Selection By Posse’ Part One

   This sequined dress from BCBG will be a real challenge!

The bride said that she took her whole family to the salon to select a dress and this is what THEY came up with.

Selection by committee convinced her to buy a dress larger and longer than she needed because…why?…the salesperson told her a seamstress could make it fit.

First, we have to pin out 1.25 inches (total 2.5) at the waist since we cannot just whack off the tulle at the floor level. This will require removing the skirt and lining and bring it up 2.5 inches along with making the circumference the same as the original to be able to attach unto the bodice.

On inspection, all the skirt seams are French, even the sequined layer…wonderful…I love bulk!

Let’s get measuring…the numbers add up to needing to reduce the waist of the skirt by 5.5 inches once it is raised up. So the side seams of the sequin layer will have to be taken in 2.75 inches each side seam and the lining as well along with darts. Notice the fabric label hanging from the waist seam? Yes, it says you cannot return this dress if it is removed.

The tail of the zipper will remain in the center back seam but all the rest will be removed, binding removed and moved up to the neck 2.5 inches. Good thing the salesperson told her this was an easy fix…tearing my hair out!

Only one thing could make this a more un-enjoyable job…have you had clients call “just to check up”?









Let’s pin and mark the 2.5 inches that have to be removed at the top of the skirt:

See the new waist seamline 2.5 inches lower?

Here we have the inside and the amount I have to take in the back hip dart in the lining:

New French seam for the sides:

Skirt hand basted to the bodice:

That center front sheer area hand basted:

Zipper hand basted with new darts in skirt:

After the second try-on, I need to take in the side seams AND darts more:

The white thread indicates the new French seam line:

See how much longer the new dart will be?

French seams in the sequined layer. Every sequin will have to be removed to make this possible. First wrong sides together:

Ready to remove all the sequins in the waistline seam?

Trimmed seams:

There is no way I would run this new seam through my serger without removing those darn sequins!!!!

Hooray…it looks like the original now!

Next time, I’ll show all the steps involving the insanely labor intensive zipper and the mesh strip and the narrow edge binding in Part 2 but here is a little holiday cheer.

Mr. Mole has bought me an amaryllis bulb in the past but this year I sneaked a new one into his study. Not only is this flower a double double but there are 2 more stems ready to stand up and burst forth with more flowers!

Still plowing through wedding gowns…I think I have enough to keep me busy until Santa comes!


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39 Responses to Selection By Posse’ Part One

  1. Donnalee says:

    You always do such great work, and often under unnecessarily unpleasant circumstances. I would charge a dope tax on people whose dopey choices have made it much harder than it needed to be. I hope you are secretly a punk or heavy metal singer in your spare time to get stress out!

  2. erniek3 says:

    I am pretty sure that salesperson told this customer that it can be easily altered because 1) you’re just folding it up and stitching it once, right? and 2) gets that whole crowd of consultants out of the store.
    Hey, the bodice fits!
    This dress begs a question: this fabric is not going to last long enough to justify the french seams. The long runs of sequins are very easy to snag and pull out. But I have to respect your process here, and it wasn’t a hot mess inside to start.
    Beautiful red on the amaryllis.

    • mrsmole says:

      Again, Ernie, buying the right size would have been good idea or to take a seamstress with you for your appointment. I could have folded that hem under but lost the whole delicate feel…many hours later, she got what she wanted…that zipper…holy moley! Wait till next time for the finale!

  3. kssews says:

    I got palpitations reading that.

  4. Susan Hart says:

    I once was so frustrated while altering a dress that I sat down and wrote a very lengthy explanation to bridal salon salespeople about sewing and alterations etc…..
    I never sent it out but it helped me with MY stress.
    It was a fully beaded gown (kind like the flapper days style), extremely heavy and I had to figure out a way to shorten the length and NOT remove beads as I would’ve had a cascade of catasrophe all over the floor!

    • mrsmole says:

      That’s when a magic wand comes in handy….now where did I misplace mine????? So happy that MY salon owner like to measure and be sensible with picking the right size to order. Doing other dresses from faraway places can lead to a nightmare of labor!

  5. Judy Cinerari says:

    You are an absolute legend. It baffles me why people buy a ready made dress then expect it to be almost completely remade to fit! Why don’t they buy something that fits or have it custom made. You have the patience of a saint. Bravo.

  6. Donna says:

    I could NEVER have your patience!! You are AMAZING! Of course, I’ve always known that. 🤗💕

  7. Nancy Figur says:

    Wow, I can usually find something to like about all the gowns that come in to me but I would have trouble with that one. A group chose it – I am surprised.
    I do have to say that I run over sequins all the time on my serger. The only thing I find is that if I go quickly it works out fine. If I try to go really slow I might break a needle but quickly they slice right through. Last year I had to make 8 sequin gowns and what I did was stitch the seam first and then run the serger quick over the seam allowance.
    Maybe that dress is prettier in person but it reminds me of some big building in NYC like the Chrysler building with those lines.
    You are amazing.

