Another sold-out dress question!
April 6, 2011 2:55 PM   Subscribe

Can I buy this dress if it's a) three sizes too big and b) I need to add sleeves? What would the cost be like? Should I ask someone on Etsy to make something similar instead?

Apparently, the only dresses I like to buy are sold out ones on Asos
that are not in my size.

I need to change into a short, white-ish dress at my wedding because my main dress is HEAVY and no good for dancing. I found this dress on Asos that is perfect except for the fact that a 10 is at least two sizes too big, probably three by the time the date rolls around. I also would need to add sleeves to the dress.

This is basically the absolute perfect dress I had in mind for changing into on my wedding, except that it's sleeveless. How much would it be to get it altered? I don't want to attempt to get the dress altered only to discover it looks horrible.

I'm fine asking a designer on Etsy to make a recreation, but I feel like the beautiful detailing would be difficult and super-expensive to replicate. Yes or no?

Recommendations for seamstresses in NYC are, again, appreciated.
posted by Viola to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I can't imagine you'll be able to put on sleeves yourself/get someone else to do it. You won't be able to find the same fabric to make the sleeves out of.
posted by Caravantea at 3:09 PM on April 6, 2011

You have great taste in dresses! Both you linked to are so charming.

I've heard from several people that sohomode is a great seamstress in NYC. She was the featured seller on Etsy at one time and has great feedback. She might be able to advise about altering the dress you like, or make something similar. You may be able to make short sleeves from the extra fabric left over after alterations.
posted by iconomy at 3:10 PM on April 6, 2011

Caravantea, I was under the impression that many women add sleeves to pre-made wedding dresses. The fabric wouldn't have to be *exact*, and the dress is made out of a common, plain color, not a print that can't be duplicated.
posted by Viola at 3:15 PM on April 6, 2011

I don't know if you've ordered from ASOS before but I found their US shipping to be a huuuuuge hassle. I ordered a dress from them a good month before Halloween to be used as part of a Halloween costume. It was supposed to get there within 5-8 days even on standard shipping. It took a month and a half to get here (NY state) well past Halloween and well after I'd got them to refund the purchase price. They didn't have any tracking either for international purchases so I had no way of knowing where the package was. Never again.
posted by peacheater at 3:18 PM on April 6, 2011

peacheater, I'm an ASOS addict. Their shipping has gotten much, much better over time. I order from them at least twice a month (little things usually, I promise I'm not ordering dresses every week) and they've been incredibly reliable.

iconomy, thanks for the recommendation, I emailed sohomode to see if she can help me out.

Okay, sorry to threadsit!
posted by Viola at 3:20 PM on April 6, 2011

I think that the intricate detailing on the sides and the inevitably too-large bib/front will be hard to alter down to the right size, but that the design itself is simple enough that it could be replicated without too much trouble. It is a very beautiful dress!
posted by lhall at 3:34 PM on April 6, 2011

Three sizes is a bit too big to be altered so much on a dress with so much detail. My guess is it's not just extra fabric on the side, with the same size details, but that the spread itself is bigger. Three sizes and you'll start getting slightly wonky proportions on things. If it's 1.5 or MAYBE 2 sizes too big, you could probably get it altered to fit, but 3 is pushing it. Plus adding arms - I'd worry that's a lot of alterations to something quite delicate. And I think the fabric will be more unique than you're imagining, as the wrong ivory or pale pink gauzy material will look a bit weird. How long do the sleeves have to be?

Can you order it, try it on to see with a seamstress, a and return if needed? Or are you out of time?

What do you like about it, in particular, in case you'd consider other options?
posted by barnone at 3:35 PM on April 6, 2011

Viola, that's good to hear! I might give them another shot then -- they have some lovely clothes!
posted by peacheater at 3:37 PM on April 6, 2011

I'm a bit concerned about how much work that will take to correct the size. The concerns I would have are to do with darts- you are looking at a much larger bust in a bigger size, so you would need to take it in both at the sides, in the back, and in the chest- which would turn me off the project based on the way the bib front design is. Also, I wouldn't want to add sleeves to that because of the possible difficulties in matching fabric- odds aren't good that there would be enough from what was removed to make sleeves. If I were better at MS paint I would happily draw you a picture of why this dress is a particularly difficult choice for taking in.
posted by Zophi at 3:50 PM on April 6, 2011

Here are some other similar options, in case you're open to them:
- Back Sheath Dress
- ALC Double Knit Lace
- Lace Shift
- Applique dupioni (no sleeves though)
- Suzy Chin Maggy Boutique Embellished
- Lily Pulitzer shift
- Phoebe couture
- Ilana (with a shawl or bolero?)
- Crochet yoke (comes in ivory)
- Crochet dress

I have some other ideas too - what's the deal with arms? Cap sleeves, short sleeve, elbow? Is a bolero jacket on your radar or you prefer unfussy?
posted by barnone at 3:57 PM on April 6, 2011

Robbi and Nicki
This Soulmates Beaded & Silk dress is quite similar, but has a matching bolero
Adriana Pappell Lace shift
White long-sleeved

Oooh: Encantador Gown - from Etsy and I bet she'd make one with sleeves!
posted by barnone at 4:36 PM on April 6, 2011

Buy 2 dresses and find a good seamstress/tailor. He/she could take the first dress in to fit you beautifully, and also add sleeves cut from the fabric of the second dress.

