We're letting out a Jenny Packham dress and take you step-by-step through our alterations process. Here's how to let out a dress.
Letting out a Dress from Jenny Packham
London Fitting Rooms is a couture alterations service specialising in luxury fashion. We previously answered: how many sizes can dresses be let out. Now we're sharing every stage of the tailoring service.
Jenny Packham Dress
The Jenny Packham dress is made from a double-layer of silk organza with a nude silk lining. It uses a French seam finishing, meaning there's no extra seam allowance.
Step One: Dress Alterations Discussion
We begin by discussing the alterations because each project is guided by the original design. We then plan:
- How to proceed.
- If the instructions are clear.
- Where to source the materials from.
- How long it will take.
Step Two: We Open the Side Seams
The side seams of the dress are delicately unpicked by hand. This allows us to understand the material, the finish and details we'll recreate.
Step Three: Creating New Panels for Letting Out a Dress
The French seams mean that we need to create additional panels in order to make the body of the dress bigger. We begin by measuring the gap to be filled in.
Then we create a pattern using the measurements and transfer it on to a temporary fabric for tack fitting. A tack fitting is temporary alteration which allows us to check the fit of the garment with the client.
Step Four: The Tack Fitting of the Top Layer
The tack fitting takes place between the client and the fitter. This gives both a better idea of the final fit.
Step Five: Making New Panels for the Lining
We repeat the same process we applied to the top layer by creating lining panels. We, however, use a different fabric to match the material.
Step Six: Completing the Tack Fitting
The tack fitting is finalised by hand, performed by a designer seamstress on our team. This simplifies any future alterations.
Step Seven: The Tack Fitting Results
The tack fitting is done roughly so that the client can decide whether to go ahead with the dress alterations. We'll then either unpick, adjust or complete the tailoring.
In this case the client chose to proceed and was happy with the fit.
Step Eight: Making the Final Panels
We first cut the final panels to be added to the nude silk lining. We then use a top stitch on the inside layer so that the seam allowances don't stick up when worn.
Whereas, the top layer required silk chiffon because it most resembled the original shade of the organza originally used. It's not always possible to find the exact fabric but part of our job is providing the best solution.
The finish on the armhole and neckline use organza binding as with the original. This is done by hand due to the delicate nature of the fabric.
Likewise, the inside lining is being closed by hand around the waistband. This is usually one of the final steps in gown alterations.
Step Nine: Re-attaching the Floral Embellishments
This Jenny Packham dress has floral embellishments which were removed to make alterations easier and preserve the details. After the panels are added, they are re-attached.