Altering a Bubble Dress and Other “Closed” Lined Garments

This year, I’ve seen alot of Bubble Dresses for Prom and Homecoming.

Here is one I altered yesterday:

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They have lots of pouf all over them, don’t they?

The hem and the lining are usually sewn together at the bottom of the dress.

So, instead of opening up the hem area, I leave that alone as often as possible.

So far, no one has asked me to hem a short bubble dress.

I have had to hem a bubble bridal gown.

Say that fast three times!

But, on this gown, I needed to take in the bust area at the side seams.

So, instead of opening up the hem area and doing the alteration from there, I opened up the lining on a side seam about two inches longer than the area I wanted to alter:

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On this dress, I needed to take in the side seams from the top of the bust down to the waist.

Once I had the side seam opened, I reached in and turned the dress inside out. That made it possible to take in the side seams.

To do that alteration, read this post.

You can do other alterations as well, like this post on hemming the bubble dress, but this is the most common one I do on formal gowns.

Once I finished altering the dress fabric and the lining, I folded back the edges of the opening and stitched it closed:

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I sew the stitches very close to the edge so that I don’t lose any noticeable width in the lining.

And that’s all there is to it!

I use this technique when I am working on any garment where the lining doesn’t hang loose. In men’s jackets, I tend to open up the sleeve area because it is more hidden than the back or sides of the jacket. The same is true for women’s jackets. On jackets, I tend to do alterations such as shortening sleeve length, taking in the center back seam or shortening the jacket’s length.

I like this technique because it saves alot of time and I don’t like to hand sew something together if I don’t have to!

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2 Responses

  1. I had a bubble skirt and then a bubble semi formal back when they were popular the first time — the late 1980’s! The skirt was a really cute flannel one. I wore it all the time as it was one of my favorites. The bubble semi-formal was for some dance in college. I found it on sale. Isn’t it interesting how all the styles come back around?

  2. I’ve done something similar, but when I sew it shut, I use a zigzag stitch, having the right side fall just off the edge of the fabric. That way, after its sewn, you can slightly tug on each side of the stitches and the seam will fall nearly flat again.

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