5 Layer Bridal Gown, needing Hem-work and Train – 2020

Below is Lindsey’s Gown, which needed hem-work for 5 layers as well as a train. With this years challenge for scheduling, while Lindsey was on school break for Memorial Day weekend, she came in, handling the 1 1/2 hr fitting wearing a mask and her heels, while I measured and placed clips, in order to provide her a hem-length appropriate for walking on the grass, and a lovely, yet simple 3-point bustle

Full view of finished gown

Working with horsehair with these gowns makes for a lovely full look.

Horse Hair clipped in place
Finished hem

Below, pictures of her chosen, 3-point bustle, simple to find the points, with an added ribbon to secure the center hook in place if desired.

2020 is going to be an interesting year for brides, and yet, to-date, I have had some really lovely ladies connecting with me, not stressed, and going with the flow in preparing for their weddings.

Many well wishes and prayers for a day filled with beautiful memories, for you and your future husband, Lindsey.


BELOW: When the dress was last tried on, it fit like a charm. Yet, yesterday, when Amy called (now home from college to prep for her wedding), she was in tears because she didn’t know what to do. It was too big!! Overall it looked nice on her in person, but the bodice looked “sloppy” due to the oversized look. So, I asked her to send me some photo’s to start the process of deciding what to do. When she arrived, we also found that hooks were loose, eyes were missing, snaps were missing. Not major things, but enough to be upsetting for a bride who’s wedding was only a few days away. Fortunately, the hem was perfect for her, so all she needed were a few tweaks to get the dress ready for the wedding.

The gown was taken in at the sides, in the back where buttons had to be removed/replaced after adjustment, shoulders as well as underarms. The smile alone, shares how well worth this rush order was in taking on for her.


BELOW: Nickki found her perfect wedding dress, Maggie Sottero Style A3227, which fit her perfectly. All she needed was someone who could give her the bustle that she desired. With all the layers, it was a challenge to bring it all together, but by the time she decided what type of bustle she wanted, the decision was made to have an 18-point bustle. In creating a bustle with this many points, I also provide the bride and her maid-of-honor a color-coded “map” to go with the color-coded ties to bring this gown all together.

BELOW: Work-in-process of this extensive bustle work. Displayed on the dress form as I worked on the bustle points.


BELOW: Carolyn loved this particular dress and while it fit her to perfection, she desired some beading to be added, which was similar to her veil. In addition, she wanted beaded stars on the end of her brown ribbon to match the necklace that her fiancĂ© gave her to wear. When she first came, we were not sure if it would need alterations because she gave me plenty of time to do the beading, as there are times when a brides’ weight can fluctuate due to the stress in preparing. When the bead work was completed and ready to be picked up, the gown still fit her amazingly well. No bustle was needed due to her purchasing a gown without a train.

BELOW: Diane needed the two layers of satin hemmed, the dress taken in 2″, fix loose beads, and provided her 2 bustle options. When she came for a fitting, I recommended not altering/shortening the lace sheath, as I could see that it would blend nicely with the new length while also saving her some alteration costs. She looks amazing!!


BELOW: Debra purchased her dress while spending some time in Utah.  Her hope was for her daughter to wear it as well when she married so she ordered her gown in a longer length. 

In order to preserve the length and not touch the lace hem, the gown length had to be raised  through the waistline.  I kept as much fabric for seam allowance, pressing out, to provide a smooth look around her hips.

In addition, lace, beaded trim was purchased to go around her hips, which was applied after the length was altered.

The beaded shoulder straps needed to be shortened and a 1 point bustle was added.


BELOW: Shannon arrived needed her alteration work done quickly.   For someone who had a lot going on in a short amount of time, she showed grace & style through it all.

The bustle was already done for this dress, when she purchased it in FL.  Not realizing that she had lost weight when she last had her dress on, my task was to take in the sides and zipper area in order for the dress to fit her well for her upcoming wedding.

Meeting her mom & seeing the relationship they had with one another, you could tell immediately where her beautiful personality came from.


BELOW: Leia requested a variety of changes to the dress.  In order to fit her slim figure, the dress needed to be taken in on the sides, at the zipper in back.

She also requested that some excess beaded trim be removed to give her dress a more simple look.

Once the main alterations were completed, the bustle was created with 15 points in order for it to look like a long length gown.  With this many points, a bride goes home with a bustle map for her and her maids so that it makes their job much easier when they arrive at the reception.


BELOW: Stacy B needed the side seams taken in from the top of the torso down through the hips and hem were required for this lovely bride.


BELOW: Laurel K – Laurel picked a fun dress to wear for her wedding.  

The silk Chiffon over layer and lining needed to be taken up in order for her not to trip on her special day.  I also needed to take it in at the zipper for a more snug fit, and bra cups were added.

The train had many points in order for it to be pulled up for a nice dress length for dancing and enjoying the reception, celebration of her wedding.

Laurel is another bride with who I found it to be a delight to work with.


BELOW: Sara H – A fun and easy going bride. Sara needed the hems raised and the bodice taken in, which was done at the zipper, pulling it all together for a lovely fit.


