There was a lot of drama surrounding my dress – I bought it from a Michelle Roth sample sale (but later found out things about the sample fabric), & against my better judgment, took it to my MIL’s seamstress… The dress started to look horrible with her working on it, & I ended up sad & stressed. Eventually I had to take it to someone else (the wonderful Jane Wilson-Marquis) who rebuilt the bodice for more money than the sample sale price but it worked & I didn’t have to buy a 2nd dress like I thought I might. It was all very emotional!
The left side is the whole story, I wrote/edited this for a week & it was very therapeutic to get this story down. The right side has pics of the dress in a magazine, me at the final fitting & at the wedding. The pocket has pics of when I first bought it (it was princessy poufy & I loved it like that but had some taken out), very unflattering pics from the 1st seamstress fittings (not showing those to the world) & another wedding pic. A scrap of Big Pink’s overlay is in the pocket. I was at a crop & didn't have the small plain brads for flower centers (no one did) so I used mini hole punches of brown paper & really like how that turned out!
SIGH, if you’re in a reading mode, here’s the journaling, but please, no obligation to read this novella.
Journaling - "In 8/03 I got an email from dailycandy.com informing me of a Michelle Roth Sample Sale, where her couture dresses (which usually go for over $3K) were being sold for $695 out of her 57th St. studio (one of our office’s cross streets). W/ coworker Angie offering to go w/ me (Angie had been w/ me for the purchase of my engagement party dress & 'Little Pink,' the dress that was supposed to be my 'family dinner at Carmine's the night before the engagement party' dress, got lost & ended up being the 'family dinner the night before the wedding' dress) & a nearby location, I couldn't say no.
I tried on about 7 dresses. One mermaid 2 piece looked lovely on me, but Angie & I agreed not pretty enough to buy. The rest were just eh. We were about to leave when I asked about this one dress I had seen online & in a magazine. A big poufy number (contrary to my visions) BUT with a lovely blush pinky beige overlay w/ a rose print; floral print anything is very 'me'! I tried it on & it was instant 'oohs,' 'ahs' & love. True gasp quality, it was a beautiful princessy dress. Angie was like 'If you don't buy this, I will.' There was a bit of a fit problem through the bodice but everyone seemed to think that it could be fixed by a seamstress. I channeled the inner Cinderella of my girlhood, got over the disbelief that I would be buying my dress at the 1st store I even looked at & bought it. Michelle herself talked to me at the cash register, talking about how special the dress was & selling me a matching purse for the 'sale' price of $75. I called the dress Big Pink.
The dress needed alterations so my mother-in-law enthusiastically recommended her White Plains seamstress Nina. She frequently brought up going to her. Just before we finally went, Shelly & I spoke; Shelly told me to bring the dress to our meeting w/ Nina. I told her I'd rather just speak to her 1st & see if we communicate well. But Shelly was insistent & kept saying 'Bring the dress, bring the dress, you should bring the dress!' So at Shelly's insistence, & against my better judgment, I brought Big Pink to my initial meeting w/ Nina. Nina was nice but though we didn't have bad chemistry, we didn't have flowing good chemistry either. I put on the dress, Shelly was talking about how the dress was too poufy, etc. I had planned to have a little of the pouf taken from the skirt, maybe 2 of the 5 layers. I would've been better off to start off bit by bit & take out 1 as Angie suggested, but I didn't. I told Nina to take out 2 layers & she pinned it up for hemming. When we left, Shelly said I didn't have to use Nina, maybe she sensed my hesitance. But it's kind of hard to go back once someone's pinned up a dress (I should've stopped things w/ Nina right then & there but I thought why not give Shelly's seamstress a chance?). Plus as we were getting our wedding bands (lovely handcarved swirls for me, narrow brushed for Greg, both white gold) from Chuck Bloom (Mike's client & the jeweler/gem guy Greg got my engagement ring. DB from), I was in a 'keeping it in the family' mood. So I felt good, though tentatively so, about going to Shelly's seamstress & acquaintance.
But I wasn't happy at my next 2 meetings w/ Nina. 1st, 1 of the skirt layers overlapped, so her taking 2 layers of crinoline out was really like taking 3 out. At the 2nd meeting, Shelly raved about how the dress was more proportionate to me while I internally bemoaned the loss of my princess-like proportions, though took comfort in the fact that Melody recommended less crinoline because even she, in her big princess dress, was hot at her snowy December wedding (so imagine me in the Caribbean!). Then, the more Nina worked on the bodice, the more it just looked BAD. I had her take photos at the 3rd visit & showed them to friends who realized my gripes were NOT just bridal freakouts. The dress was not looking good! Svetlana, my coworker/office manager/friend at work, worked her magical & assertive Russian phone skills, took Nina off the job & Greg picked up the dress. I was HEARTBROKEN. W/ a few months left until the wedding, I woefully started looking at other dresses to buy, being prepared to give up on Big Pink (in a twisted way having fun doing another dress search but also very sad sad). I sent e-mails to a few custom dress designers/makers in Manhattan to see if they could fix Big Pink. I heard back from Jane Wilson-Marquis, a couture bridal & evening gown designer.
Speaking to & meeting w/ Jane Wilson-Marquis was like a breath of fresh air! Here was a woman I could have an active dialogue w/. When she 1st saw the dress, she pinpointed one of the problems. In the Knot magazine w/ my dress in it, it was supposed to be printed tulle over silk duchesse satin. Well, it was actually tulle over SYNTHETIC satin, perhaps because it was a sample. Tulle is natural & stretchy; synthetic satin is not. Someone experienced w/ wedding dresses would've known that. Nina probably wasn't because she kept working & working, further stretching the tulle over the already imperfectly-fitting bodice, making it even more bumpy. But it wasn’t entirely Nina’s fault, because who would imagine that Michelle Roth would use synthetic satin on a wedding dress, even if it was 'just a sample'? Jane had to completely rebuild the bodice (using real silk duchesse satin). It would cost me an additional $1,500. Ouch - so much for sample sale savings. But I was happy about salvaging Big Pink! I met w/ Jane's seamstress (also named Svetlana, she was AMAZING) & over a few sessions, we got Big Pink into a condition that would make me smile while it was on!
Sometimes I wish I didn't buy a dress at the 1st dress store I went to & took more time to look around. Sometimes I wish I had the whole full service bridal salon experience where someone helps you out in a personalized, pampering manner & brings you a slew of custom-selected dresses. Sometimes I wish I had only taken 1 layer of skirt crinoline out! MANY times I wish I didn’t bring the dress to Nina or go forward w/ her. But Big Pink is the beautiful dress I wore when I married Greg & I wouldn't take that back for the world. Almost everyone gushes when they see pics of me & Big Pink from our wedding, Greg loved it & yes I did also. I guess I just sometimes look back on what an ordeal it all was & that clouds my view. I learned some valuable lessons - about speaking up when your intuition tells you to do so, about the consequences of NOT being firm w/ others no matter who they are, about bargaining (Jane charges at least $1,500 for custom separates but even if she was rebuilding my bodice, I should have tried floating a lower figure to Jane. But, it was well-spent money.).
In the end, Big Pink was my wedding dress & the dress I wore on one of the most unforgettable days of my life. I LOVE BIG PINK!"