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Wedding Gown Hem

Flax | Posted in General Discussion on

I have heard a few different approaches to this and I need some good advice.
When hemming a wedding gown with a train, you hem the center front at the desired length but then where do you blend the new hemline into the train? I hope I am clear enough with my question.


  1. Susan -homedecsewing | | #1

    Well it all depends on the fullness of the dress, but I would do the front at floor around almost to the  sides and then have it graduate into the train. It might also depend on how you plan to bustle so  I would at least pin the train up where you are going to bustle to see how the sides fall. Good luck, Susan

  2. sewchris703 | | #2

    I pin up the bustle first and then blend the new hem into the bustled train (which just sweeps the floor at center back) at the side and toward the back so that the hem is a nice line all around.  Whatever will make the bustled gown look good.  Since the gown is worn mostly bustled up, I find that this works the  best. 


    1. User avater
      Flax | | #3

      Both of you - thank you, very helpful. Now I have another question to add to that, what do you do when you have one of those side flappy things that suposedly hang down a little lower than the actual gown in front. It is a strait flap and not a rounded "flap" Do you hem it the same distance from the floor just as you would the dress part underneath? or a little longer and how exactly do you graduate the two together?

      1. sewchris703 | | #4

        I hem as the original.  If it's longer than the underskirt, then that's how I hem it.  My goal is that when the alterations are finished, the gown looks like nothing was done to it (except that it fits the bride :)  )


      2. mygaley | | #5

        This is probably not the right posting for my woes but I have to tell someone! I have just finished helping with a wedding with all RTW dresses. Easy, right--HA. The bride was pregnant, so every fitting required a size change. Two of the bridesmaids had newborns, and were nursing, so every fitting required a size change--the bra-type bodice was the only fitted part and it was crucial. Then they came with their shoes and no undergarments (do I need a bra? these shoes are just like the ones I haven't bought yet) to have their dresses hemmed and the bride's dress bustled--seven women and two newborn babies present. We adjusted the hems and bustle perfectly. This is the part that killed me: as these ladies entered the reception hall, they kicked off their shoes and spent the rest of the evening with their dresses dragging. Can I get some sympathy? Love and prayers Galey

        1. suesew | | #7

          God bless you. I feel your pain. Our work is unappreciated! But I'll bet they looked great going down the aisle and in the pictures. Sue

        2. User avater
          Flax | | #8

          Oh do I sympathize! I wish sometimes that our customers could read about all our woes.

        3. Ralphetta | | #9

          Many people would have been so stressed with all the size-changing that they'd have just been glad it was over and wouldn't have even noticed the shoes being kicked off. Give yourself a pat on the back for still being professional (and patient) enough to still care at that point.

        4. sewchris703 | | #10

          I hear you.  My pet peeve is the bride who only comes to the first fitting and then has a fit because her gown isn't finished and now it's 3 days before the wedding.  And another one:  the brides who never tell us that their wedding has been postposed or canceled.  And I'm left stressing over the wedding date with the gown half done.


          1. Susan -homedecsewing | | #11

            Brides are such a pain. Gaining and losing weight. They can be brutal. I did my time trying to please so many.I love drapes now, and they don't cry and complain, ha

          2. sewchris703 | | #12

            I love costumes too much to give up working with brides.  I actually have 2 jobs, both full time and neither one I can bear to give up--altering wedding gowns and making historical clothing for reenactors.


          3. Susan -homedecsewing | | #13

            just curious, where do you live? So you work for someone with these other businesses. Is work steady ? I ask because I personally have seen a real slowdown in my biz with the housing market  down so much. I've been contemplating going back to clothing. Susan

          4. sewchris703 | | #14

            I live in north San Diego county.  The bridal shop is a one owner, family run corporation.  There are 2 main seamstresses--the owner (well, the wife half of the owners) and me.  Their dd is the manager and one of their granddaughters (not the daughter of the manager) is the assistant manager.  Business is slow in the bridal industry, not just our shop.  Usually we stop taking outside gown alterations by April.  But this year, we are still taking outside gowns for alterations.   I work fewer hours in the winter and end up taking gowns home in the summer.

            The contract work I do at home is for an internet company which specializes in 9th-15th c clothing for reenactors.  http://www.historicenterprises.com  They are my main source of income for my at home business but I also do other  costumes, general dressmaking and alterations, even some home dec sewing at home. 

            Between the 2, I can work as little as 20 hours a week in the winter to 60+ hours a week in the summer.  I take the week of Thanksgiving off from both jobs as my  yearly vacation time.  Last year, because of when Christmas and New Year's fell in the week, I had 2 weeks off from the bridal shop as well because they were closed 2 of the days of the week I work there in the winter.  Those 2 weeks I spent sewing more at home. 


          5. Susan -homedecsewing | | #15

            Thanks for your reply, and best of luck to you. Happy sewing. Here is my website if you'd like to see what I do.Susan


          6. sewchris703 | | #17

            I love your treatments.  Thanks for sharing.


          7. Susan -homedecsewing | | #18

            Chris , I checked out the historical clothing website and I was truly amazed at the clothing. It must be interesting working on such items. Best of luck to you with your sewing ventures.Susan

          8. dressed2atee | | #21

            Beautiful work!  Enjoyed the pics.

        5. jane4878 | | #16

          You've got my sympathy! But it's their money to waste if they want.  When I got married (almost 18 years ago) another bride did that at the same hotel I was at and we thought she was a twit.  I didn't remove my shoes--the limo driver actually suggested I should--but I figured they'd puff up like balloons and I'd never get them on again.  I bought a dress that fit perfectly except it was a bit too long, so I bought heels that made it exactly the right height, even though it made me taller than my husband (we're the same height).  I didn't sew and it was inconceivable to me that the gown could be hemmed.  It was all lace and beading and flared out into a train.  I had a seamstress put hooks for the bustle on and that was it.  I had 2 receptions--one in Eastern Canada and then a second in the west, so I got good wear out of my gown.  It's still in excellent shape--it's been cleaned and repaired and boxed.   Hopefully one of my daughters might want it.

        6. moira | | #19

          Galey,I'm afraid I found myself having a quiet chuckle to myself about your pregnant bride and nursing bridesmaids! You tell the story well, and of course you have all my sympathy too - I bet you sweated a bit over those dresses! Well done for getting them all to the wedding, even if they had their shoes off before the end!

          1. mygaley | | #20

            Thanks for the sympathy. This is the only place I can describe what went on, because professional courtesy keeps me from discussing it around here. Love Galey

        7. User avater
          artfulenterprises | | #22

          Dear MygaleyYou have my deepest sympathy! Stories of my own that sound just like yours are why I refuse to sew for brides! I always found the mom-zillas to be the worst! Sounds like you earned a few gold stars in your crown for practicing the patience of Job!

      3. jjgg | | #6

        Hem the front of the dress between where her arms are at her sides, and from that point taper to the train.Use clear snaps to pin up (back) the flappy things on the sides.

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