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Daughter’s wedding dress?!

HappyHen | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi! This is paradise.  My home computer uses dial-up, so may be slow. Need help on my daughter’s wedding dress I am making. Sweetheart neckline, very low cut in the back, strapless. How can I make the front “cup” her bust line? Or lay against her chest instead of ‘standing’ out away from chest and leaving gap? I’ve tried just about everything, but believe key is the shaping of the bustline. The boning has been little help.  I appreciate ANY information.  Mere


  1. wench34 | | #1


    I design and make bridal gowns all the time and have done so for over 25 years.  Are you making a muslin or toile?  I would highly recommend making a foundation and also consider the fact that the lower you make the back on a strapless dress you are going to need to add support in the inside of the gown.  Exactly where is it gapping?


    1. HappyHen | | #2

      I'm using Vogue #2803. Yes, I made a muslin, w/interfacing, and all was well until after the boning and lining were applied.  Now, the muslin foundation is stiff, adds support, but gaps - or stands away from the body - just at the bust, center front actually.  I am thinking of remaking it or adding elastic to pull it in, but don't know what is best. Thank you for your very generous help.  Time is passing! The wedding is June 25 so I'm getting nervous.  By the way, the rest of the dress is fine, no problems.    Mere

      1. olive3 | | #3

        I do alterations and make wedding gowns. I see the problem you have often either the girl sinks in at the chest or her shoulders are too narrow, or bust too small. IF it does not stick out too far you can take a tuck on the inside in the lining making the lining shorter than the outer garment. This works and I have used the elastic but be careful not to draw it too tight. Its ok the gather just a little until she puts it on it should comform to her chest.

        1. HappyHen | | #6

          Yes! Thank you!  I will work on it tonight.  My sad case is that I am a legal secretary by day, and seamtress at night and weekends.  I believe what you suggested may work and will advise after trying this.  Thanks for your advice.  I don't know where I would go if I didn't have Threads and this support.  Have a nice evening.     Mere

          1. GALEY | | #7

            from one desparate mother of the bride to another.  try (l) using clear l/2 in elastic, include elastic in upper bodice seam (the top of the strapless part) stretching slightly.  sew from zipper to zipper and it will help the bodice cling in the back as well (2)  is the boning holding the bodice away from her body?  boning can usually be curved somewhat to fit the figure.  (3)  is the boning too long for the space is it to support. --these are all "design challenges" I have had to overcome.  YOU CAN DO THIS!

          2. HappyHen | | #8

            Thank you!  I definitely need all the encouragement I can get at this point.  I was having a nervous breakdown last week and through the long weekend, started over!  Completely started over, being very careful to measure correctly, etc.  The result is:  top edge of bodice 30"; bustline 36.5"; waist 29.5", and a very smooth (as humanly possible) under-foundation.  I CAREFULLY measured and cut an entirely new satin cover and am about to re-cut the silk organza overdress (with side drape and embroidery).  Whew! I am now officially in crazy love with silk organza, but that's another story.  I had incorrectly transferred the measurements (see above) to the lining and satin, with the bad result being a lining that pulled tightly when I stitched it to the foundation.  The dress fabric - the same.  Now that I have accurately taken the 7" differential between bust and waist into account, and cut accordingly, everything is laying smoothly.  My daughter is in Nashville, and I'm in Birmingham. So far, all seems corrected.  The muslin I made was perfect, I just skipped something or messed up. I don't know at this point.  Yesterday, I developed wedding dress blindness from working on it all weekend, so I put it down and went to a movie!  I still might need the elastic, and plan on purchasing some tomorrow.  My daughter's biggest issue is that the bodice be "smooth", so I am waiting on the elastic until this weekend.  I used satin, iron-on interfacing, boning, and buckram stitched on the inside of the bodice, at the same time I sewed the seams, then trimmed closely.  This produced a lightweight, sturdy bodice and the boning supports it. Perhaps I have mastered a bodice with no apparent means of support??!  We shall see.  I have pictures and can't wait to send them to Threads. In a town as large as Birmingham, you would think there would be more than 2 couture dressmakers, and those 2 are unavailable! Thank God for Threads and people like you!                Mere


          3. GALEY | | #10

            Hooray!  A bodice that stands alone with no visible means of support is always my goal in a strapless gown--I knew you could do it.  Love the phrase wedding dress blindness; when I sewed my daughter's gown and every party dress for her and her grandmother, and for myself, it was six months before I could look at a pattern book or go in a department store.  Now helping a mother fit a dress on a size 34 plus bride that is 6'2"; she has a proportional figure, though, and that helps a lot.  Can't wait to see your pictures.  Galey

      2. wench34 | | #4

        I think I know what you are referring to.  Sounds like your daughter has a sallow chest, not to be mistaken for the bustline.  I would make tiny tucks in the muslin to draw in the fabric and see if that makes a difference.  If it does, then you can cut out the bridal fabrics reflecting the change with the tucks taking in the extra fabric.  You do not make the tucks in the bridal fabric, to clarify!

        1. HappyHen | | #5

          Thank you.  I will work on it tonight.  I have sewn since I was 12 (53 now) but never had a problem quite like this.  You are a life saver, along with Threads.  I honestly don't know what I would do without that magazine!  And all the resources (you included) available through Threads.  I'll reply with results.  It sounds to me that this might solve the problem.  I won't 'tuck' the fashion fabric.  


        2. HappyHen | | #9

          Dear Wench,  Yes, the sallow chest was correct.  Please see my latest posting regarding the bodice.  Your advice led me to go back and remeasure everything and make sure that I had done so correctly.  The difference in the chest measurement, the full bustline and the waist were the problem.  Thank you again!  I believe I am on the way to success.     Mere

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