Layers and Layers

Remember the dresses last year with hems made with horsehair braid? Well, Wtoo has done it again in Rowena dress.


What is not apparent from just looking at this beautiful skirt is that it is just many layers of circles and offers no great or easy way to bustle them up to be pretty or simple for the bridesmaid to handle. You can see the safety pins buried under all the layers.

Every weekend I cover a mannequin with a dress to discover what is shaping the dress which in most cases are layers and layers of netting which have to be trimmed and tamed before the satin layers are involved. To support and shape all those horsehair braid layers, this dress needs all of this netting.

A small pile of trimmings:

Now for the satin layer and a one-point bustle:

Ending up with 5 points for the tulle bustle, it is starting to look manageable and doable for the bridesmaid.

One last thing the bride wanted was to have the bodice taken in tighter. The pins mark the new zipper edge.

It is a real treat to see that the lining is not covering the zipper tape so moving it over is easier.

Once it is taken in, an additional hook and eye is used to secure the top edge of the lace scallops.



Can you see the 5 bustle points under all those layers? There are 5 satin covered buttons but they do blend in nicely.

Final try-on with her veil:












Speaking of layers, Mr. Mole has turned a bookshelf in his study into a seedling nursery complete with grow lights.

The results are quite something knowing that we are not frost free yet and the more mature plants have a really great jump on the season waiting to be planted out in a cold frame which for now has been keeping the new red onion sets toasty underground.

Soon they will be able to join the veggies that have been producing all winter under plastic covers:

Determination gets us through our days and work load and this week I read this story of a real gutsy woman who sewed day and night to raise her family.

Happy sewing everyone!

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27 Responses to Layers and Layers

  1. That’s a nice one! I’ll be devising a bustle for the dress I’m currently making…but at least that won’t be for a few weeks yet!

  2. Suzanne says:

    She looks lovely, nice job!

  3. erniek3 says:

    That is a pretty dress. Yes, you can see the buttons and no, no one is going to see the buttons because nobody looks except for you and the other readers of this post. And we’ll smile.

    Thank you for the link to the seamstress (the machinist!) in London. The sewists before us (and frankly, still with us) who worked for nothing put my jobs in perspective. I’ll be less irritated by the tiny rolled hem in chiffon that waits on the table. It’s only one, and I know I’ll be paid promptly.

  4. I had to alter a prom dress with similar layers. SO THANKFUL it just needed a modesty panel and not a hem!!! And it had been wadded up in a bag so all the horsehair was bent and sticking out at weird angles. Do women not use hangers anymore???

    • mrsmole says:

      Hangers? Ironing? All things of the past, Rena. Some of my clients have never owned or used an iron. Isn’t a plastic grocery bag adequate for storing a prom or wedding dress…OMG…the stuff we see! Bent horsehair braid…Lordie, you can spend hours steaming the be-Jesus and kinks out of that stuff just to make it look right!

  5. Mem says:

    Very pretty dress . It lifts my spirits . I read the gentle author too! Love it it’s such a great blog

    • mrsmole says:

      Thanks, Mem…reading that blog everyday gives you a sense of the old times that are rapidly declining in our inner cities. There was a real sense of community where all races and religions lived peacefully side by side.

  6. Kim says:

    Lovely dress – and looking good on the bride.
    I’m very impressed by Mr Moles industry. Your plants are looking way ahead of anything I’ve planted…

    • mrsmole says:

      The trick is to learn when is the best time to take them outside to harden off without killing them. We have had some casualties in the greenhouse when it got too warm and the tomato plants just flopped down and gave up. Recently, he has been just slicing up cherry tomatoes from the store and planting them and oh my…the baby plants pop up like crazy! The squash plants are already producing flowers and I shout at them, “slow down” as they have to wait until they are tough enough to go outside to wait for pollinating bees.

  7. ceci says:

    The dress and bride look like a good match, both lovely….hope she has some appropriate necklace in mind. Very envious of your garden progress – we had several inches of ice and snow less than a week ago so although my husband has been digging and composting beds its all a mudpie now. Not that there is anything wrong with mudpies…..


    • mrsmole says:

      Hopefully your husband has come across happy worms who survived the winter! It is such a treat to lift pots and find little wrigglers under them!

