Sending out an SOS…

My sewing friends, I am in desperate need of some design assistance.

As you may know, my daughter’s wedding is coming up this fall and, oh, the days are passing with lightening speed. My MOB dress has finally arrived and is ready to go for alteration tomorrow (it’s much too long, and the bodice is considerably “off”). This flowy, chiffon dress was actually from the bridesmaid’s collection, and it’s black, but my daughter selected it – she loves it and I do, too. What then, is the issue?

It is sleeveless, a configuration that simply won’t work for me, and as I don’t want to wear all black, some adjustments are in order. I’m at a loss.

Below is the dress as worn by a real person, grabbed from personal reviews on David’s Bridal website, and the details are clearly shown (3 ruffles front and back, lined chiffon, satin belt).


I’ve tried a number of toppers:

a silver, fine knit bolero – sloppy, too casual, and uninteresting.


a black lace and sequins cropped jacket – so-so, and so much black.


and this loose, silvery, shiny cropped number with flutter sleeves – way too loose, shapeless, unflattering and soundly rejected by the bride, as it should have been.


My online search revealed a no longer available jacket (I believe sold originally as a set) that met with approval from both of us. Daughter likes that it is fitted, matte, and not sheer, as do I. However, my concerns are that it is too structured and formal for this dress and the beach setting, and that it might difficult to execute.coast-naturals-marge-DUCHESS-satin-jacket-product-1-497320004-normal

Here’s where you come in.

  • Do you know of a pattern similar to this?
  • Would it be simple enough for me to sew?
  • What fabric would work to add the proper amount of structure to such a flowy dress?
  • How do I make the black dress and gray jacket work well together?
  • Would black piping help to connect the two pieces?
  • Should the dress’ black satin belt be changed?
  • Should I abandon all hope and keep looking in RTW?

I am most grateful for any help and advice.








27 thoughts on “Sending out an SOS…

  1. If it was me, I’d throw on a Pashmina, but you might feel this is too casual, given what you said about some of the options you’ve already tried. I can’t help out with a pattern source as I mostly make my own, but as far as accessorising your jewellery I’d suggest something like black, grey, and silver pearls ~ long strands, or short to sit in the neckline of the dress {whichever is most suitable for you} and maybe earrings and bracelets of the same?
    You could consider embroidery or bead work on the belt too, or use it to make a pattern from the fabric you use for your jacket?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Deb! I think we will definitely modify the belt, and your jewelry suggestions are wonderful. Still up in the air regarding jacket vs shawl. Want the dress to shine, as it really is quite lovely.


  2. I like the idea of changing the sash to match the jacket/top, and of using embroidery or bead work. There are many simple bolero patterns available, I recently cannibalised one for my steampunk wardrobe [don’t be misled by that, it’s just a bolero!] It has particularly beautiful sleeves, with a long slit opening which shows off the lining.View C, McCalls 4450

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi I don’t like wearing sleeveless dresses, I managed to use a stole to make sleeves – it was the same fabric. I think you are right, if it is a beach wedding the jacket might be a bit fancy, but then it is your decision. I think the dress you have chosen is lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Goodness, can feel your pain down here & am so wishing I could see you in this. Photos are too black for me to get details of it on your good self, so it’s good you included that first photo.
    Was thinking shawl at first, but then thought maaaybe nooott… but so far can’t come up with another suggestion.
    How do you feel in it? Is it a fit, more than a style discomfort? Or is it both?? What’s the content & basic style of your daughter’s dress? Need more info… Am trying to race out to grocery before it gets blistering here, but might give you a call in a bit…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with everyone else about the jacket option. It is better than the shrugs you have chosen but it makes the whole thing rather formal for what is an outdoor occasion. As you say yourself “too structured and formal”.

    You have said you want a jacket because there is “too much black”. My reaction to this is reduce the black with jewellry, something on your head (flowers?), a belt/cumberbund instead of the satin belt, silver sandal type shoes. It’s probably too radical but I might consider shortening the dress to show more leg. Your skin is the thing that stops it being too black so I wouldn’t cover it up.

    If it were me I would use some showy silver jewellry (earings and necklace), make a silver cumerbund and wear high, silver strappy shoes and have done with it.

    If you don’t like your arms then I would consider putting in a sleeve, but this would probably be lace or a share, and probably black, so I would really avoid that. You have a great figure Jen so I would flaunt it on this occasion rather than wear what you think a MOB should wear. The pashmina type answer if you really want coverage. Finally personally I would consider a luxurious cashmere cardigan – cropped and with 3/4 sleeves – possibly with some bling.

    It’s a difficult one, but this is a statement dress. Let it breathe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kate, you say the nicest things! Bright and blingy jewels will be worn, flower? maybe, a different belt/sash/cummerbund, and silver strappy shoes (but not high!), and I’m seriously considering shortening the dress! It’s important to keep the nice swish of the skirt, so maybe they’d take the length from the waist instead of hem? It would be a lot of inches. I may check into a sheer sleeve, possibly a pashmina, but oh a cropped cashmere cardigan could be really stunning with a bit of bling. Am checking into some now.
      (I haven’t flaunted my figure since the 70s, so the thought is quite terrifying, but liberating in a way….thank you for making my day with that comment!!)


  6. Just to throw a spanner in the works, would it be possible to add sheer sleeves instead? Do you remember the Wren dress i made with the sheer sleeves? – they were in a soft charcoal colour and the fabric had a 2 way stretch (maybe 4). Would something like that work? Good luck xx

    Liked by 1 person

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