I’m a lurker but I’m coming out of hiding with a question. My daughter bought a prom dress this week and it needs some repairs. (She went with a friend–I would not have bought this dress if I’d been with her–the saleslady told her it could be “easily fixed by someone who sews” and only took 10% off the price–but the saleslady-taking-advantage-of-a-couple-of-teenagers is a whole other story…) It is a polyester satin, strapless, full length, princess-line dress in black (with some pale green trim) and the problem is that the back bodice seam on one side has frayed completely apart–I presume from the strain of the dress being tried on numerous times, maybe by people who were not the dress’s size. The dress is lined and boned and the lining is fine, but the fashion fabric is frayed for a length of about three inches, starting about two inches below the back neckline. The corresponding seam on the other side is pulling and looks like it, too, could give up the ghost.
Here’s the problem–there is no seam allowance to work with to resew the seam. (All the seams are serged. Although the dress cost $150 (with 10% off!) it is cheaply made. But…yup, that’s a whole other rant…) I have to sew in a gusset or a strip or something–and on both sides of the zipper to make it symmetrical (and to reinforce the non-frayed side). Luckily it is not hard to match the black satin.
I need advice at how to go about this. Since there is no waistline I think I must make a “football-shaped” gusset that tapers to nothing a few inches below the problem. (Luckily the upper edge will be hidden by a pale green band that circles the strapless neckline.) So, do I clip all the fraying away and sew the new edges to the edges of the gusset? (I will try to make the gusset the right width to replicate the original width of the bodice–in other words, narrow–maybe with a half inch more to relieve the strain on the fashion fabric) Or should I fold the edges of the neatened seam allowances and then top stitch them down on the gusset? And just how weird is this going to look? (Returning the dress is not an option since they gave my daughter the whole big 10% off, and my daughter is easy-going and has accepted that her dress is going to have a little weirdness going on in the back.) Is there any other way to do it that is better?
If anyone has the patience to read this and give me some ideas, THANK YOU! I am an experienced home sewer but not really at the level of alterations, etc., and I’m also nervous about the slippery, easy-to-snag polyester satin.
My daughter and I thank you in advance…