    • mrsmole says:

      I think they were going for Art Deco which was the era of the Chrysler building wasn’t it? Maybe the 20’s? Making 8 sequined gowns…now that is something way beyond my desires! My sergers are old ladies bought back when they first came out for home sewers back in the late 70’s so I baby them along and keep a spare for parts.

      • Nancy Figur says:

        When I am not making Christening gowns from wedding gowns I am the costumer for Musical Theater productions. Last year I was drowning in sequins for Little Mermaid. I can do that stuff in my sleep. What you do would terrify me.

  8. Laura says:

    I kind of got nauseous reading what you had to do. You really are amazing.

  9. Trish says:

    Amazing job as always, Mrs Mole!
    Re the comments about why people buy something that doesn’t fit and have it altered rather than having it custom made: when you have something made by a dressmaker, you take it on faith that the finished product will suit you and you’ll love it. From what brides have told me, this is often not the case, and they have to rush out a few days before the wedding and find something they DO like!
    The other problem for we alteration people, is that clients have absolutely no idea how long it takes to do it properly. They bring in a dress which doesn’t fit at all, and they come back and, hey presto, it ‘fits like a glove’. Easy. They have absolutely no idea of the dreadful, hair-tearing-out processes involved (unless they read Mrs Mole’s blog, of course).
    I always think tradesmen have an easier time of it, because at least the client can see how long it takes. I’ve been sewing for a very long time, and I’m still astounded by how long it takes, but am incapable of cutting corners to save the client money.
    Bring on the magic wand, I say!

  10. Mary says:

    It never ceases to amaze me that dress manufacturers, bridal shops and buyers don’t take into consideration that many women are Petite! And many are tall. And many are average. What is with that? So many issues could be resolved before the dress is purchased if these principles could be realized BEFORE purchasing a dress.Just my humble opinion, formed from years of trying to fit a 4 ft tall bride into a dress that was designed for a 6 ft tall woman! Crazy!!!

  11. Mary says:

    Beautiful work, as always, Mrs. Mole. Hmmmm…I wonder if the “Selection Committee” chose the groom as well. 😉

  12. Tia Dia says:

    Such a lot of work! And the final product always looks so amazing every time you post about a nightmare dress. Apart from your fees, which really should include a ‘stupid’ tax, it must be very satisfying to see a dress fit well when it walks out the door of your studio.

  13. Richard says:

    There’s an old saying about committees…..none of us is as stupid as all of us.

  14. ceci says:

    I’m surprisingly attracted to this dress; it would be interesting to see the posse’s whole wedding vision, flowers, decor, groom…..


  15. upsew says:

    you really are amazing….personally I would have run a mile…. or further if I was fitter

  16. Hopefully the “committee” chipped in to pay for alterations!!! You should sew that return label back in, just for kicks!

  17. Suzanne Resetarits says:

    Do you have any tips for removing body oder from a plus size wedding gown. My bride has sweated through every fitting and now the gown has an awful smell.

    • Nancy Figur says:

      What I use for theater costumes is vodka and water mixed into a spray bottle and sprayed on. I also use Febreeze but that leaves a perfume smell where the vodka mix doesn’t. I do about 1/3 water.

    • mrsmole says:

      I typed into Google “removing sweat odors from wedding gowns” and lots of links were there. Many involve using vinegar and as Nancy says you could try the vodka solution. I would keep some white washcloths under the area to soak up any residue and for blotting, no rubbing.

  18. Mary says:

    What does “plus size” have to do with removing body odor? I’ve had 4ft, 98 lb petite brides stink to high heaven. It’s a genetic thing, not a thing for body shaming. I’d like to think we’ve evolved from that. Maybe not.

  19. mrsmole says:

    The longer the dress is worn for the fitting and the more nervous the brides is…well they are bound to leave their scent on the fabric. I am with you, Mary….everyone sweats.

  20. maryfunt says:

    Don’t you love when the salesperson, who has no idea how to sew, tells clients how easy the alterations will be. I’ll keep the tip about vodka and water as deodorizer in mind. I think vinegar as an acid might damage fibers. I wonder if vodka is different than rubbing or denatured alcohol for this use. Maybe vodka is best as you probably needed a good drink after this one.

  21. Kim says:

    Wouldn’t it be lovely to line up these salespeople who are such experts in alterations and …….
    (Incidentally, I did occasionally enjoy tearing a strip off one in the store I did work for and showed them just ‘how easy’ their alteration was – or in the extreme cases making them ring the client to tell them why it would take longer than they said. Always fun 😊).

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