Two Piece Two

Buying the $875 Wtoo Bree bustier and coordinating it with a $1000 Effie skirt should make this alteration a piece of cake…no?


How about a real body instead of a model…that top edge is not fitting well and the skirt is 3 inches too long. Unlike the last ruffled skirt that could be shortened using horizontal tucks hidden by the upper ruffles…this little critter does not have vertical rectangular panels…oh no…it has triangular panels and every hem is a DOUBLE layer of that horsehair braid…some with 2 inch and 1 inch combined and some with 3 inch and 2 inch braid together.

There is no way to shorten this skirt except by taking off the waistband…yes…it comes down to that!

First, I thread trace the new stitching line on the top edge of the skirt 3 inches below the original…gathers? Yes, there are teeny tiny gathers to deal with. Feeling overwhelmed, I retreat to the kitchen for a diet Pepsi. Not only do I have to move the waistband down the skirt but I have to duplicate the gathers as well and make them even tighter to condense the wider circumference at that level…Joy oh Joy!

Once the waistband is opened up I find loose interfacing…loose…sure, that makes sense doesn’t it? Never mind…let’s get gathering those 2 new rows to see if we can cram all that into the band without looking like Grandma had her way with this project!

The gathering rows are on either side of the thread tracing and done with the machine…are we having fun yet?

Taking a break and going to move unto something more relaxing…let’s do that twill tape trick on the top edge to bring in 1 inch on each side:

That’s better, now the top edge curves back unto the body.

That does the job so back to that waistband:

While it looks a real mess, at least the bride can try on the skirt to make sure the hem is the right length. Then all this can be trimmed away.

After everything is inspected, the waistband can be basted closed by hand:

You may notice that this bustier is being worn inside the skirt and it has a 2 inch wide belt made out of…wait for it…horsehair braid…who knew this stuff would pull double duty????

What about the bustle points? How many do we need to get all of that up off the floor? I can count 5 of organza and one of satin. How do the bridesmaids find all the loops and buttons?

Well, first they have to find the buttons under every layer and then work their way down a seam to find the loops…so glad that is not going to be my job after a cocktail or two!

With all the bustle points up there is a small problem….there is a rogue layer of tulle that insists on hanging down…well…not for long…it will get trimmed!

Here we have the finished bustle points and tulle trimmed and all the point and loops marked with matching colored safety pins…time for another diet Pepsi for sure!

The basted front clears the floor and it is ready to be machine stitched and be out the door:

All of you bridal seamstresses can only imagine how many hours went into this skirt fiddling around making sure every layer was off the ground and even and how you spent way more time that you should have on similar projects. And we tell ourselves, “oh well, I might make this up on the next project” and that day never comes. Call me crazy, I long for the days when a wedding dress was made of satin…only satin!

After a 2 week break from blogging, and caring for my dad after his fractured hip and surgery, his pain never subsided and he closed his eyes and passed away peacefully. I want to remember my dad as we walked the hall of his retirement home talking about the LA Dodgers and political events. He was a gentle man who spent 94 years making the world a better place. Rest in Peace, Daddy, you have earned it.

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66 Responses to Two Piece Two

  1. I love your “sewn by Grandma” comment . . my mom describes this as made “with tender loving hands”.

  2. Hello there- I have been reading for a few weeks & have shared your blog with my other seamstress. I own a bridal shop and have done bridal alterations for over 30 years. Your tricks are fabulous, and I laugh along with some of your comments, as I have thought most of them for myself!
    But I do have a question…what is the twill tape trick at the bustline you so easily put in your blog? I sell gowns all day every day, and believe you me- I haven’t ever heard of that. I “tip the cup” by removing lace at side seams, and then pull just the front towards the sideseam and restitch. You know – 2 hours later, you are finally done.
    Would you share your secret?
    Thanks, I am so sorry to hear of your dad passing, looks like he had a great life, and a fun daughter to boot.
    Kim D.

  3. mltothill says:

    Sorry for the loss of your father Mrs. Mole.

    Thank you one again for a great post about alterations while going through a tough time.


  4. Fabrickated says:

    Sorry about your Dad Mrs Mole. But a good life and a good man and a good ending. I enjoyed the alteration challenge.

  5. Krysti says:

    Sorry to hear about your dad- but glad that you had some time with him!
    One of my recent projects was a 2 piece with a skirt – and get this, they sold her a lace jacket with buttons down the back and told her – no worries the seamstress can line it for you, and attach it to the skirt. What!? Who does that. Me, I guess. I lined it with some ivory knit fabric – but told her she needed an undergarment since there was no structure. She didn’t really want a bustier with boning, so there you go. I would attach a photo – but don’t think I can in the comments.

