A Season of Favors

Last week I was surprised with how many new followers I had acquired. Then I checked for where they were coming from.

It turns out that on https://thesewingplace.org.uk/index.php/topic,7615.15.html a member commented on a suggestion from another reader about searching through my posts for help with a wedding gown.

“Just had a quick look at this blog and the fit of the dress in the last picture of today’s post is terrible, so unflattering.”

I guess this member could have made the size 20 dress way more flattering than I did.

No doubt she would have waved her magic wand over the Cinderella dress and it would have resulted in making the bride thinner, taller and younger than I did. But,  I want to thank her for sending 400 readers and now new followers to my blog. With 9 years of posting possible wedding gown alterations and solutions, my only hope is that someone might be able to use a tip or two to make their own altering a little easier and give people the confidence to try new techniques.

After sewing for clients for over 50 years, I have learned that being honest with prices, expectations and to deliver on time or even earlier than the date keeps me happy and in turn keeps my brides happy. Satisfying 80-100 brides a season is a continuous challenge!

This last week was stressful as two seamstresses that I send everything that is not bridal to, sent an email to say that one of them, recently widowed, was moving out of state and the other seamstress had to go into hospital for emergency abdominal surgery. As a result, I have inherited their final projects that they could not finish.

First up is a knit jumpsuit with a weird looking crotch area. While the outside knit lace fabric sat well in the crotch area, I discovered that the knit lining was really grabbing so it needs to be dropped. The shoulders needed taking up along with tacking the front wrap and adding some teardrop bust pads. We will add a removable grosgrain belt with a flat bow in the back. As there is no zipper or opening to get in and out of this garment, the bride just steps in and pulls it all up so the belt will have snaps for those much needed bathroom visits.












The final bride comes with an Art-Deco style dress that had been butchered at the local sewing center. They removed 3 inches from the shoulder seams, 4 inches from the lace hem, and added some sort of weird pearl wrap to the front straps to make them really hideous. It reminded me of what would have been worn in Mayberry on the Andy Griffith Show by Aunt Bea.

By raising the bodice 3 inches, the center back does not lay flat against her waist and forms a huge gap.  I will add back in the 3 inches to allow everything to drop and get back to the correct levels.

So dear readers, besides the 10 bridesmaid dresses that wandered in last week, these additional garments keep me up sewing every night but in the end, everyone will be happy and feeling beautiful.

Last photo…this morning 2 robins were chasing a hawk keeping it from eating their babies and when the hawk rested, I got this photo! Happy sewing everyone and welcome to all the new followers!!!

This entry was posted in challenges and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

65 Responses to A Season of Favors

  1. Barb says:

    Your negative Nellie sounds like she is a real piece of work. Glad you got so many new followers from her negativity!
    You do the most amazing work.
    P.s. I have about !0 more flannel blankets to donate. A friend asked if one side could be pieced. She has 5” squares of flannel to use.

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Barb! Yes, any donated flannel blanket can be pieced. If I were a quilter, I’d make up more kits to do in that manner but anything you want to drop off is always welcome for the Pediatrics and Neo-natal wards!

  2. ivygirl2112 says:

    Yeah, there are some unpleasant people on that forum. You probably have as much skill as… well, never mind!

    Glad that the result of the (untrue) comments gave you some traffic. As far as the dress and the size of the bride are concerned, they are out of your control.

  3. Laura says:

    Yay for jobs well done – again. You amaze me over and over with your skills and patience.

    • mrsmole says:

      It’s a great job for an extreme introvert, no? Just leave me alone with some scissors and thread and the end result might just meet the bride’s expectations…fingers crossed! Thanks, Laura!

  4. mrsmole says:

    Ha ha…oh ivygirl, the sizes of brides vary from 0 to 24…and busts and waists vary up and down in numbers and positions…I’d rather have such challenges while my aging brain is still working!

