Adding Support

This Casablanca dress didn’t need too many alterations except to add straps and more support. See the under-bust crease wrinkle?

I like to cross the straps in back for real stability and this way they will never slip down. The ends, be it front or back, can be sewn to squares of ribbons with snaps to be removable or sewn to the dress permanently if the bride can slip it over her head without taking her make-up with it.

The tattoo has been obscured.

Just need to hem the lining and the satin about 2-3 inches by machine:

After opening up the lining away from the satin layer I could see that it could use a bit more boning. I positioned 5 extra strips in the second photo which will be covered with fabric strips top and bottom.

This is a common problem that other seamstresses have shared with me. Below is a gown from a reader that had only 2 boning strips which is never enough for a full-busted bride. I suggested that she add 5 more like a picket fence…which she did in the second photo:


So, here we are pinned in place with fabric guards top and bottom.

Once sewn by machine to the lining, the skirt lining at the waist is French tacked at the side seams:

The new Rigilene boning is attached and flat and doing a great job.

On the inside you can see the twill tape trick was used to bring the top edge of the bodice back into the chest. The straps have been hand sewn to the lining.

Once the dress was tried on, the bride asked if the lining could be even more supportive, so I made more vertical tucks by hand to make it hug the body like a corset would have.

The result is a very nice bodice and a very happy bride and no more under bust horizontal wrinkles and the top edge cups into her chest:















The tulle hems were trimmed all around at floor level and the train was removed as well. You can see the trimmed fabric lying on the floor like a small animal.








Now that I am back home from the desert, the phone calls and emails from frantic brides have not stopped.                          

What might be coming up for the 2018 season?

This is going to be a challenge for support and coverage, don’t you think?

Plenty more weird stuff coming including some “howlers” for Kim and “why did I agree to this” challenges for Kate as she writes her new book…stay tuned!

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37 Responses to Adding Support

  1. That support made an amazing difference in the look of that dress. No wonder she was thrilled.

    • mrsmole says:

      Like with so many dresses…if it ain’t got enough support…you have to put some in! If you do costumes, you already are used to making garments that can stand all on their own. Thank you, Liz.

  2. Maria says:

    Hi, the “new” gown looks amazing! Where did you get the material for the strap? I need to put straps for my daughter’s gown as well. Thanks!

    • mrsmole says:

      The straps came with the dress like many dresses but brides discard them. They had a hook at either end to latch unto thread loops on the lining. Bridesmaid dresses usually have these as well and they are discarded. My sewing sister, Sharon, on the east coast used to keep all the orphan straps and use them for other dresses when she needed them as straps or corset backs. Some fancy fabric stores carry beaded straps to buy by the yard, probably you can find some online, good luck, Maria!

      • Maria says:

        Good idea (the fancy fabric stores, that is). This dress didn’t come with the straps so I’ll be on the hunt for a pair. Thanks!

  3. Donnalee says:

    That bust support made all the difference–another great job. On the lowest photo, I say scotch tape on the bosoms will help them stay in place, or Bob Mackie type glue–

  4. ceci says:

    I’m struggling with the idea of getting a tattoo on right over one’s spinal cord……but the gown alterations are a huge improvement. I’m not sure I understand how the twill tape works – perhaps it is a bit smaller around than the top of the bodice?


  5. mrsmole says:

    Yes, Ceci, the twill tape snugs up the top edge. Here are some step by step photos:

    • Trish says:

      Thank you for that from me also. My future daughter-in-law has just bought a dress which will need the bodice ‘snugged up’ and I was going to have to go back through your posts to find the relevant one to remind me how to do it. Perfect timing. Trish. 😊

    • ceci says:

      Thank you for the link to the earlier post – I try not to miss any of yours but this one slipped by!


  6. Very nice dress, excellent fit, not to much to alter! A pleasant start to the sewing year. As far as the second dress goes, it would be alright with a solid fabric. I like the double ribbon waist, very historical costume looking. But not sure about getting married in a totally transparent fabric with only a little embroidery for cover! Really?? It’s extremely pretty apart from that.

  7. It looks so much better! It seems a lot of young girls have bigger busts today, so more support is needed. Thanks for the photos. I always learn from you.

  8. Sandi Benfield says:

    So glad you are back in your sewing studio Ms. Mole👍🏻

  9. Martina says:

    That fit is perfection! Love seeing your work.

  10. Mem says:

    Lovely dress , a rare thing in your wonderful blog

  11. wedreamaloud says:

    Wow! Good idea, the dress fit you perfectly. Great job!

  12. sewruth says:

    If you need support then you shouldn’t wear the last dress!
    As usual, you ‘little’ tips and tricks worked wonders on the badice.

    • mrsmole says:

      “Shouldn’t” doesn’t enter into the heads of these brides…ha ha. It’s all in the tweaking of details, as you well know, Ruth! Love your latest blog and sewing adventure!

  13. maryfunt says:

    Amazing that the manufacturers don’t put enough support in the bodice. I would have added much more even for a small busted bride. Your addition of a “picket fence” worked wonders. The last dress should be reserved for those comfortable going bra-less. Hopefully you wont be showing us pics of a large chested bride who wants you to “make it work.”

    • mrsmole says:

      Now, now, Mary, you know darn well that a big busted bride would be way more interesting in that dress than a flat chested one…yes. Blog-wise, it is the outrageous ones that get the attention.We shall see when she arrives for her appointment.

  14. Susan Hart says:

    Beautifully done, as always. And the sheer dress…. possibly nude netting under layer across chest with a lower rounded neckline?

  15. Kim says:

    What a pretty dress – I hope the tattoo is going to enhance the overall ‘look’!
    I’m already looking forward to seeing your howlers in the future. Hopefully this year’s crop of brides will be a reasonable bunch. With only a very few bloggable lunatics in there.

  16. mrsmole says:

    Mr Mole calls them “hysterical brides” as he can hear them in his office down the hall from my room. The bride did say she regretted having the tattoo and hope her hair and veil will cover it up. So many brides who are 30 surely regret getting such huge tattoos in their 20’s but like Cher, “if I could turn back time” they would opt to have them burned off except for the pain and expense.

  17. pdxknitter says:

    That bodice really looks great! I too wonder at such a large tattoo. Of course, I’m a ‘certain age’ and was taught (by Grandma) that quality people don’t do that. Apart from that, I’ve never really liked anything long enough to make it a permanent part of me, so it really hasn’t been a question. I’m amazed what people will pay money to do. To each their own!

  18. mrsmole says:

    Brides pay over $100 an hour for tattoos to commemorate their wedding day and most pay more than the wedding dress alterations. I just hope the marriage lasts! I grew up seeing that only sailors covered themselves with ink but now even grannies have them.

  19. Nicely done! A properly built dress makes all the difference. Thank you again for the lesson!

  20. mrsmole says:

    Thank you for checking in, Linda!

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