Adding Part 2

Are you ready for more adding?

On the second try-on, the top edge of the new panel was not cupping back unto her chest so I made darts to make it do the right thing. The bride wanted the amount to be 1.5 inches taller than the original bodice edge. See the red thread tracing line for positioning.

Two darts would not be enough so I added one more to really make it curve.

Then the cotton muslin layer was darted and added and boning was attached to the muslin.

The bride asked for more 1 inch wide panels to be added to the side and back edges so I pinned another strip of cotton to those edges to make a pattern piece to cut out all 3 layers again.

You can see the final fabric used for the sash. Before I removed the test black sash, I traced the exact placement lines on the lace bodice as I know brides lose track of what they want. The green tracing lines helped me position the new fabric exactly where she wanted…for now.

The new back panels have to angle down and disappear at center back:

Layering and making the new back panels:

Pin on the outside making sure the tension is tight enough to hold back loose skin and back fat:

Tuck everything inside and baste all the layers together. New sash is basted unto the placement lines…for now.

Flip to the inside for a look…what a mess! But once all the outside is perfect, I can trim away all the excess and attach a lining strip.

Third try-on…notice the new panel is wrinkling? Have to add boning strips to this piece as well at the underarm and back princess area to keep it from drooping down.

Also notice that the sash has been lifted up from the original green thread position. Once the sash is attached on either side of the zipper, I have to add lace covered buttons all down the back because without them…well,  just because, I guess?

Front panels in place and curving nicely. For this third try-on, the bride brought a friend for “moral support” and her friend’s comment was, “Wow, you didn’t have much coverage without the new panels!” Again, notice the lower green thread position has been changed.

As the bride scrunched the sash more and more to make it narrower, I explained that it would not be very nice to have all that fabric all wadded up under the pleats and it would add bulk. I pinned under what she wanted and said I would trim it all away later.

The rhinestone motif will be attached by hand later. Every inch of new panels will be covered in new lace motifs that the bride ordered from the factory. I asked her if I could have any of the curvy lace stick up above the top edge to soften it and look like it had come that way. You know, thinking of how to slap lace over all this mess and make it look original…just a thought…she quickly snapped back…”It has to be perfectly smooth with no little bits sticking up!”

Bummer, it really would have been very pretty to have tiny bits over the edge to look more feminine. What do I know? After sewing for clients for 50 years, I must be brain dead by now!

What else do we need? How about a 5 point bustle for the tulle and a 1 point bustle for the now trimmed shorter satin train?

Here are 3 points pinned up and tulle trimmed shorter to be just 3 inches longer than the satin train. I trim the back tulle train starting at the side seam and ending at center back so I can use one trimmed bit as a pattern to trim the other side to match (mirror image).

Now for all of you are trying to imagine what all the labor will be for this….what about at least 11 hours and $120 for the bustle. Yes, totaling that up in your head takes us over $700 not to mention sewing 14 buttons down the back and steaming every last wrinkle out to be perfect.

After all this messing, did I mention that I have 8 other dresses to finish before the end of the month? Thank God they are not all like this!

To reward myself for not losing my temper with crazy brides, I bought myself 2 new books.

First one is by David Page Coffin:

and the second one is by Kenneth D King:

Great reading and some fabulous photos by two very experienced men!

Wishing you all more successful sewing and nice temps for seasonal veggies and flowers this week! Thank you all for sticking with me through all this chaos!

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30 Responses to Adding Part 2

  1. Mary Anne says:

    Would have been beautiful with the “bits” you suggested.

  2. SARAH GILBERT says:

    Spending 1/3 or more of your wedding dress budget on alterations seems like the height of luxury to me and completely reasonable, if you have the good sense to get on the schedule of an artist like Mrs. Mole and you spend $$$ on a quality dress in the first place. Your brides are having a once in a lifetime experience, even those who don’t appreciate it right now.

    Long ago I took piano lessons from a little old lady down the street in my tiny town and only discovered years later she’d been a music consultant to Vernon and Irene Castle. Meant nothing to me at the time; now I marvel at her patience and determination. Mrs. Mole-you are a marvel!

    • Val says:

      I was wondering how much the bride “saved” by buying the alternative dress and paying for alternations to make it close to your dream dress instead of buying the dream dress in the first place… I suppose it made sense to her.

      • mrsmole says:

        Well, Val, I think it was the case of buying one dress and then sniffing around Pinterest and seeing what else she could toss on her dress to make it even more special…which somehow she was told that I could work miracles….grrrr.