  5. I simply don’t say anything mean online now (and hope I never did). If I don’t like something, like on http://celtictradradio.torontocast.stream/ where they play some things I love and some that are not to my taste, I would never click the ‘dislike’ option on an individual song. There is no need for me to say I dislike something in public EXCEPT if it is me speaking out against a bad thing that someone or some company is doing. Personal preference, and lack of insight, is not a reason to be unkind.

    • mrsmole says:

      Jealousy and fear also promote such hurtful comments. Loneliness comes into play as well and she may need friends. Thank yoiu for the link to Celtic music, I may have to tune in when I am sewing!

      • I find that now I listen more to http://celtictradradio.torontocast.stream/ which is all traditional music and no talk, except for a brief announcement by a woman whose voice I cannot place–strange accent in some ways, a word or two partway like Irish friends of mine, partway maybe Canadian influence, so she may be from a region I just don’t know.

        It is sad when people get jealous or afraid. If I used to feel that, it was only about things that really mattered at the time, like fear of losing a beloved partner, and then I would feel critical of anyone who seemed to want to ‘steal’ that person, but it never made sense to me to look online and say in public “I am better than this person” or “I do better work than this person”, especially if there is no reason. Even if people do others dirt, it’s not pleasant to write it online, so I tend to just not get involved. In my field, which is reading tarot, some people are very competitive in unattractive ways, but I figure that if someone likes me and my work, they’ll work with me and it’ll work out, and that there are plenty of customers in the world. Eventually when my book comes out, there will be much more of a sense of my work, and then it may be easier for people to find me if they feel they are like-minded. Until then, I just do what i do and it works fine, and I never write anything bad about others–it keeps life and karma better!

  6. erniek3 says:

    Welcome 400 new followers to the best alterations show in town! Growing roses from the ashes of disaster (to twist the song from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) is the name of the game here. Actual brides in real dresses with …..interesting family and followers providing commentary and/or dresses straight from the playroom dress up box! Late weight gain/loss/barn venue? NO PROBLEM.

    I recently read a Twitter story about the bride whose MIL wore her own bridal gown to the wedding. Worth digging through to the punchline: MIL turns out to be genuinely frugal with money and overflowingly generous with love and patience, best MIL ever. Rocky start to be sure, but let’s all be patient and generous.

  7. Sue cooper says:

    Don’t worry about the negativity you do a great job . It’s easy to hide behind a screen and be critical. I love your posts they have help my sewing a great deal.

  8. LindaC says:

    I’ve been following your blog for quite awhile and you have created amazing transformations. I’m quite sure the brides that leave your workroom are much happier than when they arrived. I wish I had half your skill.

    • mrsmole says:

      The brides leave happy and I have a check in my hand so I am happy too. You can make up techniques just like I do…if they work, it’s great, if they don’t, you don’t tell the client.Thank you, Linda!

  9. BarbandLes Barna says:

    It takes a great deal of patience and skill to turn some of these dresses into a silk purse, so to speak. I have been reading your blog for quite some time, and I am always impressed. Keep up the great work until it is time to retire!
    Barb from Canada

    • mrsmole says:

      What I am impressed with is the variety and diversity of the challenges that come into the sewing room as I do not live in a big city and yet all types of gowns and their problems exist. Thanks, Barb

  10. Mary says:

    Oh Mrs. Mole. Your work always leaves your brides without the stress of an ill fitting dress on her most important day. Your grace shines through in your posts, no matter how vexed you are. I have learned so much reading your blog, and made sure my darling daughter looked through your blog and saw what was involved in what every bridal dress sales person says are “very easy alterations “. May your detractor be hand sewing something precious to her and prick her finger.
    We have a baby eating hawk here too; but he is eating baby grackles and leaving the robins alone. (And I am secretly hoping he chases those blessed birds out of my neighbourhood!)

