Monday, February 25, 2013

Rescuing the wedding dress started by the Mother of the Bride

Rescuing a Mother of the Bride (MOB) from a fraught bride who hated the wedding gown she had created for her two weeks before the wedding day!

The MOB is the neighbour and friend of good friends who live locally. I met bride and mum four weeks ago and offered help if the very competent MOB dressmaker got into any difficulties. She started well, made a toile, bodice only sadly, then went onto the wedding gown. When bride had the final fitting, she burst into tears and hated it! They called me, I thought it looked beautiful, but not on the bride. Beautiful stitching, technically perfect dress making, piping to die for, hand stitched lace, but the style chosen did not suit the bride at all and the fit could have been better.

First problem:
They had chosen a 50s reissue Vogue pattern, with a boat neck, the one on the left. When they were shopping for the pattern the bride had 'decision' fatigue and chose it even though it didn't resemble her 'design board' ideas. She was 'over it' and 'this will do'.

Second problem:
The bride had not tried on any gowns in a bridal store to see what suited her figure and use that to decide on the style that would make her the perfect bride she wanted to be on her wedding day.

Third problem:
The MOB only made a bodice toile and this did not show what the gown would look like completed.

The first thing I did was create a new toile of the dress and work through the issues with the bride. The boat neck did not suit her small frame, she felt big shouldered and 'hulky'. The bodice was too short waisted, she has been wearing long bodiced dresses and low slung jeans all her fashonista life, a natural waisted dress was out of her comfort zone, she felt it made her look short. The skirt was too gathered and bulky and she felt fat.

Now the bride is lovely and slender, she is 5ft 2" in height and short in the waist. So the above style was creating an illusion of bulk, hulk and was not what she had in her head.

I looked through her design board on Pinterest and her book of images that she liked. I asked her to find a dress in her wardrobe that she liked, had the fit she was looking for. This dress, and most of her fashion images, were long waisted with the gathered skirt under the belly button and on a curve.

So out came the scissors, we lengthened the bodice, we changed the neckline completely into a wide U shape and the made the shoulders narrow. The toile skirt was gathered to have more bulk over the hips and less at front and back and I rigged up some tulle 'panniers' on the hips as well. Sadly I took no photos :(

Once we had the fit and the look right, which took a long while of discussion, fitting, moving darts, changing neckline, dropping the back of the bodice lower than the front and other changes, we then moved to the fashion fabric.

The MOB did most of the sewing, however I did all the hand sewing on the day before the wedding as the MOB ran out of time. I sat in her studio watching historical movies, being brought cuppas, then wine and nibbles, I finished at 9 PM that night, phew! Sadly my images of the completed dress are pretty poor.

Here is the gown with the remade bodice and without the petticoat
Without petticoat
Thankfully there was enough lace overlay and silk to make a new long line bodice. The original skirt was fine, the length just dropped to long ballerina and the bride liked the graceful line that gave the gown.

With petticoat
Then we had to create the skirt 'flower blossom' look that she was after with a petticoat.Thankfully we were able to reuse the MOBs wedding crinoline from the 70s as it turned out to be just perfect. I added the tulle 'panniers' to the side and this is the final result. The piccies aren't that good I'm sorry.

I think it looks like a 1920s Robe de Style, what about you?

When your working to create your daughter's wedding gown it can be hard to get her to be honest about what she wants, she doesnt want to hurt your feelings and you don't want to  bully her.

A bride is happy to be honest with me, happy to say no I don't like that, or its too loose or can you change it here please? I'm very happy to do that as I want what my client wants.

So if you want to make your daughter's wedding dress, why not work with me and together we will ensure that the gown is what your daughter really wants?

I'm The Tailor's Apprentice and I have created The Miss Page Vintage Pattern Collection. 1940s WWII dress making patterns for the 21st century woman. Patterns created by me from my extant 1940s gowns. All my patterns are available on Etsy and my website where you'll find out more about me as well. This year I am publishing an 1820s gown wardrobe pattern.


  1. The gown looks gorgeous! Well done.

    1. Thanks so much Lindi, it was an interesting challenge :)

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