Getting the Fit Right

This sample dress is Willowby Geranium. It is the trend to have a sheer bodice, little boning and the ubiquitous layered tulle skirt. While that works OK on a size 0 model, when the size range is extended for a larger bride, that’s when things can change and not for the better.

At the first fitting you can see that the bodice top edge needs a couple darts to bring it back to her chest. I like to pin a ribbon to show the bride what a halter would feel and look like.

Attaching a 1.5 inch wide grosgrain ribbon as a belt enhances her waist.

This bride was not loving the eyelash lace edging on the top edge of the bodice, so I was asked to give it a haircut. Also, she was not a bow person so the ribbon belt will be sewn next to the zipper teeth with no bow. The train will also be trimmed off.

Besides making the upper bust darts in the front, making darts between the boning strips will give her waist some more definition. Making darts between existing boning on the inside will stiffen the sides for more support.

New bust dart with the red thread tracing lines:

Once the new side darts are sewn, you cannot see them. You have the option to make the darts right up close against the boning strips to be more hidden.

The flat bust cups are folded over to make the darts and they will cover them up. You can see how far the back zipper will be moved over. Say goodbye to those eyelashes!

Inside view of side seam darts:

With the skirt lining detached and pulled away you can see the new zipper placement line:

The bride was thrilled to see a smooth top edge to the bodice. The top edge is folded inside and pinned flat.

In this photo, you can see that the bride wanted the whole top edge of the bodice folded to the inside. Another set of side seam darts will be taken in.


We’ve gone from what the bride called, “a big white box shape” to a flattering silhouette.


















Here is the inside view of all the top edges folded back. The bride wanted push up cups added to the flat pads already inside.

The seam allowance for the zipper has not been trimmed away in case the next bride that wears this dress might need it.

The bride opted for criss-cross straps that can be added after the ceremony. I covered 3/8 inch wide grosgrain ribbon with 6 layers of tulle by hand.

To make the straps removable, I sew one end (the front section) to grosgrain ribbon and make sure I have the right angle using the red thread tracing. This added ribbon will hold the 2 large snaps.

Once the front straps are snapped into place, the back straps are machine sewn and will remain dangling inside until needed.

There will be a little “play” in the front straps so I add a French tack to hold them closer to the top edge.

The back straps are attached by machine and hand tacked. You can see the first and second darts.


Before attaching by machine, you can see how flattering they are along with being very stable with no slipping down her shoulders. The grosgrain belt is pinned into place.














More pinning of the belt in front and the added push up bust cups will be changed to a smaller size to allow the breasts to settle into the bodice better.







While this alteration might look like a nightmare of techniques and made-up solutions and a messy inside, working with this understanding and non-demanding bride was a real joy.

After this bride, I ended up with 3 princesses who really tried my patience, but more about them another day.






We have had a reprieve from the 100 degree temps this week and Mr Mole snapped this shot of me watering some parched plants on Father’s Day.

Stay cool and keep sewing!

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21 Responses to Getting the Fit Right

  1. zuleikaa says:

    I am so glad there are lovely brides out there! You deserve them!

  2. ceci says:

    I’m not a big fan of strapless dresses, but this one is beautifully becoming to the bride, especially with the addition of the criss cross ribbon straps. Masterful, as usual.


  3. sewruth says:

    Yeeeze…all my life I have been trying to make myself another size smaller, not for a wedding dress BTW but every day – trying to make myself what my husband saw 26 years ago!! Goodness I was a mere child then….. but together we have just about managed 25 years this week; regardless of my size or shape – or his!!!!! During those years together and having had a child, we are still here.

    Honestly why can’t women today realise it’s the years and years afterwards that really and truly matter? I truly love the work you do. I really hope the work and love you invest in every dress will be repaid by every bride and that they see this as not one day but a lifetime. xx

    Yet wee bit emotional right now………….

    • Elle says:

      Happy anniversary–and here’s to what matters!

    • raquel from jc says:

      Happy anniversary! Love is what is important!

    • mrsmole says:

      Having a supportive husband is certainly worth celebrating!!! I spent 21 years with the wrong one and this year I will be celebrating 25 years with the right one with Mr. Mole. Hope you will have some great time this summer to enjoy yourself and do some cool sewing, Ruth!

  4. I would want a dress with straps too, extra insurance! You do lovely work, you deserve lovely clients!

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Linda…always keeping my fingers crosses when the phone rings and I listen to the sweet voice on the other end instead of kids screaming or traffic noises.

  5. Elle says:

    The fit on your client looks just right, while the dress on the model is downright odd. Looks like a short-waisted dress on a long-waisted body. The urge is hoist things up would be irresistible.

    • mrsmole says:

      You bet! The weight of all that fabric drags the bodice lower and lower throughout the day and night and the bride ends up with marks on her dress where she has been grabbing it the whole time.

  6. erniek3 says:

    The changes in the bodice make it curvier and flattering. She sounds like a lovely person in any dress.

    • mrsmole says:

      It is funny when skinny brides ask me if I dread working with full-figure brides…like for some reason they would be difficult. It is the opposite, they want the same things every bride wants…a zipper that goes up, a bustle that goes up for dancing and some good food and music. All I want is some gratitude for all the blood sweat and tears I put into it…ha ha!

  7. Nancy Figur says:

    I love the criss cross straps, especially for someone with a chest. I have put straps in wedding and prom gowns for so many girls because once the party starts they don’t want to be worried about the dress slipping. Even when it is fitted perfectly and boned so that it won’t slip down I think they still worry about it. I have even done the ribbon straps that they tie at their shoulders for proms.
    I agree with the bride about the eyelashes. The real French lace eyelashes can’t be duplicated with the faux French lace and just look wrong, especially on the top like that. I think they are fine on a veil or hem.
    Can’t wait to hear about the princesses.

    • mrsmole says:

      You must be very creative when working with prom gals and their teeny tiny short dresses…it is a fine line between classy and hoochy mama.

  8. raquel from jc says:

    beautiful transformation! I don’t like the eyelashes either😉

  9. Marie Schroeder says:

    You my dear are a miracle maker!

  10. maryfunt says:

    How nice to have a pleasant non-bridezilla. She looks lovely. Hope the next few aren’t too many headaches but they do make for interesting stories.

  11. Pingback: Sweet and Simple | fit for a queen

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