Shiny Objects #2

Maybe I have been complaining too much about the number of tulle-skirted wedding gowns so the universe has sent me the reverse…totally beaded.  


Yes, just like recent gowns the back is shear and the bride wants it tighter in the waist and hips all the way down past the end of the zipper.









You can see the pinned back zipper with one inch taken out each side:  

This will require removing all the beads in the area to be taken in and the zipper removed from the top of the waistband past the original end of zipper. But before you go snipping and ripping, every bead adjacent to the removed beads has to be individually anchored down so the whole row of beads doesn’t end up in your lap! Non-sewers have mentioned to me that it must be so easy to snip and rip beads off dresses…sure!

I’m sure the client has no idea how long this takes and how tedious it is to find each controlling bead in a row/motif and run more thread through it before anything can be done and then saving each bead for later. At the waistband area there are strips of rhinestones on metal bars that have to be cut with pliers once the zipper is sewn.






The zipper is just hand basted now and when it is machine stitched, the waistbands will match and no one will ever know that 2 inches were removed. Funny thing to me was that the bride was worried about her guests looking back there and knowing that her dress had been altered.


Shortening the straps, I discovered that they were not equal in length (one inch vs 1.5 inches) but they will be when I get done:


The skirt will be shortened in the front 5 inches on the embroidered top tulle layer, the satin layer and the lining layer and finished with a narrow rolled hem.

The small train will need a one point bustle to clear the floor for dancing and photos in a field. Once the hems are finished, everything will be at floor level.











This week Mr Mole and I decided to take the plastic covers off of the raised beds to see how his winter experiment went.  So far our winter has been very mild with little rain or snow and temps in the 50’s. He planted lettuce, spinach, chard and broccoli seeds in the Fall. Everything was harvested so new Spring veggies can be planted and the soil refreshed with chicken manure and compost loaded with worms. Here is the unveiling:



You can see that we have plenty of greens to last us for a while. What we don’t eat as fresh or give away to neighbors, I turn into a green soup for freezing. After an afternoon of soaking and washing all these leafy veggies, I put the scrappy ones in the kitchen compost bin but the next morning I found this:

Seems as though this little slug had an adventure in mind!

Meanwhile in the sewing room, the phone has been ringing non-stop with appointments being booked and excited brides describing their dresses and dreams! I hope all your sewing adventures this week turn out great!

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27 Responses to Shiny Objects #2

  1. Sharon P says:

    Beadwork. Oh the hours of tedious work ! Excellent job Mrs. Mole.
    As meticulous as we try to be, some of those little suckers end up on the floor. Sure my vacuum cleaner has eaten pounds of beads and sequins over the years, not to mention all the feathers that have taken flight while replacing zippers in down coats.
    When a bride with a gown like this beaded beauty says that photos will be taken in a field, I shutter, fearing that foilage will grasp onto sheer fabric or beading, snagging your handiwork.
    And do brides stop and think how their spiked heels will maneuver over such terrain? I once altered all the bridesmaid dresses for a wedding held on a golf course. Sure those fairways received free aerating that wedding day!

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Sharon, Lord knows you have seen your share of beads and feathers over the years! People do not realize the toll it takes on the eyes and fingers and volume of vacuum bags! I do ask about the plans for the photos and warn brides about the fact that their hems will attract all manner of leaves, twigs and animal droppings while capturing that perfect romantic outdoor setting.When the return with the dress for preservation, the hem tells the tale of where they have been! This year I have already seen some of the more gorgeous beaded high heels destined to run across fields and fairways!

  2. Kim says:

    Anyone who does do this sort of work has no idea of the time needed to make a good job. I was occasionally asked to ‘just fudge it’. I always refused.
    That dress will be lovely Mrs M.

    • mrsmole says:

      Somehow I can’t imagine offering a bride the option of fudging or doing the job correctly…ha ha. My goal is always to “get in and get out” without the dress looking like Grandma had her way with it! Funny, I also think about a seamstress 30 years from now when I am dead and gone opening up a seam that I have worked on and smiling because I didn’t trim away fabric that she now needs to let out.Thank you, Kim!

  3. Donna says:

    Everything you do is beautiful.

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Donna. I’m lucky that I have such beautiful gowns to start with. In past years I used to work on regular clothes that should have been washed BEFORE dropping them off.

  4. Laura Jansen says:

    Anyone who knows anything about beadwork – whoooeeey! Do they know how lucky they are (no matter what the cost) to have you to work on their dresses!?!!!

  5. Judith Rickard says:

    I would love to have your “green soup” recipe!

    And here’s my slug adventure story, and appropriately enough it occurred at my wedding: We had a big potluck dinner following the ceremony, and about halfway through, a guest showed me a baguette that had a slimy little passenger! Apparently, in bringing the table flowers from my garden, I had also brought a slug and it decided that French bread might be a good snack. (I hesitate to reveal this, but I will…the loaf of bread was taken outside, the slug relocated to the adjacent garden, and the bread, which was unmarked, was returned to the bread basket. Hey, what’s a little slime between friends? No excuse, but by way of explanation, there WAS a fair amount of champagne involved in this decision.)

