Unhappy Blouse Clowns
August 10, 2007 9:23 PM   Subscribe

My dress "bones" are impaling my chest - anyone know any tricks to ease the pain?

I'm going to an evening wedding soon and I'd really like to wear this silk black dress I have. I pulled it out of the back of my closet tonight to see if it still fit and remembered why I'd shoved into the outer regions. The "bones" that hold up the stitching in the waist jab right into the underside of my breasts when I sit, breathe, or exist.

I remember wearing this to an event before and dealing with the help of an open bar. Though this is definitely an option for this event, I would like to know if there's something else I can do to keep the pain away.

Wearing a different dress is really not an option (4th wedding with the same group of people & I don't own many dresses). And I'd really like to not have to rush out and buy something new just so I can eat rice pilaf and dance with drunken relatives. Also, a bra is not an option because of the low back on the dress. But the main reason is vanity -- I actually look good in this (I think).

Is there anything I can sew into the dress to help? Or is there something out there that costumers use when this occurs? I really don't know what to do.

Thanks for your help.
posted by Kloryne to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total)
Maybe someone who does alterations might have a suggestion for you?
posted by thebrokedown at 9:49 PM on August 10, 2007

Best answer: Ouch - sounds painful. Are you short-waisted? Because it sounds like the dress doesn't fit you properly. I don't think it was designed specifically to induce agony.

You should think about taking it to a good tailor to see if there's anything he/she could do with it. What they would probably end up doing is turning it inside out and opening up the tops of the seams of the channels that hold the boning, then snipping and trimming a bit off of each bone, and then tucking the bones back in and resewing up the seams, and then anchoring the bones (by making a tick or two at the top of each channel so the shortened bones don't ride back up) so that they don't jab your blouse clowns all night. You wouldn't be able to tell from the outside, but that extra half inch would give you a lot of breathing room, so to speak. You could try it yourself if you're a decent hand sewer.
posted by iconomy at 9:51 PM on August 10, 2007

Best answer: Is this a standard size dress, while you're a petite or s short-waisted woman? These bones (which I presume run vertically) may be too long for your torso.

See if you (or a friend or tailor) can open the channels, remove and snip the bone shorter (making it a rounded edge instead of sharp), then slip it back in, sewing the end of the channel slightly lower so the bone can't slip up and poke your breasts again.

Or drop into Farthingales and see if they can suggest something else you ould do, but the most likely reason is either bones that are too long, and/or channels for the bones that just need to be shortened.
posted by maudlin at 9:53 PM on August 10, 2007

Damn, iconomy beat me to it. But hey, at least I found you some local experts.
posted by maudlin at 9:54 PM on August 10, 2007

IAmNotASeamstress, but my mother was. Sounds like the boning in your bodice is too long.
Normally, I'd use really heavy-duty shears (aircraft steel cutters) to shorten them a bit, but generally those ends should have been dipped in latex or other nice soft plastic stuff to fix the ouch factor.
Go hit up JoAnn's/other crafty store to see what kind of built-in bra fixers they have. They've got sew-in bra cups, but you might want something more substantial, like sewing in bust enhancers right where they cut in.

Or if you really want to go for it, go get some boning yourself (You'll want poly-covered, if you happen to have a choice), cut that to fit, and replace the boning in the bodice by snipping carefully into the lining. Failing that, it's a design issue of the dress, and you'll need a real seamstress.
posted by lilithim at 10:00 PM on August 10, 2007

Can you post a pic of the inside of the dress, showing the boning? You may be able to work out some kind of discreet padding/reinforcement in between the bust and the boning, or it could be something as simple as securing the actual boning more so it doesn't slide up.

Alternatively, you might have success with something like a Nu-Bra?
posted by indienial at 10:22 PM on August 10, 2007

Must... not... make.... boning jokes....

Also make sure that you're sitting and standing with good posture -- I get this pain in my side sometimes when I'm scrunching my ribcage down toward my hips when I'm sitting slouchy.
posted by loiseau at 10:48 PM on August 10, 2007

Cut some Maxi-Pads to fit, and stick them between the "bones" (ribbing) of the dress and your skin. No one will see them, and you'll be much more comfy. Good luck!
posted by amyms at 11:29 PM on August 10, 2007

Get the stays cut down, any competent tailor should be able to do this.
posted by fshgrl at 1:10 AM on August 11, 2007

Response by poster: OK, I'm going to go at the lil' bonies myself. I can sew and open up the dress enough to cut them down. I am short waisted indeed.

For some reason, actually getting in there and cutting the things smaller didn't spring to mind. But now, it makes perfect sense. Thank you all for the great advice. If this doesn't work, I'll try maxi pads under the clowns and maybe an extra shot of cheap Syrah.

Thank you all very much!
posted by Kloryne at 1:16 AM on August 11, 2007

Blouse clowns? I can't believe nobody noticed that.
posted by pinky at 12:52 PM on August 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

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