Adding and Subtracting

This Maggie Sottero dress fits the model like a glove.


But not all brides are models, are they? Let’s start with what has to be done:

The halter neck is supposed to join like this with two crystal buttons:

Pinning up the long scalloped lace skirt:

Taking in the right side seam:

Taking in the left side seam:

To make this dress secure, I suggested a different configuration for the halter and adding a new strip down the center to anchor it to the modesty panel. That way…NOTHING moves! The modesty panel will be moved over for the second fitting.

Always nice to let the helper know what the distance should be on lacing up day.

The bride can decide if she wants the bow to show or it can be tucked down inside.

Even with the panel moved over, I may still have to add to it.

As I was pinning up the one-point bustle for the satin layer, the bride grabbed the lace and it looked quite dramatic.

A better view:

A three-point bustle works well for the lace layer.

To take in the right side, first I remove all the lace. The same will be done to the left side. Even though this dress has a corset back, the side seams flared away from the body, especially the bust, and needed taking in right there.

The modesty panel will be detached and moved over just one inch…bummer.

The satin skirt layer is red thread marked for new hem.

Just folded under but will be trimmed later:

Same goes for the lace layer:

Lace hem border is removed like always:

Lace border is pinned 5 inches higher.

Before trimming:

Let’s not forget the lining!

Back to those side seams:

Those side seams require the boning to be removed. You can see the pins on the outside. The boning will be re-attached later.

Can you see what a drop-off will happen once the side seams are taken in?

Here is the real proof…what do you do with a one inch drop?

Well, thankfully, the top lace trim can help cover it. Right side seam:

Left side seam:

Getting down to the new vertical strap:

The overlap with crystal buttons coming to fill the gap.

Second try-on and we still need more width to the modesty panel to bridge the gap.

Second fitting also shows that the hem will be higher in satin layer

The lace hem border is also raised another 1.5 inches.

Using a strip of grosgrain ribbon, I can draw on it and get my markings.

With the lace hem border pinned for it’s final position.

What happens to the vertical strap? I use some of the lining trimmed away to cover a new ribbon.

Edges are folded to the back and hand tacked down.

Lace motifs from the hem border are attached.

The final look with edge stitching…crystal buttons to come.

Going to use a strip of new horsehair braid from Wawak instead of removing the old one first.

The dainty lace trim is removed and used later.

New horsehair braid is pinned into place.

After the second try-on, the side seams needed more taking in satin and lining.

I had to widen the modesty panel by 3 inches to bridge the gap. So, of course you need horizontal boning to keep the shape. The new boning is hidden inside the two layers of satin, not against her skin.

Two huge snaps hold the “tail” of the new strap and the lace trim fills in the gaps on the bodice.

Final touches include bust cups and back photo with bustle.

Final photos with Mr. Mole and his weekly harvest!

It is so nice to have our 100+ degree days are over for now and soon we will be gathering all the Butternut squash to store over the winter.

Happy sewing everyone!



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11 Responses to Adding and Subtracting


    GREAT JOB as usual πŸ™‚ Did you know WAWAK is OUT OF STOCK on MOST of the push up bra pads until the END of October ? (NUDE COLOR at least-that is the ONLY color I order) TOTAL BUMMER 😦 I always keep at least 60 plus sets here in various sizes/styles. I ran LOW on push up B and C and was SHOCKED when they were out of stock 😦 I also have THREE bridal gowns that are sized 16, 18 and 22 that have SMALL bra cups in them 😦 REALLY!!!! They were made with app B SIZE cups!!! HA HA 😦 They don’t even cover HALF of my brides’ breasts 😦 I ordered TEAR DROP cups from CLEANERS SUPPLY… Sizes G and H. They were ALSO out of stock on PUSH UP style until OCTOBER 29th 😦 WEIRD 😦 I am not sure how much work you are doing but I thought I would let you know πŸ™‚ I have been SLAMMED with brides and their parties since MAY…. WOO HOO! What a ride 😦 My area has LOST 2 full time seamstresses to retirement and moves to other parts of the country. I think there are only 2 of us LEFT that are PROFESSIONALS. In other words 100% legitimate businesses that pay income taxes, etc etc etc. How is it in your area?

    • mrsmole says:

      The year started out with lots of 2020 brides returning for their alterations and along with new 2021 brides…well it was busy! But now that our valley is the hotest spot for new virus cases in the US, weddings have tapered off for sure! If you need bust pads urgently, let me know!


    VERY CUTE MR MOLE πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Your produce looks great too πŸ˜‰

  3. Judy James says:

    Always amazed at your technical skills in reshaping gowns. Thought the sides taken in would be used to increase the back width — to reduce the width of modesty panel. Learned something new!
    Congratulations on the excellent photo – process for this complicated gown. The garden is producing nicely, in spite of the heat! Lovely! Judy

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Judy…now is the time to clean up dead plants and sad vines and to gather in butternut squash, sweet potatoes (yams) and onions and tomatoes. Just made a peach crumble tonight and Mr Mole is making a Thai curry with lots of other veggies he harvested. Making alterations on dresses sometimes works out well and other times…not so much.

  4. Mrs G says:

    My first thought after reading this post was “Whatever you’re charging, it probably isn’t enough.” Your work is outstanding and I hope the brides really appreciate what you do for them. Regards from the UK!

  5. mrsmole says:

    Most of my brides tell me that they would have paid way more knowing what the outcome of the dress would be after I got my hands on it…ha ha.

  6. erniek3 says:

    The end justifies the means again.
    We’re taking in the sides and the gap in the back is really wide? I know people are all sorts of not symmetrical (I’m certainly not, my back is larger than my front), and I have been reading your blog long enough to know better, but it just makes me think: did they try on this dress first?
    As for the drop on the side seam, well, yes. Lace is your friend here. I’ve always managed to add a wedge stolen from someplace else and make it look “planned” enough. Plus the advice “do not raise your arms and describe the alteration to anyone”.

  7. Susan Hart says:

    Yes, I had my fair share of uneven side seams, I used to trim the top one just a smidge so it didn’t look “as obvious”, especially on gowns without lace….(many Vera Wangs didn’t for a time)
    Thai curry sounds delish!

    • mrsmole says:

      There are gals out there who make the top edges meet by releasing the waistline seams and bringing the shorter one to match. That works if you have loads of fabric in that waist seam but really…who does? And then the waistline seam ends up hiking up a bit. It makes me laugh when the bride’s friends tell me how easy it will be to just take in the side seams. Then I ask them what type of sewing they do to have such a clear view of what nees to be done and the answer it usually, “I make placemats and tablerunners”. You and I own scissors, but I would not want to be responsible for cutting someone’s hair with them. Rain may be coming your way this weekend, Susan! We have our fingers crossed for a downpour!

  8. Martina says:

    I love these lace dresses…they’re just so pretty. Great work on making it fit the bride, and I hope she enjoys dancing in her dress!

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