My goal yesterday was to get this wedding gown taken care of. The bride needs more room in the back, so we are adding a corset closure. I had her try the dress on and we needed about 8 inches at the top.
The first step is to remove all the buttons - we won't be needing them and they don't look right with a back that is laced up. This dress had a lot of them!
Then the zipper comes out so we have the back of the dress opened up. This dress has the perfect back for adding a corset (or loop and lace) finish! The lining and all the layers are already finished and sewn together, so I just need to create the loop edge and sew it into the dress.
After the loop strips are created I sew them to the dress at the seam where the zipper was. You need to measure and pin to make sure the loops are aligned nicely! After sewing I add a second line of machine stitching to really secure that cording - I figure three times of stitching over it ought to do the job and keep those loops as secure as possible!
Then I fold the ribbon to the inside of the dress and hand-stitch it to the lining.
Making the lacing is my least favorite part. I used to make a long tube and turn it right side out, but this takes forever, so now I just press it and top stitch. It's an easier process and still makes a nice looking lace. This one is about three widths of fabric long. Better to make them too long than too short. The excess gets tucked into the dress usually, so it doesn't matter. I always try to make sure that there is not a seam right in the middle because that's the piece of lacing that ends up at the top of the dress.
If the bride desires a modesty panel, you can make that at this point. I go for a couple inches wider than the top gap and at least 4 inches at the very bottom. Sometimes I attache one entire side to the dress, but for this one I am trying just tacking it at the top corner and bottom center. I used a clear snap at the top corner to secure it. I have found that once the dress is laced up that I often need to move the snap a bit, but it does help to hold the dress in place while you lace it.