Custom Week

Do you all remember the photo of the wedding dress/tunic that a bride sent to me telling me that she thought the bust area might be tight?

Well, when the dress and bride arrived and she tried it on the zipper could not zip up all the way and all you could see was her “bunnies in the hutch” trying to make a run for it. The scalloped lace hem barely covered her butt cheeks and she could not sit down.

I told her that there was really nothing I could do for her as there was too little dress for her body…a nice way to say she resembled a sausage. She was bragging that she could spend so little on a dress for her wedding and she was not being stupid like all her other friends who had bought proper wedding gowns…not her…no siree… she was the smartest of them all. That’s when I thought I would never hear from her again. Two months go by….

BUT…3 days ago she sent a message through Facebook asking for an appointment to see her latest purchase.

Here is the model wearing this nightgown/no boning dress:

I stupidly agreed and this is what showed up:

Some of the obvious needs are letting out her side seams, shortening her straps, and her request of making a horizontal tuck across her tummy to raise the scalloped lace hem 3 inches. The bust area came with triangular pads which were positioned too high for her bust thus giving a 4-boob look. She is holding ribbon at her waist so we can hide the tuck. You can see the bust cup peeking over the top of the bodice.

These odd bust cups will be dropped 2 inches:

Her straps will be shortened 1.25 inches.

To shorten the straps I open the lining side seams and reach inside and pull out the end of the straps. What a joke to find that the end of the strap had only a 1/4 inch in the seam. The stitching is released and the strap is pulled 1.25 inches out and re-stitched. I did not trim off the strap for the next seamstress.


The bride wanted me to give her a real shapely butt so she asked for pleats…sure, let’s toss in 3 of those just above where the lace bustle point will go. Hiking the lace up will require shortening the lining hems 2 inches. The 2 layers of knit lining will have their own bustle button under the lace one.

The lining is a double layer of thick polyester knit and it is very heavy so I am adding a strip of grosgrain ribbon to the tail end of the zipper which will serve as some support for the clear lining bustle button.

A small backer button is used behind the larger clear button for extra security. 

Now for the real challenge or hiking up only the lace layer 3 inches to shorten the hem. The pins mark the waist level and the lower red thread line will be brought up to meet the upper thread and all covered with ribbon…a fine mess and not too professional. Sometimes we have to bite our tongue and just do whatever the bride wants even though it is not the best way of doing things.

Unfortunately, the lace layer is attached to the side seams at the waist and so something has to be altered to allow some sort of gradual transition to the back zipper. Fingers crossed that ribbon will hide lumps and bumps from seam.

To make the ribbon lie flat it will need a dart at the side seams:

The bride decided she needed some boobage coverage using the scalloped edge of the additional lace she had ordered. That will be added and stitched  by hand.

The extra yard of lace was ordered ($150) to make sleeves. Here the lace is just pinned into place roughly shorter in the front and longer in the back.

The right sleeve is used as a pattern to cut the mirror image left sleeve. You can see how lace with the eyelash edging comes attached to a woven selvedge that will be trimmed away.




Here’s a weird thing I found inside on the lining…a huge white area. Could this have been cleaned for some reason? Was this a second-hand dress?


Here is another weird thing, the side seams on one side were stitched almost 2 inches from the edge so I am thinking, yes, indeed this dress has been altered before but the bride claims she ordered it new.

The new sleeves have been attached to the thin straps by hand:

The original bust cups were angled and not meant to be used that way and as a result, there were creases no matter how low I sewed them. I managed to get a rush order of tear drop bust cups from Wawak in DD/E size and these will give some support although the dress has none. Another reason why I think this dress was either a sample or worn before was the fact that these bust cups are supposed to be sewn in horizontal not vertical.

Boobs in place, sleeves attached, lace modesty neckline and the dress is ready to go out the door…7 days to create a custom dress!!!


Just so thankful that most brides give me more than 7 days to make magic!

Yesterday was Earth Day and Mr. Mole and I celebrated by working in the garden for 3 hours weeding and transplanting veggies and planning out where the new baby plants will go when the frost subsides. Next time I will bring some of the worms from the garage wormery to introduce into the raised beds along with new chicken manure to refresh and enrich the soil.

After a crazy bridal week and lots of squatting and tugging outdoors, we rewarded ourselves with the first margarita of the year and watched the birds flirting.

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

28 Responses to Custom Week

  1. Hmm As the wife would no doubt mutter darkly in her best heavy Jamaican accent: ‘nah man nah muddah nah mirrah’. Presumably she has the man, but…

  2. jay says:

    I so look forward to your stories. It never ceases to amaze me that you take on these impossible challenges and then win through. How you manage not to yell ‘get a bigger size’, I can’t imagine. At the same time I feel sorry that so many of us are fixated on a look we can’t rock.

    • mrsmole says:

      That’s correct, Jay…not many of us can look like a 20 year old model who has the dress clamped in the back to look good.I do ask, “Did the salon measure you or did you buy the sample dress because it was on sale?” Normally the answer is, “Yes, I saved a bundle on this sample dress”…go figure.

