Thursday, June 09, 2016

Adding a Corset back to a Wedding gown

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.

I use wide grosgrain ribbon to attach my loops to the dress.  You'll see why when I add it to the dress!  First I mark how far apart I want the loops to be.  I use 1 inch for my spacing and put the loops right next to each other.  This creates a nice back that is very secure and looks fabulous!

I cut my loop sections at 2 inches and sew them to the ribbon.  The easiest way to keep the rat-tail cord from sliding is to stitch right up to where I want to place the cord, lift the presser foot, then place the cord right against the needle.  Lower the foot and you are ready to stitch across.  I always back stitch over as well because I want this cord to be extra secure - it's holding up the dress, so we don't want it to come loose.  Here is how it looks from each side:

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.

This makes such a pretty finish.  If you like, you can also add a layer of boning to the seam allowance underneath to keep the back from buckling when it is laced up.  Some dresses work better with it, some without.

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.

All that's left is to lace up the dress!  I usually lace it so the bride can see what it will look like from the back, but for the dress to be tried on, you will have to take it all out again and re-lace it on her.  I can't wait to see what the dress will look like once it fits!  I'm sure it will be lovely, and I always feel happy to be able to help make a bride's special dress work for her.

1 comment:

JoJo said...

WOW....what a process and it sure looks beautiful. You did an awesome job on it. I would never have thought to do something like this. In the end, I think it is prettier than it would have been without it.