cheaper than the going price. Who knew you could purchase something so cheap and nasty looking for such a high price?

Wait…it gets worse! How about adding a thick metal clasp at the back neck and polyester ribbon straps to hold the whole contraption to the child?

Award winning, no?

Have a great week of sewing everyone!

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31 Responses to Purple Haze

  1. Lol, I can see you are not a “dance mom”. I had someone ask me to do something similar… dance moms (and diva daughters) can be worse than some of your brides!

  2. Pauline Wright says:

    Hi Mrs Mole, love your blog.
    I scrolled down to find out what you did with the holes in the net. I once had someone come to me with a Christening dress to repair….where her mother had melted a spot in the fabric with her iron. Similar job.

    • mrsmole says:

      I didn’t do anything because no matter what I would do it would show up worse. All I could do was to make the dress looser and hope for the best. If it were my dress, I’d remove all the buttons and loops and just have the neck button attached to ease the strain on the tulle.Thank you, Pauline. What did you do in your repair job?

      • Pauline Wright says:

        Hi Mrs Mole. From what I remember there was a kind of open bit (a hole you might say!) about 2″ long. I got some of that hideous transparent monofilament thread and just drew the edges together as best I
        could. It was fortunately on the middle of the skirt at the back, so the 8/9m old child would be sitting on it anyway.

  3. Great fix but when your client has such an amazing body, it’s easy, right?? Just kidding and I know you worked hard to get this to work. Great job!

  4. mrsmole says:

    Oh Bunny, that would be like me telling a new hairdresser, “I have great hair, this will be easy for you” as she struggles to color the gray!

  5. racurac2 says:

    I also was waiting to see what you did to the holes… Well, let’s hope the mob doesn’t dance too much heehehheheh.

    • mrsmole says:

      I thought about using the invisible thread as I have done on skirt holes in tulle but these holes were so tiny that making repairs would have almost highlighted them more. The other thought was to use Fray Check but again using that clear liquid on the holes would have stiffened them and drawn attention.

  6. I feel sorry for the pageant daughter. Something to build a happy childhood on!

    • mrsmole says:

      The whole “make my daughter look like a hooker” scene of pageants just makes me so glad I refuse to get sucked into that world. My girls played soccer and learned what it was like to be a team member and the value of competition along with exercise followed by a pizza party. So many of my brides have been in pageants their whole lives and are still searching for the applause and hope the wedding day will be enough time in the spotlight.

  7. Val says:

    The child’s pageant costume: how truly dismal! The lace is probably (?) stretchy. Why not make the a back out of lace instead of the awful straps, (costs I suppose…). But moreover why in the world does a child need to show “skin”?

    • Cheryl Designs says:

      I sewed for a bridal shop in the late 80’s. I lived in an apartment so I went to the shop for fittings. I did some pageant work. I told them to NOT call me again for children’s pageant work when I was asked to make a 6 year-old look SEXY!!!!!!!!! Some of those pageant Moms are nuts 😦

    • mrsmole says:

      Showing skin and being more outrageous than the next girl seems to be the thing to win competitions. At some point these poor girls will realize that beauty fades and there is always a younger version on stage to take away your crown.

  8. Suzanne says:

    I was just so appalled at someone dressing their young daughter in that. I’m guessing you said no thanks.

    • mrsmole says:

      Correct, Suzanne…the whole pageant thing is a money making scheme. The mothers order custom made dresses costing hundreds of dollars, swimsuits with sparkles, fake teeth, fake hair and thick make-up so they can win a trophy or a trip to Disneyland which seems crazy when you can just drive to Disneyland and use the money you would have spent on all that stuff.

  9. upsew says:

    those pagent costumes are so strange, however, I am ‘one to talk’ as I got sucked into the strange world of irish dancing dresses via my niece……wonderful patient work on that dress-even perfect bods have fitting issues! – you really are a star as I cannot imagine how uncomfortable the boning would have been for the day before you did your magic

    • erniek3 says:

      Oh golly. Irish dancing dresses are like CARS, they are built, not sewn! And then they rhinestone them. It’s as close to the bullfighting “suit of lights” I will ever come.

      I enjoyed the dress’s linking page and it’s multiple color options. What I want to know is: what color is “Beyond the Sea”?

