The phone rang with a desperate voice on the other end….“I have tried on 40 dresses and finally found the best one for the wedding I have to attend”.
“The wedding is on the East Coast and it is being put on by one of the richest families in the world”. Now, that is intriguing enough to keep me on the phone…right? Blog material for sure, right?
Quickly calculating the purveyors of high end dress shops in our rural valley, all I can think of is our tiny Macy’s in a dying mall next to the freeway which I would bet that they would not have 20 decent cocktail/reception dresses in any one size let alone 40. She also says that her girlfriends are all bringing over shoes and jewelry and accessories for her to try and borrow for the big day which involves the ceremony, a dinner in a posh restaurant and the luncheon the following day so this must be some dress. So this must be some “do”.
Well, the “dress” is something she describes as, “You can’t imagine that the dress is actually pants but you don’t know it is pants until you move your leg”. Splendid, tell me more…
“All the dress needs is hemming and a strap shortening”, so I ask if she knows what the fabric is and she says no. I mention that she will need to bring along shoes for the hemming and she says she does not know where to buy fancy heels and that is has been a long time since she wore heels every day when she worked in “corporate”. Now call me cynical…but how many women tell me that they have worked in “corporate” but gave it up just when they needed their medical coverage and pension plan the most? Again, if our dinky Macy’s doesn’t have shoes adequate for such an elaborate function, I suggest her only resort is discount stores like Ross or TJMaxx.
But in spite of all these red flags, I agree to see the dress and ask about when she needs it finished…ready for this…“The end of the week, I am flying”…and today it is Wednesday. So, I agree to see her the next day after she has purchased some shoes.
Finally, she asks what the price will be for my services and I tell her my hourly rate and the her voice goes silent. Then she says, “I had no idea it would be that much and how do I know that you will do a good job and have enough experience?” “I see that you have a 5 star rating and great reviews but I am still worried”. The other alteration place I went to, I had to take other things back 3 times when the hems kept falling out.”
Finding a decent seamstress seems to be a real gamble doesn’t it?
Here is what the “dress” looks like on a website.
The fitting involved the usual round of listening to the whole life history of the bride and assorted family members along with her retired life after “corporate”. Lordie, I could not pin up 3 inches of slippery knit fast enough!!! All the time she is reciting the litany of the family wealth, I am thinking…this is all stuff a hairdresser would be listening to and I surely am not qualified to cut hair or have a beautician’s license.
Here is what it looks like in person after hemming with my coverstitch machine. It is very cheap polyester knit:
And here is the price tag and notice the thick rubber strip that runs all along the neckline:
Did you notice the invisible zipper that runs up the back? My client tells me that she will not be able to get in or out of the dress by herself and never thought of that when she bought it. She also did not plan on having to use the bathroom during all the events. My suggestion of using a safety pin at the edge of a length of ribbon might help her get a grip on the zipper tab ring but it will still be awkward.
She said she also did not think about what kind of bra to wear under it and maybe she might change her straps to clear plastic. My first thought was, nothing says classy like shiny plastic bra straps. It may be OK for a teenager for prom but not a retired woman.
So, you tell me if she will look like a million dollars?
No need to worry about hemming or a bustle but the question should be, “where is the rest of it?”
Thinking about my sewing sisters on the East Coast and the storms and power outages…so scary! For the rest of us on the West coast, the bulbs are peeking through the soil and we already have our second set of doves nesting outside on a book shelf full of gardening trays.
Wishing you all a great week of sewing and dreaming up new projects!