Shiny Objects

What might be coming up for the 2018 season? Here is a sneak peek at one challenge:

Yes, this is from the late 1980’s and yes, that is staining all down the front of the dress. It came in a huge preservation box from a local dry cleaners but obviously, it was never actually cleaned before being boxed. You can see that probably champagne was spilled from the neckline to the hem and after time, the grape stain becomes dominant and dark. What to do?

As Colleen mentioned/asked in this post: about covering a dress with another fabric…that is what has to be done with this one on the satin skirt for sure. In fact the bride wants every bit of satin covered with lace fabric, 6 foot train and all…it may take 5 yards and lots of labor measuring and making an overlay pattern.

Note the unflattering pleats beneath the plastron…plastron…what is that? It is the underside of a turtle, a large pad worn by a fencer to protect the chest, a man’s starched shirtfront without pleats but also an ornamental front of a woman’s bodice or shirt consisting of colorful material with lace or embroidery, fashionable in the late 19th century.












THEN…wait for this…she wants me to remove every clear sequin and pearl EVERYWHERE.

The lower edge pins are holding scalloped lace edges under to see the pleats beneath.

So this nasty discolored piece of work will find its way back to the sewing room eventually.

Thankfully I have been away from the sewing room for a little break to re-charge before starting the new season. I took my father’s ashes down south so he could he could have his last wish fulfilled…to be buried with all of his Basque family in So California. Being a veteran from WWII, he was given a funeral with full military honors, the gun salute, bugler playing Taps and the flag folded into the famous triangle which was presented to me.

The last member of his family to be buried was in 1966 so they all have been waiting a long time to be reunited. Besides the flag, I was also given the 15 brass casings from the bullets and a leaflet telling about each fold of the flag and what it represents. Toss in prayers and a sprinkling of holy water from the local priest and a glorious day of sunshine, all in all, a sad day for the 30 mourners arms laden with huge bouquets of flowers but a perfect day of rest for my 94 yr. old dad.

Escaping the winter and arriving snow storm back home while I stay in the rented desert home, I almost feel guilty…almost, but Mr Mole and I will be making the best of it at the local iHop pancake restaurant.

Happy sewing everyone!

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

40 Responses to Shiny Objects

  1. Donnalee says:

    As WWII veteran, I am sure your father would have appreciated the military send-off. I am sorry if it was a sad time for your family.

    That certainly looks and sounds like a lot of work on this dress. Do you ever want to tell the person to just buy or make a new one? I know the sentiment is involved with a family gown, and it is amusing to me that the dresses from that time are now being used for the daughters of those original brides–part of me is certainly stuck in the 80s and is startled by anyone else getting older!

    • mrsmole says:

      Sometimes I ask, “have you tried on new dresses?” just to see what they say. In this case, I fear the female relatives/soon-to-be-in-laws are driving the decision.
      My father would have indeed enjoyed the send-off and he would have known all the elderly gentlemen who performed the ceremony as he was registered with their particular American Legion Post. It made it extra special as they were burying “one of their own comrades”.

      • Donnalee says:

        I’m glad it was so meaningful. And I think it is too bad when you get Parentzilla of an otherwise not-bridezilla, to use silly jargon. You seem to cope so well with it–good for you!

  2. ParisGrrl says:

    Looking at all the work to be done on that dress, all I can think of is the Dead Parrot sketch. “That is an Ex-wedding dress!” Seems like it might make as much sense to make a new gown, and transfer some of the lace and motifs from the old dress onto the new.

    • mrsmole says:

      We may use all that lace and tassels from the sleeves into a headpiece…who knows? This dress should have remained in the box and brought out on Halloween to be a zombie bride!

  3. Whistle says:

    R.I.P. to your beloved Dad, with all those family members. How interesting to be part Basque!
    I’m with the ‘buy a new one’ camp – where do you find the patience?

    • mrsmole says:

      Call me crazy…challenges and the chance to rip off sleeves and flounces just makes me salivate! Had my DNA checked and I was so proud to discover I shared over 70% Basque lineage with my dad!

