Change of Heart and Dress

Some brides have too many options. Some brides buy the wrong dress and think of all the other things they can put over the dress to make it right.

Let’s start with what she bought: Wtoo with pleating, ruching, asymetrical neckline and an added belt.

The added belt removed and the right front neckline flounce tucked under the top edge.

Then she wanted the entire front “made straight” and for me to make a lacey bolero. After telling her that I did not do that sort of thing, she started sending me links to lots of options to cover her dress. Now, thinking of all that front ruching, I could not recommend using any of her jacket/blouse suggestions as it would be too bulky and lumpy. But here they are all from Etsy vendors:


Then she went into capes:


At this point you realize that this girl has waaaay too many options and cannot pinpoint the look she wants. She told me that she wanted a sleek form-fitting dress from the beginning but bought the wrong dress. Then she went back to the internet and found this dress.

She came back to me for about 25 different measurements and I recorded them thinking that WOW, this seller really has got it down to a science and I probably won’t need to see this bride again as her dress will be perfect…what a dreamer I am!!!

Here is what showed up:






Can you see the pins all around her waist and down her sleeves and the hem? What doesn’t show are the white bust pads sewn up too high to do any good between the lining and the crepe outer layer. Lots of drag lines were in the back as well.

What went wrong? Well, the description says Crepe…lovely…but they left out one defining word…STRETCHY! There were wrinkles galore at the waist and while I just pinned 3/4 of the way around her, I ended up dropping the crepe bodice all around  3/4 inch below the waist. The sleeves were too wide and the custom hem length…well…who knows what happened there? Attached to all this was a lining…a tight woven polyester lining that did not stretch at all.

Here’s a word that it seems designers have missed…compatablity. Both fabrics have to marry together and not cause problems for each other…sounds like pre-marital counseling? It seems these days, either the lining is thick heavy knit and stretches past the satin outer layer OR the reverse is true, the outer layer stretches and droops while the lining does not.

There is a little consideration for compatibility between lining fabric performance and crepe performance. The crepe stretches crosswise and can cause drooping while the happy tight lining does not.

What you cannot see are the hems of the crepe and lining…just raw and serged and filthy. For a custom made one-of-a-kind dress, it had issues and I pointed them out to her as I was not going to be accused of making her dress dirty or causing dark fold lines down the back. I told her that I would serge all the way around both hems and narrow machine hem them properly.

New waistline seam marked with red thread:

Second try-on revealed more center front bodice in need of tucking:

Once the lining was separated from the crepe you can see how much the bodice was shifted.

Have to line up all the dart seams:

Trimming away the excess bodice:

In the end, the bride wanted boning attached at the side seam…didn’t the custom gown come with any boning??? Ah…no. I used covered boning and hand attached it to the lining. The covering can be folded under at the top and bottom to cushion the sharp edges.

The dress, now fitting well, looked a little plain, so I showed her some pearl straps that might look good as a belt. It was just enough to hand tack all around the waist seam. The white bust pads were removed too. The factory silver hook and eye were replaced with a white ones.

Normally, I ask the bride if she has a veil and I will press it for free…how about this one? In the end the bride got what she wanted…sleek and simple dress and then high drama with an 18 foot long veil. Steam pressing it took a while!!!

All that is left is to try and carefully fold the veil lengthwise and unto a hanger. Once the lace edging is pressed, it relaxes a little and is not so stiff and will not curl up as the bride walks down the aisle in church.

One of my readers, Rena, sent this link to me and it really made me chuckle and brightened my day. I hope it does for you too!

Meanwhile in the garden, we have had a couple days of rain…hooray…and the robins are back bathing in the frog fountain.

Being back in a lockdown again and hoping our state can control the spead of Covid. Many of the local new cases arise from too many family members attending weddings, birthday parties and other getogethers without masks or social distancing and ignoring the 30 person restrictions. Our hospital ICU beds are filling up and medical staff are exhausted dealing with virus deniers. So sad that wearing a mask causes so many people to rebel against common sense and science.

To finish on a happy note…the butternut squash have been harvested and will spend the winter in the garage waiting to be made into soup. Wishing you all a safe and small Thanksgiving gathering next week!

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28 Responses to Change of Heart and Dress

  1. Sew Much Talent says:

    All too familiar alteration issues. Your solutions are always fascinating to read/see. I miss reading your posts. That is such a cute frog fountain. COVID cases here in GA have risen again, as well. The schools have shut back down. So sad. Your butternut squash looks wonderful. Great post! As always, thanks for sharing.

    • mrsmole says:

      Hi Alethia, our schools haven’t even re-opened since March. Kids are all just playing in the streets with little or no home schooling. I pity the teachers if and when the school resume!!! So many new cases from illegal weddings and birthday parties in the valley. The bride and groom say they are sorry but insisted that “Their special day” needed an audience of 100…yeah right…say goodbye to grandma….she is in ICU now. Hope you clients have been respectful and wear masks!!!

