Posts filed under ‘Dress’

Shhhh! Don’t tell Mr P!

Mr P lurks around the ‘bee so it’s blasted hard to keep a secret from him.  Let me know if you see him and tell him to scram kay?  ‘Cause I really want to talk things that he-should-know-nothing-of.  Things like wedding night skivvies.

All this recent discussion of honeymoons has me thinking of what I will slip on when the dress comes off. There are so many ways you could go with it… playful, sexy, sassy, innocent, elegant.  Really any of those would work.  I figured that I would go shopping with Bridesmaid H and try on a wide range of under-things before finding the perfect wedding night ensemble.

Yeah I was wrong.

I was shopping with Momma P, saw it, needed it, bought it. Can you blame me?

In Bloom by Jonquil ‘Monique’ Gown

In Bloom by Jonquil ‘Bridal – Alise’ Long Robe

I went bridal white and elegant.

Not gonna lie, it was beyond strange to have my Mom there when I was picking it out but not as weird as it was when she tried to pay for it.  MOM! “I don’t wanna wear skivvies my Mom bought me!” She didn’t quite get it, her Mom bought her wedding night ensemble. “Oh” I said. “Thanks for the nice offer Ma but I think I’m going to pay for this one.”

Have you given much thought to what you’ll wear on your wedding night?  Anyone’s mom also try to buy lingerie?

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June 22, 2010 at 12:26 pm Leave a comment

Being Real about the Dress

I’ve been holding out on you.  My dress arrived months ago and I haven’t said a word about it.

Can you believe a wedding dress is in that box?

If I had, the first words out of my mouth would made your mama blush.  Hell, they would’ve made a sailor blush.

If you remember (its been a while since we’ve talked about it) my dress was being made a dressmaker I found on etsy.com.  I selected the basic pattern and Mr Pretzel helped me  “design” the details” of the  dress. The pattern is vintage, and one that my dressmaker has made numerous times.  I was happy with her work on my e-dress so I felt confident making this purchase online.  However, I also was realistic. I knew the dress would need to be altered once I got it. Even though she had my measurements nothing takes the place of seeing a dress on the body of the person wearing it so I set aside some money for alterations.  I also knew that I wanted to “have control” over the fabric so I purchased the fabric myself and mailed it to the dressmaker.  I requested that she not hem the dress so that I could do that  in person with my local seamstress. I put a month of cushion in the dress making schedule- to account for any unforeseen problems. All in all I was pretty calm through the whole process.

When I pulled the dress out of the box I was overwhelmed with how beautiful the fabric was. I hadn’t seen the dupioni in person- only a swatch- and it was luxurious.  Then I pulled out the crinoline and my heart stopped.  It was the wrong color.

My heart started pumping again, but this time in hyper-drive.   I stripped down and pulled the dress on.  As I zipped, I sighed in relief – the waist fit like a glove.  I looked in the mirror and my eyes traveled to the bodice- it had entirely too much fabric and was hanging in a shapeless mess.  SH!T!  SH!T, SH!T SH!T!  I pulled on the “wrong color” crinoline- It was  too long and I had a “bump” around the waist. My head was spinning and tears were brimming in my eyes.    I turned to call Mr Pretzel into the room and I felt and heard a pop.  Stitches along the zipper let go and I let out a big F-bomb.

I tried hard to stay positive and made a mental checklist of what was wrong.

  • The crinoline, which was supposed to be white tulle with an aqua ribbon edge, was all aqua.  It was visible through the fabric (and lining) of my wedding dress and it measured 4 inches too long.
  • The shoulders of the dress appeared to be too tall which made the fabric pool around my bust.  I’ve had trouble with dresses fitting in the shoulder area (apparently my bust to shoulder proportions are wonky) so this wasn’t all that surprising.  I found that if I “shortened, the straps that the fabric fell into place better.
  • The stitching around the zipper had popped- at first I blamed myself for not wearing Spanx when I first tried it on, but later I discovered that it was poor stitching.

