Bridesmaid Dress Alteration

Like anything, there is a right way and a half-assed way. A certain friend of mine specializes in half-assery, so it's only fitting that I half-ass the dress I'm going to wear while standing up in his wedding.

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. That's me. And I'm perfectly fine with it. I have a collection of bridesmaid dresses that I will absolutely never, ever wear again. I spent Saturday afternoon at my Aunt Pat's house, since she is an experienced seamstress and actually knows what she's doing. I had done a little pre-reading on the subject of dress alterations, so I went in with some clues on how we would proceed.

I brought two dresses with me. First, the one I'm wearing at the end of August. The second is the gem I wore for my brother's wedding. I remember when my sister in law told me the color of the dress, I laughed because I thought she was kidding. She was not. Picture a manatee wearing a granny apple green short strapless dress with pink ribbon accents. That was me and I wanted to die. Add summer in New Orleans, stank humidity, ungodly high heels, a pink parasol and a second line down Bourbon Street and you've got an idea of this nightmare.

For the record, I do love my brother and my sister in law to pieces. It was a beautiful wedding. I, however, was not.

I should mention here that after way too long posing as a sea cow, I have worked hard to lose a ton of weight over the past 14 months.

To give you an idea of the difference, here's me in the monstrosity. I'm pretty sure that altering this dress is a tailor's no-no since there's...


...a lot to take in...

So, I've got a dress ordered with my measurements as of January that arrived in June...I had a choice: alter the dress myself or pay more than the dress cost me to have it altered. Easy choice, given my newfound skills for sewing.

Back to where I began: there's a right way and an


way. The approach we decided on was the latter. Quick and easy; no muss no fuss.

Here's how easy this was:

  1. Turn dress inside out
  2. Put dress on
  3. Pin dress at both sides of the bodice so it's snug
  4. Take dress off
  5. Sew along the sides of the bodice

I'm serious, I was floored. The bodice part was really what I wanted help with, and I couldn't believe how simple a process this was. Again, this was the half-assed method. We just sewed up along each side (I drew a white line because it's black thread on black dress and good luck seeing it)

I'm saving the whole-assed method for the granny apple green monstrosity because it won't matter if I completely mess that one up. I'm hanging onto that for a rainy day...amazingly enough, the weather here the summer has been great just about every weekend, so I'm guessing that project will hold until the fall.

Oh, and the dress needed a serious hemming. We took about 5 1/2 inches off. This part took the longest because the dress is pretty flowy and had 2 layers of flowiness. We (well, my aunt) marked 5 1/2 inches up from the original hem and drew a line with white pencil all around. Remember, this is a circular object so you don't get to use a handy ruler. We just eyeballed it. Because the dress has some flow, if it's slightly uneven, you won't notice it.

Then we took it to the serger and just serged right through it. Since sergers are a bitch to thread, we just used the white thread that was already in it. On a black dress? Yeah. Once we turned in the hem and stitched it shut, you can't see it...on the liner layer.

The outer layer however, not so lucky since the fabric is sheer. Solution? Black sharpie. I TOLD YOU I was half-assing this thing, don't get in my grill. I'll cue up Star Wars: The Force Awaken and color my happy heart out before I finish the outer hem.

Semi-final result: a perfectly wearable dress that will hold for a day, which is all I need it for.