  8. sewruth says:

    That’s one lovely skirt but I don’t envy you having to alter it.
    Where you do white, Mr Mole does green…..and both of you do your ‘colours’ to perfection.

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Ruth…having our own rooms and separate projects keep us sane as we both work from home 7 days a week. He has such patience planting tiny seeds…I’d rather be snipping thread to open seams…ha ha!

  9. JustGail says:

    Pretty dress, I dont’ think I’d notice the buttons if I were at her reception.
    About that article – that guy seems pretty proud of himself for stealing his mother’s machine that worked long hours with her to support him. Jerk!

    • mrsmole says:

      It was cruel of the son to take the machine and table away from his mother. For all her hard work and sweat and toil, her much loved machine was just tossed aside.

  10. jay says:

    Lovely dress, but another marathon alteration job! Thanks for the link to the article about sewing in East London. I know the streets named pretty well, there are still vestiges of the garment trade round there, places I buy fabrics and bits and pieces. I did enjoy reading about the lady’s dedication to earning money for her family any way she could, pretty admirable!

    • mrsmole says:

      Learning about seamstresses that went before us can give us a real sense of pride knowing how hard they must have worked day and night just to feed their family. I make loans through Kiva to seamstresses all over the world so they can buy machines and supplies to keep their families fed and educated. We offer valuable services!

  11. Tia Dia says:

    What a pretty bride in a pretty dress. Tulle and horsehair and netting…. NiGHTMARE!!

    • mrsmole says:

      I’ll be glad when HH braid disappears and goes back to being unseen in hems UNDER the satin and tulle, not being the main feature!

      • Cheryl Designs says:

        I have been CURSING horsehair braid this PROM SEASON 😦 The designers apparently got together over drinks and decided to put it in almost ALL of their hems for 2018 😦 I have NO problem dealing with it. IT DOES… ADD to the COST of a prom gown hem 😦 I have to unstitch it, move it, re-stitch it TWICE, sometimes THREE times 😦 CURSES upon it 😦 I know that alterations are an UNDESIREABLE expense for prom gowns. I ‘get that’ 😦 This is NOT MY FAULT 😦 Sorry-been a LONG day and the fact that you NEED me-is NOT my fault πŸ™‚ “Why are hems SO expensive?” Because I work for a LIVING WAGE πŸ™‚ THANK YOU for letting me RELEASE a bit of ‘stress’ πŸ™‚ LOVE the jacket BTW πŸ™‚

      • mrsmole says:

        You are always free to vent here, Cheryl. Just this week a mother called me to say she had 2 prom dresses that she wanted hemmed for $15. She went crazy over the phone, so I gave her another name to try for a better price. She went to that other seamstress and told her the same thing and the lady refused saying she KNOWS that there are women who will hem dresses for $15. She was told…”Good luck” I says if there are women who will hem 2 layers of chiffon or hem a knit velvet dress for $15, LET ME KNOW and I will drop off some of my things too. I don’t work for $15 an hour and neither should any other seamstress entrusted with fancy dresses that need to be done in a hurry.

  12. kathyh says:

    Thank you for the link to read about piecework in London. I’m glad I can sew and earn money. I have a couple of unexpected weeks off work soon and I hope to do some work in my garden. I still need to plant my peas. I usually buy my starts from the local high school as it supports their ag program (greenhouses and water-based growing/hydroponics.)

    • mrsmole says:

      We used to buy all our seedlings from the local Grange Co-op but Mr. Mole has started planting his seeds in Feb in his study and now we just wait to see what seeds pop up. It does get exciting to see new shoots! If you can sew, you can always make money as so few women/mothers learned to sew in school.

  13. maryfunt says:

    Very pretty dress but I see what you mean about layer upon layer of circles. What a job!

    • mrsmole says:

      You never really know how something was designed or constructed until you have it staying at your house and can inspect every layer…then you find out you are in trouble, Mary…ha ha!

  14. Is it common to do zippers like that? It sure makes it easier to alter. My in-laws love starting their garden plants, mostly tomatoes, in the living room. Quite cute to see them everywhere. It’s a great idea!

  15. mrsmole says:

    Half the zippers I see are done like that and the other half have the lining sewn into the zipper as one unit. Tomatoes in the living room…that would be very tempting to touch them just to smell that delightful perfume!

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