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.
Stay cool and keep sewing!