(I found the dress of my dreams once but it was about 2 sizes too big. The shop owner directed me to a seamstress who didn't even pin the dress to fit me, just judged with her eyes how much to take in at what points. I panicked, just knowing that it wouldn't work, it would be a disaster. When I went to try the adjusted dress on, it fit like a dream.)
posted by malibustacey9999 at 4:41 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

What about this ASOS dress? same color!
posted by citron at 7:06 PM on April 6, 2011

ASOS has some petit dresses - would you fit into those?

Pintucked Voile
Quiet Blush shirtdress
Temperly 3/4 - this site has a bunch of options.
Costume National
this Dolce dress would be amazing, and could take some light sleeves, but ouch, the price :-(
I can see why you like the original dress -- maybe buy it and take it to a seamstress so she can tell once it's actually on you.
posted by barnone at 8:37 PM on April 6, 2011

WAit, some good options at Bloomingdales!
Aiden Mattox super cute and you could make small cap/ruffle sleeves
Sue Wong beaded dress - harder with the sleeve question
BCBG floral applique
Tadashi shoji boatneck - with nice sleeves!
David Meister sequined draped back dress - prettier than the photo can show, I think
Sue wong metallic, if you're willing to go long, there are lots of other options!

OK, no more dress-up for me tonight. Good luck!
posted by barnone at 8:55 PM on April 6, 2011

I would think it could be done, but the dress would have to be taken apart almost completely to adjust the darts in the bodice and then to take in the skirt accordingly (which won't be easy on its own because of the petal panels of the skirt).

I agree with malibustacey9999 that if you want to do this, you should order two dresses and make the sleeves out of the second one. You wouldn't want to add another fabric to this dress; it already has the solid viscose, the cutwork, the lace, and the pleated side panels. If you could use the solid fabric from the second dress, though, to make sleeves, they could hang from the lace trim around the arms in the same way the skirt hangs from the bodice (i.e., this would look natural and not like a frankendress).

Good luck, and if you do this, I hope you'll post pictures of the altered dress!
posted by torticat at 9:05 PM on April 6, 2011

Final final thought - this other chiffon ASOS dress would be gorgeous as a wedding party dress! It's a little longer, but beautiful, and wouldn't be a problem for dancing or bending over at tables or other antics. With some beautiful jewelry, maybe a flower or nice broach somewhere, nice shoes and your nice hairdo, it would be perfect!
posted by barnone at 9:30 PM on April 6, 2011

You guys are awesome! So many pretty dresses!

Just for reference, the wedding is in winter and we'll be taking pictures BEFORE the wedding (so we don't abandon guests during cocktail hour) outside in the NYC cold. I'm wearing the second party dress for those pictures (the train of the main dress would be ruined by city sludge and then my fiancé would see the dress before the ceremony, etc etc etc etc). Very complicated, but yeah, I need a dress with a bit of cover up potential.

The ASOS gods smiled down on me and a size 6 dress popped up again, so I snagged that one and a size 14 dress, which will hopefully have enough fabric to make sleeves for the dress.

Thanks for all the recommendations. Stay tuned next week when I ask my question about a good seamstress in NYC who will add simple 3/4 sleeves.
posted by Viola at 6:34 AM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Before you put money down on anything TALK TO A SEAMSTRESS first about what would work best. S/he might have better ideas on what to do here.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:11 PM on April 7, 2011

the detail that you admire in this dress is called "cut work." Because cut work can be machine made, the decorated fabric is not difficult to find. In fact, tablecloths & curtains with cutwork designs are widely available at department stores and import stores. You could buy one or 2 tablecloths and a seamstress should have enough fabric to make a dress.

In fact, the pointed "handkerchief" skirts look like the four corners of a decorated tablecloth.

You want to look for better quality work-- the base fabric should be smooth and fine grained [not coarse with thick threads]. The embroidery stiches should be fairly narrow and close together. And the weight of the fabric should not be thick and heavy like blue jeans-- it should be dress weight.

Cut work is called "white work" in some countries because it is white embroidery on white fabric, and called "black work" in some countries for opposite reasons.

You basically outline an area with satin stitches, and then carefully clip inside the outline to make a hole. Makes beautiful curtains!!
posted by ohshenandoah at 4:03 PM on April 7, 2011

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