Sneaky Sample

This week I have some samples of things to look for when buying a “sample” wedding dress off the rack.

Please don’t get into your head that these dresses have been hanging in clean plastic garment bags in some pristine warehouse just waiting for you to arrive with a credit card…oh no… they may have been tried on by models to walk on runways coast to coast or in the local Armory for a Bridal Fair. The hems are dirty, the zippers are loose, beads are hanging or missing and there are make-up stains. But that is only what is lurking on the outside that you can see.

Maybe you can look dreamily past all the flaws and dirt because you can finally see a princess looking back at you in the mirror and this is your dream dress…but wait!

Here is a real sample of what is waiting for you, and in this case San Francisco to be precise.

This photo is similar to the dress but I cannot find it on the internet…first clue. If you cannot find the dress by it’s maker on the web then you have no idea what year it was made and how long it has traveled coast to coast being hawked in boutique after boutique.

Silk appliqued flowers and silk embroidery cover this silk dress and it is gorgeous with a price tag of over $2000. What our bride bought is this:

Less silk flowers, all torn and hanging off the dress, filthy hems, open seams but the real surprise is what is lurking inside…follow me.

Since this dress has no labels except a recently hand sewn on clean version we have no idea what model it is or size. Here is where the original label was sewn on at the factory. It was 2 by 2 inches. You can see the dirty border that tells you it was removed or lost at some point…clue number 2. Here is what they sewed on to replace it on the other side:      It is pristine, larger and hand tacked over a dirty lining and we are left wondering about it’s origin. Nice touch to state is is a high end brand but who really knows?

Since the bride needs the dress to be really tight, as most brides do, I decide that with all the frou frou going on with this fabric, the best place, and my favorite, is to remove the zipper and take in what we need and re-attach the zipper. Here’s what I found:

Right away you can see the original seam allowance has been hacked away and the original seam (dotted lines) is not even.

There are huge knots of thick cotton thread holding the zipper tape in place….not factory sewn…clue number 3.

Once removed we can see multiple lines of previous stitching…now remember this is a new sample dress, never used.

Traveling to the end of the zipper we see 2 different seam lines…why?

Counting the sequence of seam lines we can see 4 distinct lines starting with the original factory one in orange at the top of the photo down to the last one in red at the bottom. The span of these measures almost 2 inches… remember the words new and sample.

Even the lining gets in on the act with it’s seam lines and knots…how charming!

Original seams lines at the end of the zipper marked in red but what a mess!

Once the center back area is flattened out you can see a remarkable color difference…inside of dress nearest the hidden zipper is clean, the rest looks tea-dyed. The delicate silk organza is barely holding on at the top of the bodice having been rubbed so much during the wearing. I doubt it will withstand even being spot cleaned. The red thread basting is how much the bride wants to be taken in…over 2 inches on each side. Can you imagine buying a dress that was over 4 inches too large around?

After all this I was so disappointed/disgusted at the state of this dress I wrote an email to the place where it was purchased. I told the manager that I had never seen such a filthy torn dress without the correct label in all my years in the business. She did write back and state that all their dresses are NEW and SAMPLES and strictly maintained by her staff and did I have any photos to prove my claim. I attached all these photos for her and told her I was up for taking more if she needed them. Well you can imagine that I never heard back from her after I told her that I have a blog where I would be sharing her merchandise. So buyer beware…look INSIDE your dress, inspect seams and labels and tears and rips and think, think, think about your seamstress and dry cleaner and your budget. This is not a bargain and no one at your wedding will think you look your best in a very “shop-worn” gown.

Next time I will share some neat photos of some bizarre projects that wandered in this week…one involving a plaster cast of a head and another an authentic Tibetan chupa dress.

Meanwhile, I leave you with this last photo of tulips from my garden and a well deserved cocktail for me and my husband along with some macadamia nuts we are sharing at the end of the day…cheers!

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2 Responses to Sneaky Sample

  1. Carolyn Gazerro says:

    Hi Mrs Mole,
    That is a disgusting sample of what’s out there. Lucky for my daughter and me we found her gown online and then searched for a local dealer. Saved a lot of time running from store to store and it was current. Turned out to be the display sample with very little wear and priced accordingly. Rather than rely on the in house seamstress ( I’ve seen some of the work they have produced) I used the services of some of my fellow Rhode Island Sewing Network friends to fit and alter it. It needed to be taken in, hemmed and lace and pearl overlay repositioned . It came out beautifully. I could have done the alterations myself but did not want the last minute pressures on her big day.

    Cheers to you and hubby with the cocktails.


  2. Pingback: Honored! | fit for a queen

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