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Message Board > Sew Alongs > How should I alter this dress? ( Moderated by CarolynGM, Deepika)

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How should I alter this dress?
I'm unsure how to make this dress fit without messing it up.
Sonut
Sonut  Friend of PR
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Date: 2/8/14 8:32 PM

See pictures oh my Flickr Account at http://www.flickr.com/photos/aaquilting/12397077694/ and the next three following this one.
The young friend who would like this lovely dress altered feels that she "doesn't fill it out" quite as much as it is designed for. So she would like about a half inch taken out at the top of the side seam and graduating down to nothing at the top of the midriff.

I am not a professional alterations person, and this dress is finished very nicely inside and out, as you can see from the pictures. It is a crinkle chiffon with boning at the sides, a bit of padding in the bust section in the front (without taking it apart to see, it feels like about a midloft quilt batting) , and all these fine little pleats in the top. I am very reticent to start opening it up to alter, as I have no experience with boning, and I expect I would have a difficult time with managing the chiffon fabric to un-stitch and put it all back together.

So I am wondering if there is some easy reasonable way to make this work for her. Would a push-up bra perhaps do the trick, would some type of bust pad tacked inside the dress perhaps work, or could I possibly tack some clear elastic inside the back of the dress to draw it in a little and fasten it to the dress by stitching under the pleats (since the back is pleated straight across also.... Or, what else might work?

TIA for any reactions and suggestions.

beauturbo
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In reply to Sonut <<


Date: 2/8/14 9:38 PM

I think better underwear and a padded bra or one with some of those bra cutlets placed into it, would be a much better solution too. If that is the only place she wants "more of her body" in it. Make body bigger and not dress smaller

Just since the dress is made with all those pleats and looks like not even any side seams to it on the top bodice of it, at all. And even the lining of it, looks like it only has a side seam in the upper most piece of the top lining of it. So to make it any smaller there, you would have to add in side seams or take the whole thing apart on the top and re-cut everything. By that time, maybe you could have just made the whole dress from scratch instead!

You could always just have her wear it, inside out though, and use your fingers to finger pinch out any excess, and then just slip stitch all that extra fabric by hand on the inside, and it would fit her. Will break up the pleats though, but if it's under her ams, it might not look too bad at all and might not be too notice-able. And I think you could do that, with out taking apart or more permante changing the original dress at all. And it would be reversible later too. Won't look pretty from the inside that way at all, but if no one see's that, then who cares maybe?

If it's just a bit loose on the whole top edge of it, maybe you could put fabric loops in the lining in a few places and she could run the whole band of her strapless bra though it and that might help hold it in place a bit better too? Or if just on the top edge, you probably could even put some rows of more invisible hand stitches into the top edge of it, on the inside part, and draw it up a bit and try to ease it in, a little bit that way.

Datcat23
Datcat23
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Date: 2/8/14 9:43 PM

Whoa! ....... I have been sewing for years, and I wouldn't touch that with a barge pole. It really is a lovely dress, and very well finished inside and out, but gosh the pressure involved if you decide to try!

My first suggestion would be, Yes please try with a pushup bra. Why mess with the fit, if an undergarment is all it needs?

To go with your bust pad idea ..... it would depend where you could untack a seam. I would say that the lining alongside the zip would be the safest unpick point.

Alternatively, if you can unpick along the zip, you might find the back top seam is free enough, that you could stitch a length of lastin (clear elastic) to it to pull in the back section, without messing with those lovely pleats.

Best of luck, its a challenge for sure.

------
the barefoot seamstress ..... smelling vaguely of lavender and mothballs, and desperately craving chocolate.
www.castley.net/datcat

nitsel
nitsel  Friend of PR
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AR
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Date: 2/9/14 0:49 AM

If adding a bra cup or the elastic doesn't work, this is how I would alter this dress. I would turn the dress wrong side out and see if the bodice and bodice lining are sewn completely together along the waistline of the dress. Often they are separate and only tacked together at the waist. If they are only tacked, un-tack and turn the bodice section wrong side out. Take out the seam under the arm (top of the armpit, not the side seam) for 3-4 inches. You can then sew the side seam in the amount needed, tapering down as far as needed, probably 6 inches or less. (don't remove any stitching on the original side seam, and the pleats won't be disturbed) On the lining section, with the boning, you can simply take a tuck in the lining, beside the boning, the same amount you took in the side seam. Then re-sew the underarm seam (bodice and lining) back together.
If the bodice and lining are sewn completely together at the waist, see if there is a seam in the lining you can open to get to the area you need to work on. If not, take the dress apart at the waist seam as much as needed to work on the top. This usually isn't needed because usually there's a seam that can be taken apart in the bodice lining. Hope this make some kind of sense. I do this work a lot, but doing and describing how to do it are two different things!
Please let us know what you decide to do and how it turns out!

Patti B
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Patti B  Friend of PR
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Date: 2/9/14 9:33 AM

I have nothing helpful to add except EEEK!!! I'm with Datacat where is that barge pole? It is a gorgeous dress and I hope that a new bra will solve the issue.

------
Patti

R-r-r-ripping my way to fitting success

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