While we love the exquisite detail of a beaded gown visually, doing alterations on them creates unique challenges! With our beautiful Becoming Bridal bride Katie the story was no different.
Katie’s dress needed to be taken in about 3/4th an inch on either side. We took it in by adding several darts that were all magically covered by the beadwork on her dress.
There was a careful process of figuring out how much to take in, and what patterns in the design to cut around. We didn’t cut away anything until we checked that the design would work. The beaded detail on Katie's dress made it one of those projects that required studying the dress and picturing how it would look finished to make sure it was going to look perfect. The detailed planning of this style of dress is much more important than the actual sewing skills it requires!
This picture shows the original beadwork and where we mapped out where to cut.
This is where Bea marked where to cut and removed beads from the section that would be overlapping with the other side.
All of the designs on the tulle layer we left intact, and the excess was overlapped and could be rebeaded again in the future if needed. The dress could also be let back out if it was going to be a legacy piece for her future daughter. All of the beads around where we made cuts had to be secured so they would not fall off.
Here everything is sewn back together!
We only had 2 fittings for this dress! The fittings had a lot of pinning and repining, then checking if we were doing the right thing. The dress was heavy and required more planning for how the bustle points would be supported and what type of materials were needed to use for anchor points. With the top layer, we went with hook and eye bustle points, and with the bottom layer, we used ribbons. The train was very full and there were 4 layers to the dress, so the bustle points had all different lengths! The planning required to get all those layers the same length and looking even was extensive. The top layer of her gown was a waterfall of horsehair so we had to work around that to hide that it was bustled. Then there was a lining layer, a glitter tulle layer, and a regular tulle layer that all needed to be bustled. The main challenge of this bustle was the many layers combined with the cascading layers of horsehair and tulle. In the end, her bustle points were all hidden in her skirt and her train just disappeared like magic! Want to know more about bustles? Check out our blog post all about bustles!
As always, all the many hours of work each dress requires is worth it when we see the brides glowing at their final fittings and in their beautiful wedding galleries. The journey of beaded gowns is a complicated one, but we love the end result.