This was very nerve wracking for me. I mean this is an antique! I kept asking her "are you sure you want me to cut it?" Before I did anything I took specific pictures of the areas I needed to alter so I could remember how it was put together once I took things apart. Since the new bride was a bit more busty and taller than her grandmother I needed to do quite a bit of altering. The dress did not have a lot of extra fabric in the seam allowances so I actually had to make the train shorter to have extra fabric. I used that fabric to remake the piece that ran around the top of the bodice. I used the old piece that I removed to add material to both sides of the back. I purchased new button tape and replaced the old and put the 34 buttons back on. I also had to add inches to the bottom so I bought an off white satin and cut a 5 inch strip on the bias, folded it in half and sewed that on the bottom of the gown.
The biggest problem I had was that the 'bride to be' moved to California where her fiance, now husband lives. I only had a few fittings and had to do quite a bit of the altering without an actual body! I seriously did a lot of praying when I was working on that dress. Especially while I was sewing all those buttons on and hoping it would fit!
The dress turned out great and she was a beautiful bride. All the while I was working on this gown my daughter away at college was also making a wedding gown for a friend although she made hers from scratch. She did an amazing job. I am so proud of her! You can take a look here.