      • CHERYL DESIGNS says:

        YES YES 🙂 ” I SAVED HUNDREDS of dollars by purchasing a gown that is TWO SIZES TOO SMALL for my middle-aged body 😦 ” Cheryl Designs…THEN…proceeds to educate about FOUNDATION garments. These are a NECESSITY for middle-aged brides that have borne children. We need LIFT and SEPARATION 🙂 It always works out, I have MANY referrals 🙂 I just want to BEG BRIDES….PLEASE buy a gown that RELATIVELY FITS 🙂 We WILL fine tune the fit=no worries 🙂

  3. sewruth says:

    You know I completely bow down to your dedication and skill but really, not everyone has to wear a white lace dress in which to get married. What’s wrong with wearing a well fitting skirt, bodice and jacket?

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Ruth…I will remember these words when I finish another white wedding dress coming up for a woman who has waited 70 years for Mr. Right…yes…70 years. Stay tuned!

  4. fabrickated says:

    OOOH! what a sight for sore eyes. The four boob bust. And that very short one that was such good value. You did a good job considering (as usual). A fun and fascinating post Mrs M. Thanks.

    And the gardening sounds like a labour of love too. When do you switch off and relax?

    • mrsmole says:

      Relax…that’s a hard question to a self-employed gal..some days I can stop at 5 pm and snack on peanuts and iced tea before dinner and then get back to the brides before heading to bed at 11. Gardening uses different muscles and gloves so it is a nice break and the results are rewarding too. The relaxing time comes later when I retire from brides in a couple years like Kim has done…she has way more time for fun things now!

  5. Laura Jansen says:

    Let patience by your guide. You can write the book! Oh my.

  6. Sandi Benfield says:

    Oh Ms.Mole you are are a miracle worker!👍🏻

  7. Kim says:

    Yup, the cheapest wedding dress you can imagine. Not the least expensive but definitely the cheapest……

  8. maryfunt says:

    What a mess! The dress looks nice on a trim, thin model but your bride obviously didn’t look in the mirror. She needs more dress to cover all the real estate. You did a spectacular job considering what you had to work with.

    • mrsmole says:

      Love your term of “real estate”! It was one of those projects that I disagreed with the bride but had to just go along with her as we had less than a week to get it done and out the door. So glad the ribbon covered up all the ugly.

  9. The dresses just keep getting cheaper and people just keep buying them up! Proper structure and support makes a HUGE difference in appearance but nobody wants to hear that.

    • CHERYL DESIGNS says:

      YES YES 🙂 I have been AMAZED at some of my bridal customers gowns !! Of course, they INSIST on purchasing CHEAPLY ONLINE and the gowns arrive with MINIMAL boning and almost NO structure 😦 Oh CHERYL 🙂 I KNOW you can make me look BEAUTIFUL in this 🙂 Sure I can..for a freakin’ PRICE 😦 BUY a GOWN at a STORE that relatively FITS ladies….GEE 😦 I LOVE THEM 🙂 I just shake my head and move along 🙂

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Rena, they don’t even want to hear me say, “formal clothes require formal underwear” as a pink thong will not cut it!

  10. sewgirlkaren says:

    I am always amazed at your talent. You can make the most grotesque shine like a new diamond! I wish I was that patient with the dresses (AND the brides!)! Years ago I did a little of what you do, but decided I’d rather start from scratch than try to make gorgeous from a burlap bag! I think I’ve always preferred the tailored look of clothing rather than frilly, and it’s much easier for me to work with. I’m also amazed at your gardening work along with bridal alterations! That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. Even with gloves, my hands are wrecked after working in the garden. (I’d be bleeding on or snagging everything I touched!) My hat’s off to you, lovely lady Mrs Mole 🙂

    • mrsmole says:

      Working with tulle sure makes you watch how your hands look. Any little rough spot will surely snag netting and tulle so I use nail files almost every day to smooth anything on my hands. Besides filing nails, I do the same on cuticles and on the pads of my fingers where I use to push needles for hand sewing. Wearing tight fitting vinyl gloves in the garden protects the nails and helps hold moisture into the skin…almost like a spa treatment with the added bonus of getting out into the fresh air away from the sewing room.I am blessed, Karen, that I can do both, 6 days of sewing, 1 day of sowing. Thank you for your kind comments.

  11. upsew says:

    I love your stories and amazed by your patience…. and you have done another miracle there……

  12. erniek3 says:

    O thank you. I have laughed and laughed and now I have seen the four boob. But I want to know what sewing magic you can do to make a butt more shapely?
    The mind reels. Thanks for the big grin.

  13. mrsmole says:

    Pleated lace helps add bulk to that area! She kept complaining about her big bust and I told her that there are plenty of women who would swap with her.

  14. Suzanne says:

    Isn’t it crazy that a lot of brides buy dresses that don’t suit their bodies. I have a plus size bride that is dieting to fit into hers in Sept. and one that is a size 4 and brought me a dress that is 3 sizes too big. Its great to see your amazing gown solutions. You are a great encourgement to me..

  15. Suzanne says:

    Your posts are always an encouragement to me…….I learn a lot…this year I learned that it ok to say no to some gowns!

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 )

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