BELOW: A lovely David’s Bridal gown, with empire waist, altered to fit the changing figure of a lovely woman carrying a miracle of life into the world.I took in the empire waist on the sides and secured beads that were loose.


BELOW: Tanya saw this dress 8 years before she knew who she would marry. She just knew that this was the dress that she desired to wear down the aisle when meeting her husband. Unfortunately, as most women know, sometimes we forget how our bodies can change over the years, yet at the same time not realizing the time frame in which she would find her perfect match.

The request was for me to take the button down back out and put in a corset inset. Since 8 years had passed, to find this fabric locally was out of the question, so in order to find the appropriate color match, I made a trip to the fashion district in NYC. I went to many stores before finding the right color match.

Upon returning home, I began the process of creating a corset in the back. In creating this corset from scratch, the fabric purchased was used to make both the tie straps as well as the modesty panel. The buttons that were removed were used in the creation of her bustle points.

Once the corset was in place, it was time for Tanya to return so that we could plan for the hem and bustle, which was soon ready for her return with her Maid-of-Honor who I requested helping so that she would know how to do this the day of Tanya’s wedding.


BELOW: Holly F – Holly needed the sides taken in as well as a creative bustle to create an elegant look. Once we discussed various options, she chose a 15 point bustle that was actually quite fun, despite the challenge. As with all brides, where I provide bustle points on the underside, the points are color coded so that the Maid-of-Honor and Bridesmaids know how to put it up for the bride.

Once the sides were taken in and the bustle in place, I was ready for Holly to return to try on her dress, which was a perfect fit, and ready for her upcoming wedding.


BELOW: Tara F – Tara needed various adjustments including that of taking in her gown at both the sides and at the zipper. In addition she requested that her train be removed so that she did not need to worry about a bustle for her destination wedding.


BELOW: Robin D – Robyn needed the straps adjusted as well as the sides for a better fit, which one side had an invisible zipper.


BELOW: Crystal – March 2011 – Crystal arrived needing her dress taken in at the zipper, hems taken up on the chiffon overlay and linings along with providing her with a bustle that flowed nicely.

The dress was wonderful to work with, although needing to allow the chiffon to settle down once cut. Once it was ready, the final hem work was done and the 5 point bustle placement was put in place, and ready for her final fitting.


BELOW: Lizette B. arrived with a very simple yet elegant dress not needing the same type of work that a long gown with layers and requiring a bustle can require. She needed her lace sides taken in as well as an adjustment in the back where the zipper area needed to be adjusted. In doing so, the outer layer of buttons and button looping needed to be removed and reapplied once the adjustment in the back was completed.

When Lizette returned, the dress fit her beautifully. Lizette has such a charming personality, that it shows up in her smile and how she wears her dress. Such a delight to work with.


BELOW: Traci S. arrived with a two-tone, brown on white bridal gown. These are such lovely gowns, so I was honored to have this opportunity to work with her on this gown.

Traci desired a modesty panel, as the v-neck was a bit too revealing. In addition to the modesty panel it was decided on a 3-point bustle that pulled the dress together in a very lovely fashion.


BELOW: Amanda W – Amanda W Amanda needed to have her dress taken in at the zipper, where there was a lot of beading, along with securing the hook in back. In addition, Amanda only needed one layer of the lining hemmed to avoid tripping. The outer tulle layers were perfect for her needs.


BELOW: Sonja D. arrived with such joy and excitement knowing exactly what she wanted. The dress fit her extremely well, but what was missing were the beautiful lace sleeves she desired to have attached along with a 1-point bustle. In addition, the hook’n eye in the back, at the top of the zipper needed to be secured as it was loose and ready to fall off.

When she returned, she was delighted with the final results and when I requested that she dance a bit, like she would at her wedding, she didn’t hesitate to enjoy a little hustle to make sure that the bustle point stayed secure for her on her upcoming wedding day.


Samantha D – Wedding – Samantha needed her dress re-altered with only a week before her wedding, and it still needed to be sent to the dry cleaner. The bride was extremely stressed when she first arrived with her dress.

I was able to readjust her shoulder sleeves so that the worry of them falling off was soon forgotten. The back needed to be adjusted in order to give her a proper fit, as well as adjust one side seam that was a bit off and wonky.

Instead of a bustle, she opted for a wristlet which provides a very simple look yet without the hassle of having to worry about others needing to bustle her dress.

When she arrived and was trying on her dress, I heard from the other room, a lovely sigh of relief. She was quite pleased with how everything fit in the way she imagined it would.

The goal when I provide alterations is that my client leaves with a smile on their face, and on this day, Samantha’s smile was that of extreme joy after encountering a stressful situation of needing to have work redone.


BELOW: Eustacia’s dress needed to be taken in at both the front and back shoulder seams, as pinned during her fitting, to reduce excess in sleeves. Some beading was removed to reduce bulk in the front.

Due to loose beading, beads that were ready to fall off, were securely put back in place. In addition, due to the sleeve style on the shoulder, we used dress tape to keep her dress sleeves from falling during the ceremony.