    BTW, if you want to see a funny image, google “well played slug”. 🙂

    • mrsmole says:

      The soup is called, “potage st germaine” and you can Google it to find many versions. I found a simple one 24 years ago in a women’s magazine when I lived in the UK. It called for 10 lettuce leaves, 10 spinach leaves, 1 cup of frozen peas, 2 leeks, 1 cup of stock and chervil. These days I use onions, half lettuce, half spinach and 1 cup of peas and Poultry seasoning powder and chicken stock made from boiling a chicken carcass from Costco. Some days I make huge batches doubling everything and pouring it into plastic containers to freeze and adding half and half after defrosting and re-heating. Some days I toss in chard if I am running low on spinach. It is very versatile and looks pretty darn nice once all the cooked parts go in the blender and come out smooth.
      I love your slug story!!!!! Thanks for such a happy start to the weekend, Judith!

  6. …and then the bride put on 5 kilos.
    I would have just suggested to shrink the dress. Let’s see what happens if we boil it! Marvellous job, as usual.

    • mrsmole says:

      The fact that this is not really a wedding dress and more like the Pageant section of this manufacturer says something about the bride and her expectations. As per usual, the bridal salon told her a seamstress could make it fit. The weird thing is, supposedly she ordered this custom made but there are so many loose beads and strings hanging, my first comment to her was, “Did you buy this as a sample dress?”

  7. SJ Kurtz says:

    Long ago, I witnesses a bugle beaded costume alteration (NOT BY ME thank you) done by associate. She identified where the beads would be removed, and then smashed them with a ball peen hammer and picked the bits out. Then she sewed up the alteration, keeping the extra fabric in the seam, nicely tucked away, lecturing me about leaving it for the next person.
    Oookay. She had a hammer in her hand. I just had a seam ripper.

    On a related topic, I was admiring the wedding photos in my college alumni magazine. They are ALL in fields, near barns, tulle hems dragging in the grass. These kids today!

    • mrsmole says:

      Smashing beads sure does not work well for me. Some of these dresses come with expensive crystals and rhinestones that deserve to be saved in a bag for the future. What is the sense to leaving extra fabric in seams if you have nothing to use to fill in matching beads later? I have worked on dresses from the 30’s and you cannot find beads that match!!! Maybe the key word you used “costume” allows someone to be so brutal but bridal changes the whole perspective on a dress like this and the amount of space needed to move that darn zipper…ha ha.

  8. maryfunt says:

    Fabulous work as always. I sympathize with you when dealing with beadwork. I’ve had great success crushing the extra beads with small pliers. Keep a vacuum handy as it does get quite messy but saves tracking down the start of the beading thread. The soup recipe sounds wonderful. I can’t wait to see what the rest of bridal season brings your way.

    • mrsmole says:

      Thanks, Mary, yes crushing a few stray beads is OK but you can see the bag I ended up with for the next seamstress to use. If I was handed that bag, I’d be thrilled! If the bride changes her mind about how tight the back of the dress needs to be and whether she plans on takes any deep breaths that day, I may have to put some beads back into that area…so having the removed beads handy is insurance! I wish I could share all the weirdness that is already coming in!!!

  9. That’s a beautiful gown … but I can’t imagine anyone being able to alter it with all those beads in the way. Except you … You, Mrs. Mole, are a Very Talented Miracle Worker!!!

  10. mrsmole says:

    The bride’s mother told me that she thought she could alter this dress herself as she along with many others in the area like to make table runners and feel that they are crafty enough to tackle this. After I gave the quote, she hugged me and said she was so grateful to have found me. It is like just because I own a pair of scissors doesn’t mean I could cut my own hair, I leave that to a woman who went to school to do it right and this is not her first rodeo!

    • Rena says:

      At least the mother didn’t say oh that’s too expensive, I think I’ll give it a try!! I’ve had my share of beaded prom dresses and I cringe every time. They have no clue what it takes to alter. I was recently given an Arabian dance costume made by a “mom” that wasn’t well made to start and then had been altered and stuff added (and glued) to it! It was so messed up I convinced the client to just let me make a new bodice and salvage the pants.

  11. I always save your blog for my quiet coffee brake – as a special treat to read! I admire your skill and knowledge greatly!!!

  12. Tia Dia says:

    Oh. Em. Gee. Those beads made my head spin just thinking about that alteration! Ugh and Ugh again. You are BRILLIANTLY patient to do that job!

    • mrsmole says:

      Your day is coming, Tia, when your daughters bring home a dress for YOU to alter and make fit right. Fingers crossed they take you along for the buying so you can get an idea of what you will be up against!

  13. sewruth says:

    Be careful what you wish for…
    What’s worse – beads or tulle? Bride or Mother?

  14. Pingback: St. Patrick’s Day Quincenera | fit for a queen

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