    • mrsmole says:

      My detractor needs to see the beauty in alterations and appreciate the labor involved. My window in the sewing room looks out onto the back yard so I get to see all the visitors swooping in and flying off and some just fly in and hit the windows…what a crash! We have the dreaded starlings that arrive in packs wanting to eat everything in sight!

  11. JenL says:

    I’ve really enjoyed your blog for I don’t know how long now. I have never, and never expect, to alter a wedding dress, but Iove seeing how the expert does it! Thank you!

    • mrsmole says:

      I watch sewing videos and learn so much from others. Like you said, I may never actually have to sew other projects like quilting, but watching others enjoy the process is really fun. I watch videos of women applying make-up too…it is like magic!

  12. tcdooning says:

    Mrs. Mole, your posts have inspired me and helped me to be brave enough to take on remodeling my own wedding dress for my daughter to wear at her wedding next year. I look forward to every one of your posts and learn a great deal about sewing, fitting and dealing with difficult projects and people with dignity and grace. Your brides and bridesmaids are so lucky to have you! Cheers!

    • mrsmole says:

      Wow, tcdooning…remodeling your own dress for your daughter…that is one mean feat!!! So glad i could help in some way. If yoiu take some photos along the way, I’d love to post them!

  13. Trish says:

    As you know, Mrs Mole, I’ve been following your posts for several years now, and in spite of also sewing for 50 years, I have learnt such a lot of clever tricks from you, which I then apply in my alterations business in Australia.
    Your skill is inspirational as is your willingness to share and explain your methods in great detail. Your critic is just plain wrong! Every finished product I have seen on your site fits perfectly, no exceptions!
    I find it very sad that people who obviously don’t know what they’re talking about, criticise people with exceptional skill such as yours. It makes me wonder if they’re expert at anything themselves, except for making mindless comments. 😏

    • mrsmole says:

      Some people just have too much time on their hands and feel better leaving bad comments to bring down others…had a husband like that…after 21 years I left. You know after sewing for that amount of time, you gather all sorts of tips and tricks like dryer lint…some of them stick and they are things you can pass along like the bustle photos you have sent to me.I always love your comments, Trish!

  14. upsew says:

    jeez – that was a barbed comment for sure, especially as I think you are a miracle worker getting the finesse on the fit. I love the way you can resolve the fit issues so the bride can rely on the fit of her dress for the day and not have to pull up straps or pull down waists everytime they sit or stand. and a flattering fit will work wonders to any size. Well done on the mystery crotch issue – its amazing on how many off the rack clothes are so badly done now. (you also have some fearless robins – hope the hawk moves on! – I dug a frog pond recently and getting even more birds visiting for a bath and drink so I am now hoping I have not made opportunities for cat!)

    • mrsmole says:

      That’s the problem with having lots of birds isn’t it? Cats feel the need to just sit and wait for a low flying bird to come in for a drink and the pounce! It’s funny with brides and straps…I offer to all of them some sort of halter or shoulder straps telling them they will have way more fun waving their hands in the air during dancing than having to grab unto the bodice to keep it up. The ones that say no may feel differently halfway through the night and secretly say to themselves, “Darn it, Mrs Mole was right after all”…ha ha

  15. jay says:

    I’m always impressed by the results you achieve, so often silk purses from sow’s ears. You’ve taken on clients who stupidly bought dresses three sizes too small, and somehow managed to expand the cloth to get round the bulges. You’ve taken up hems where there’s intricate lace patterns and edgings to cope with, you’ve put underpinnings in to dresses the designer made for mini busts, and got them to fit rounded women – lemons to melons as my Dad would have graphically described it. You’ve added supporting straps, waist definition, modesty panels, button backs and much more. You get the dreaded tulle hems to hang right. The fit of a garment is a personal thing, and, it has to be said, doesn’t show up in photos as in three dimensions and movement. Keep on styling and blogging please.

