Hands up…who remembers Gunne Sax by Jessica…the long flowing lace embellished voile prairie dresses that were everywhere hippies gathered?
So, just when I think the bridal season is coming to a close…in walks a treasure. A wedding dress that now has to be transformed into something larger for the 40th anniversary celebration. Here we go…parents shield your children’s eyes:
Back in 1974, when this bride was about to walk down the aisle she realized that her father would have a heart attack if she was showing cleavage for the church ceremony so her sister noticed a pair of lace panties on the bed and she grabbed them and hand stitched them to the deep V for modesty. Everyone knew but her father.
Now 40 years later, the dress has been resurrected to make an appearance at a gala celebration in Seattle on New Year’s Eve. The bride says she may wear a shrug as the weather will be cold…if you have ever been in the Northwest on Jan 1, you would be a lot better off in a parka! So from the back view you can see we need 12 inches of something to fill the gap. The corset back idea is not what she wanted, she said I could find fabric and “tuck it in” back there, she even brought along an old lace camisole to show me. My magic wand was no where to be found so I said I would remove and open the 2 sashes and flatten them out to make some panels to add the 12 inches we needed in order to close the zipper from armhole to past the hips.
The more I investigated, I realized that someone who tried on this dress before must have really forced the zipper to open wide and the teeth have come away from the adjoining teeth so it leaves a hole when zipped…great…let’s sort that out first…realign that and everything else will fall into place…fingers crossed!
Where are they going? Here: Notice as well that the last seamstress cut away the lining for some reason..nice touch…that will need patching too. But the one good thing in this mess is when I opened up the side seam…out flopped 8 inches of sleeve underarm that was just folded and sewn into the side seam. No wonder the biceps were so tight! So with this extra 8 inches and the extra 6 inches of the bodice, all I have to do is some gentle gathering of the sleeve when sewing it to the new underarm top edge…I’m so excited! I am restoring the dress back to the original shape and size! and from the outside looking in:
OK, sleeves sorted out lets see those panels. I made sure I had a new center seam so it did not look like there was just a huge patch put there and if she ever wanted sashes, there would be a place to attach them.
With the panels all basted, the client returns for her final try-on: In the last photo, you can see how far her original side seams slid forward to accommodate her bust. Now the side panels can sit on her waist and the new sashes can be attached further back.
Things are pretty much good except the dress is now 3 inches too long and I suggest we remove that lower ruffle. Then the bride says, “I want a bow in the back like 40 years ago so make that narrow ruffle into sashes and attach them.” Great…now I wish I could have just done that in the beginning but we didn’t know the dress would relax and be too long. Once that is completed Cinderella can be off to the ball.
If you are wondering if Mrs Mole wore this type of dress back then…yes, I did but I wore it as a maternity dress waiting for my first-born to arrive, which she did, 6 weeks early…she has always been in a hurry.
Merry Christmas everyone !