Dear ASDP Board

ASDP Bridal Class: Here comes the bride!

12/05/2015 7:42 PM | Anonymous

With bridal gown challenges of all kinds, of course. However, thanks to Brenda Breitenmoser’s bridal class, bridal alterations and bustles have become clearer and have stretched my imagination to better problem solving. I’ve always looked forward to working on special occasion gowns, and there is something beautiful, imaginary & dreamy about bridal/ wedding gowns in particular. This year, I had a lot of bridal alterations, bustles, and not so hot designs which were challenging so I was happy to learn a bridal class was being held at conference.

Brenda Breitenmoser

Brenda has a wealth of knowledge, is full of humor, and has a knack for  teaching in a way that is easy to learn and comprehend. The 10 of us in the class had levels of experience from beginners to veteran professionals. While Brenda was teaching her methods to all, the beginners were sharing new techniques they had learned. The veterans also shared their techniques and solutions and I tried to absorb all the jammed packed information that was being discussed.

Brenda admits to staying up all night until a solution to the problem comes to her which sometimes takes days. Her motto is simple: “The gown leaves the shop like no one has touched it!”

Our first project in her class was the pregnant bride.  Deciding how to alter this gown can definitely cause your head to spin. The solution to this alteration depends on the style of the gown and how far along the bride is in her pregnancy. Two weeks before the wedding is the guide line to start Brenda’s alteration technique. We were able to practice the technique with paper while she patiently helped each of us who weren’t as quick to catch on. After the paper pattern was finished, Brenda demonstrated on the dress form with muslin fabric. She made it look very, very easy. It was definitely a challenge for me, but I guess if you do it more than once, you know what you’re doing.

Our next assignment was “My dress is too small. Can you convert this into a corseted/lace up back?”  Brenda’s answer was “Sure, no problem. I’d be happy to.”  From start to finish it takes about an hour for Brenda. As of yet, I have not attempted this, but I assure you it will take me much, much longer!  Although you can purchase a lace up kit, the kit is limited in colors. Using curtain gathering tape, she taught us how to make the loops and ties with fabric and materials which match the gown.

The last half of the class featured different types of bustles.

When it comes to bustles, for reasons unknown to alterationists, it is usually the salesperson leading the bride astray as to how a gown (of any style) gets bustled.

How in the world do you tame one of those Cinderella gowns?  You know the one I’m talking about. It has seemingly endless layers upon layers of tulle, 1-3 layers of crinoline and the width of the dress is 10 times wider than the door she has to walk through!  I’ve often wondered how one enters the ladies room in this type of gown!  What about those asymmetrical, mermaid, A-line, and pick up gowns?  The styles are endless and each requires a different technique. This is when we have to think outside of the box!

To me the Cinderella type of gown is tricky to bustle in the sense that there is so much fabric to be lifted off the ground and still make one’s backside look good, and it can require several pick up points. It is hard to disguise the bustle hardware on tulle gowns. Items used to aid in the bustling process were hooks and eyes, clear or white plastic drapery rings, ribbon, thread loops with eyes, and clear buttons to name a few. Our goal for the Cinderella dresses is to eliminate as many bustle points as possible but have enough to have a great looking bustle. Whether it is a Cinderella gown or not, the main idea I learned was: “All bustles need to pop off the floor so the gown won’t be torn.”

I would encourage anyone, whether you are a beginner or a veteran, to take Brenda’s bridal class. There is so much to learn, so many ideas tossed out, the “duh” moments and brainstorming with other colleagues were a lot of fun. You’re probably thinking, “She didn’t give us any tips from the class.” You’re right, I didn’t!  You’ll have to sign up for this class to learn the tips!

Brenda Breitenmoser, thank you for your amazing class. I hope to enroll again, maybe in Vancouver?

Written by Robin Kunzer

2885 Sanford Ave SW #19588, Grandville, MI 49418 ~ Toll-Free (877) 755-0303 

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