Strapless wedding dress strategy - advice?

Duessa

Member
Jun 24, 2015
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72
USA
I'm the MoH for a friend's wedding happening a week from this Saturday, and her custom strapless gown (tulle, floor-length, very heavy, with added weight from bodice embellishments), which was ordered mid last year, finally arrived in February with a too-short bodice that was just flat-out not the right height for her. She's 5'10", and the bodice looks like it was made for someone about 5'4" or 5'5". We're terrified of how it slips down / sits so low that she has to alter her posture to compensate, and I'd hate for her to have to slouch / stress the entire night of the wedding.

Long story short, we had the dress remade but it came back looking just about the same. The boutique suggested using double-sided tape up top, but considering the weight of the dress, that's almost laughable - oftentimes tape can barely hold a normal dress in place, never mind a heavy, boned gown for 7+ hours of ceremony / dinner / dancing.

As we have no time / budget to consider a new dress or major modifications at this point, we were wondering if anyone has any suggestions on how to better secure a heavy strapless dress that sits very low on the chest? An added complication is that it has a very low back, so there's very little purchase / leverage anywhere in terms of anchoring. I was thinking we might add clear straps or work something out with special undergarments, but mostly we're at a loss... Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
 

Duessa

Member
Jun 24, 2015
56
72
USA
My dress had large flat hooks sewn into the bodice which then hooked over my bustier and helped keep the dress in place. Is the bodice tight enough through the ribs to the waist? Does it have an interior corset or just the exterior beaded garment? How does it do up, zipper, buttons or lacing? What about sewing in a waist stay? http://www.burdastyle.com/blog/invisible-details-of-a-couture-garment-the-waist-stay
It fits snugly but I wouldn't say tightly or securely, & if memory serves, that's largely because of the weight of the dress. In terms of structure, it's lightly boned but has no true corset - but any built-in structure is light and minimal to the point where the bodice is even kind of translucent. I like the idea of a waist stay though! The bride did say the boutique offered to add in an internal belt - that may be a similar thing?
 

QuelleFromage

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Jan 15, 2011
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I was going to say, do a corset and attach the bodice to it but you had said it was boned. Either way I would suggest the bride change for dancing.
 

Winston3043

Member
Jun 9, 2015
176
89
MN
Bride here! (My wonderful MOH is the OP and made the post for me as I panicked in the salon.) The dress has an interior undergarment from the waist up through the chest -- it's shaped through the waist and cups so that you don't need a long waist bra/corset. There is one internal "belt" to hold it up, and they're saying they can add another one. The true problem is that it really has been made, seemingly, for someone with a much shorter waist-to-shoulder line than me (despite the many many measurements we took!). I have no idea what to do because the dress cuts me off right across the bust and makes me look so much larger than I actually am. :/ Put it this way -- my mother suggested I tan because tan flab looks better than pale flab. (For the record, I'm 5'10" and a size 4.) I don't want to be a "trouble customer" but my wedding is in less than two weeks and I have no idea what to do. I can't take my wedding photos looking like this!
 

Winston3043

Member
Jun 9, 2015
176
89
MN
(Oh! To answer one question, it zips up, and the dress does have a sewn-in waist/bra contraption along with it. They did custom measurements so that, at least on the inside, the dress theoretically fits perfectly. It's just the height. It cuts off just BARELT above where it would be actually explicit if I moved incorrectly. It's a sweetheart neckline.)
 

Winston3043

Member
Jun 9, 2015
176
89
MN
I'd be so heartbroken to abandon my $,$$$ (...this was not from David's bridal. I don't want to bash the designer by naming them, but they're up there on the custom couture wedding gown scale) gown for our wedding waltz, which was planned around the idea of having a big dress with layers of floaty tulle.
 

shiba

O.G.
Feb 3, 2007
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I like the idea of a waist stay though! The bride did say the boutique offered to add in an internal belt - that may be a similar thing?
I think so. It shouldn't be very expensive and should help quite a bit.
If the bodice is that translucent, I would be concerned about adding hooks. My dress had an internal corset so there was no concern with seeing them. They could potentially be placed at the underarm seam. I can't seem to find a picture online. All they are is a flexible but stiff flat wire, covered in fabric to match the dress that you bend up and then bend down to hook inside the bustier. The part that hooks into the bustier is about 1" long.
 

