The phone rings…the bride says, “We have a little problem getting the flower girl’s zipper up” and since “you are working on my dress, I figure you can make this work too”.
How tough can it be? The bride mentions the fact that ALL of the family says that ALL she needs is a corset back. OK then…my job is set isn’t it? Or is it? Let’s take a look at the “Before” photo shall we? Hold your breath!
Can you see the side seam curving to the back? The seam is being pulled toward the front to cover her tummy and lower down pulled towards her butt in the back.
Under the center back zipper the fabric is being pulled up as well with no ease.
Right away, I say I will have to make side panels in all the layers to make this work. Then I ask how much did this dress cost as I think that it could be re-ordered in the right size and save them some money.
The answer was “$60” and the bride says that the flower girl, her soon to be 13 yr old stepdaughter will not compromise with a new dress as this is her “dream dress”. REALLY! OK then…let’s plan for some real labor costs.
I cut the belt away from the zipper so they can go and buy some ribbon to match or contrast with the other bridesmaids who are wearing shades of purple. I measure the waist to let the bride know how much ribbon to buy…hold your breath…45 inches or 114.3 cm.
Let’s get started by carefully opening up seams and shifting lace motifs shall we? One good thing is the seam allowances are almost 1 inch wide so the new panels have to be 2.5 inches wide to make up 4 inches of new ease on each side seam.
The tulle lining has wide seam allowances too…hooray!
If you approach this project as a treasure hunt…let’s see what $60 gets you. For each of the skirt layers, five, there is a row of stitching but, bummer…a couple of those rows ended up making a fold which will be released later.
Can you read Chinese? What size did they order?
Wondering why the center back seam was pulling up? How about a pleat in the lining?
Opening and releasing the lining allowed things to relax. Note the huge slash at the end of the zipper.
Someone forgot to close up the lining center back seam:
Skipping down to the skirt hem where the lining and satin were sewn together. Not a good day for keeping the stitching ends even was it?
One layer of the skirt was organza and here is what they used for the hem…the selvedge…nice touch!
Before I saw the dress the bride told me that I would have to find fabric to match the grey. I told her that SHE would have to find the fabric and this is what the whole family came up with. They shopped at two JoAnn’s and came up with mauve….hmmm.
Moving on to the waist seams…another bad day for matching:
In the end I went to JoAnn’s and found the 5 layers of grey needed:
Here you can see the 4 inches of ease using all the wide seam allowances:
Each bodice strip had a narrow seam and understitching just like the dress armhole:
Not bad except the only tulle was a sparkle variety. Once on the wearer, it should blend in and not be too noticeable.
Each layer of the skirt was measured to see how wide each new strip should be. One side to another varied by 2 inches. In other words, not all the strips were 4 inches wide, a couple were 6 inches to bridge the gap.
The layers in order of sequence:
Skirt layers attached and ready to be basted to the bodice, left side and right sides:
As we come to the end, I noticed that the center back seam in the lining was sewn by hand:
And opening the hem edge, you can see that it was another bad day for matching. No wonder that the back hem was pulling up when sewn to the satin layer. All this was just wadded up inside.
Flipping the dress inside out to check the lining:
What else do we need? Maybe a purple belt hand tacked to the waist seam:
Front view of finished dress with the old side seam lace motifs re-attached and pressed:
The smoke continues to drift in and out of our 100 + degree valley while the fire crews are making back fires to slow the rate of growth but it will be a long time before they can contain the perimeters. It seems the whole West coast is under siege!
Stay cool everyone and I wish you a great sewing week!