In 2008, my cousin L and I were both living 3-4 hours north of Our Hometown. We were not in the same town, but our respective cornfields were close. She was engaged and living with her future parents-in-law while working and planning her wedding which would take place in Our Hometown.
I don’t remember where she purchased her dress, but she was having it altered in My Town. While My Town was the county seat and larger than Her Town (with all of three stoplights), it was still small, and there was only one place in town to buy or alter a wedding dress.
She and her FMIL were coming into my town for her final fitting, and she asked me if I wanted to come. Of course, I said, I’d love to see the dress! So I met them at the shop and go in for their appointment.
Where they proceed to be ignored for a good 30 minutes, despite the FMIL’s efforts to be served. The woman who was to help with the fitting was helping someone shop, and evidently couldn’t be bothered to stop to help someone with an appointment. L is finally helped into her dress and comes out for us to have a look.
At first glance, she’s gorgeous. Then you notice that the hem is uneven. Then you notice a stain on the dress. Then she finds a hole along the seam in the lining. And then she points out that the removable straps she requested are not what she asked for. She had a strapless dress, but wanted something for modesty at church, to be removed for the reception. The employee proceeded to argue with her, saying, no, she wanted strapless for the ceremony, but straps for the reception to keep the dress in place. L stood her ground, but the employee didn’t like it.
They asked us to leave for a bit to finish it up. We were given coupons for a free drink at the coffee shop next door. I had friends in from out of town, so I had to go meet up with them. L and FMIL had shopping to do, so we went our separate ways.
A few hours later, I was with my friends driving to Nearby Small City for shopping, when L called me again. Am I still around, can I come give her a second opinion on the dress? Turned out, they hadn’t fixed anything that she could tell, she wanted to know if the hem still looked crooked, and the seamstress had the gall to inform her that L should sew in her own snaps for the detachable straps, which were also uneven. “I can, but I’m paying you to do it. So you do it,” is the response I’m told either L or FMIL gave.
In the end, I’m told the hem, lining and stain were fixed (I think by the woman who proceeded to do all the other bridal alternations for my extended family) and that L found a woman in Our Hometown (an employee of a National Craft Store Chain) to spend 10 hours in the days before the wedding making the detachable straps L had requested from the original seamstress months before.
In the end, L was gorgeous, the wedding was lovely, and she now warns anyone who mentions that store about getting alterations done there. 0701-13
Alterations seems to be one of those areas where great expertise is needed to be successful and finding a good seamstress/tailor is difficult. Many bridal shops hire seamstresses to make alterations on gowns they sell but I personally think it is better to seek out an independent tailor/seamstress with good reviews to make significant alterations to an expensive gown.