Taking In A Dress That’s 5 Sizes Too Big

I haven’t written in almost a month. Not because I didn’t want to.

I was preoccupied with altering a bridal gown.

I should have known that taking in 8 inches at the bust was going to prove to be difficult.

Isn’t there an unwritten rule that you shouldn’t take in more than like three inches or something?

This dress was a size ten and I think the bride is a size zero.

To complicate matters, there was a band sewn in around the top edge of the dress.

As in many strapless dresses, the front was higher than the back, so when you take it in at the side seams, the new seams don’t match up.

Here’s a drawing of the side view of a gown:

If you take in an inch from the front and back, which is a total of 2″ (I just folded the paper along the side seamline to make the point here), you can see that the band doesn’t line up now.

Neither does the dress itself:

My alteration was double the amount of the one in the photo above.

Plus there was beading involved.

And appliques.

But those were the least of my problems.

Here’s how it looked midway through the project:

The band is lining up fairly well with the main body of the dress. I’ll need to tweak it a bit, but do you see the “sagging” at the bottom of the photo?

My next challenge was to pull the band down lower on the dress to take that excess out of the dress and get it to lay smoothly.

This was much more difficult than I thought it would be.

The more I pulled it down, the less circumference of the band I had to work with.

Eventually, it worked.

I also added some boning to give her support on that side seam.

The manufacturer had added the original boning to the inter lining (yes, it’s a third layer…not the dress, not the lining,, but another layer.)

The interlining was made of self destructing fabric (ha!) and there wasn’t much of it to begin with. So, I needed to use some Fray Block on it to save what I could.

I would have loved to tear it all out and get rid of it, but time was of the essence and I knew whichever way I went, it was going to take time. (Oh, maybe I should have just cut it out! Hmm. Hind sight is always 20/20, isn’t it?)

I think my mind was on getting ready for Christmas and not stressing out!

Haven’t you had alterations like this before?

The farther you dig in to the garment, the more work you find to do?

I don’t run into this very often, but this was just one of those times.

Notice in the photo above that the band seam is now not perpendicular to the floor.

That is because it wouldn’t match up if I did that.

Thankfully, this seam was under her arm and mostly covered with the applique when finished, so no one cared. Or noticed.

I forgot to mention that I also had to take up the hem.

It had horsehair along the bottom and a huge train (which I didn’t have to alter, thankfully)!

The bride had a rough work schedule, but we got her fittings in when we could, sometimes at night.

I finished the day before Christmas Eve!

There were bridemaid alterations that had to be done the following Monday and the wedding was Tuesday!

What about you, have you ever had a project that consumed you or stressed you out to the point that you didn’t think you could finish it on time?

I’d love to hear about it.

Also, are you making any New Year’s resolutions?

I think you know mine!!!!

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