shiba

O.G.
Feb 3, 2007
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211
Ok, the hooks won't work if you are not wearing an undergarment.
It is tough without seeing it but from what I am imagining, the very top of the bodice could be a bit too tight. That could be a different problem than the dress pulling down from weight. They may just need to let the top part of the seam out a bit to stop your boobs from cutting in. The tightness should be in through the ribs and waist for support and then well fitted but not tight in the bust.
A second belt might help but that is tough to say. Does it feel like it is falling down? Maybe the 1st belt is too loose and not giving enough support?
 
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Winston3043

Member
Jun 9, 2015
176
89
MN
It is well-fitted in the ribs and waist, and the cups would seem to be the right size, other than they just cut off almost laughably low. I'm pretty flat-chested for my height (5'10", 27" waist, 32C). I almost feel like we (including the shop) are all trying to find a fit solution (something like Spanx but for your chest) when the reality is that it cuts me off right at mid-bust and has a very very short waist (and I'm really really tall). I'm calmly losing my mind (ha) because I just can't believe that this is how I'm going to look on my wedding day. My mother has a call in to the store's owner to see what can be done.
 

QuelleFromage

Member
Jan 15, 2011
8,208
16,370
It is well-fitted in the ribs and waist, and the cups would seem to be the right size, other than they just cut off almost laughably low. I'm pretty flat-chested for my height (5'10", 27" waist, 32C). I almost feel like we (including the shop) are all trying to find a fit solution (something like Spanx but for your chest) when the reality is that it cuts me off right at mid-bust and has a very very short waist (and I'm really really tall). I'm calmly losing my mind (ha) because I just can't believe that this is how I'm going to look on my wedding day. My mother has a call in to the store's owner to see what can be done.
I feel for you, I really do. My strapless wedding dress (also $$$$) came in two sizes too big and no matter what I did tailoring-wise., it didn't look right. I called the designer directly since the store wasn't very helpful (understatement) and ended up flying to NY with the dress where she herself fit it properly and her studio made the alterations. It was SO stressful.

You still have time and they should just re-cut the dress for you. If you're tall and a size 4 they will probably have originals of the dress close to your size and can alter one of those.
Your other option might be to add some trim to the sweetheart neckline so it comes up higher, but I'd fight to get a new dress. Call the designer's studio directly if you haven't yet.
And breathe :smile: :hugs:
 
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Winston3043

Member
Jun 9, 2015
176
89
MN
I feel for you, I really do. My strapless wedding dress (also $$$$) came in two sizes too big and no matter what I did tailoring-wise., it didn't look right. I called the designer directly since the store wasn't very helpful (understatement) and ended up flying to NY with the dress where she herself fit it properly and her studio made the alterations. It was SO stressful.

You still have time and they should just re-cut the dress for you. If you're tall and a size 4 they will probably have originals of the dress close to your size and can alter one of those.
Your other option might be to add some trim to the sweetheart neckline so it comes up higher, but I'd fight to get a new dress. Call the designer's studio directly if you haven't yet.
And breathe :smile: :hugs:
Thanks! The dress boutique and the designer have proposed adding a tulle trim to the sweetheart neckline (like your suggestion). We're looking at the photos thinking it will probably look quite awkward, but it might be preferable to flashing the wedding party. Their backup plan was to alter the sample dress in the store for me (which is missing beads & has damaged tulle...).
 

shiba

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Feb 3, 2007
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Depending on how the dress is made, they may be able to remove the bodice at the waistband. Then use the sample top with your bottom. Beads are easy to replace, they can take them from the other bodice so they match perfectly.
I agree with what Quelle said too.
 
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QuelleFromage

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Jan 15, 2011
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You'll find a way to make it work, I am certain :heart:
I will say this, as stressed as I know you are....the day passes so quickly and it's you that notices the small flaws, no one else....so try to relax & enjoy your special day.