I said to myself, before I started these alterations, if I ruin the dress, I’ll replace it! That gave me the courage to proceed.
I started with the front opening. Michelle is tall, very thin, with a small bosom. So when she moved, the front gaped and she felt exposed. I wanted to stitch the opening closed but she was adamant the opening remain.
I shopped for a bit of nude mesh which I found at Fabricville. I cut a triangle long enough to support the gap further toward the neckline, pinned it in place then hand stitched it (very small stitches with Aurifil 50wt thread in white). Can’t see my stitches. I stitched the edges of the triangle on the inside as well. Then I added a sheer white polyester bias tape across the top edge to prevent the mesh from stretching much. That should do the job.
Second, I took up the shoulder straps an inch. I though I’d have to carefully remove beads and pearls, but I got away without having to do that – I was able to fold the strap 1/2″ and stitched the fold securely to itself. You have to look very closely to see where that join is. That adjustment should help with how the neckline fits as well.
Finally the two nude inner skirts. First, I had to figure out the length of the innermost skirt at the front, mark that length around the whole thing then cut it being VERY careful not to cut the lace and tulle layers. Next, measure the second skirt 2″ longer and cut it. I think the two skirts are still bit long in the centre back (that’s because at the waist the inner skirts dip down about an inch and a half below the centre front) but I was afraid to cut the skirts too short – we can always cut more – I can’t add back what I cut off!
I’ve decided not to hem the bottom edge – this dress will be worn once, the fabric doesn’t fray, and no point in doing a turned hem if I have to cut off more.
So far, I don’t think I’ve ruined the dress. I’d say, it’s done until Michelle tries it on. If I’m lucky she’ll be happy with my alterations – my wedding gift to her.