Please note, I am not able to take on any more alterations at the present time. I suggest you contact Magdalena at http://www.crystal-bride.co.uk/ if you need alterations to your garments.
I specialise in altering garments to fit. Alterations range from jeans that are to be made shorter to wedding dresses that require multiple adjustments to fine tune the fit.
The most common alterations that my clients bring me are hems and sleeves to be shortened and loose garments that require taking in, either in specific places or to make them a smaller size. With bridal alterations, the most common requirements are taking in the bodice, shortening the hem, bustling the train to shorten it for the reception, and replacing a centre back zipper with lacing.
A few garments that are too tight have large enough seam allowances that can be let out a small amount. Others can sometimes be altered by adding panels of matching fabric, or by converting a back zip closure to lacing. (However, be prepared that a small garment may not be able to be adjusted.)
Other alterations I have taken on include replacing coat linings, and remodelling garments.
Shortening A Wedding Dress Hem
Shortening the hem of a bridal gown is often more complex than other garments. The hem may be multi layered, with lining, several layers of netting, and inner and outer layers of fashion fabric. These outer layers may have narrow topstitched hems (usually the case with chiffon) or may be made with two layers enclosing the hem, sometimes with a stiffening of horsehair braid (nowadays made from a synthetic, not real horses’ hair). In addition, if the dress has a train, it will be necessary to graduate the new hem length to meet the original length at the sides so the train will be unaffected. If the dress has a lace layer on the skirt, or beads sewn into the area that is to be shortned, this detail will need to be removed then re-sewn. Tulle layers are simply cut, and must be trimmed while the dress is being worn, and after all other adjustments have been made.
Here are some pictures of a wedding dress with all-over lace that had been shortened by someone else by making a visible tuck in the lace layer.
I readjusted the hem by repositioning the lace edging on the shortened front of the dress, removing the visible line and making the dress look as good as it did originally, just a little shorter.
Bustling A Wedding Dress Train
Wedding dress trains are often long enough to be nuisance at the reception. I have heard that some bridal salons recommend holding the train up by placing the hanging loop for the train over the bride’s wrist. Personally, I feel this is not the best solution. The loop is added to the dress to hang the train on the hanger so the dress fits more neatly into the garment bag. If the bride hooks it on her wrist, it will hamper the movement of her arm, and it will also show the inside of the train, which will be unsightly and probably dirty. A better option is known as ‘bustling’ the train. To do this, one or more points on the train are lifted and attached in some way to a higher position on the skirt. The bustle needs to be marked after all other alterations have been made, or at least marked.
A bustle may be fastened on the inside of the skirt (in which case there are usually ribbons or tapes that are tied together). This is known as a French bustle or under bustle, and looks something like this:
The alternative is to have fastenings on the outside (in which case there are usually hooks and loops). This is known as an overbustle or American bustle, looking something like this:
Despite coming in different lengths, jeans are often too long, and rolling the bottom into cuffs is not always the look that is wanted. For this reason, I am often asked to shorten jeans. I always advise that jeans are washed (i.e. shrunk) at least once before the hems are shortened, as once hemmed, they can never be made longer again.
There are two ways to shorten a jeans hem. The easiest way is to cut away the excess fabric, turn the hem twice so the cut edge is enclosed, and the hem stitched with a visible line of stitching. The thread used for this hem is thicker than normal sewing thread, and usually contrasts with the fabric colour in the case of blue (indigo) jeans. Since the new jeans will have been treated during the manufacture, some of the indigo will have gone into the topstitching, so it is not usually possible to get an exact match, however I use the closest colour thread that I have. Future washing will make it more ‘blue’.
The other method for shortening jeans hems is often called the ‘euro hem’. For this method, a tuck of fabric is made on the inside of the leg, just above the existing hem, and a line of stitching made to hold it in place. If the tuck is large, it can be trimmed and neatened, but if it is small it is left as a fold. This is then tucked up into the leg and stitched in place at the seamlines. This leaves the original stitching and weathering visible on the bottom of the leg, but over time a line of weathering may form just above the hem where the fold of fabric rests behind the outer fabric layer.
Shortening And Taking In A Skirt
Taking in and shortening a skirt can often make all the difference to how flattering it looks and how comfortable it is to wear.
Sometimes a zip gives way, and needs to be replaced. (N.B. I do not replace zips in jeans or outerwear jackets.)
Sometimes the lining in a jacket or coat becomes torn, and needs to be replaced. This is only worth doing for an expensive garment or one with sentimental value, but in this case can give extra years to the garment. Some clients take advantage of this to have a brightly coloured lining to add some extra ‘zing’ to their garment.