"Meet Me at the Alter|ations" will be a series dedicated to bridal alterations commissions completed by Syreeta C.
Today's bride is Sharrone!
The piece was a fit-and-flare style with a full skirt featuring a unique design which required it to be fully interfaced and even reinforced with boning. It was created out of duchesse satin overlaid with lace and a decently weighted lining to finish it all on the inside. That is to say... it was heavy. Real heavy. Upon its arrival and leading up to the wedding, the gown was still quite roomy even when laced as tightly as possible.
The piece was a fit-and-flare style with a full skirt featuring a unique design which required it to be fully interfaced and reinforced with boning. It was created out of duchesse satin overlaid with lace and a decently weighted lining to finish it all on the inside.That is to say... it was heavy. Real heavy.
But... it's bridal. That sort of comes with the territory. Alterations on a finished gown of any weight can be tricky. Getting finished pieces under a machine without disturbing too much is a challenge, especially the small or hard-to-reach sections. The fuller and heavier the gown... the harder it is. You lose a lot of pins in the process.
Yet still, this all comes with the job. Some challenges are foreseeable, so no sweat.
However, there are challenges that are not foreseen... and those ones make you sweat a bit. Heh.
And there was something I didn't see coming because, as I go to peel back the layers of lace, as you've seen me do in all of the "Meet Me at the Alter|ations" posts prior (you know the drill by now)... I realize my arch-nemesis is present. GLUE. And there's a lot of lace, therefore... there is a lot of glue. A lot a lot. We already know I hate glue and think it has no place on fabric unless it's used on flatback stones or something. But this application was next level. Because of the amount of lace applique and the structure of the gown, the glue covered tons of area and became quite thick in places. Lace was used to camouflage where the skirt attached to the bodice and pooled a bit in these folds. That meant no matter where I decided to attack these alterations, I'd have to go through it, including the primary access points like the side and waist seams.
I was pissed.
And then I paused to break the news to Sharrone.
And she was pissed.
A bride doesn't invest in a custom process overseas to have a garment built with glue. She equated it to a "craft project." I won't lie, our fitting sessions got pretty real as we discussed aspects of business and design integrity. Although mindful, I'm generally notably candid and she was, as well. She handled the news and circumstances with an objective attitude and worked to troubleshoot with the original gownmaker while still completing the necessary steps with me to ensure we could give the gown the life it needed for her big day. And I was determined to do so.
I greased the elbows up and got to work. This gown reminded me that I need to go to the gym more. (Please do no ask me how many times I've been to the gym since finishing it. Thanks.) Lifting its weight, manipulating it around the machine, and applying sheer force to loosen layers of lace motivated that aforementioned sweat. Oh... umm... and their was blood, too. *sigh*
At some point while flipping the skirt portion around, my finger discovered something very sharp. Now, remember, the skirt actually had boning in it. The edges of boning can be quite sharp and are generally covered or capped off so they don't tear through the fabric. But I'm also used to scratches and pricks (call them an occupational hazard) and I knew this wasn't no little boning poke.
As soon as I rescinded my hand from the inside of the fabric fold, I saw the tell-tale red dot. All my seamstress friends know the red dot. So... I peeped that red dot... and I dropped the gown... and I ran. I hauled ass to the bathroom and first aid kit. I jetted not because it hurt or I have a blood phobia. I took off because this is BRIDAL. Bridal means WHITE. Red and white don't mix, my G. I wasn't worried about my finger -- I had to protect the gown!
So yea, not only did they use glue, but they left a stray pin. I'm honestly glad I found it the way I did and Sharrone didn't find it with her body while wearing the dress. Really, really glad.
At the close of these alterations, I was able to pull up enough lace and glue to take in the gown almost 4" in the waist (that's a lot, btw) and taper that out to the bodice and skirt. For such a full gown, it made all the difference. Instead of swallowing her, it accented her shape beautifully.
As I type, I remember that they also shipped the gown with a cheap thin ribbon to thread through the back corset. The color wasn't even a good match. I wasn't having that and made her a new, thicker cording out of a matching satin remnant.
Oh, and my absolute favorite part: the veil had a matching lace trim... that was STITCHED ON. Why on earth you would take the time to stitch lace on a veil...a simple piece of tulle mesh that will not fray and likely never ever ever have to be altered, but NOT on the gown is beyond my comprehension. The veil is also the cheaper product so just like... why take the time if you ain't really 'bout that life? Glue on the veil. Stitch on the dress, dawg. But I love irony... so this was my favorite part. Lol!
Sharrone was dope through it all; trusting and allowing me to work. Our appointments often ran long because we'd end up chatting about all sorts of things, most memorably "our kids." We both have a passion for youth education and advocacy. She works in a school and found out that I also teach arts ed. I love that I run a business where I can share real narratives with people. It's truly an amazing bonus of what I do. Conversations breach all sorts of topic far beyond fashion. Political-correctness isn't my forte (lol), so engagements can deepen and time becomes an afterthought. It's lovely. May all clients and visitors know in advance that my studio is a safe space. Authenticity and empowerment are brand pillars for a reason!
Some convos don't stop at the door. Sharrone has kept in touch and I talked to her as recently as this week. You'll likely see her featured here again soon!
*Honorable Mention: I was able to do alterations on one of her bridesmaids gowns, too! Always feel free to send me your people. I love crew love!