Monday, November 17, 2014

I Should Have Retired!

This fall I began working on my beautiful cousin's wedding dress.  I wasn't excited about using those rusty skills again, but I love my cousin and would do anything for her.
I have now officially retired from that line of work!  I am so happy to have been a part of her wedding, but will never alter another wedding dress.

Frankly, this one put me over the edge.  I could have made two dresses in the time it took me to take in 6 1/2 inches, hem, and bustle this dress.  I won't name names, but it came from the largest bridal chain in the country. I can't imagine why they would carry a dress that was not made to be altered

  It consisted of  a sateen strapless dress full of boning. Attached at the empire waist was another dress made of netting with numerous seams.  The lace was then sewn over the seams apparently with the feed dogs down using a minuscule stitch length.  Atop the lace was beading.  Hence, I had to remove the beaded trim around the waist, remove the beading on much of the bodice and below the waist, remove the lace from bodice and all seams involved in altering the skirt, remove the bones from the lining of the dress, take in 6 1/2 inches from the bodice tapering down at the hips, and make a sway back adjustment.  It was like removing knots!  I can't believe that I didn't rip the netting.  I sounded like a sailor at times and had to stop when I got a headache from looking at the white on white with magnified glasses.  I didn't begin the hem and bustle until 6 days before the wedding, and I had parent-teacher conferences all week! Ugh!  Sleep? What is that? I finished at 2:50 A.M. Thursday night.  The wedding was Saturday.

Funny thing is -- I would do it again! Look at that sweet face.  She is always kind and always cheerful.  My frustration with the dress is nothing compared to the joy I felt seeing her so happy.  Love you A.

P.S. I used to be a procrastinator, but that is not why I worked until the last minute.  The amount of work and a little mishap kept me from finishing.  I fell on my stairway as I was leaving for church the day of the wedding shower in September and broke my tailbone.  I doubt most sewists ever think about how important their bottom is to the hobby.  I never did.


  1. Yay Anna Christina! It's DONE!!!
    What a LOT of work! I'm impressed that you didn't rip the netting either.
    I hope your tailbone is healed!!

  2. As the bridal season comes to a close here in the Pacific Northwest and I put the final touches on the 47th wedding dress and 41st bridesmaid gown, I want to say altering and getting the fit perfect for every size of bride and brand of dress is a challenge. Those of us who do this 7 days a week feel we are doing a great service for the community and would never hesitate to tell people what our business is. The benefits cannot be counted only in money, the smiles and tears of joy make it all worth the long hours and backbreaking work wrestling with 14 pound white satin alligators day after day.

    1. I am sorry if I offended you because I think I did not articulate what I was trying to say very well. The only reason I did not want to mention that I worked in the sewing profession is because I make a lot of wadders and do not consider myself an expert seamstress as one might assume a bridal seamstress to be. I was able to do the job in spite of the fact that I did not have the experience and knowledge that many seamstresses have because many of the dresses are made in a way that alterations simple. The dress I just finished was far from that. It was made in such a way that I couldn't imagine the manufacturer had any intention that it should be altered. I also enjoyed being a part of such a special time in the lives of the brides and bridesmaids. My deepest apologies go out to anyone who felt that I was criticizing the talents of other bridal seamstress.

  3. You did an awesome job on her dress and her smiles speaks volumes! You made a beautiful day even brighter :)