Too Much Tulle

How about this gown for a real fairy princess look? It has a Grecian touch too with the Petersham ribbon straps that wrap around the body as many times as you wish.

Willowby Virgo


In the beginning, I thought all I had to do was the hem which was attached to the lining at the lower edge so to shorten it, you sneak inside a side seam of the lining and pull everything out, stitch and trim and then stuff everything back inside and close up the opening.

We even tried a bustle…seven points to capture all that embroidered tulle into something more manageable for dancing.

But after seeing the first photos, the bride decided that she wanted a more “closer to the body” look and could I remove all the fluffiness at the waist caused by all the layers of gathering???

Sure thing…what that involved was pinning out as much as 20 inches per vertical seam for the 7 panels. Stitching the full length from the waist to the hem and train was labor intensive enough. Of course, my mind wants my mouth to ask, “If you wanted a tight waisted dress, why did you choose this one?”

Here are all 7 panels (20 inches wide) removed and displayed for her to prove I really did do the right thing. She will also get to take these home. Funny how I get asked if I ever refuse or lie about doing certain alterations. Is this something other seamstresses do regularly? Cheat?

With extra fluffiness removed we have a flatter waist area but still a very long train of tulle.

Front view:

Side view:

The result is just what she wanted and she can decide what to do with all that ribbon and how many times it needs to be wrapped around her waist.

As my early summer brides keep postponing their nuptials, there is a gap in the altering schedule so I can get out into the garden to manage the growing season and weeding. With 2 or 3 brides to finish this month, some of the most complicated dresses, it will be nice to have a little break knowing that I have 6 brides for August and 8 booked in for Sept.

For those of you who like garden photos, here are some I took yesterday. “Kong” variety sunflowers planted from seed and are supposed to reach 10-14 feet high.

Watermelons and lettuce and tomatoes and more lettuce:


Raspberries and “Chianti” (5-8 feet) sunflowers:


Blueberry bushes and an up-close view:


Corn and transplanted asparagus:


We are still self-quarantining and wearing masks and with hair salons still closed, we are both looking wild and woolly. But being isolated moles, it is not a big issue. I wish you some good sewing time especially for those of you who have mentioned that you have lost your sew-jo. Be kind to yourself, enjoy the weather and nature, pick up a new book or finish a puzzle…thank you for spending time with me!

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22 Responses to Too Much Tulle

  1. Your garden is looking great. Funny how taste differs: I looked at the earlier photos and thought, “What a waistline! I wish I had that contrast between my laughingly-termed ‘waist’ and hips!” Then after all your work, I found out I probably do, since the contrast I admired so much was all tulle, and now the dress looks to me like any other dress that doesn’t have to be taken apart to be simple. As long as she’s happy with it, and pays the bill, that’s what matters in this case–

    • mrsmole says:

      In this case, she loved the ribbons on the website model and had to have the dress while not noticing the bulk at the waist. She was so tiny that the tulle had to be removed to show off her small waist. I think she may find that the long train will get in her way of dancing though.

  2. Elizabeth Harber says:

    Lovely work – Thank you for posting.


  3. Laura says:

    Nope nope nope nope nope. No way. You are a very special seamstress to take on all that you do. Hope you’ve raised your prices!!

  4. erniek3 says:

    Nobody I sew for (besides maybe my sister) reads your blog, so ……yes. I have fibbed. She wanted the dress taken in and an elastic waist added. I knew if I took it in, she wouldn’t be able to put it on. So I readjusted the side seams and upped the elastic weight. She loved it.

  5. Kim says:

    It’s a nice dress now – but not what she bought.
    I only fibbed once. A massive (and I mean massive) full circle skirt which had been hand hemmed as requested was declared ‘half an inch’ too long. It hung untouched for a time before she came back and declared it to be perfect. 🙄

  6. ParisGrrl says:

    I realize that was a lot of work, but I actually like the After version…it makes the most of her waistline while retaining a lot of the fullness of the lower skirt. Bravo for making it work so well.

  7. Sarah Shewring says:

    Hello Mrs Mole,
    Is that picture at the end of Frederick the Literate? I’m sure I have the cross stitch kits of it somewhere.
    Best wishes

  8. Susan Hart says:

    Yup, the “1/2” syndrome…is what I’ve dubbed it!
    I dare any bride to watch another wedding video and tell me how many brides actually looked down at their dresses while they were at their receptions and said, “My dress is 1/2″ too long!” All of them were looking at their new husbands!

  9. Ju says:

    Amazing job as always!!

  10. Tia Dia says:

    A lot of work, but i prefer the ‘after’ version, too. Such amazing work, Mrs. Mole!

  11. emma75dragon says:

    That’s lovely. After your alterations, obviously.
    I’m working my way backwards through the blog, having recently discovered it, and you are a miracle worker. I am baffled by the tight dress thing, though.
    My mother (who sews for a living) made my sister-in-law’s wedding dress, and the 5 bridesmaid dresses, for her wedding to my brother. Fortunately, since all shopping trips were done together, THE dress was a lovely, modest, long sleeved Renaissance style with an A-line skirt and a very small train, and our dresses were short sleeved empire style in lovely shades of gold and tan, to suit each bridesmaid accordingly. For my own wedding, very low-key in a register office, I wore a simple A-line knee length skirt I had made, and a nice lilac mohair pullover (it was in January). We only had two guests (my in-laws), and I think we had more fun than all these big weddings.

  12. It was amazing how you transformed that dress. So talented! Stay safe and take care of yourselves!

  13. Jennifer Dean says:

    Love following your blog but wondering if you do YouTube videos and if you don’t would love if you would consider starting. Thank you for passing on your knowledge

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