Short Waist Challenge

When you are searching for modesty in a wedding gown, this Wtoo Fillipa makes a nice statement.





For the first fitting the bride was wearing a black bra…not a great idea.

The shoulder seams were hanging off her shoulders and I pinned a ridge along the sleeve cap to pull the sleeves closer to her body. It was only a temporary fix as the sleeve was an overlay of lace with a strip of binding all around the armhole…sounds complicated…yes and bulky.















You can see the length of the train and also the front tulle needs trimming:

Here is the close-up of the pinned sleeve but the real issue is the length of the bodice versus her back waist length. When the bride is shorter waisted than the dress, something has to be done to get rid of that bubble in the zipper.





Once the black bra is not worn and the sleeves get a different treatment, it will look more flattering. Also the little belt will be covered with a strip of pearls.

The lower half of the zipper was released and the skirt will be raised up about 1.5 inches and the zipper re-attached. I basted the tulle to keep it away from the zipper teeth.

Inside, the skirt lining will have to be brought up higher too to attach to the bodice lining.

You know what happens when you mess with the bodice, don’t you? Yes! Boning strips have to be shortened as well…what a joy! Remove the boning edges, remove the covers, trim off, and replace the raw edge covers with fabric scraps. There was boning in the lining AND the satin bodice.

Can’t have the lining open and flopping around:

After hand basting, the skirt needed to come up another 1/4 inch. The black bra had to make another appearance for the second try-on.

When a dress pattern is enlarged up from a size 4 to a 14W, you end up with wider shoulders and on this boat-necked bodice the sleeves poofed out away from her arms.

After working on a previous lace sleeve that had a dart from the shoulder seam halfway down the arm, I decided to try that on this dress. The neckline needed to be taken up/in anyway and it was a straight new vertical seam to add to draw everything in and snug up the biceps.







The thin grosgrain ribbon ties were replaced and covered with a strip of pearls all hand tacked.

My brides are always given the option of keeping a long tulle train or having it trimmed for ease of walking. This bride finally realized that with getting married in a restaurant, she didn’t need such a long amount of fabric trailing behind her.

One cool thing about this dress was something I have never seen before…ever! Can you see the shiny ribbon on the shoulder? It is about 2.5 inches long and attaches to the front and back over the inside shoulder seam. What is it for and why did I re-attach it after taking in that shoulder seam?

Using that ribbon loop holds the wide neckline to the plastic hanger without slipping off. You could use this trick for regular clothes as well!!!

Here we are…tighter sleeves, narrower neckline and pearl belt and floor length hem ready to walk down the aisle.

The back bubble is gone and so is that black bra leaving just a tiny train to look all romantic in the photos.

One month ago, Mr Mole started some lettuce and Tiny Tim tomatoes from seed. They were placed into self watering pots and left under the grow lights for one month.

Here are the results! Almost ready to eat or be placed outside in the cold frame to get bigger.

The tomatoes all have baby fruits on them!!!

Welcome to all the new readers, and happy sewing this shorter month of February!

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19 Responses to Short Waist Challenge

  1. shoes15 says:

    When I got married (20 years ago – oy) before I so much as tried on a gown at a bridal shop, I was advised to buy a new bra, and underwear that I had professionally fitted and pantyhose that I intended to wear with my gown. And assuming that lingerie worked with the gown I chose, I was to wear that whole kit every time, for every fitting. One fitting I forgot and was wearing an ordinary (read: old) bra and undies and the dress fit weird. I went home, put on the proper bra and went back to the fitting. It was fine. WHY don’t people know this?

    • erniek3 says:

      I was given that advice in the 80’s when I bought a dress on the expensive side of the store (Anne Klein II and such). When my pal was wedding dress shopping (so I would know what to make her 😦 ), no one mentioned this at all, about fifteen years ago. It makes such an incredible difference, why wouldn’t you tell people that at the shop? Is this more of that “the alterations expert will take care of that, don’t get in the way of a sale” stuff?
      The pearl trim is really pretty.

    • mrsmole says:

      Some brides come wearing whatever they were wearing at the gym. Some want to keep their jeans on…go figure?

  2. Tia Dia says:

    Magic! What a lovely modest gown. And the proper undergarments make a tremendous difference.

  3. Kim says:

    She should be happy with that now. Another triumph Moley 😀

  4. Colleen says:

    Wonderful post and sharing! I have never been confident enough to trim a tulle train or hem while they are standing in the dress. Would you consider sharing hints and tricks on that when you have an opportunity.

  5. mrsmole says:

    With the bride standing on the platform, I use a pair of Gingher Black Nylon/stainless scissors. They seem to grip the tulle better than all metal scissors. Then I lay one blade of the scissors on the platform at an angle and start cutting through how many layers there are. If there are jagged areas, I put the dress on the ironing board and trim all the wonky bits off. Normally I am only trimming side seam to side seam in the front for walking safety.

  6. Susan says:

    Shorter month? 😳

  7. mrsmole says:

    Love February…but just realized it is leap year…oh no!!! More brides than normal coming?

  8. Susie says:

    You really are a fairy godmother! I like that style dress, but someone tell me how to pronounce”Wtoo!” My mother, who grew up in the 50s always preached the value of good underwear – “Anything you wear will look better with the right undergarments.” I was also lucky enough that the bridal shop picked out a longline bra for me when I picked out the dress. I suppose many shoppers don’t have that service anymore.

    • mrsmole says:

      We pronounce the name “woo too” and it is a division of Watters Bridal. Back in the 50’s when I grew up too, the foundation department in the department was a wonderland of all sorts of garments to suck you in, perk you up and hold up your stockings. Once Pantyhose made an appearance and cost was not so high, women abandoned the restrictive items for a looser feeling and then came the 60’s with women burning bras in public and men burning draft cards in protest of a war. Now we are down to tiny pink thongs for coverage…why bother?

  9. prttynpnk says:

    That’s is a lovely dress. I like the arm dart concept. Seems like a good thing for those of us with slopey Mary Todd Lincoln shoulders!

  10. mrsmole says:

    Thank you, Anne, it is a good thing when you can sneak in that step. Although you are quite the expert on other shoulder treatments from other eras on your blog:
    Some of those screen sirens you write about have every shoulder pad height ever recorded.

  11. SUSAN CAPEL says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to demonstrate these techniques. I see you are driving an Elna 720 now instead of a Janome 6600. Just wondering why you changed machines?

  12. mrsmole says:

    Between the Janome and the Elna I had a Juki 2010Q. My professional seamstress friend wanted to sell her Elna so we traded the Janome which was very heavy duty for layers of denim and I got the Elna 720. I thought I needed the Juki for volume and speed but it only did straight stitching so another quilting friend of mine bought it for all her charity quilting projects. The Janome feet I had from my 10000 and 11000 embroidery machines fit the Elna and it sews like a Janome which I describe as a feminine machine with a light touch and subdued sounds while other brands sew more masculine and clunky and loud. I have two machines I have never used in the box for my future retirement…a Babylock sashiko and a Janome felting machine. For me, being an extreme introvert, the sound and volume of a motor makes a difference especially if the sewing involves 7 days a week and sitting down to stitch could be a torture of noise. You have to try out lots of machines to feel right for you and bring loads of crappy fabric scraps with you and not use the highly starched samples they give you in the store. I worked for a Bernina dealer for years who only used thick starched sample fabrics because he said the fabrics made his stitches look better…a little known trick!

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