Starting up

For the past 4 years I have been altering gowns for a local Bridal Shop and other word-of-mouth referrals from friends and neighbors. The stories I gather from these new clients can be quite surprising and worth sharing. Encouraged by my esthetician, Diane who keeps my rapidly aging skin in top condition, to share the tales and troubles that come through my front door…I begin.

Starting with the most recent bride and gown that is nearing completion, her story follows:

My first encounter with her was a phone call from the hairdressing salon while she is still in the chair getting extensions attached. She states her name and that the hairdresser has given her my name and number so she can get her dress altered in time for her wedding in June. Then she asks “Are your prices competitive?”  Taken back by her question I answer honestly that my prices are normally lower than most and most of my clients are pleasantly surprised with the billing amount. She say the dress is in her car and can she come by to show me. The resulting visit is enough to make your eyes tear.

The dress was bought in an East Coast re-sale shop (we live on the West Coast)and the sales clerk told her the dress was a “designer” dress…whatever that means and the original price was $1600. There is no indication as to WHEN this dress was priced at $1600 but by the wear and tear exhibited it must have been tried on by at least 150 prospective brides and dragged around the showroom for many years. It is heavily encrusted with crystals and beads and pearls most of which are falling off or hanging by a thread. The netting under the main dress is torn and hanging loose. The zipper has been pulled away from the center back of the dress and does not come together above the waistline. The overall color of the dress which must have been ivory at one time now has that yellowed look of hanging under hot lights or a showroom window for a VERY LONG time. The bride announces that she loves the dress and even though all her friends told her NOT to buy it…she did for $250.

A bargain – which I learn later is the main reason this bride does anything. To make this dress wearable and repair the worst areas would cost at least $350 in labor and it would still have the issue of hundreds of dangling beads so I ask her WHO was going to be the one to attach them all by hand? Her answer was swift: “Oh I thought one night all my bridesmaids would meet over drinks and sew them all on”. I tell her that she should forget this dress, sell it on Ebay or Craigslist and start over looking for the princess dress she wants. Her eyes water and she thanks me and says she will keep in touch.

She will return 2 weeks later with good news and bad news….stay tuned

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One Response to Starting up

  1. Amy says:

    Finally! I got to the first post. I’ve enjoyed every post & am truly glad I’ve never agreed to sew for anyone other than my daughters.

    Having sewn 2 wedding dresses (from scratch) & being the type of person that would rather start from scratch than alter, I greatly admire your fortitude & patience.

    Thank you for a rather enjoyable couple of days.

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