  6. Leiflynn Jeffery, Melfort, Saskatchewan says:

    I am so sorry to hear of the lose of your father and that he was in pain up to the end. But your memories of him will stay forever. Sad that you had to come back to this bearcat of an alteration but you did good. Can you show the steps for taking in the bust with twill tape. Do you measure the bust cup and then make the twill tape 1 inch shorter when sewing it in? Thanks and take care.

    • mrsmole says:

      Yes, Leiflynn, I pin the twill tape to the top edge, then mark the center or side seam depending if you sew right-handed or left handed, and mark the end with a pin and then pull that end an inch or so tighter and ease in the top edge of the bodice as you tack the top edge of the tape to the dress. You don’t have to sew the other long edge of the twill tape down but it looks nicer. Sometimes the gap is under the arm or at the princess seam so I just mainly take in the excess where she needs it to make the top edge cup towards the body. You can do this all around if needed.

  7. Michelle jadaa says:

    Wait woah ….twill tape trick ? What did I miss? That’s something I havnt tried! Link please!

  8. MichaelC says:

    Beautiful work on that dress as always. Sorry to hear about your father.

  9. Stella says:

    You always brighten my day, and I’m sure you brightened your father’s days many times. Sorry for your loss.

  10. Kathy M. says:

    Sincerest condolences on the loss of your dad, Mrs. Mole.

  11. Kansas Sky says:

    I hold you in my heart. My deepest condolences. Thank you for telling us about your daddy, blogger friend.

  12. Elle says:

    It sounds like your dad was a lovely man. The photo of him heading off in that bright red sweater next to the red poppy really brings a smile. I hope the memories ease your pain.

  13. Laura Jansen says:

    As always, amazing work. Glad you were with your dad when he passed.

  14. Jenny Montgomery says:

    I really enjoy your blog. So sorry about your father- hold onto the good memories. Love and prayers. Jen

  15. ceci says:

    So sorry to hear about your dad, your care for him is inspirational.


  16. Dorothy Martin says:

    So sorry for the loss of your sweet Daddy.
    I hope you can remember all the precious times you were privileged to have with him and that those memories live on in your heart.
    Much love sent to you at this difficult time.

  17. Sandi Benfield says:

    Mrs. mole you are an angel! So sorry to hear about your dad. Hope things are getting easier with each passing day.

  18. Martina says:

    So sorry to hear about your dad.

  19. Alex in California says:

    God bless your Daddy.

  20. KS Sews says:

    Condolences on the loss of your dad.

  21. Theresa says:

    I’m so, so sorry. It is so hard to lose a parent. Hugs Dear!

  22. Colleen says:

    I related to all the comments and frustrations throughout the post. My indulgence is ice cream in place of Diet Pepsi….not good for the waistline….and I also lost my Dad at 96 years in September following a stroke and 10 days on Hospice. My thoughts are with you in so many ways! Again thank you for taking time to share.

  23. Kathryn says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss. Dads are the best men ever.

  24. MDy says:

    I’m so sorry to learn about the loss of your Dad. What a blessing to have great memories of time spent with him.

  25. shoes15 says:

    My condolences. Your dad sounds like a great guy.

  26. Clare says:

    So sorry for your loss, Mrs Mole. It’s so tough to lose your dad, no matter how old he is or you are. Mine died 40 yrs ago this coming Sunday at only 60 yrs old, I was 28. May your great memories bring you comfort & peace.

  27. Susan Hart says:

    Wow! What a year you’ve had! England and your father’s passing. A lot to handle, for sure. Sounds like you deserve a spa day!
    Great blog and description of gowns as always, you really give me the chuckles as I can soooo relate!
    Susan in Aloha

  28. thornberry says:

    So sorry for the loss of your Dad. From what you’ve written I can tell he’s had an amazing, long life, and you have many warm memories of him.

  29. Karen in PA says:

    So sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing life as well as sewing.

  30. brendamarksstudio says:

    Sending a hug.

  31. Donna says:

    So sorry about your Dad.

  32. mhdwileski says:

    For all of your trials and tribulations with the dresses, I am most touched by your sweet words for your dear Dad. In the end, nothing really matters as much as the love you have for your family, and they for you. Prayers.

  33. Tia Dia says:

    Well, after wrestling with that ridiculous skirt,it looks good! And twill tape is the best! My thoughts and prayers are with you, Mrs Mole, during this time.

  34. Val says:

    Condolences Mrs. Mole – – I glad he passed in peace.