  2. lisale31 says:

    Love reading about your “adventures”! and I love your frog fountain!

  3. Mary says:

    Oh Mrs. Mole; you’ve done it again! That first dress looked like every design feature was “unpacked” and thrown at the dress! These brides will be telling their nieces and daughters about the Wedding Gown Whisperer when it’s their turn for alterations; and how wonderful the “good old days” were. Bravo again. Stay safe.

    • mrsmole says:

      Thanks, Mary…experience counts for something when altering…but, the big but, I can’t change everything that goes wrong after hearing the bride say, “All of my posse’ cried when I walked out of the dressing room wearing this dress.” Yes, dear and did the salesperson tell you how much it would cost to make it fit correctly??? Maybe not.

      • Cheryl Designs says:

        Sometimes I think brides’ take too many ‘helpers’ with them 😦 They do BEST with just 1 or 2 🙂 This bride had a perfectly wonderful gown at first IF that was the STYLE she desired 🙂 Obviously it was NOTHING like her DREAM GOWN 😦 I am glad she was HAPPY at the end 🙂 That is OUR goal as bridal alteration experts 🙂 HAPPY BRIDES 🙂

  4. Tina Kempa says:

    Your wonderful Jo Ann! It’s difficult to explain why something shouldn’t be done to someone who doesn’t deal with special fabrics.I just love your sense of humor! Stay safe my friend and thank you for the referrals. 👍😃

    • mrsmole says:

      So glad you are there still working and someone I can give my regular clients to for expert alterations. This week has been a stream of wool coats and new jeans needing repairs/remakes all headed your way, Tina!!!

  5. Jen L says:

    A happy and safe Thanksgiving to you too, Mrs. Mole!

  6. Char says:

    You must have the “patience of Job”. Hope you are doing well; what trying times we are living through! Char McAulay

    • mrsmole says:

      I’m feeling so sorry for brides who have waited all year for their big day and yet it is still never going to be what they dreamed of. I was given patience from birth…it helps dealing with weird-os.

  7. Peter says:

    That inside-out dress link was hilarious!

    • mrsmole says:

      Hi Peter, I though about your cousin Cathy and if she would have ever been so stupid as to wear a dress inside out…but she is much too refined and cultured to make such a mistake!

  8. Eleanor says:

    You must have the patience of a saint! Loved the inside out story too, a good chuckle was had, thank you.

  9. Martina says:

    The end result was beautiful…at least here in MA we don’t have too many stories of 100 person weddings. Who knows what horrors the weeks after Thanksgiving will bring.

    • mrsmole says:

      Seeing as so many families dread the mandatory Thanksgiving feast with too much to drink and eat and then relatives passed out on the sofa waiting to served pumpkin pie after the hostess has cleaned the dishes and kitchen…makes me think that this year it is a bonus to be able to scale it down or call if off completely! I’m imaging Grandpa shouting across the table, “Pass the gravy” and should be yelling, “Pass the Covid”.

  10. erniek3 says:

    Sometimes it seems like the bride is just buying yardage and you get to recut it all.

    I did love the first dress. I would have worn that (I was cute when I got married, and my dress was a little like that, but symmetrical and….dark navy blue. NOT BLACK.) The one she went with is lovely enough, but I’m getting Royal Princess vibes, especially with the veil. It is a classic look, and it’s her day after all.

  11. Susan Hart says:

    OMG! I thought the 1st dress was actually more bridal than the so-called sleek one! Way to “Handmaids Tale” for me….
    It was probably a foreign knock off because of the wrong type of lining and badly sewn insides.
    I liked the tucking of the folds and removal of the extra in the front, could’ve used some added beaded lace appliqués strategically or a beaded belt..too bad, it sounded like an episode I saw once of “Say Yes to the Dress”, where there was a bride who liked absolutely everything but couldn’t decide on anything.
    Jealous of your extended growing season even though I’m in the same state!

  12. Cheryl Designs says:

    THANK YOU so much for the INSIDE OUT STORY 🙂 Isn’t she a WONDERFUL young lady for posting HER mistake? 🙂 Good for her 🙂 I receive those calls about bridal gowns now and then. “CHERYL-I NEED to bring this gown to you because it doesn’t fit AT ALL and it is NOTHING like I IMAGINED when I saw it online 😦 ” We make an appt and sometimes they ORDER a NEW GOWN because the ALTERATIONS they request top out at $800-1,000 😦 At least they LISTEN to MY recommendations 🙂 Unfortunately… AFTER they have already spend hundreds of dollars on a gown online 😦 HAPPY THANKSGIVING 🙂

  13. Kat says:

    Hi Mrs. Mole,

    Why does dropping the bodice below the waist solve the winkle problem?

  14. mrsmole says:

    The wrinkles were caused by too much fabric from her neckline to her waist. The fabric was bunching up and had nowhere to go. Sliding the bodice fabric down past the waistline gets rid of the wrinkles.

  15. Kat says:

    I see! Thank you for the explanation! I absolutely love reading your blog!

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