Wedding Planning: first dress alteration edition

Amidst the rest of the chaos of planning our wedding, I opted to do my own dress alterations. Originally I had thought of making my own dress completely, but after a little research I was terrified and bought a gown. That made the idea of doing my own alterations seem like a manageable undertaking, but believe me when I say it is still going to be a ton of work. Bear in mind here that I am far from being a seamstress. I have made a few garments of my own on a very minor scale, and have altered a number of every day sorts of clothing. I also did very minor alterations on my sister’s wedding dress a few years ago, but nothing that compares to this.

The first step that I undertook was shortening the length of the dress. It was about 8 inches too long for me, and the dress has three layers of skirt. I have also never done a hem so narrow as to look completely professional. The two under layers weren’t terribly difficult, but the topmost layer is chiffon, which was both difficult to cut evenly, as well as to keep from fraying and feed through the machine evenly. I am using a regular sewing machine rather than a serger, so there were difficulties there as well. Fortunately I did some research and bought a narrow rolled hemmer foot, which saved me hours of trouble and heartache. I can’t imagine the work that it would have required without that.

But I have now hemmed all three layers. It took two days and it was fairly nerve wracking, but it’s done. I may take some fabric glue to some of the seams to reinforce, but so far I’m really happy with it.

So what remains to be done?

I have to take the bodice in by several inches, and I have to completely change the top of the dress. It came as a halter top, which I can’t pull off and which isn’t seen as appropriately modest by my church. So I have to cut the straps off and add a new top. That itself will be a lot of work.

For taking in the dress so much in a design with stays, I think I will take the zipper off entirely and instead use those tiny little white bridal buttons. I’m not great with zippers so I think it’s a good option that will take me less work and look nicer in the long run. But I don’t intend to do much more on the dress for another month or so because I’ve been on a pre-wedding diet and exercise kick and hope to lose a couple more inches in the mean time.

So for the time being, I’ve done what I can and I’m really happy with the results. St. Anne is the patron saint of seamstresses so I have been praying for all the help I can get. I’m sure I’ll have more to rant and rave about when I begin further alterations, so you’ll be hearing more. But for now, things are in a good place. Now if the rest of the arrangements would go as smoothly…

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