    • mrsmole says:

      “Lemons to melons”…ha ha…I never heard that before, Jay! You know better than most what goes into good fitting and design and I have always enjoyed reading your pattern altering blog posts http://patternpandemonium.wordpress.com/
      You really hit the nail on the head about movement…on the final visit, I ask the bride to walk down my hallway and turn around and walk back feeling the weight of her bustle. It is amazing to see each one feel the swish of the bustle and the swing in her hips and I know I have done right by her. I then ask her to do a turn to see the look on her face when the hem doesn’t touch the floor and just spins with her.

  16. Alex says:

    Oh, I take any traffic from wherever it comes, ha ha! But on serious note, I think what you do is proper magic in so many ways! I read every post and just shake my head at how you are able to deal with so many frankly mental requests, and still make them look so good. You really must be a fairy godmother deep down :).

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Alex, your blog is amazing! https://sewrendipity.com/ Yes, I am a fairy godmother to all these girls and Mr Mole reminds me of this after 15 years of doing wedding dresses alone. Some people do crossword puzzles to keep alert, some learn a foreign language to expand their brain cells…I sew.

  17. raquel from jc says:

    your skills are an inspiration to me! It’s good to know that from something bad can come something good like your 400 plus new subs!!!

  18. Karen Mulkey says:

    Like many others I have followed your posts for several years and have also sewn for over 50 years. I am so sad that you experienced such an unfair critic of your abilities. Obviously that person has no idea what is involved in alteration work. In my opinion you work miracles!

    • mrsmole says:

      You know so much of what we do is experiments and discovering better ways to do the tough stuff. The first time I had to alter a scalloped lace hem and cut away all the edging…oh my, I was petrified but by the 5th one in the same season, it got way easier! Thank you, Karen!

  19. I have learned so much from you and I am grateful that you continue to share. I was able to do a minor alteration to my DILS bridesmaid dress thanks to your blog. I also now alter my sleeves to hang correctly based on your instruction. So thank you so much!

  20. tracy says:

    I’m also sorry to hear about the negative Nellie. I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years and am always astounded at your fitting knowledge, and how much better things look after you’ve worked on them.

    And I always love your garden photos!

  21. ceci says:

    I’m fascinated by the lace jump suit – at first I didn’t realize it was a wedding outfit….glad you were able to correct the crotch problem! It looked wildly uncomfortable. Too bad about your alterations colleagues leaving the business; its great to have some referral options when things get busy. Thanks as always for sharing your experiences.


    • mrsmole says:

      I will miss my seamstress sisters and I sure wish there were younger gals coming up to take their/our place but all young people want to do is design…not sew…I blame it on Project Runway…ha ha.

  22. Collleen says:

    I learned something by your post on the Art Deco dress. Thank you for sharing your experience and showing the red descriptions! It will be interesting to watch the trend of wedding jumpsuits….might regret that choice in years to come!

  23. I am a member of The Sewing Place, and am quite embarrassed by that comment. I can’t comment on the sewing skills of that Poster, but I am always inspired by your work. Silk purses and sows ears spring to mind.
    I highly doubt that That comment would have been made to your face which indicates to me that the writer was a ‘keyboard warrior’. All mouth.

    • mrsmole says:

      The internet can allow lots of people to hide in the shadows…they do pop up from time to time. She does not affect my work or blog, just surprised that she wanted to make it so public?

  24. Suzanne says:

    You are amazing! Thanks for all that I learn from you that I put to good use in my alteration business.

    • mrsmole says:

      We all visit blogs to see new techniques or refresh our minds with old ones that work best. I love taking photos and sharing even though my solutions don’t always work for everyone.

  25. Tia Dia says:

    Congratulations for the new followers and all the traffic! Some people just think they know so much more than the rest of the world. I love your response, too. 🙂

    I love that Art Deco dress design. And that hawk! Good for the robins! Some swallowtail butterflies have found my dill and have decided it would be an excellent nursery, much to the delight of my 21 and 16 yr old daughters, who give daily reports of the caterpillars’ progress on destroying the plants. But I am thrilled to be helping the butterflies!