I shot off a frantic email to the dressmaker and grabbed the phone to call my local seamstress, Sue.  She agreed to meet me that night to assess the situation.  Mr Pretzel tried hard to keep me calm as I went back through my emails to double-check the crinoline order.  I had a sneaking suspicion that the color mix up was my fault and it was.  I had requested an “Aqua crinoline”- when what I really wanted was a “white crinoline with an aqua ribbon edge”.  Damn! I totally own that screw up.

I would love to tell you that my meeting with Sue set my heart at ease but that is not entirely true.  She made me confident that all would be fixed and ok, but she also  found numerous other problems with the dress. It left me feeling disappointed in my dressmaker.  The dressmaker and I chatted a lot back and forth in the process of designing the dress.  I felt a connection and really, really liked her.  Finding these errors and problems made me feel like I had been let down by a friend.  In addition to the problems above my local seamstress found:

  • A sizable nick in the armhole seam.  This jagged bit of fabric was not properly repaired
  • The dress was lined with two different fabrics. The front was a lightweight fabric and the back was a heavy satin.  It appeared that the dressmaker didn’t have enough of the right fabric on hand and just used what she had.  I regret not thinking of purchasing and sending lining fabric as well. note: the dress maker didn’t include yardage for lining fabric when I requested the yardage needed for the dress
  • The crinoline top was made from the heavy satin fabric which bunched at the elastic waist and created a bump under the dress
  • The whole zipper had to be re-sewn because it was not properly anchored

Sue had a plan to correct all of the problems except the lining issue.  We decided that it wouldn’t really matter much with a white crinoline.  We discussed at length what to do about the crinoline.  She described how my dressmaker had made the top of the crinoline (inserting elastic into a rectangular fabric  piece, drawing the excess fabric in at the top) and how she would construct one properly (measuring my waist and creating the top out of a curved piece of fabric to fit my body with no gathering.  We decided that Sue would make me a new crinoline.  I left feeling better about the dress, but worse about the dressmaker.

Over the next month I had 4 more meetings with Sue. She constructed me a beautiful crinoline and saved my dress.  We even changed the design a little in a “project runway” moment.

Wrong color crinoline on the right, my new one on the left.

Close up of the tops. The original crinoline on the left has a bulky top compared with Sue’s crinoline on the right.

I am over the moon for my dress.  I still have lingering bad taste in my mouth about the mistakes that were made (mine and the dress designers) but I am finally able to talk about it.  You might be surprised to know that I still would encourage ordering a custom dress online. With a few stipulations.

  • budget appropriately for alterations
  • expect for it not to fit perfectly when it arrives
  • purchase all of the fabric for the dress and send to dressmaker (including the lining fabric)
  • double check your order to make sure you are asking for the right things
  • double check your measurements

After all the alterations and purchasing material to make a second crinoline I only ended up $50 over my initial budget.  All in all, the problems seemed much worse than they were.  I bet you are wondering where the dress photos are already?  During this time that my dress was being reworked I decided that I didn’t want to post pictures of the dress before the wedding.    I want the dress to be a surprise for our guests, many of who read my posts.  As of today the only people who have seen my dress are Mr Pretzel, Momma P, our dance instructor Andrea, and Sue. Don’t worry, you won’t have to wait long- under 30 days until the wedding!

Can I tide you over with pictures of the clutch I made from leftover dress material?

Really, no dress photos.  I’m serious…

OK, OK, I’ll give you one small look.

Did you have a dress made for you from afar? Would you add any other suggestions to brides wanting to go this route?

June 16, 2010 at 4:26 pm Leave a comment

Lesson Learned: MOB Dress Redux

Sometimes I get ahead of myself and leave the people I love behind.  When there is a long list of things to be done and I see an opportunity to check something off the list I do it.  Last fall, just a month after getting engaged I saw a great MOB suit on sale.

Knowing that my Mom was conscious about money I snatched it up for her and was proud of myself for finding a great deal.  She seemed to like the suit enough, it was a great color for her and had a fun ruffle detail. It looked like something that my Mom would wear.  She told me she loved it and with some alterations it would work. I checked off the box “MOB dress” and moved on.

