Thrifty Mother?

Outlet Malls, TJ Maxx, and Ross Stores serve a purpose…to unload cheap knock-offs and damaged goods. So, when a MOB brings in a dress she found for $30 and wants things done to it to make it more sexy…you know you are in trouble.

The fabric is ravely polyester lined in ravely polyester with a boat neck front and deep V in back. If a MOB asks you to make the front look like the back…you have to wonder why. She kept going on about wanting to just wear the dress backwards to expose her cleavage. But, I agreed to drop the front to match the back but warned her that once this is done, there is nothing to hold the dress neckline to her…there will be gaps. She says, “I don’t care” and I pin down to where she wants skin to show.

Her 2 daughters, one being the bride asked, “Mother, why do you want such a revealing neckline?” and her reply was, “I have cleavage I want to display”. Okey Dokey. Let’s get started.

Find center, thread trace it, Find the width and final V point and thread trace it on the lining. Flip the lining to the right side and do more thread tracing. Now some of you might think that this is all unnecessary but I do things old school and photograph along the way to never lose my place (or train of thought!).

Another desire of the mom is to have her princess armhole seams taken in too. Sure, let’s do that while we are at it. Thread trace and then machine stitch. 

Here is something I found in all the seams…woven nylon interfacing strips. So they will be removed/altered and left in the seams as the original.






Marked and pinned along the stitching line with the interfacing (only going partway to the V). Stitch and trim the excess…this is the scary part!

Yes, I used pinking shears to cut through the 2 layers. Flip the lining back to the inside and press lightly. Now the whole neckline is bias/diagonal and a bit unstable…great.

The mom comes for her second fitting and says that the dress neckline is not laying flat against her body…duh. So, she says she wants me to now to remove the back zipper and take in center back really tight…sure…I like doing this on a $30 dress…more labor. Thread trace the new zipper seams.








If you move a zipper over 1.5 inches (3 inch total) on a V neck, you run out of the top of the zipper pretty darn fast, so I will have to remove the entire zipper and slide it up to the top edge. In the photo below you can see I need to slide it up a full inch:






Here it is basted with the new loose ribbon belt ends ready to be tacked to the zipper edges.

Every thing understitched and flipped to the inside and belt attached:





The one and only reason the mother bought this dress was because it has front pockets but once it was done she said she should have bought a more formal dress and her 2 daughters chimed in together, “Mother, it is in our backyard, it is perfect!” After 3 hours of labor, it should be.

The bride’s sister’s bridesmaid dress was found on Craigslist for $20. It was floor length and had to be shortened to knee length, 2 linings shortened, bust pads attached and custom made straps using grosgrain ribbon as the base, wrapped with the peach satin fabric and then wrapped with the glitter tulle. They wanted the new straps to look like they came with the dress originally.

As the weather has continued to be in the high 90’s now for weeks…the squash and onions are ready to harvest twice a week at least. Mr. Mole grew the little potatoes in a plastic pot and there will be more later in the summer.

Have a great week everyone!









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

39 Responses to Thrifty Mother?

  1. Carolyn says:

    Wow! Would it have been cheaper to have them made from scratch? You have a very interesting job!

    • robbie says:

      That’s what I was thinking–

    • mrsmole says:

      It all depends on the labor fees doesn’t it? For folks who think we should be earning $5 an hour, a hand made dress seems attainable. But at $40-50 an hour plus cost of fabrics, you can’t beat a discount store dress. Figuring out solutions hopefully keeps dementia at bay…fingers crossed!

  2. Laura Jansen says:

    You get it all – right in front of you! Amazing what you deal with and then the magic you can do. I sincerely appreciate that you can write it all out with your sense of humor!

  3. Kathleen says:

    As always, the end results are beautiful. Potatoes from the garden get eaten at my house as fast as they come out of the ground, but onions are another story. How do you store yours?

    • mrsmole says:

      Because I cannot use them all at once, I slice them and toss them in freezer zip lock bags to make into soup later. I have never had enough of them to braid or hang them but soon I will have red onions ready to harvest and I may try hanging them to dry. I’m not sure what is the best way since this is the first year that they did well. What do you do, Kathleen?

  4. robbie says:

    Why are we (women) like this? Buy a cheap dress and then spend the cost of the dress (or more) on alterations. I admit, there’s no ‘One night only’ dress department where we shop. So we struggle between sensibility and ‘all eyes on me’ when it comes to our event clothing choices. A mother of the bride who wants her cleavage to show at her daughter’s back yard wedding? Interesting. As always, Mrs. Mole, you did a fabulous job on both dresses. BTW, I love your posts.

