Good Golly Godets

When brides ask me what was the most difficult dress I have ever worked on…this one tops the list. It is a Melissa Sweet from David’s bought in the Boston store and flown all the way across the country to land on my doorstep.

I could not find a good website back view of the train and the 8 godets/triangles that are added to all the vertical seams to make the skirt as wide as possible and a huge headache when producing a bustle. Can you see how wide each godet is? Each one of the 8 was over a yard wide at the hem.

This was found on Google images:

Yes, those are baby blue tennis shoes peaking out from under the satin skirt. The satin layer and lining can be bustled up with one point on their own but the remaining layers gave me fits and over 5 hours of trying and swearing in the process.

Here is a side view of an attempted solution to gathering up that train into something manageable. Yes, you see correctly…we have a pink layer lurking under the white embroidered tulle.

Trying a halter to help keep those under bust wrinkles at bay. The halter suggestion was quickly dismissed.














What was needed was to insert more boning for support:

One new center one was attached to the inside lining. Note the fact that this heavy strapless dress was only supported by 2 under bust strips so no wonder the bodice collapsed into wrinkles.

Two new side bonings will be wedged between the existing side seam ones.

The covered boning can be easily and quickly attached by hand as this dress had an inside lining and an outside lining.

Now unto the bustle…pull everything up and clamp tight to reveal the satin and lining layers and the point for bustling.

Using the top of each godet as the attaching point, I quickly realize that no matter what I do, each godet just hangs down extra long.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just pull everything into a pony tail??? Wouldn’t that make quite an entrance?

OK, try another technique…pick one point with all layers together and attached at the waist.

Then hike up 4 more bustle points to clear the ground…this is not working either.

Is this a mess or what?



The side view looks OK but not the most flattering having wads of fabric on her hips.
















The front view shows what could be moderated panniers.

The bride agrees that this train is a real problem and says whatever I can come up with will be fine. I really cannot send a bride down the aisle looking this sad and droopy.

So, after a full Saturday afternoon wrestling for 5 hours pinning up and down and all around…it hit me! Make the pink and sheer under layer bustled on its own. Yes, it will add 5 additional buttons and loops but it might just lay flatter and more even off the floor…could this be the solution?

With the pink layer bustled first and the white embroidered tulle layer bustled over the top with also 5 points…we see a flatter bustle and less bunching and clumping. The embroidered tulle layer will be trimmed even with the floor with scissors.
















For some reason the salesperson convinced her that adding a bronze metal flower headpiece as a belt would be wonderful. It only reaches from side seam to side seam and had to be hand tacked to stop falling off the dress.

These delicate headpieces don’t come cheap!!!














One last trick to making this train work. To manage the godets, I hand stitched the top 12 inches of each to close them up before adding the loops 12 inches down. Yes, all 5 of the back ones were done this way. The front 3 godets were trimmed at floor level.

So happy to hand this dress over to the bride knowing that all was accomplished for her special day.

As our nighttime temps drop to almost freezing, we have just enough time to harvest the remaining veggies of the season. Corn, green and red papers, spicy peppers and zucchini, patty pan squash and on the front left…scarlet runner beans have made a nice final showing with more corn to come.

My friend Nancy is back in town the end of this month so I can share what I have been working on for her soon! Thank you to all the followers for your comments!

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32 Responses to Good Golly Godets

  1. Nancy Figur says:

    That made my head hurt. Great job. Those belts and headbands are the biggest rip offs in bridal. You can go on eBay and buy the same ones for a fraction of the cost.

    • lsaspacey says:

      Yes, my niece convinced her mother to buy an embellished motif on a satin tie belt (not even with a closure)for $500! I saw it later on the Beholden site for $150 or so whereas I could have searched eBay and put the whole thing together for under $100 including searching the internet and finding the exact same motif!

      • mrsmole says:

        I have seen gorgeous belts and headpieces that brides find on Etsy vendors and one bride found a perfect veil for $5 on Amazon so there are bargains out there if you skip the high pressure in chain bridal salons.

  2. Suzanne Napier- Resetarits says:

    It was good to know that I am not the only one that has wrestled with an obstinate train and bustle. I always learn a lot from you. Thanks so much!

    • mrsmole says:

      We are all in the same boat, Suzanne, and isn’t it great to read about others wrestling with the same issues? Other gals send me photos of their altering projects and it makes me smile to see the same problems all around the world.Thank you for your nice comment!