As I’ve shared my struggle to make sure I am engaging my Mom in the wedding details many of you  have suggested going shopping for the MOB dress.  With the suit already purchased I dismissed this as unnecessary.

I shouldn’t have.

At the urging of my Aunt S and Uncle C (Aunt S is an avid reader of my wedding blogging) I realized that my Mom might want something more special than the suit I had already purchased and that the journey to find her dress was as much or more important than the dress itself.  It took a very kind letter from my Aunt and Uncle to get through to me and I am glad that they took the time.  I would love to tell you about our day, but I can’t do better than my Mom’s own words, as written in a  letter to her brother and sister-in-law, with photos from the day sprinkled in.

The day had everything in it; laughter, giggles, much love and bonding, changing minds and perceptions, coming out of shells- for me- Pretzel doesn’t need one, drama and resolution, a delightful lunch, and oh yes, shopping for moderately high-heel shoes.

@ Nordstroms

We started out at the flagship Nordstrom’s in Seattle. I had picked out some styles online only to get there to find out they do not have the same buyers in the store so nothing I had picked out was there. So we made a decision to “wing it”- Imagine that, two over planners winiging it!

We tried on everything, sheaths, prints, low necks, high necks, lots of bling, elegant, sophisticated, charming, tight fitting (oh my) and one loose fitting.  Matron of Honor Tig, in Colorado, was participating as Miss Pretzel would take pictures in the dressing room and email them to Tig and we took her comments under consideration. We laughed and giggled as the personality of each dress was taken into consideration!  I liked one that was silver and very elegant, but they had a point that it looked too much like a mother of the groom dress.

So I came out of my shell and selected two others that looked really nice, Tig and Pretzel liked one I picked out- it is really cute and the color is very flattering.

@ Nordstroms
@ Nordstroms (THE dress is size too small)
@ Macy’s

After putting them on hold we were off to Talbot and Macy’s just to be sure… We were sure in a short period of time! I selected the fuchsia one from Nordstrom, but I needed in a different size that they had at the store near where we live.
Nine West “Dive In” Pump Nordstrom Exclusive

We checked out the shoes at Nordstrom’s and found a pair of high (for me!) heels that are really cute, gray to go with the fuchsia dress! They are really nice!!! So we picked up a take out lunch at Nordstroms and ate on the way to the other store.

On the way, Pretzel received an exasperating call from MOH Tig- David’s Bridal had messed up Tig’s dress order for the second time and there was not enough time to order a new one. Pretzel had me lane diving across three lanes into the David’s Bridal parking lot, as we were just passing by one.

Have you ever seen a ticked off Pretzel? I did, but she got the Assistant Manger on the case and they are going to break policy of never rushing an order, to get the right size, style, and color for Tig here the week before the wedding so MOH Tig can be in Seattle early to get the rush alterations. I am praying all to be coordinated and arrive on time!!

Then we drove over to Nordstrom’s and picked up the dress, a bra, and spanx. We had the dressed pinned for alterations all without breaking stride in our fun. This day was a gift from God! I really can’t believe we got all that accomplished and managed to keep our girl-like fun time.

It just is such an overwhelming relief to me to know that I can have such a nice dress for her wedding, but more importantly for being able to spend the day sharing in the details of the wedding.  It was important for both of us – we are similar in many ways yet so different  and i respect her differences and she doe likewise.

~ Mamma Pretzel
My Mom’s letter thanking my Aunt and Uncle for encouraging both of us to go shopping for a different dress really touched me. It humbled me and made me realize that sometimes I get caught up in getting stuff done that I miss opportunities to build memories and have fun.  I wish I had a video to show you the hilarity that ensued in the dressing rooms and the fits of giggles into which we would periodically collapse.

I’m happy to show you my Mom, in her bright and fun dress, perfect for our summer wedding.

Hot Mamma Pretzel, no?

What did you “check off the list” too early in the planning process, only to go back and redo it later?

