Fit for a queen tales from the sewing studio

Starting with just 5 points pinned up tells me that we might have to go up to 7 just to get all this up off the ground. The weight of all this satin is unbelievable! Covered buttons and rhinestones run the full length of the center back seam to the ground.

You can see how much the bride wants removed from the shaped cap sleeves. Can you also see how doing this causes wrinkles/drag lines in the side bust panel? Push up bust pads are pinned in place but this bride will have to compromise on what works and what doesn’t. This happens when you take up the shoulders so much as to distort the actual curve of the bust seam. Where does that fabric have to go to lay flat again?

First, all the rhinestones and pearls have to be removed one at a time, no bead cracking this time!


The naked edge is folded under and 3 hooks and eyes are attached and the resulting belt is together without looking like anything has been done. Did I save the beads for her??? YOU BET!

The openings will be 5 inches long and 2.5 inches wide. The mother was not happy knowing this was the bride’s request but I lucked out as the bride wanted the entire length of the side seams opened to the waist to reveal more and more. The second strip of rhinestones is actually glued tight to the satin and I was not about to get into that mess so we are stopping at the top level.

Second fitting with 2 inches taken out of each strap thus raising the entire dress up, we still have the drag lines in the bust but the bride is so happy that the waist is sitting on her waist. Once I get inside of the bodice, I will take in the princess seam to see if that helps. You can see how the whole design of the bodice changes once you hike the straps up.

The bust would have fit better lower but we have changed the whole arc of the bust points and adding those side pieces just adds one more issue to create problems. While the straps are now shorter and narrower, the design still needs to rest at the outer edge of her shoulders and not like regular straps. Raising the shoulder straps also makes the underarm fabric crawl right up into her armpit so the armhole will have to be lowered an inch or more to compensate.

The upper belt fits tight and the lower belt sits well on her hips without revealing too much in the cut-out. Originally she wanted the back “V” dropped even lower…so glad I talked her out if it! The 5 point bustle could use a few more points but she likes the soft loops of fabric. To me it looks messy and uneven.

With the satin layer and under layer basted, the only thing I could think of for the lining was to hand tack a tuck and not bother messing with the boning. I could reduce the volume by 1/2 inch with a 1/4 inch tuck…fingers crossed it is enough!

Three days until Turkey day and then the following day we help set up for the 100 ASG drawstring pillowcases filled with all of life’s necessities for homeless teens and seniors. Doing charity work over the holidays fills one with a real sense of gratitude!!!

This season, I encountered the liveliest of all and for a different reason…she had waited 70 years to find her soulmate. My dear bride spent her whole life teaching and developing her spiritual side. She was an East Coast native and never expected what came next when she retired and moved to the West Coast.

He proposed, she ordered a dress online and found me to make it right. Of course, the dress came vacuum packed in a small shipping bag and bore no resemblance to the sleek Chinese model that was on the website but that could be remedied. Satin wrinkles are courtesy of being stuffed into a mailing envelope. The only request from the bride was, “Make me look like the model on the website”…whew…it’s a little late for that!

The side seams were pinned to reduce the excess front tummy fabric and give more definition to her back. As you can see the lace motifs are very thick and stiff and beaded and pearled which is not the most flattering on a curved body. As usual, they will have to be removed/lifted where the side seams are taken in and then sewn back down afterwards by hand.

After red thread tracing the new tighter bodice side seams, the thick lace flowers and beads had to be removed/loosened and flipped away from that area. Below this area on the hips, the seams needed to be let out to allow the dress to drop down.

A British colleague of Mr. Mole’s sent this link to me. I thanked her for sending it and it made me realize that besides have great hand sewing skills, we seamstresses have another key ingredient to making edges of fabric meet perfectly…PATIENCE! Sewing skin doesn’t allow for mistakes and ripping out!!!

Here we have the bride with different beaded straps seeing if either works for her to keep the bodice up. You may notice that the top edge is much wider than the bride, this will be altered with inside and outside darts. Also there is a piece of tulle between the cups that needs to be tightened up. OK…front looks doable.

The inside was hand stitched down next to the first dart. You can also see the tulle straps hand stitched to the lining. Everything I have done to this dress can be converted back to the original dress by snipping threads and removing the corset loop strips and attaching the zipper again…well, that is for the next seamstress!

The bride asked that I send her a photo measuring the width of the lacing for whoever was going to lace her up. You may notice that there is no modesty panel and I left the zipper intact as the mother wanted exactly 3 inches to be zipped up. At the top of the zipper teeth I have a big hook and eye. Originally I was going to leave the old zipper in under the lining but it showed through so I had to cut it off. They will not have a bow in back and there is an opening above the zipper to knot the laces and hide them under the zipper area.

The bride wanted her 5 points to be higher in the middle and the side points lower. You can see that even with 5 points we still have some “dog ears” sections of the tulle hem that need trimming off the floor. It would have been clearing the floor with 7 points but that is what you have with tulle.

That front indention has been reduced by releasing the lining and satin layer at that junction and the circumference of the bodice especially at the top fits better after removing one inch on either side of the back zipper. Again…hey designer, did you check how the finished gown would hang on a real body? Or did you mean for the eye to focus on that point for some reason?

This week after months of watching and waiting for our first watermelon experiment, Mr. Mole harvested this beauty when he found it had split itself open. Being a seedless variety and grown from seed (how does that work?) it was amazing to see only a few black seeds and such sweet flesh! I cut it into chunks and took it to my local ASG meeting to share with my friends.

The good thing is that I finished the 13 September brides and am plowing through the 6 October ones while our weather continues to be in the low 70’s and sunny for all the celebrations. This Saturday, I have 3 brides getting married so the push is on to iron more long veils, attach bust cups and steam the dresses ready to go out the front door.