  3. that sparkly belt thing looks completely wrong to me, the dress was so much better without it. but you did miraculous work to get that train off the floor!

    • mrsmole says:

      My sewing sisters and I ask ourselves all the time, “where are the easy projects?” because they just don’t come our way…ha ha The other thing to notice is that the metal belt has all sharp edges and pieces sticking out as it was meant for her head. The day is spent hugging lots of folks and it might catch on someones dress or jacket.

  4. Ann says:

    When I was in school I did two papers on Victorian bustles. I studied them closely to understand how they were made. It helped me in putting up bustles in my bridal business. I always separate the layers to a multi layered gown. I have found that each layer is cut differently and I can manipulate each later to come flat. I also use clear buttons on lace, They don’t show that much to be noticeable. You did a great job on the bustle, it looked beautiful.

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Ann, I also use clear buttons on the under layers but the brides get to chose whether they want shiny, dull or lace covered buttons for the over bustle top layer. Expecting bridesmaids to find loops and buttons and be sober enough to get them all attached is another story. You must have some wonderful stories and photos of the work you have done!

  5. erniek3 says:

    I had to stop reading and take a quick walk around the block and then sacrifice a length of tulle on a flaming alterations altar in gratitude that I don’t do this work. I really do not understand wanting a train, that royal look with all the buttoning up it entails. So much skirt to waddle around in later, no matter how elegantly you can arrange those pleats it’s a PILE to sit on. If she sits at all. I guess they could lean her up against a board for a quick rest.
    Curious to know how many brides have trains in your practice.
    I am assuming she’s wearing flats if she’s in the sneakers at the fitting.

  6. Bustles give me hives 😉 Great job!

  7. ceci says:

    If the bronze thing is a requirement for happiness, I wish she would put it on her head and leave the lace to be pretty on its own.


    • mrsmole says:

      Me too, but can you believe it…she bought a second one with white silk flowers to wear in her hair as well. The dress had a waistband of lace edging but the bronze metal covered it up.

  8. Oh my! That was a lot of head scratching and labour. The end result was lovely though!

  9. Sandi says:

    OMG! That was a lot of work for you but a beautiful finished dress. At the risk of sounding stupid,
    what are Godets?🤔

  10. Daily Runway says:

    You put in a lot of time to get that dress done! 👏🏾

    Also, while it’s not the same, something about this dress reminds me of a light pink gown from an earlier season by Marchesa Notte. You might want to Google “Marchesa Notte Spring 2016 pink dress” and see what you think.

    I hope you were able to enjoy some rest after all of your work!

    • mrsmole says:

      I did Google it but did not see anything with godets. No rest until January when the brides seem to hibernate and wait for better weather and I can get stuck into cleaning and organizing my sewing rooms.

      • Daily Runway says:

        No, nothing was listed with godets per se — there was just a dress that reminded me of the one you were making for the bridge. Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

  11. LinB says:

    Whew! What a lot of hustle and bustle to get this one out the door! I resorted to an old theatrical trick to bustle my Darling Daughter’s dress, but then she was not wearing it except to walk up and down an aisle and then wander around a stand-up buffet for a church reception. Sewed ribbons with button holes to the top of her skirts inside the inner lining; buttons at varying distances from the hem at five locations. All we had to do to get her skirts off the floor for easy walking at the reception was to button the ribbons. She had on so much shape-wear and pantyhose under the dress that the fringe of hanging ribbon was not noticeable through that “armor,” she claimed.

    This was a temporary fix for a temporary problem, for a dress that only had to hold up for the few hours it was worn.

    • mrsmole says:

      That solution sounds very doable but these bustles have to endure hours and hours of wild dancing. Lord only knows what brides get up to as the evening rolls along.The dresses that are brought back for preserving look pretty sad but at least they were worn for more than one hour. Your daughter is lucky to have such a clever mom!

    • mrsmole says:

      I should have said, “no dice” when she showed up but it was another one of those favors that had to be done. Next year I have to be more selective and say “NO”!

      • Kim says:

        No is a very useful word. Unfortunately you sometimes only realise that you should have used it after you have the work 🙄

  12. Tia Dia says:

    Good heavens. I love wearing godets, but bustling them all up? Yikes indeed!

  13. mrsmole says:

    Tulle godets just want to slither away and will not behave!!!

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