BELOW: Amanda M Amanda came to me after realizing that her dress was too small and hopeful that I would be able to create a new corset for her.

After procuring the necessary materials (matching satin material and boning) a corset was made creating a perfect fit that delighted Amanda, her mom and grandmother.


BELOW: Stephanie M – Stephanie desired a comfortable fit without having to purchase a special bra, so bra cups were added for the look she desired. We also worked on what would look best for her bustle, finishing with a look that made it look like a dress once everything was hooked and in place. With this style dress, once the bustle points are figured out, and not necessarily “even” placement from side to side, it create the illusion that the gown was meant to be worn as a dress without a train.


BELOW: Jacqueline V – all that was needed was a 3 point bustle


Lisa S – 2nd marriage – pregnant bride. Lisa needed to shorted the sleeves so that they laid comfortably on her shoulders while also needing to take in the sides at the bodice. In addition, I needed to remove the boning due to discomfort and bending on the back.  This dress was from J Crew and has a lovely silk lining and chiffon outer layer.  It was a beautiful choice for a pregnant bride as it flowed very elegantly down over the growing life within her.

Her daughters were also in need of alterations to their dresses. It was a blessing to meet this family and work with them.


BELOW: Erin S – Erin needed the sides of her dress taken in, as the dress was not fitted well, even with the corset. In addition we added some bra cups for a more comfortable fit and needed to shorten the corset straps.

Due to the beautiful embroidery, Erin requested that I create a bustle that would allow it to be seen during the reception. In doing that a 7-point bustle was required underneath, which produced a lovely finished look.


BELOW: Johanna G – Johanna desired to have a train that allowed a loose look, which her chiffon overlay created for you.  5 bustle points, using loops, were needed in order to create the look Johanna was looking for.  

To be conservative, Johanna only requested that I create her bustle, and she did the other minor adjustments needed on her sleeves.  In addition, she was able to find shoes, with the right height, to avoid needing her dress hemmed.

With Johanna desiring to have red accents at her wedding, she chose to wear red sneakers to pull her theme together.


BELOW: Sarah W Sarah needed some bodice repair and a zipper repair and adjustment. In order to complete that, beaded, lace trim needed to be removed then reapplied once the adjustment was made. In addition hemming was needed for all layers. The final touch was in providing a 3 point bustle.


BELOW: A simple yet elegant, “crisp & ladylike” cotton gown. Work that was done included hem work, taking in the sides as well as adding bra cups.
The sash is an added feature that Janet provided for her dress. Instructions on how to gently remove the wrinkles w/o damaging the silk fabric was provided along with a cotton press cloth


BELOW: Liz required alterations to her halter, some hem work as well as a bustle. The neck strapping was too long, so it was shortened, and once cut to length, the tab and buttons were reattached. 2 layer hem with tulle layers underneath.

After presenting her with a variation of options, she decided on the 1-point bustle, which worked quite well for her. Since Liz only wanted the one bustle point, the hook and loop were given extra stability to provide a stronger hold for dancing.  My hooks and loops are generally very difficult to remove to begin with, but I provided extra hold since the dress was extremely heavy. 

My desire is to provide what the bride wants, along with being happy with it at the time of her fitting, but also during her wedding celebration. Her bridal party danced to the Thriller, where it held up quite nicely for her.


BELOW: Wedding – Bride requested that I not share her face in these photo’s. Since the only work that needed to be done, it worked out well for both of us.


BELOW: Yayoi – Wedding Alterations July 1st, 2009 Wedding

Yayoi brought her dress to me to have the hem brought up 1 1/2″.  In doing so, she also requested that I give her a under-bustle.  The purpose of the bustle is to allow her to walk on the beach, without the drag of the train behind her.  She plans to undo the bustle for posed wedding photo’s.
Hemmed lining layer, one tulle layer, as well as dress.  No other alterations were needed.  The dress fits Yayoi beautifully.


BELOW: Crystal from Weare NH – In order to save labor costs, Crystal decided to leave the overlay/train alone, as she felt it would not affect the look. Plus as she walked, it would fall beside & behind her.

Her dress was altered in the back 5″ at the zipper for a better fit, added a missing hook, and dress taken up. In addition, a French bustle was added. The front overlay, was brought up at the bottom, as much as possible yet keeping the beaded embroidery in tack.

The skirt, double layer tulle, and underskirt were all taken up with no cut to the hems. The bodice alteration was taken in with no cutting of the fabric as well. This will allow Holly the option to sell it later if she chooses, allowing the next bride to lengthen as well as let out in the back for her particular frame.

The dress did not have a bustle, and Holly desired that it have one so that she could enjoy dancing. Holly was thrilled with the new bustle that added to her dress!


BELOW: Mother & Daughter

A beautiful picture of the bride and her daughter in dresses that were altered for a special wedding day

Katie (the bride) had her dress altered around the neckline, bodice and hemline. Savanah (the flower girl) had her dress altered around the neckline.

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