    • JustGail says:

      Speaking for myself, I can see myself going cheaper on the dress, expecting alterations, since tall plus size seems to be an unheard of concept in RTW at any price point, let alone finding it in the right color or style. If I were to do the alterations, I’d be nervous about spending too much if alterations go off the rails and I need to start over. Also, I’d be thinking why spend $$$ on a fancy dress I’ll wear once, though I’ll be fighting that thought hard if/when DS gets married – the dress would be more for him, than me.

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Robbie, sometimes I think weddings bring out the best and the worst in people and certainly on dress selection and sensibility.

  5. ceci says:

    Well, the end product of the MOB dress is not as vulgar as I feared, of course I am not seeing the to-be-displayed cleavage, thankfully. And the straps seem like an improvement on the bridesmaid dress….I would think that would be a hard color to wear? Your veggies are really doing well, reminds me to water mine tonight!


    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Ceci, you got that right about the color…so blah on pale skin but again that $20 pricetag was the clincher. If people feel they got a good deal, I really cannot convince them otherwise.

  6. Sometimes a “deal” is not a “deal”, lol. The dress didn’t look as bad as I thought it would from the start.

    • mrsmole says:

      Thanks, thriftingmama…you made me laugh and reminded me of the time I had a bride with most of her back exposed when the zipper could not go up above her waist. She asked me how it looked back there, and I said, “I have seen worse” and regretted it the moment I heard my response.

  7. Mary says:

    I laughed the whole way through this one Mrs. Mole! I don’t understand how your eyes don’t get stuck in the back of your head from rolling them. Great job, as usual. I have garden envy I must admit. We have a new garden guest this week–Mr. Groundhog. I hope he enjoyed our Romaine–we sure won’t now.

    • mrsmole says:

      Taking a deep breath helps keep my eyes from rolling to far back in my head, Mary. You almost have to plant enough for you AND the critters. At least growing lettuce in containers cuts down on the losses.

  8. Donna says:

    You always amaze me with your incredible talent and humor. I always say, “she deserves a medal!” Think of you often. Hoping to get to see you someday. I will be 76 Monday. Ouch! I think of the fun times we use to have and miss you.

  9. upsew says:

    the first paragraph really set the scene – I was laughing all the way through like Mary above.( great haul of veg)

  10. jay says:

    “She kept going on about wanting to just wear the dress backwards to expose her cleavage.” Church wedding? Well the Lord provides ………….

  11. Kim says:

    In a corruption of an old UK tv program title ‘Some daughters do have ’em ‘.

  12. MaryEllen says:

    Your posts have so much humor -they are so fun to read. I hope you charge a TON

  13. I honestly don’t know how you keep sane dealing with these nut jobs. I’d be interested to know if the cleavage was worth all the effort and money. I sincerely hope it wasn’t old lady wrinkly 🤗🤗🤗

  14. sewruth says:

    You’ve sewn haute couture into a cheap dress. Amazing, funny and somewhat a little ironic, all at the same time.

  15. maryfunt says:

    Mom’s dress does look nice and the bridesmaid dress is fine. I know exactly what you mean about working on cheap fabric that ravels like crazy! Probably is a PIA to press also. Another save!

    • mrsmole says:

      I was terrified that even using a med steam would cause the fabric to do something awful! The bridesmaid dress was just the cheapest fabric and had the label, “do not dry clean or wash”.

      • Rena says:

        If you can’t wash or dry clean and it was used…ewwww! I’ve seen more and more prom dresses like that. Dress probably wasn’t worth $20. Sad to think how much waste we are making in the quest for cheap clothes.

  16. erniek3 says:

    I have to thank you for the first alteration; I can see many times in the future where I will point future MOB/MOG to this and say: “Do you want to be that person? No, you don’t.” If and when my sons marry, I plan on wearing a large paper bag with a sign that says “This is Not All About Me” or “God Bless Mrs Mole”.
    At least the second dress had fabric from shortening them to make the straps out of. You’ve had a few that didn’t.

    • mrsmole says:

      You go, ErnieK…it’s not about us, MOB or MOG…the bride has to be the star for the day and then after that life is all about washing dirty socks and underpants…ha ha

  17. Bunny says:

    You really pulled it off with these dresses. Your amazing skills made them happy and I guess that’s what it is all about. The blue dress is far nicer than I thought it would be but who knows how MOB will look in it. A woman may want to show her “lots of cleavage” but that doesn’t mean it is attractive cleavage. With time come wrinkles and oy,,,,,,. You did a great job on it but I am not a fan of the pink dress. Looks like twenty bucks to me.

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Bunny…you know a $20 previously worn dress can only look like what it is no matter what you do to jazz it up. Old cleavage is not something to be displayed for an audience!

  18. OMG you have such patience! It was like a downhill snowball, one thing after another. Job well done!

  19. Suzanne Resetarits says:

    I am a bridal seamstress in Colorado. I just found your blog today and I love it..someone who understands what I go through everyday!!! Thank you so much for blogging!

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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