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altering strapless beaded prom dress

rsew's picture

Help please!

I am currently altering a strapless beaded prom dress.  I will need to alter the bust area but have to figure out how to handle the bead work since it is all across the front top of the bust area, plus the boning is attached to the lining of the dress directly at the center seams of each breast .  The side seams have been altered already .  Sides of the dress from top of dress to top of hip are open and connected by fabric encased rings.  this dress is a challenge to say the least.  The top of the dress (bust area) needs to be taken in at least one inch on both front seams--should I just put the time in and do the alterations by hand or remove the beadwork  by breaking the beads so I can stitch the seams by machine.  Never work on another beaded gown after this !

Thanks for your input

KharminJ's picture

oooohh! ouch! I have no (post #32796, reply #1 of 10)

oooohh! ouch!

I have no good advice for you, I'm sorry to say, but I certainly *do* wish you patience, perseverance and good luck with this!

(and please post pics, if you can - it sounds gorgeous!)


Yaknow, I think I'd go with the hand-stitching, that way the beading is preserved if the dress wants re-altering in the future... also, you'll probably have more control over the fabric, and wouldn't have to manipulate the whole thing under the presser foot.


Bright Blessings!


alotofstitches's picture

beaded prom dress (post #32796, reply #2 of 10)

Are the side seams open for alterations or is she going to wear a dress that reveals that much skin?--just curious!

I hate beaded dresses too.  I remove the beads by cutting threads and securing the beads left on the dress at the seam edge--very time consuming.  Then using a zipper foot, I sew the seam getting as close to the beads as possible so I don't have as many beads to sew back on.  The only way I know to do the lining is to remove the boning, seam it then replace the boning.

I saw a dress shop take a tuck/dart thru beads and all in the area between side seam and front bust seam to remove the fullness.  It has to be hand sewn and looks horrible because of the bulk.  We parted ways over that mess.  

rsew's picture

beaded prom dress (post #32796, reply #3 of 10)

Thanks for your input-

The dress has open side seams from underarm to top of the hips; with fabric covered rings connected to the front and back sides. Now customer wants a slit down the front seam of dress (the bust seamline) starting from the above the knee to the floor.  This is not a prom dress- for sure--it is a pagent dress and my nightmare.

natsnasus's picture

strapless dress/ (post #32796, reply #4 of 10)

Did you get this already finished? I was just curious, you said the sides were already altered, by you? or some other dress owner? Why does it need to be done at the bust area, Is it because it doesn't look right? Or can you just take it in at the zipper for tightness.

This IS a major job and if they are willing to pay you for your time, then you should try to do it correctly. I've done my share of bead removal and strapless gown alterations and usually I enjoy the work, but only if I'm not rushed, so I can do a good job.

I hope your customer appreciates the skill involved and has patience.

It sounds like it has a seperate underpart that should be taken in also?

I usually remove the boning and the beading in order to take a dress in at the bust, and YES! it's a pain!... but it has to be done if that's what needs to be done. You DO have to secure the remaining beads, like the other reader said. I usually decide where I'm stopping to unbead and secure those first before I start to cut or remove etc.

That's why I asked if it looks too big across her chest from nipple to nipple.

Make sure and ask whether or not the customer plans on changing her mind and wearing a really padded bra at the last minute. That could save you some stress if you'd rather not take it in at the bust and only have to nip & tuck it elsewhere for a good fit!

Good luck! My heart goes out to you!

rsew's picture

altering beaded prom dress (post #32796, reply #5 of 10)

Yes, the dress is finished & fits like a glove.  I altered bust seams and boning, restitched/secrured beading,hemmed dress/lining , created a bustle (Not as easy it sounds either)  so customer can raise the back of dress and actually dance at prom w/out tripping. I've learned that I can do this --I lost 7lbs during the process.  $350 dress-4 fittings-hours of alterations-no sleep-(I actually cried a few times)-lots of coffee drinking-----the look on customers face upon the final fitting-----Priceless.    Would I do this again-----probably??   Thanks to you all a Threads Gatherings for your input and inspiration.

KharminJ's picture

Hurray for a great outcome! (post #32796, reply #6 of 10)

So glad to hear all that!  What a terrific Win for you, your customer, and your Soul!

Pictures, pretty please??


Bright Blessings ~ Kharmin


lou19's picture

Fantastic! I've altered  (post #32796, reply #8 of 10)


I've altered  and made many beaded bridal dresses and yes,  I still underestimate how long it will take! Thank heavens for classic FM radio!

maverick123's picture

hey i love strapless prom (post #32796, reply #7 of 10)

hey i love strapless prom dresses..but i cant wear it reason it i am heavy and that doesnt suit on looks odd..anyways can you please show some of the altered strapless prom dress photos..?

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patrihick's picture

strapless prom dress picture... (post #32796, reply #9 of 10)

Here I am posting one of strapless prom dress picture hope you loved it..

images.jpeg2.88 KB
EchoPink's picture

Beaded prom dress would be (post #32796, reply #10 of 10)

Beaded prom dress would be very hald to alter, as there are too many handmade beading on it, once you cut the niddle by mistake, the whoe dress is ruined. You need a professional tailor and would need to pay a lot of money, why not try something new online, just buy a new one would save a lot, i got mine here SweetyProm