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Message Board > Beginner's Forum > formal dress help ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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formal dress help
temporary alteration possible?
annieswaiting
annieswaiting
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Date: 7/31/12 3:15 PM

Hi! New here, heard about your forum from another forum to which I post. I'm hoping to get some advice:

I have this dress: http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/js-collections-v-neck-lace-mesh-gown/3315034?origin=keywordsearch&fashionColor&resultback=0

You see how it has 8 bands of solid black satin ribbons on the bottom? I wonder if it's possible to somehow fashion it so only 4 bands of black ribbons show (to shorten the dress into a cocktail length). I don't want it permanently altered, though, because I need to be able to bring the length back down for another formal event later. Trying to get two uses out of the same dress.

I've pinned it up and it looks nice, but not sure what could keep it up (both dress and liner) for an extended period without too much weighing it down. Any ideas/advice? Is this even possible? TIA!

Fruzzle

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Date: 7/31/12 4:16 PM

I think I referred you here. (We are much friendlier here!!)

I think the short answer is probably no. You'd need to cut the bottom off for the cocktail length, and then sew it back on again for the ankle length (with some extra fabric, and you'd have to try to match the existing fabric). Pinning it up would just make it hang oddly.

Maybe this is the excuse you need to buy 2 dresses?

Courtney Ostaff
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In reply to annieswaiting <<
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Date: 7/31/12 6:55 PM

You could do it with linen, maybe, but sheers like that? They weigh on themselves. By hand, slip-stitching very tiny stitches would be your best bet, if it works at all.

annieswaiting
annieswaiting
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Date: 7/31/12 8:25 PM

Thank you both! I keep imagining something like lightweight velcro, or stitch-witchery, but I'm such a beginner, I can only imagine the "maybes", not the problems!

I have a couple of dresses, but I really like this one the best. One event is cocktail, the other is formal. But I defer to your knowledge, so I guess I'm keeping both.

BTW, I've been perusing the board...yes, you are right...much, much kinder here!! Sometimes I forget that not everything is so snarky! Thanks again, for your comments and your recommendation!!

CraftAddict
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Date: 7/31/12 8:56 PM

I think your best bet would be to turn it up and hand sew it. However since the bottom flares it won't lay flat without some bulking. Maybe if you fold some pleats in it along the way while you're sewing.

annieswaiting
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Date: 8/1/12 9:54 AM

Ok, so I was imagining again last night...the "ribbons" are only attached at the top of the ribbon~ the rest of it just hangs. What about cutting the dress across about 1/2 under the top of the ribbon, and installing a zipper. It would be like those pants that can change from pants, to capris, to shorts. Would that be possible? Are there very, very flowy lightweight zippers?

NhiHuynh
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Date: 8/1/12 10:45 AM

I can't tell from the pictures if there's any seams at the top of each ribbon or is it one solid piece of fabric.

If there's seams, you can carefully unpick, rehem and then reverse to get it back to length.

If you've pinned it up and it looks fine, you can hand sew the 4 bands up attaching it to the lining so it doesn't hang on the delicate sheer fabric. And then hand sew the lining up. Remove the stitches and release for full length. As another PRer suggested you should try pleats to get the excess under control. Or you leave it full kind bubble skirt like. Assuming that's isn't way out of style.

Separating the fabric under one of the ribbon flaps isn't a bad idea if executed correctly. You can't really see any alterations under the solid ribbon Maybe zigzag 2 thin soft ribbons under one of the ribbon flap on the sheer fabric with their edges together like 2 parallel lines running the same direction as the ribbon. Cut the pieces apart. I'm hoping the thin ribbons will keep the edge from fraying. Then butt them back together, and zig zag the 2 ribbons back together so you don't lose any length. As I'm typing this, it may be too advanced for a beginner.

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annieswaiting
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In reply to NhiHuynh <<


Date: 8/1/12 4:00 PM

It does sound a little advanced for me, but I think I'm following what you're saying. So to go back and forth I would then zig zag sew (or remove) the soft ribbon ends back together? Not that I see myself doing this repeatedly, but just to make sure I understand.

solosmocker
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Date: 8/6/12 4:54 PM

This is a fitted A Line. To expect it to look as smooth as it does in the picture once you have folded it up inside is hoping too hard. It won't happen. Adding velcro or anything else will also ruin the line of the skirt. Personally, I think you are asking this garment to do something for you it wasn't meant to do. The only option I see is to cut it off underneath a ribbon and then sew it back on. You really don't want to ruin the beautiful line of this beautiful dress. I would just go buy another one.
-- Edited on 8/6/12 4:55 PM --

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Miss Fairchild
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In reply to annieswaiting <<


Date: 8/6/12 5:07 PM

I was thinking of a zipper too, but then realized this dress is probably sheer and a zipper would weight it down too much. Do you really want to keep the bottom of the dress like it is? Meaning, in a straight A-line? My only other suggestion is what I saw at a wedding this past weekend. The bride's dress had a long train and for the reception, this train was held up inside the dress by little hooks and eyes, making the bride able to dance. You could do the same with these four bands, but the bottom would look very different, much like those gowns of old that had tucks in them.

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