Make Me Look Like a Million Bucks

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?

In the meantime, I have been sent this photo of a wedding dress to come:






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!



This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to Make Me Look Like a Million Bucks

  1. Donnalee says:

    It reminds me of the old joke about ‘looking like a million dollars’ and turning out all green and wrinkly. Best of luck to her, and to you.

  2. Kathy niskanen says:

    The dress is bad. The story is great, bless you.

  3. Mary says:

    Gosh, I hope you at least got the name of the fabulous family whose wedding she will be attending – ever heard of them? I didn’t think so!. If only I could be the fly on the wall…..!!! Good luck!

  4. Fabrickated says:

    Ha ha! That very very short wedding dress is amazing. I actually love jump suits and think they maybe a nice item for an older lady as they cover up quite a lot of flesh and can look a bit more up to date than the boring average dress. But this one just looks cheap and peculiar. I loved the story though – hilarious.

  5. Tia Dia says:

    Good heavens! Where IS the rest of that second dress? Is the bride underage? And that blue nasty $30 number is fantastic for the blog! Hahaha! Thanks for sharing!

    • mrsmole says:

      The bride is a grown women earning a 6 figure salary…go figure! I have to share these “howlers” just to liven up a very predictable ivory satin and tulle blog, don’t I, Tia?

  6. sandra says:

    One of your best. ”Where’s the rest of the dress”. Reminds me of when I was a teenager and travelled on a tram dressed in turn-of-the-century bloomers. An old lady came up to me and said ”you have forgotten your skirt, dear”. This bride is in risk of that happening to her!

  7. mrsmole says:

    She has no room for bending over!!! Back in the 60’s the bride would have worn lacy pantyhose but this girl may just be showing skin. I will share photos when she shows up.

  8. lauriesannie says:

    The one-shouldered model needs a strapless bra. And I hope it cost her more than $29.95 to get it hemmed. Going cheap is ultimately a waste of money.

    • mrsmole says:

      Yes, laurie, she did pay more for the alterations than she did for the dress. It would have been good for her to find a long line strapless but I don’t know if they make them anymore.

      • Cheryl Designs says:

        LOVE the ‘tale’ 🙂 YES, longline strapless bras EXIST. At the bridal shops for app. $80. 🙂 I am willing to BET this client would NEVER pay that much for an undergarment 🙂
        I hope she appreciated the EMERGENCY WORK. I don’t do those anymore 🙂 Don’t call me begging and then DEMANDING and tell me you need something in two days 😦 Not going to happen 😦 SORRY 😦 PS-I actually DID have a young woman on the phone a few years ago that TOLD ME… I WOULD alter her dance gown in two days.. REALLY??? HA HA 🙂 NOPE 🙂 For NO amount of money honey 😉

  9. Elle says:

    I’m just left shaking my head…aiiee….

  10. Suzanne Resetarits says:

    I love reading your blog. Its so good to know that I’m not the only one with kooky sewing adventures. Also, I have learned a lot from you. Thank you so much.

  11. Scarlet says:

    The blue outfit is pretty cheap looking, especially for a wedding. Likely cost her more to have it altered than the $30 she paid for it. Thanks for the good story. Haha!

  12. pdxknitter says:

    I hardly know what to say. Mostly it’s just that little head tilt the dog does when you talk funny. Holy moly. I love coming here because I never know what’s next. And I’d never guess a cheap poly jumpsuit or a coochie-showing bridal… gown? tunic? I’ve seen more fabric in a Fredericks of Hollywood nightie.

    • mrsmole says:

      Makes me eyes tear just thinking of buying your wedding gown/tunic from an eBay seller and knowing that you will need alterations before the package actually arrives…yes, she knows this.

  13. Val says:

    The blue garment (I cannot call it a dress) for the wedding festivities: it would not have been my choice but if the client feels good about herself while wearing it then I say: you go girl.