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Sarah, some of my brides do know the value of my work as they have heard it from other brides but that does not stop them from asking for more stuff to be attached to their dresses…in fact it makes my job even harder to make everything so custom. Irene Castle…I’m old enough to remember her…wow lessons from her consultant!

  3. acraftyscrivener says:

    You are incredible!

  4. JenL says:

    I admire your patience!
    The earlier Coffin book on shirts has been helpful to me, and with more fitting info, the new one must be even better. The King book looks great too. I am going to have to take a look at it.

  5. Kim says:

    I’m not going to gloat but I’m so glad I don’t have that to deal with any more. Not too long until you retire Moley! (Just wait until word gets out – make sure you’ve closed the book before word gets out 😂)

    • mrsmole says:

      You’ve got that right, Kim. Already some of the mothers are whining that I will not be doing more daughters’ wedding gowns…like just because I won a machine I would never stop sewing for the public. One thing I would like to do instead is work at an animal rescue center especially one with owls…one day maybe?

      • Kim says:

        Also beware the late rush orders to get in before you go. It might be worth working out what fits the remaining time and closing book once you get there – I ended up working longer just to finish up because I didn’t do that.
        Working with owls sounds excellent! Go for it!

  6. You do such a great job, and you do not even comment on things like the likelihood of these marriages succeeding. That is very professional of you!

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Honey, I am tempted to tell the grooms one word, “RUN” but I rarely get to see them unless they stay in the car for the fittings…most drive away and visit a sports bar until they get called back. Funny enough, I am really good friends with a bride that did not last long in her fancy wedding…the groom ended up being gay and left for greener pastures.

  7. Oh wow! That’s a lot of messing about. Sometimes I wonder why women buy dresses that don’t work for their figure? If you have to add so much, maybe a different dress would have been better. I still think I prefer pageant over bridal. Crazy moms are manageable…crazy brides, jury is still out!

    • erniek3 says:

      I had a great conversation with a fella who sews for pageants and he DEFINITELY preferred them. – there’s a dream, then a budget, then a dress. In that order. Straight or drag, same priorities.
      I still don’t know why she couldn’t consider that sash on a different dress, because that’s pretty much what she’s paying for now.

      • That’s been my experience with pageants. They’re not afraid to spend money and they buy things expecting to alter them to fit. The girls that pay the money and have well fitting garments are the ones that win.

        Yeah, definitely a different dress!

      • mrsmole says:

        The money moms pay for pageant dresses from the age of 4 on up is insane!!!! Too late now for me to switch gears and make more money. The finished sash will not be that flattering, just wrinkled fabric around her middle. Go figure?

  8. Another very helpful blog post! I’m helping some ladies with their prom dresses and am having trouble with the bust cupping in on one of them. I think I’ll treat the dart method. Thank you also for the books you listed.

    • CHERYL DESIGNS says:

      There are many solutions to ‘bust cupping’ 🙂 Mrs. Mole’s twill tape. Sometimes you can just stitch along the edge with a double thread line..if it is not major, HAND SEWN of course 🙂 Just put a bit of TENSION on the thread. Sometimes you MUST take a dart here or there. I try to use 1/4″ rubberized elastic from WAWAK. A roll of it is $20 and WELL WORTH IT 🙂 Order the NUDE. It can PULL in a bust AND the rubber tends to slightly STICK to the body. I am VERY pleased with this product and I have been altering formalwear since the 80’s 🙂

  9. fitch says:

    You are amazing! I especially appreciate the pics!
    I am relieved to see that you are charging a price that is fair to you. You do every step three times and get the most perfect fit I’ve ever seen!

    • CHERYL DESIGNS says:

      YES YES!!!!!!! I think Mrs. Mole IS charging enough for her PROFESSIONAL services. I am SO PROUD of her. I have a couple of local seamstresses that are NOT charging nearly enough per hour 😦 No, they don’t work for me but I SEE their charges on items I have to re-do. They are CAPABLE-NOT GREAT but they need to charge more than a LOUSY $5-$7 per hour!!!

  10. Nancy Bailey says:

    Be sure to get CASH!! Luv ‘ya Nancy

  11. sewruth says:

    Enjoy your reading..although I think by now you could write your own book on fitting (very tight dresses!)
    Your adding and adding has created a brand new dress and much better than the original in my view.

  12. Odette says:

    “Pin on the outside making sure the tension is tight enough to hold back loose skin and back fat” Take THAT Miss Bridezilla! LOL

  13. Pingback: Simple Sample | fit for a queen

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