Lace, Hems and Straps

This Wtoo Pippin dress is dramatic and very long. We have seen this dress before and know what has to be done to shorten it.

Even this tall model needs her dress shortened in front!

Besides needing to be shortened 4 inches, the lining and satin layers are that darn thick knit again and they are attached together at the hem.

Testing out a 5 point bustle:

Reminding my brides to suck their tummy in and to buy tight underpants is a daily ritual…a pink thong will not make for good photos!












Before the twill tape:

Pin in place:

Then move the center point over one inch and adjust all the tension:

Finish by doing the other side:

Cups now curve towards the body with 2 inches less ease:

Tackling the hem requires going in through a side seam after thread tracing the new hem level.

Pull all the hem out through the opening that needs to be shortened and lay it flat. Hand baste through the 2 layers. Tuck the new hem back inside and hand baste the edges down for the next try-on. Once the bride is happy with the levels, all this excess can be trimmed away.

Some time between the first fitting and hem pinning and the second fitting…things happen to the dresses in my sewing room…skirts grow and knit hems drop. Can you see the first basting level and then the second basting level? How does this happen?

I have a theory that the longer the dress hangs in my sewing room with spa music playing and scented candles burning…they just relax. So my goal is always, once permanently hemmed, the dress should be picked up asap before it grows any longer.

The dainty beaded spaghetti straps need to be removable so the front edge is wrapped with grosgrain ribbon. A French tack is attached at the very top edge of the twill tape.

Under the ribbon is a huge snap sewn to the bust cup. Once snapped on, the remaining end of the strap with the hooks and eyes can be slipped through the French tack strap and then attached in the back.

I like to attach straps closer to center back to keep them from sliding down during the wedding. Attaching at such an angle gives more torque to the whole system.

The finished photos and can you see a ridge across the bride’s tummy? The designer never thought about how the bodice with all the boning and extra layers of lining would look when it stopped being the bodice and had to transition behind the skirt.

There is nothing I can do to make it any flatter so I have to tell the bride that for her photos she will have to remember to hold her bouquet right there. Now, scroll back up to that first photo on the model…can you see that same tummy ridge?


What this bride needs to cover that ridge might be something inspired from this museum?

Thank you for dropping by this week…still wading through my 13 September brides and freezing buckets of tomatoes!

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32 Responses to Lace, Hems and Straps

  1. Colleen says:

    Excellent post! Thank you again for taking time to instruct!

  2. It’s a pretty dress. It’s a shame the designer didn’t think about that ridge problem. I thought the first model had a shadow over the area when I first saw it. It looked like you were going through a maze trying to get to that hem adjusted! Nice work again!

  3. The designer could have made the ridge follow the lace pattern. Maybe it wouldn’t have been as noticeable? Or maybe put a lining in the skirt that wasn’t nude? Beautiful job and I use the twill tape in the cup all the time, which I learned from you!

  4. Theresa says:

    Lovely job on that dress. Myself, I find the fabric on that particular one, ugly. But it would be a long line at the door if we all liked the same thing. Pity on the ridge!

    • mrsmole says:

      It is amazing that this fabric can be made into so many different version every year. It is a pain to work with as the threads keep catching on the clear sequins and snagging the dress.

  5. Tia Dia says:

    The fans are beautiful! Thank you for the link.
    I think the dress looks 1000 times better on your client after all the alterations that on either of those models, photo-shopped and all.

  6. Colleen Laschuk says:

    spa music playing and scented candles burning…they just relax LOL
    I’m always impressed at your use of twill tape in the bust area. Such a difference to the fit.

  7. shoes15 says:

    I think I will keep the spa music away from my me-made creations – I don’t need anything growing on me!

  8. Fascinating as ever- I like your clever trick with the straps

    • mrsmole says:

      Just when I get the straps all pinned on, the bride drops the bomb about not wanting them for the ceremony and can I make them removable…yes…but it requires extra labor.

  9. lesley says:

    I had the delight of visiting the Fan Museum last year, even better in real life. My husband enjoyed thinking about how they were constructed and the great variety of interesting materials used.

  10. erniek3 says:

    Now that I have seen that in the front, I cannot help but look right to it. Unfortunate location. And wonderful link to the fan museum! A double bonus! I have put a link to this page on my blog for the twill tape trick, mostly so I can find it again (that’s what my blog is to me: a long diary with notes and photos). Autumn. I like it. It has too many ripe tomatoes and I can deal with that.

  11. Beautiful as ALWAYS. The bodice twill tape trick is one of my favorite things in life. I’ve never done it more than a quarter inch though, and now I feel like I’m doing my life wrong. Do you always move it over a full inch? Does it ever create a bulge near the arms? It lies (lays?) so perfectly on your bride!

    • mrsmole says:

      Yes, Marcy I always shift it one inch and it turns out to be perfect. Wedding gown bodices seem to have a 2 inch excess in circumference at the top for some reason and as boobs sink down inside, that gap is so evident even with push up pads. I start mine at the side seam so not much gathers under the arm, the main gathering should be at the center of the bust cup like the princess seam area and then flattening at the center front and armhole.

  12. sewruth says:

    Maybe it would help if the brides ‘relaxed’ as much as their dresses……you should play the music louder. The dress looks so much better with the straps – really lovely.

  13. mrsmole says:

    Some brides suggest I run a margarita making machine in my entryway to relax everyone but I sure would not get much done that way!

  14. maryfunt says:

    This dress probably should have been designed with an inner boned corset extending to the high hip and maybe following the diagonal lines of the lace to further conceal it. That would have definitely added to the cost and probably is outside the realm of what is done for non-custom gowns. I love your method for the straps. Adding the ribbon gives a secure base for the gigantic snap and the double hooks on back look like they will work well. Thanks for the detailed views.

    • mrsmole says:

      The inner workings of most dresses leaves a lot to be desired or redesigned. I always think…what did the mock-up/sample of this look like? Did the designer only work on the outside shell and someone else the lining?

  15. Mary Lou Vanderpool says:

    Would you mind telling me which of your blogs talks about the hemming of this gown. I’ve read them all up to this one, but don’t remember where it was.

    • mrsmole says:

      I have emailed you privately with 2 photos of hems on previous dresses. The tiny lace edging was removed and moved higher up and stitched into place. Then the excess fabric was cut away.

  16. Mandy Nader says:

    I know this is an old post, but thank you for the instructions with the twill tape on the bodice! I’m making a costume that will require this exact adjustment.

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