  4. NancyF says:

    I realize that she wants the satin covered on this one, but, do you ever soak out the stains. I make Christening Gowns from wedding gowns and that stain and other drink stains are so common. And yes, especially in those boxed gowns. I soak the stains in Oxi-Clean powder in warm water for as long as it takes and I have to say it has taken out every one. But, it needs to be that brand, I don’t find the others to work as well. When I am off those sequins and bead because they have discolored I have taken to cracking off the beads with pliers and cutting the sequins at the radius and removing them that way because sometimes disturbing the stitching leads to other issues. I am finding your blog fascinating. Even though I am taking the gowns apart to make them tiny there is much similarity.

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Nancy, I may suggest that to the bride once she brings the dress back. You see, she has not set a date…it could be this year or next year but it will certainly be THIS dress if her future MIL has any say. Removing sequins your way is sure the fastest and safest! Not sure I can crack the pearls though???

      • Nancy F says:

        Oh dear Lord, this isnt even her own Moms dress. This doesn’t bode well for her future. I get the same thing with new moms being pressured to have their christening gowns made from wedding gowns of people they didnt even know. I give them the advice to get a new outfit also and only wear the old new gown for the ceremony. That way the MIL and the mom wind up Happy. I have a Pinterest page withe the same name as my Etsy shop, Well Blessed Baby, that shows the original gowns and the resulting Christening outfits. The best part of sewing for babies is that fit is merely a suggestion on new babies. I am so enjoying reading your posts.

  5. Tia Dia says:

    Wowza. I remember those dresses! Eeeek! That’s going to be a big job. You’re a miracle worker, but I’m still sending you good luck!!

    And how perfect a final farewell to your dad, honoured as a WWII veteran. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Tia…funerals are such a hard thing to get through. Even though I have had the ashes with me for 2 months, it was hard leaving them there forever. The dress will need some real magic! And lots of Diet Pepsi and swearing!

  6. Can’t wait to see what you do with the dress. I guess people have all sorts of reasons to reuse dresses, but I am impressed that you accepted the job. Mrs Mole to the rescue! TaDAA!!!

  7. kathyh says:

    Dying of curiosity as to why she has to wear ‘this’ dress.

    • mrsmole says:

      The captain of this ship is the future MIL and it was her dress back then.Pressure???

      • SJ Kurtz says:

        Hmm. If I could take the bride aside and discuss, very quietly, how her whole life is going to be run by this woman, and is it really worth it to her? Sometimes you are given a sign, a billboard in this case, about the future. Is her little sonny that magical that he can be worth this?
        Then again, maybe the bride really wants to be the daughter this woman never had. If so, this job is going to be a big pain in the plastron.
        Question: do you soak it to clean it first, and then take it apart, or the other way?
        I will be following this with intense curiosity.

  8. Alethia says:

    Wow, I sure wait with anticipation to see what you do with that gown!
    Regarding your father, you are in my thoughts and prayers!

  9. upsew says:

    That dress is a challenge for sure… does the MIL know she handed over a dirty dress? or has it even been mentioned – or is this some ‘is this girl good enough for my boy’ test…. Your father’s ceremony sounds so beautiful and dignified.

    • mrsmole says:

      Once the dress was tried on and modeled for all to see…it was very obvious and excuses were made for the dry cleaner from 30 years ago…but the fact remains…they did NOT clean the dress before stuffing it into the fancy box. I have seen this before and makes you wonder how many dry cleaners get away with this knowing the dress will not be resurrected for 30 years?

  10. ceci says:

    Ugh, the bride needs to look for another groom before starting on choosing a dress.

    I hope you had a nice time in the desert….you deserve a break!


    • mrsmole says:

      I’m afraid this girl is in deeper than she knows but I am only the seamstress who can but observe and pin and keep my suggestions to myself. Being away from this for 2 weeks helps a lot!

  11. I could have guessed that dress was from the 80’s. I avoided wearing such a thing by making a simpler dress for myself! What a lovely service for your father, R.I.P. Best wishes to you and your family.