  35. CHERYL DESIGNS says:

    I am so sorry for the loss of your Daddy 😦 What a WONDERFUL man he must have been to be LOVED so much 🙂 I am CERTAIN he is resting in peace 🙂

    I agree with previous comments… TWILL tape to take THAT much EXTRA from a front bust? I have used darts 🙂 I have used a bit of just HEAVY THREAD stitching to take up a bit from STOCK GOWNS that are LOOSE from try-ons 🙂 I have added silicone backed elastic to the top of a front bodice. Never used twill tape 🙂 BRILLIANT 🙂

  36. Anne Frances says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. What a lovely goodbye picture.

  37. abbey says:

    my Sympathy on the loss of your dad. He sounds like he was a kind man. Abbey

  38. Chris says:

    For those that have asked, I used the search function of the blog and found the December 21, 2015 post explaining the twill tape trick. It is awesome and one to have in our arsenal of sewing tricks!!
    Thank you Mrs Mole. My condolences on the passing of your Daddy.

  39. upsew says:

    I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your Dad – Its a lovely photo to remember him by

  40. Girl in the Stix says:

    Yes, my first thought when you mentioned the triangle hems was “she’s gonna hem from the top!” Great job!
    Sorry for the loss of your father. I’m glad you could be with him before he passed.

  41. maryfunt says:

    Good choice to shorten from the top. Sometimes that’s the easiest way. I wonder if bridal bodices are drafted for a B cup like patterns. That explains the gaping upper edge for those with more bust. The twill tape trick is brilliant and saves ripping open seams. My condolences for the loss of your dad. How fortunate you were to have him for many, many years and be with him during his last days. May he rest in peace.

  42. Beth (SunnyGal Studio) says:

    sorry to hear about your dad and my thoughts are with you. If he enjoyed baseball and politics he certainly had plenty this past year to be entertained (?) by.

  43. erniek3 says:

    I am sorry for your loss, and yet, so many years with him! Such a blessing! I miss my dad every day (because I have all his workshop tools and machines in my house) and I was lucky to get 46 years with him. I am sad and glad for you.
    This is one time I’ve been in your alteration shoes. I removed the skirt from the bodice, after basting it to twill tape, put it on the dress form, and just basted the snot out of it at the appropriate distance from the waist. I did attach the layers to a facing and did grade them a little (so I wouldn’t get a bulge at the top from the excess). The tulle was thick enough to disguise it (and the grading was 1/4″ to 1/2″ so it sorta camoflaged itself). Having done it the other way since then, I’d go back to the waist again. I don’t know how I got talked into doing it hem up. I won’t get that week back.
    As ever, you are an inspiration and a tonic. Thanks

  44. Elle C says:

    Consider this a hug. I am so sorry for the loss of your Dad. Take care of yourself.

  45. kathyh says:

    I am sending a link to your twill tape post to a friend who allows herself to get into alterations. She was just discussing her niece’s prom gown gaping at the bust.
    Condolences on your dad’s passing. Big cyber hug.

  46. Sue Wardell says:

    I really look forward to your blog each week and have learnt so much. So sorry about the lose of your dear Dad. Although it is hard, at least he is not in pain anymore.

  47. Linda G says:

    Sincere condolences on the loss of your father, Mrs. Mole. I only recently came across your blog and am thoroughly enjoying it.

  48. Jane M says:

    So sorry to hear the news about your father. He came from a special generation and I hope happier memories are a comfort to you.

  49. jay says:

    I’m sorry to hear of your loss. It sounds like your Dad was a source of strength and good. Your photo is a beautiful remembrance. The dress, of course is beautiful.

  50. Su says:

    So sorry to hear about the loss of your lovely Dad. The skirt sounds a pain, but what a beautiful result!

  51. Beautiful job with all that skirt! I’m so sorry about your father passing. Prayers for you and your family.

  52. Tee says:

    Oh dear!!!! Deepest sympathies to you and your family! May your dad rest in eternal peace!

  53. pdxknitter says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your dad. So good that you were able to be with him.

  54. Monique says:

    Heartfelt condolences on the loss of your father. There’s never a “right” age to lose a parent, but it’s wonderful your dad reached the age he did.

  55. My Daddy passed away in 1974 when I was 30 years old. I am 73 now and I still miss him. My condolences to you.

    Nice work on the dress. You are a genie.

    • mrsmole says:

      I’m sorry you lost your dad so young and missed out on so many great years of his presence and wisdom. As i race to 70 myself, the connection with loved ones intensifies. God Bless You.

  56. Linda Craig says:

    Sorry you lost your Daddy, so hard. You were bless with a good gentleman. Take care!

  57. Condolences to you and your family. So nice that you had some time with your Dad and were able to help him.

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