    • mrsmole says:

      We plant for the birds and butterflies too. The most important thing to think about are the bees…Lord knows we need them the most for our food production!!!!

      • Tia Dia says:

        I could not agree more! I have actually added native feeder plants to my garden this year in an effort to help. Swallowtail butterflies have almost destroyed all my dill, but I’ve spotted their chrysalides here and there in the yard, so I do hope they eventually emerge as healthy new butterflies!

  26. Tammy says:

    I have enjoyed your blog for a long time, even though I would never be brave enough to try to alter a wedding gown! I just love reading your posts. I’m sorry little “Missie” was so nasty and petty–you weren’t the only one she was ugly to, and when someone asked about posts of her own work, I notice she didn’t have any to share. Please keep doing what you’re doing — old timers and new readers really appreciate your generosity in sharing tips and showing us how to figure out how to fix sewing problems!

    • mrsmole says:

      If following my blog helps anyone, then I am thrilled. I follow blogs that have nothing to do with bridal sewing and learn so much even though I will never quilt or make knit baby clothes or table runners…just seeing others’ color choices and easy tips is great!

  27. Karen says:

    I hardly ever comment, but wanted to say that your blog really helped me with the alterations of my daughter’s gown last October. In fact it was a God send as I was struggling with an unexpected illness and it was too late to look for somebody else to alter the dress. The dress turned out beautiful, the daughter looked great, and I felt better. Thank you for all your postings!

  28. I love how someone always can do it better, no matter how much you know, or how many years you have under your belt! Your change-overs are miraculous I think – those gowns are detailed, have fancy fabric and have nervous demanding brides and attendants and Mothers in tow. I love the last dress by the way! Keep up the good work!

  29. Kim says:

    You’ve proved you’re way better than that commenter – both in ability and manners. Welcome to new followers. This girl is worth watching. Pay attention and you’ll learn lots.

  30. I like following your blog for the fitting tips and tricks for bridal wear. I altered two bridesmaid dresses for a co-worker (she was desperate!) and looked through your blog for similar dresses and what you had done. I have found that alterations are not my “thing” so much anxiety over will it work out, etc. Thank you for sharing your experience!

    • mrsmole says:

      Alterations are not most people’s thing…I mean you have to get in and get out without making it look like your granny had her way with the dress!!!! And hemming 3 layers of say chiffon or that nasty “mesh” that they use these days makes me want to scream!

  31. Tiger says:

    I am grateful every time you post – I’ve learned so much from your generous sharing and now sometimes find myself umming and ahhhing over a wedding gown, muttering “now…what would Mrs Mole do?”. As my much missed Dad used to say, “Opinions are like ***holes. We all have one”, before he dismissed a naysayer with a shrug and a “who cares what you think?”.

    • mrsmole says:

      Your Dad was right…and that is what calls for the RBC (resting bitch face) when people want to bring you down. We introverts or INTJ folks can give the death stare at the drop of a hat!

  32. Susan Hart says:

    Yeah I’ll admit that dress had a LOT going on for you to get it to look as good as it does, and what really irks me is that the commenter in that forum isn’t the alterationist, so they personally didn’t do ALL the work that YOU did, making it look WAY better than when it came to you.
    And let’s talk about your schedule too for a minute, “Ms. Commenter”…… all the other brides that you’ve accommodated and made happy…😁
    Please don’t let this one unfortunate person get in your head, Mrs Mole…..you are very talented….
    And to your point…
    I have definitely picked up some new tips and techniques from reading your blog, fellow seamstress!!
    Susan Hart in Aloha, OR

  33. mrsmole says:

    Mr. Mole always reminds me of the fact that I have been making brides happy for the past 15 of 50 years sewing for clients. It has been pretty much learning on the job and experimenting and working most nights to find the best solution…but it is not all bad…they do pay me in the end…ha ha!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s