  12. Kim says:

    That is one hideous wedding dress! ( I think my sister-in-laws was that one actually….). I sincerely hope the bride wishes up to the future it seems to be in store for her.
    It sounds like you did your dad proud with that send off. I hope you have good memories of the day, and I know you have good memories of your dad.
    Love from Bewdley 😃.

  13. birdmommy says:

    If you ever decide to get out of working on wedding dresses – but still want to work with white fabrics, you should go into making/altering plastrons for fencers! 🙂
    My son’s equipment would look awesome with some fancy overlays – no pearls or sequins though. It would hurt getting poked in the chest with a pearl. 🙂

  14. mrsmole says:

    Fencing plastrons…oh my! My first thought was one with an embroidered bull’s eye….but maybe not!

  15. Sam says:

    A beautiful service of remembrance for your father, creating loving memories for you of the special day. My sister over here in Australia had just such a wedding dress and thought the sequins had discolored due to the heat where she lives! Just age after 25+ years! She donated it to ‘Angel Gowns Australia’ to make burial gowns for babies who die pre-term or a little older (special requests). Volunteers, of whom I am, one create these little gowns which are donated to the parent/s free of charge through hospitals, funeral homes, etc. Love reading your blog posts, thank you. Sam the Aussie

    • mrsmole says:

      Yes, heat and age will discolor sequins for sure! So lovely that your sister donated her gown to help others. Working on these little gowns is such a blessing to the receiver and the seamstress as well.

  16. Cheryl Designs says:

    The gown can be salvaged but I wouldn’t worry about it right now. If the future MIL is BOSSY, the marriage might NEVER take place 🙂 THIS is why I advise MY brides….. Get your gown CLEANED after the wedding. Wrap in a CLEAN white sheet, or FABRIC gown bag. STORE it in a location that is COMFORTABLE for HUMANS 🙂 Not too dry, wet, hot or cold 🙂 That GOWN PRESERVATION THING is USELESS if you ask me 🙂 NOW they are charging $200-$400 for it 😦 Quote HIGH as the SKY for sequin/pearl removal…. They won’t go for it. Well, that has been MY experience 🙂 I am sure you KNOW THIS but get 50% IN ADVANCE for these types of jobs. I never require deposits because I have my brides’ gowns 🙂 THIS type of deal can go BAD-QUICKLY 😦 GET some NON-REFUNDABLE CASH upfront to pay you for your TIME. I am so glad you got the opportunity to take care of your DAD 🙂 GOOD FOR YOU 🙂 It’s ALWAYS tough to lose our loved ones 😦

    • mrsmole says:

      So far Cheryl I have never asked for payment up front as I have the gown and they will always come back to get it and living in a small rural town, things are different. I can see why you should ask though with many brides cancelling the date and never rescheduling. The gown preservation service in New York that I use is very reliable and has been doing it for over 100 years. They also have a guarantee for 100 years. I tell my brides that they can go online and see every step of the service from scrubbing hems with toothbrushes to huge washing machines and delicate finishing by hand: I only charge a small handling fee over the basic cost to me so it is very affordable to my own brides although other people charge $250-400 for the same exact service. Most of the brides that have brought “preserved” gowns to me have been done by dry cleaners and they all have stains that were never removed which is sad.

  17. Michele says:

    Mrs Mole, I know you are a fan of Fabric Depot in Portland. If this poor bride is serious about resurrecting the dress, they have a small selection in Clearance of beautiful lace yardage at 50% off plus an extra 20% this weekend! I looked them over because my granddaughter is recently engaged…..I must not buy, I must not buy, I must not buy…….(I must NOT butt in, I must NOT butt in, I must NOT butt in……)

  18. mrsmole says:

    Smart girl, Michele…brides have all sorts of ideas as we know and Grandmothers don’t always get to suggest anything. The grandmothers I have had in during fittings keep asking, “where are the sleeves?” which makes for lots of laughter…

  19. Deb says:

    Well, it is so nice to see a picture of the man who cooks for you!! Lol

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Deb…that comment made both of us laugh as he calls himself the “occasional chef” when on the rare occasion he wanders into the kitchen to use all the pots and pans and serving spoons to whip up as he calls it, “a veritable feast” for us.

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