      • mrsmole says:

        Beyond the Sea is this color: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/282882420320360729/
        Guess it is a deep teal. It sounds as though Irish dancing dresses could stand up on their own and are all about coverage and fun instead of trying to be on the cutting edge of sleazy. In the end this MOB admitted that the dress was the wrong size and really made for a younger more high-busted girl, not a middle aged woman.

  10. Trish says:

    A great job as always on the MOB dress, but I’m amazed you found an inch of fabric in the underarm seams. I find they’re usually much too narrow to let out.
    That costume is seriously awful, considering the price, the appalling non-matching ribbons across the back, and, as someone else observed, the style, which would seem unsuitable for a child. Trying to recreate it in a cheaper version would seem an impossible task: it looks so cheap already!

    • mrsmole says:

      It is always shocking to see the price tag…$180 for around $5 worth of stretch lace and tulle? Then to be worn once and added to the already bulging closet full of past outfits…why? We do get lucky every so often with excess fabric in seams, don’t we, Trish?

  11. Anyone who assumes that you are prepared to make a ‘one off’ garment cheaper than mass produced should be shot at dawn 😉

    • Cheryl Designs says:

      Yep 🙂 I keep custom clothing conversations short. Formalwear labor STARTS at $600 and up. Bridal gown STARTS at $1,500 and up. Slacks, blouses, etc. START at $300 and up 🙂 Saves me time and I always hear TOTAL quiet on the other end. Then……..”Really?” I understand the general public isn’t educated about sewing. Time is money and I don’t have free time to explain my pricing to them 🙂

    • mrsmole says:

      Amen!!! Just got a request for a multi-layered floor length skirt made out of tulle to cover another dress for the reception. They told me it would be a snap to make. Sure thing, measuring out yards and yards of nasty tulle, gathering it all into a tiny waistband and charging a ridiculously cheap price is not in my schedule, Kim!

  12. Accordion3 says:

    I got sucked into the world of Irish Dancing too. I was expelled by the teacher when I questioned why my then 8 year old had to have spray tan on her legs. Because the Irish are known as a sun-tanned bunch…. Now my lasses do ice skating but do not compete. SO much easier – just merino terry leggings, tshirt and a jacket.

    It’s funny, I don’t bat an eyelid at my husband’s tailored suits that cost upwards of $AUD3000 each (two trousers, one jacket). I know they last up to 8 years of frequent use. But a similar amount for a garment that gets one wear makes me pause. Despite knowing that both garments have similar costs in terms of fabric and labour. Most certainly the reason I made my wedding dress 😉

    As always, Mrs Mole’s work is awesome!

  13. mrsmole says:

    Thank you, Accordion. There is a little phrase, “cost per wearing” that should enter into all garment construction and purchases. By the time your husband’s suit is ready to be replaced he probably is paying less than a newspaper for each time he wore it. Even my brides have eased off having fake spray tans when they realize being a tangerine in a white dress is not a good look for those expensive professional photos. Gliding along on ice with cozy clothes sounds so much nicer than pounding the floor in tight costumes.

  14. Shams says:

    Wow, that dance dress is atrocious!!! You did another fabulous job on that MOB dress! Sheesh, if I ever have to wear a strapless bra again, it will go badly. By the way, I just bought a Dolce & Gabbana embroidered lace. Am I crazy? I love it and it will go into stash for “some day” when I need a MOB or something similar.

    Yes, I’m crazy.

    • JustGail says:

      No Shams, you’re not crazy. I have a couple items in the stash that do not fit my lifestyle. But we all know that if it’s not in the stash, it seems you never find anything nearly as good when that occasion does come.

      That dance “costume” is hideous. It looks cheap and tacky and I can’t figure out if that front bodice seam is sewn crooked or if they couldn’t be bothered to put it on the manikin straight. But then what I do I know, I’m a crabby old bat 🙂 That’s funny about the birds – I wonder if they decide to cool their toes now that the weather’s heated up.

    • mrsmole says:

      You are a collector of treasures…for future use or just to admire when these fabrics cease to be manufactured. It is a joy to own rare or fine fabrics or to rescue them from a garage sale…think of yourself as a curator!!! One day I think you will need a MOB dress but it will be quite different from all the rest, Shams!

  15. I have been reading the comments. You do wonderful work. There is no way you or anyone like you offering the same service should be paid anything less or be asked to spend your time on such a ridiculous demeaning outfit as the pageant costume.

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