"Meet Me at the Alter|ations" will be a series dedicated to bridal alterations commissions completed by Syreeta C.
Today's bride is Kristen!
Kristen arrived to me with a low-fuss dress and an open-mind (a lovely combo if you ask me). She mentioned specifically seeking out a seamstress who had a design eye so that she could truly consult with a professional on the overall look. In the end, this was a thoughtful approach as her gown overall was a pretty good fit off the bat. Our edits mostly involved decisions about what it would take to accomplish the wearability and comfort she sought out.
The first, more obvious alterations involved length. Both the hem and sleeves were too long even though the gown fit well through the body. Luckily, the waist seam hit in a flattering spot and saved us some work. Oftentimes when sleeves and bottoms of 1-piece garments are too long, so is the bodice and those are a little tricker to shorten since the often involve going through a zipper and more.
The gown hem featured a scalloped lace trim that needed to be removed before shortening and then replaced once the extra length was removed. Kristen planned to wear flats so we consulted about how much shoe peakage she wanted to have. (It's near impossible to fully cover a flat without an incredible full hem, so I'm sure to always go over realistic expectations with clients.) We maintained the train proportion and shape when hemming, but opted at add a bustle to pull the extra fabric up off of the ground for ease after the ceremony and photos. This is pretty common with bridal.
The sleeves featured a keyhole closure at the wrist that was fastened by a button and loop. This detail allows for a more fitted sleeve in fabrics with less stretch since the button can be opened to allow the hand to pass through and then closed for fit. We preserved this detail.
Kristen's bodice featured sections of sheerness and unlined lace, which can be tricky with undergarments. I often receive questions about whether I can build understructure into ready-made gowns in order to offer support in lieu of undergarments that may end up being visible. This... is tough. And often not worthwhile. From a sewing standpoint it involves deconstructing an entire bodice in order to add elements and then reassemble. These additions would have to fit pretty precisely with what's already there (sometimes challenging to achieve since there's no way to access the original pattern). The existing bodice may not even have a place to anchor these additions anyway, so there's a chance you'll end up with extra stitches that may or may not be visible. And all of this is IF it's even possible to complete these tasks. If so, the costs associated with such intense work can mount up pretty high. These things are risky, as well. There's little margin for error because there's no extra fabric and when reassembled, both the form and function of the garment must be up to par. Or it's all for naught.
After assessing the construction of the gown, I suggested to stick with the undergarments for support with this one. To clients' benefit, the undergarment industry is wild these days. There are tons of options for different desired effects. I can't always keep up but I allow clients to bring different options to try, if necessary, until they find the right match.
The last little thing was the waist detail. It was a little cluster of 3D flowers that we had to decide whether to keep or replace. The suggestion of a crystal applique arose, but was nixed once I voiced my disclaimer that metal jewel setting and lace are a match made in snagged fabric heaven. (My disclaimers are always from a well-intended place. I want my clients to make empowered decisions, so if I can anticipate something, I'll let them know but the final decision is always up to them! As many of us realize... sometimes the risks are worth it... and sometimes not.)
In the end, Kristen was able to achieve a comfortable look that vibed perfectly with her personality and the energy of her wedding! She was super sweet, trusting, and calm through the process and I was so happy to see the love in her wedding photos. It's truly what she deserved!
Also also... her color palette was so dope. I loved it as she showed me planning snippets... I loved it when I saw photos... and I will love it always!