Hope the wedding hasn't already occurred. Anyway, here's what I know in case it's not too late. These things come to mind: Can you copy the original hemming job, or was it bought unhemmed? Is this dress lined? Is it shear?
If you like the original hemming job and can copy it, just do that. Otherwise, if it's lined, you would want to have both hems (the top layer and the lining) facing the same direction--turned up on the wrong side--toward the wearer. Do NOT let the hems face each other because (1) they could catch on each other and bunch and (2) the lining hem would show if the top layer were accidentally pulled up while the dress is being worn.
As for the actual hemming job, if you think the dress can take the heat, iron the hem in and pin it before sewing. You probably know you can usually get around the heat issue by laying a thin, damp cloth over the area you want to iron. This keeps the direct heat off the delicate fabric. Sewing the hem with a blind stitch by hand will look a lot nicer than top stitching it. This takes time; but, to me, it's worth it. If you decide to top stitch, just do it as neatly as you can. If the dress is shear, a narrow hem will look best--turn up about 1/4 inch and then 1/4 inch again--total of 1/2 inch. Let the lining hem be the same depth as the outer layer. If the dress is not shear, a deeper hem would probably look nice--maybe a couple of inches--IF you're blind stiching by hand. If you're top stitching by machine, a narrow hem will probably look best whether the outer layer is shear or not.
It just occurred to me that you must be concerned because the dress is umpire (duh!?). For that, you should pin the hem in with the bridesmaid wearing the dress. This way, you can make sure the hem is equi-distant from the floor all the way around the bottom of the dress. Put the wearer on a sturdy box while you're pinning, if possible. This will make the job a little easier. Anyway, pinning things while they are on the wearer allows you to stand back and check the way the fabric is hanging.
As for the bride's bustle, I do not have any experience with that one. I'm guessing you can attach a bustle with snaps, hooks, or velcro. Maybe there's a pattern for one--or some info on the internet. Sorry I don't know more about bustles. Hope all goes well.
Last edited by cela; 05/14/07 02:07 PM.