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Message Board > Bridal and Formalwear Sewing > Need help with style lines ( Moderated by MissCelie)

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Need help with style lines
Designing a wedding gown for small busted plus size woman
barbarahf
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barbarahf  Friend of PR
Intermediate
OH USA
Member since 6/8/10
Posts: 70
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Date: 5/20/13 10:28 AM

My bride is 5'9" with most of her length in torso. She is small busted, but otherwise rectangular viewed face on. So far, not a problem. Turn her sideways and I find the issue. She has a high, prominent tummy. Think 6-7 months pregnant.

Next issue - she wants me to "replicate" one of the most 80's gowns I've ever seen. Huge leg o' mutton sleeves, basque waist, huge train, butt bow and more beads & sequins than I put on belly dance costumes, including some dangling bead fringe at the neck and across the lace collar that closes the open, deep keyhole back. 2nd wedding & she didn't have a dress for the first. Wants to have that 'princess' dress.

Of course those lines don't work, but I'm having trouble coming up with something that will & still have the feel of her dream dress. I know there are enhanced bra cups in order and a lot of sturdy boning. Empire will NOT do it. She certainly doesn't want to look pregnant in her mid-40s.

Any suggestions? Or should I perhaps move this to Plus-Size sewing?

------
Barbara
It's all about the costumes!

carry
carry
Member since 10/26/07
Posts: 304
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Date: 5/20/13 3:19 PM

I'm there til you get to the Basque waist.This was a design feature to elongate the waist. She is long thru the torso and it would emphasize the tummy section above and thru the waist.This style is meant for flat stomachs. I made a dress in the 80's that was for 4 mos pregnant girl.We did do an empire line,big sleeves,train.The bodice was very fitted and the skirt was satin.But it was a princess seamed A-line that just skimmed the waist and was not tight across the tummy. It was very structured looking.With all the volume from the full skirt ,leg o' mutton sleeves and train she looked tiny.Perhaps you could get her to think about which of those features in a 80's dress she loves best.Today there are styles that are very princess-like but have soft draping,pleating or ruching thru the waist and bodice that are flattering to less than hourglass figures.You could incorporate the sleeves and beading or the back elements and the train. 80's dresses look so out of style and dated now.They were not classic at the time because they were a mishmash of 80's and the 1890's and it hasn't been long enough to think of them as "retro"I really can't imagine them being considered especially memorable.The bride in 10 years will look at her photos and might not like how she looked because it will make her feel so outdated. These are all the arguments I would give a customer.For yourself this will be hundreds of hours of work and you can already see the outcome may be inappropriate for her figure.Sometimes you just have to say no because you know better.

barbarahf
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barbarahf  Friend of PR
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Date: 5/20/13 3:36 PM

Thanks Carry. I'm pretty sure that if I can't get her to accept some changes - especially the sleeves (she has broad shoulders) and the basque waist, I may have to turn this one down. I want her to look her best, and she won't in that dress. I did suggest seeing if you could remove the trim from the dress. It was given to her and she was told she could do anything she wanted with it.

I think she would look wonderful in a wrapped bodice with some soft ruching in the waist/abdomen area. Let those horizontal lines shorten the torso a bit. I love your idea of asking her which elements she loves and trying to work with those.

When I come up with some sketches, I'll post them here and see if some of you lovely ladies would like to chime in.

------
Barbara
It's all about the costumes!

clothingengineer
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clothingengineer  Friend of PR
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In reply to barbarahf <<


Date: 5/20/13 6:56 PM

This is a tough one! One thing I like about Marfy S838 though is that the gathering would help enhance a smaller bust and the skirt could be made less fitted through the waist. It is a plain enough to handle a lot of embellishment.

Here's a few others for ideas:
Marfy S561
Marfy S563
Marfy S564

------
-- Anne

barbarahf
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barbarahf  Friend of PR
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Date: 5/20/13 7:13 PM

Anne, those are wonderful! That pleated bodice would be just the thing to give her a little more volume at the bust. And I think once she sees the sketch of the dress she brought me on her custom body croquis vs. the elegance of something similar to the Marfys, she will change her tune. I love all of them. Have you sewn any of them? I've never used Marfy.

------
Barbara
It's all about the costumes!

clothingengineer
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clothingengineer  Friend of PR
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In reply to barbarahf <<


Date: 5/20/13 8:34 PM

I never sewed any of these (never married and strictly a home sewer) but I have sewn with Marfy before. Great quality and drafting and incredibly unusual and sophisticated styles. They are made in Italy. These are only a few patterns posted to the website, if you want the full selection you should consider ordering their bridal catalog (available from marfy.it). I highly recommend it as there are over 100 dresses in it and you can find something to suit every age and body type. You need to be a more experienced sewer as no instructions are included and most of the time you need to draft your own lining and facing pieces. Sounds like that won't be a problem for you though. They use a lettering system on the patterns to help you put them together.

For ordering Marfy patterns I go through Nancy Erickson.

------
-- Anne

barbarahf
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barbarahf  Friend of PR
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Date: 5/21/13 7:40 AM

Thanks again, Anne.The tip about the catalog is priceless! I need to check it out since a lot of my business seems to be shifting from historical costuming to plus-size formalwear. You are right about the not needing instructions or facing patterns. I've worked from 17th century tailor's pattern books and they didn't believe in facing or lining patterns or instructions!

------
Barbara
It's all about the costumes!

gramma b
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gramma b
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Date: 5/21/13 9:00 AM

Could you take some photos of her in various styles of try-on gowns first? What they see in photos can be entirely different than what they see looking in a mirror. On the Bridal TV shows the relatives show much different reactions than the brides when they see styles modeled.

Many styles seem to place the bust on a shelf inching up towards the collarbone--how unattractive and painful! I think a ruched strap would look prettier on big shoulders than strapless or pouf sleeves.

clothingengineer
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clothingengineer  Friend of PR
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In reply to barbarahf <<


Date: 5/21/13 9:54 AM

If you're working with plus sizes and want to use these patterns you will need to know how to grade...Marfy bridal patterns only come in 3 sizes (42, 44, and 46) which are roughly equivalent to American pattern sizes 12, 14, and 16. There are many good ideas in it though. You could also look at their regular catalog's evening gown section. Those usually come in a wider range of sizes, and many of them would be easy to convert to a bridal gown.
-- Edited on 5/21/13 9:55 AM --

------
-- Anne

barbarahf
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barbarahf  Friend of PR
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Date: 5/21/13 2:31 PM

Keep it coming, wonderful people!

I wouldn't think of putting this woman in a strapless gown! I don't think a lot of people can really carry off strapless well anyhow. And plus size strapless requires a lot of care. I like the thought of ruched straps, but I know she wants long sleeves in one form or another. I just want to talk her out of the 80s leg o' mutton.

I checked out the Marfy website & I think I have a new place for drooling. What elegant styles!

------
Barbara
It's all about the costumes!

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