Post # 1
My grandmother offered me her wedding dress, which is has all of the expensive details that I want (lace covered silk, button back, a-line). She has given me free range to alter it however I want, if I want it. I love the idea of wearing her dress and it is of much higher quality than what I could buy now.
Looking at old pictures, we appear to be similar sizes and I expect it to be close in fit. The catch is she had a 23 inch waist and 33 inch bust. Because it is lace, it can’t really be altered up. If I am good about dieting and exercising, I have a 24 to 25 inch waist. Do you think spanx or a heavy duty corset (what she would have worn) would be enough to get the extra inch or so? If not, does anyone have any ideas how to get that last inch? I don’t want to be a miserable, dieting bride, so if it isn’t possible, it is okay.
Also, has anyone but in “chest vents” at the side of their dress to increase the chest if need be? I am a 36 inch bust when I am 24 inch waist and there is no way my girls will fit in the dress without clevage (which is one of the rules for wearing her dress).
Any advice would be much appreciated!
Post # 3
Whether this is crazy or not really depends on how big you are to start with. Personally, I think trying to conform your body to a dress is not such a great idea, but you seem committed to it. Maybe you could take it to a good tailor and see what can be done about altering it? Then you might be able to get a better idea of what size you really would need to be to fit in it. I don’t think the Spanx will be enough to bring everything in another inch especially because 23 inches is TINY and at that point, you won’t have any fat, you’ll just be squishing organs.
Post # 4
I was looking into 1930-1950s vintage dresses and came to the hard realization that I just wouldn’t fit into those sizes. Even at my thinnest I wouldn’t – my body just isn’t built that way and a lot of women’s bodies aren’t built that way anymore. I don’t think it’s worth getting super thin for a dress and your waist is already a good size and probably could make its way into other vintage dresses! As for the bust size, maybe gussets could be added? Although any additions to a vintage dress is risky, because it may not match the rest of the dress and be noticable.
If it were me, I wouldn’t alter it and leave it as is and wouldn’t try to fit into it. I’d prefer to keep the heirloom as is and find something else. And if it could be altered, it could work itself out to be the same price as a new (or different vintage) dress, if not more.
Post # 5
I don’t know what the curent closure on the dress is, but I am in the process of adding a lace up back to my dress to add a few more inches. I would definately take it to a taylor and see if it is a possibility. depending on how long of a lace up they use it could easily add 3 or 4 inches or any portion of the dress. You are already a good size I wouldn’t stress your body over it.
Post # 6
@Beckster329: Thanks! I am normally right around 25-26 inches and when I am good about not drinking/snacking I am in the 24 1/2 range. It would be losing 2-3 lbs and I would have about a 12% body fat. I have a very small frame, so it isn’t unrealistically small and it wouldn’t be an underweight BMI. It would be healthy and easy to do 1 or 1.5 inches, but I am worried about more than that.
Post # 7
@globalmargaret: Thanks, it is a button back and that part is the part I love.
@BetterSherm: Thanks– I am coming to that realization. I am a size 0 and enjoy being able to wear clothes that fit. Being any smaller really isn’t going to be an option.
I am going to wait 3 weeks until I can try it on and see how bad of a fit it is. Then if it is close, I am going to work with a tailor to see what they can do.
Post # 8
Adding a corset back to the dress is the easiest way to add to the size of the dress. You can increase just a little at the waist and more at the bust.
If you don’t want to lose the coverered button back, you can ask a tailor of they can insert a panel of fabric on each side- a gore is wider at the top and narrower at the bottom. If the dress is too long, you might be able to use fabric from the hem, or find a matching or coordinating fabric.
Post # 9
If you’re plnning on actully corsetting yourself you’d be able to get your wist down no problem a normal corset will give you bout 4 inch waist reduction (I’m talking a real boned corset though) Your bust would still be a problem though, it depends on the cut of the dress and what can be done with it.
Post # 10
@Bayoumaharajah: Thanks! It will be a real corset that isn’t so good for you (but it is only for 10 hours). We are going to be doing a lot of work on the top, so we will be changing the design of the dress. My aunt borrowed it to play dress up and got arm pit stains on it and it is long sleved, which doesn’t work for a summer wedding. My grandmother thinks they could take the material from the sleeves to add small v inserts along the seams of the dress to let out the bust and replace the stained parts.
Post # 11
I wear a size 00 and my waist is definitely bigger than 23″. I don’t think trying yourself down to that size is either healthy or possible without damaging yourself. I think spanx + corset should do the trick, though I’m not sure how comfortable that would be.
Post # 12
I am also wearing a vintage gown from the 1950s, and I think that it’s important to bear in mind that dresses from that era REQUIRE the proper foundation garments to fit correctly. They were actually made to wear over specific foundations such as girdles and crinolines.
I need to reduce my waist by one inch in order for my dress to fit correctly, so I am going to wear a vintage-patterned Rago waist cincher. They can reduce your waist by inches and are the correct garment to wear beneath a midcentury gown rather than a corset.
I recommend the Rago 21 model, which I purchased at OrchardCorset : http://www.orchardcorset.com/Rago-21-Waist-Cincher-Shaper-Corset-Girdle_p_14291.html , but it and similar models are available elsewhere as well. I bought a size down from my actual measurement to achieve my 24 inches, you will probably need the XS as well for a 23″ waist gown.
Good luck! I’m so happy to see another vintage bride on the boards!!