    My overwhelming thought, though, is feeling sad that this lady has either put herself or had others put pressure on her to “dress to impress” the purportedly wealthy family. A clean, freshly ironed dress, along with personal grooming and a sincere, friendly smile on her face should be all that’s needed.

    • mrsmole says:

      Exactly…no one will remember what you wore but they WILL remember how your spoke and carried yourself at such a fancy event. I wish I had been in on the 40 dresses try-ons…certainly there must have been one that was a better bet than this one? Maybe not.

  14. upsew says:

    Wonderful as always…. never expected that much polyester after the phone call introduction – I am reminded of the part in the 80s movie Educating Rita where Rita the hairdresser says that people bring in photos of hair dos and expect miracles (ie to become the person in the photo) The next scene a maturer woman sits in the chair and hands a photo of princess di…..

  15. Anna Katherine says:

    This post cracks me up laughing. The first lady just should’ve bought a Chanel suit, or the closest thing that classily mirrored it. Were the 40 other rejected garments due to fit, or just personal choice?
    And the second one – the bodice and sleeves are quite beautiful! But that “skirt” – is it what originally came with the dress? It’s half lingerie, half wedding dress. Have fun with it!

  16. Mags says:

    This has cheered my morning in the snowy wastelands of northern England. Chuckling along …..

    • mrsmole says:

      You sure have had some deep snow and wind…holy moley the photos from Manchester in the daily mail just are crazy! And now the folks in the South having water rationing!

  17. Wendy says:

    I saw Darlene Love wear 2 very similar versions of this, in white and red, although without the shoulder band. She looked fabulous–probably the original from which this is a knock-off.

    • mrsmole says:

      If you could look inside those original garments, you might see all sorts of structure and boning etc but these Ross dresses are pretty much bare bones.

  18. Chris says:

    At 29.99 I think she overpaid!

  19. ceci says:

    Oh dear, the blue dress lady is so lonely and insecure sounding isn’t she? A nice suit would have been so much better and would have been appropriate for the next day lunch, too.

    Perhaps the skirtless bride has gorgeous legs, but I’m hoping there is a skirt somewhere in the mix.


    • mrsmole says:

      Me too, ceci…there will not be any hemming to do for sure! Almost anything would have been better than this hard-to-get-into jumpsuit with one arm hanging out. Back when I was 60, I knew my days of exposed arms was over…put those wrinkles away, girl, no one wants to see them!

  20. Truly, I don’t know how you do it

  21. Lee says:

    Dang, it sounds like this client was a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic!

  22. Kim says:

    I truly don’t know what to say to all that. Apart from I’m so glad I don’t get those calls any more. (Sorry Mrs Mole)

    • mrsmole says:

      Knowing you have experienced such howlers, makes my feel good, Kim. One day I will be retired and learn knitting and relax and not have to talk to anyone unless I want to…like Mr. Mole.

  23. erniek3 says:

    As ever, as always. You have brought a smile to my face on a crummy day. And I won’t say a word about these, as if I do, something like them will be coming to me as costumes to reinforce for seven shows. The ‘pants’ looks sadly familiar in that regard. Made it two shows. The actress was relieved, the director not so much.

  24. mrsmole says:

    We aim to please, erniek3…and wait to get paid for our labors!

  25. Susan Hart says:

    Love to see a pic of the doves. We too had a couple that frequented the back yard but I haven’t seen them in a while. Do you do anything to entice them to nest or roost?
    And I can really sympathize with you and the “urgent” customer! They come to a seamstress with NO time, expect a miracle and DON’T want to pay what it’s worth!
    Been there… sigh
    All the best…Susan

  26. mrsmole says:

    We don’t do anything to entice doves, they try to nest on rain gutter down spouts, outdoor shelves, open garage doors, empty hanging planters..and the nests they make are so flimsy it is a wonder that they can hold do many eggs and survive winds. And yet we have at least 4 sets of hatchlings a summer. The hawks that fly overhead from the hills around us drop in from time to time for a “snack” and doves are on the deli menu.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s