A Budget Fairy Tale Moment – The Story of My Wedding Gown (Part Two)

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Hello, and happy Monday!  I’m so sorry to keep you hanging with Part Two of my dress saga.  In hindsight I should have scheduled the posts for a Monday/Wednesday back-to-back posting, but I was just too excited to FINALLY share my dress story!  Part Two is admittedly less enthralling than Part One, but still deserves a place in the spotlight. So here it is, Part Two of the creation of my dream wedding gown.

Photo by White Rabbit Photo Boutique

Once I had my dress, I knew it needed some big time altering, so the hunt was on for the perfect seamstress.  It actually didn’t take long.  I took to the Tribe at Offbeat Bride, which is their private user forums.  I went here first because I wanted to find a seamstress who wasn’t going to frown upon my unconventional wedding gown vision  (If you are in the throes of wedding planning and there will be anything “unusual” about your wedding, then you should be connecting with these ladies – they are awesome).  I did a simple search for “seamstress Los Angeles” and actually came up with two results, but I only needed the first one.  It was a post made by a bride who scored a great deal on a beautiful, bright red mermaid gown; the only problem was that it was way too big.  She took her gown to In Stitches in Woodland Hills, CA, who managed to take in the dress and make it perfect.  After reading this bride’s glowing review and knowing this seamstress was close to me (and actually lived in my former neighborhood, so bonus points for being familiar with the area), I went to Yelp where I found about 20 5-star reviews for In Stitches.  AND I found she had Saturday hours.  That was enough for me to give her a call.

Our first conversation went well, the only problem was that she needed to see my gown before she could give me a proper quote regarding the alterations.  So we made an appointment for an upcoming Saturday.

Photo by White Rabbit Photo Boutique

Once I met Reenie, the owner of In Stitches, I instantly liked her.  She worked out of her home and had a steady stream of brides coming and going, and calling, which to me was a good sign.  She had me put my dress on and tell her my ideas.  I expressed that I was hoping to turn the zipper-back into a corset-back, and hem the dress to knee-length and add pink tulle underneath.  I waited for her to roll her eyes and try to talk me out of it but my requests didn’t seem to phase her.  She kept saying, “Oh, that will be cute, yes, I think it will be very cute.”  Once she saw my dress she quoted me $325 for the corset alterations and $75 to hem it and add the tulle, for a total of $400.  This seemed a little high to me but I wasn’t about to start shopping around, and with her great reviews on the internet, I just went for it.  The final cost of the gown was still going to be waaaaay below what I had budgeted!

Our first meeting was mid-2011 and she told me not to contact her for an appointment until January 2012.  It was a long six months!! In the meantime I obsessed over pink tulle.  Who knew there were so many shades and textures?

I called her the first week in January, anxious to get started.  To be very honest, I was nervous that the vision I had for the dress wasn’t going to come together, and I wanted extra time in case I had to find a new dress!  I booked an appointment for her first available Saturday.  At the appointment, we again went over what I wanted and she started pinning the dress.  I had a plan that I wanted to make fabric flowers with the portion of the dress that was being cut off, so I asked Reenie if it wouldn’t be too much trouble to save it for me and call me once it was cut so I could come pick it up, since the flower construction was time consuming.  She said if I was ready she would chop off the bottom of the dress right there!  As she cut, my stomach sank a little, knowing there was no going back now!  But I was also really excited to see my dress start to transform into my vision. I also handed over the ribbon I had bought for the corset (I actually bought three shades of pink and Reenie helped me pick a shade) and the SPARKLY pink tulle I had purchased.  She told me she would call me in a couple weeks for my next fitting!

Reenie works quick and it wasn’t long before I got the call to schedule my next appointment!  When I tried on my transformed dress for the first time, I started to wonder if I had made a mistake.  She tied the corset really tight, which I know is how it is supposed to be, but I had a tough time breathing and that was not how I wanted to spend my wedding day!  Also the ends of my dress were curling up, and the length and the tulle weren’t quite as I pictured.  Reenie simply said the ends needed to be ironed and it would lay flat.  There wasn’t much to do about the length – I couldn’t go any shorter! – but the tulle was an easy fix.  I basically told Reenie I wanted MOAR TULLE!!!!!  We played around with it and decided to add THREE more layers of tulle.  I felt very happy at the end of the fitting.

It wasn’t much longer after that when it was time for me do have my final fitting.  When I tried on my dress again, it was perfect!  The tulle was just enough to make my dress poofy but it didn’t look cartoonish.  My seamstress made a comment that she couldn’t wait for me to get my dress out of there because my sparkle tulle was making a mess of her carpet!  I told her it was just some pixie dust to help her remember me.

Photo by White Rabbit Photo Boutique

That’s it!  That’s the story of how I got my dream gown.  I hope you enjoyed it!