Ruffles Galore

As a seamstress, you know you are in trouble when the bride announces at the first fitting, “I have been a beauty pageant queen all my life!”

So, after wearing gorgeous custom made gowns all her life, the wedding dress has to be quite something.

Here we have the model wearing the Kitty Chen Kendra.

Let’s start with the back…I have to remove the zipper and take in each side one inch and re-attach the zipper. Can you see that the beaded layer is not connected to the under skirt layer? Just a small problem which requires the under layer to be altered and the top layer to be detached and then snugged up/gathered and sewn back into place.

How about this volume of layers and ruffles? Can you bustle all this up for walking and dancing? You can if you hand tack all the longest layers to the shortest layers.

First, figure out which long layers can be attached under the shorter layers so the whole mess doesn’t look like a huge cupcake. The tiny beaded straps will be shortened as well. Imagine the stress on those skinny straps to hold this whole heavy dress up!!!

Before wrestling with this dress, I placed it on the floor and decided what to tackle first…let’s hit the ironing board and warm up that steam generator iron!

Nothing like finding more layers of gathers and netting…

Starting with the lower layers:

Of course, Kitty Chen had to add horsehair braid to the hems.

More horsehair braid….

Ta Da….all steamed and pressed so now we can see what has to be done

Lots of fun here to hand tack and stand back to admire the volume.

The beaded layer of the bodice did not hug her under bust area tight enough, as in second skin, so all the beads had to be hand-tacked all the way through to the lining to emphasize the tiny waist and larger bust. See all the glass head pins where the lines of stitching have to go?

Now, if any of you have done this, you know that the needle and thread catches on every other bead as you go along. This step is a real patience trier….

The nude colored side seam panels of mesh had to be reduced in width by half to snug up that area as well…all by hand:

Some final narrow hemming of an organza layer:

Everything snugged up and shortened and ready to walk down the aisle:

If you are worried that this dress might be too large to dance in…never fear…she told me that she had 2 other dresses that would serve that purpose at the reception.

More veggies photos before I get back to the sewing room. How about these melons?

Back in Flapper era, the 1920’s, busts were flat and very little fitting was done to dresses. Click on this link for some cool patterns.

Hope all your Halloween costumes turn out just as good and scary as you planned! I already have my candy ready by the front door for the 150+ little scary monsters.

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16 Responses to Ruffles Galore

  1. Laura says:

    Nope – just nope. It takes a very special person to take that type of sewing on. Glad it’s you and you do a wonderful job!

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Laura, my heart sinks when I see all that organza emerge from the garment bag!!!! But after a while you do get brave and just dig right in…yearning for the days when gown were made of real satin!!!

  2. Annie says:

    Beautiful job but i give the marriage <1 year. Lol

    • mrsmole says:

      It is sad when I hear that one of my brides has ended her marriage but this happens when the expectations are not realistic, doesn’t it? So many people comment that so much prep goes into the day of the wedding and not much into the days that follow.

  3. Kim says:

    TWO other dresses!?! I agree with Annie. 12 months tops 😂

  4. Donna says:

    After all the work that you did, then she tells you that she has two other dresses!😱. You should have doubled your fee!!!!!

  5. mrsmole says:

    Well Donna, I’m working on a gown now and putting all I can into it and then the mother tells me that the dress is only to walk down the aisle and that they have another sequined dance dress for the bride to change into for the reception. All for nothing and the dress will never be worn again.

  6. Val says:

    If ever there was a dress style that cried out for a detachable overskirt this is it.

    • erniek3 says:

      I am imagining the ‘voila!’ (pulls off the overskirt with a flourish) moment with more glee than is necessary. But I’ve only run lights for pageants, not made dresses for them, so perhaps my experience is not applicable.
      The original photo looks as if it’s made of a different skirt fabric. The organza looks really cheesy in comparison. But let’s go back to the first: why is she getting this dress altered if she’s got custom gown history?

    • mrsmole says:

      Yes, Val it would have been easier to work on something detachable!!!

  7. poppykettle says:

    Agree with the others RE the detachable skirt – or at the very least, a waist stay to support all that fabric! And that the skirt fabric looks far more…*ahem*… poly organza than the fabric in the skirt? That said, there are organza’s then there are organza’s… This to me is one of those style dresses that looks better on screen and in our imaginations than it ever will in real life 😦

    • mrsmole says:

      Without the horsehair braid in all the hem layers, this dress would be droopy and sad and with most dresses, it was not designed to be bustled. It was meant to make a grand entrance and exit and that is it, not even practical for walking around. Kitty Chen designs try to take it up a notch and more suited to divas who want to make a statement with lots of skin showing.One day, 30 years from now, the grandchildren will ask, “Grandma, what were you thinking?”

      • Sue in TX says:

        I feel that way about MANY of the bare-all gowns out there, whether wedding or prom, or even worse mother of the bride. You have to wonder what ever happened to good taste. I live in a Hispanic community where abuela must approve the dress, and we see strapless but not bare sides or exposed b**bage or dresses too tight to sit. Many of our churches require coverage for the ceremony of cleavage and shoulders- I love the beautiful lace toppers….

  8. maryfunt says:

    The model photo looks so much better than the actual dress (as it usually does). Miles of that shiny organza (obviously cheap polyester) really detract from the design. If she’s wearing another dress for the reception why bother with bustling? Beautiful job with fitting the bodice.

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