April 28, 2010 at 7:38 am 1 comment

She Wasn’t My First

I found my dress without trying on a single wedding dress- crazy I know.  So you might imagine my haste on Monday when my dress arrived in the mail.  I tore into the package and I quickly tried it on, but I felt a little guilty.  I have a confession; by the time my dress arrived I was no longer a wedding dress virgin. *gasp*

Source

I cheated on my dress- it’s true.

You see, shortly after ordering my dress I discovered the “need” to have a wedding dress in March. Yes I know “need” is a very subjective term left to interpretation.  I “needed” a wedding dress almost 5 whole months before the wedding and a month before I had asked Femia to have my dress finished. ACK!

I weighed my options of cost and time- I didn’t really have much of either- so I created a list of priorities.

  • Cost: no more than $100
  • Fit: minimal tailoring- i.e. hemming only. I estimated that a size 10 dress would fit me- but I didn’t know ’cause I’ve never tried on on.
  • Condition: previously used is ok
  • Design: Anything goes- well, except circa 1985

Because I didn’t have time to search thrift stores and vintage dress shops I turned online.  Specifically, I turned to my friend “Craig”.  I search Craiglist.org and immediately found what I was looking for.  The keywords I used? “Used Wedding Dress, Size 10” After that it was easy to scan the titles and weed out the listings for dresses over $100. It is a good idea to also weed out any listings that didn’t have photos.  Time is money people!   Thankfully on the third page was a local Seattle bride was selling her size 10 Mora Lee gown with sweetheart neck and pick-ups. Her asking price was $100!    After a quick email and phone conversation I found out that she still had the dress, she was 4 inches taller than me, that the dress had some grass stains around the train and that she was itching to get the dress out of her closet. She told me she would take any offer I gave her. We set an appointment.

Let me tell you, as a wedding dress virgin it felt really funny to have a full dress and train following me around her living room as I modeled the dress for Mr Pretzel.  All that material was heavy! I seriously felt like there was a small village living under my skirt-when I turned to the left, the village turned to the left. As I walked I kept getting this freaky feeling that I was being followed- nope that’s just the train. Totally reinforced my desire to have a short dress- just saying. Besides being about 6 inches too long it was a perfect fit.  I gave the bride $100 for the dress and brought it home.

Pretzel kitty, Cassanova, thinks the train is suspicious

Mr Pretzel had a nice chat with the couple while I wrestled myself in and out of the dress.  He had a great story to tell me when we got in the car. The couple’s wedding was planned in 2-3 months.  During the outdoor reception the bustle failed and the bride tacked the dress up as best she could with safety pins.  It didn’t bother her much and she danced the night away.

I contemplated hemming the dress myself- for a half second before snapping back into the reality of my sketchy sewing skills and already huge DIY list.  Time to talk to Craig again! I posted a listing for a “Quick and dirty wedding dress hem” with an asking price of $40.  It didn’t have to be perfect, just effective.  Surprisingly I received a number of responses ranging from a fashion design student to a seamstress who had done theater work.  I weighed my options and went for the seamstress with theater experience, because what I was asking for was really just a quick and dirty theater hem.

She worked wonders! Taking 6 inches off the dress really helped make it more proportional to my size and it also removed most of the dirt and grass stains. I can’t tout Craigslist enough.  With a minimal amount of work and searching I had found myself a “fake” wedding dress and a seamstress to do alterations for $140. Perhaps one of my best bargains to date.  Now what drove me to buy a “stunt” wedding dress?  That, dear Hive, is another story for another day.

Have you found yourself “cheating” on your dress?

March 24, 2010 at 9:46 pm Leave a comment

This Seems a Little Familiar…

When it came to the process of settling on “the dress” it felt vaguely familiar. My dress identity crisis has been documented herehere, here, here, here and here.  At the time I thought the comfort that the felt once I decided to have my dress made for me was just because it was the right decision.  It was/is the right decision but I recently realized that the comfort was also because… I’ve totally done this before and it turned out amazing!

Let me set the stage. It’s winter of 1995. It’s time to go shopping for prom dresses. Off the shoulder looks are VERY big this season, as is heavy fabrics,  and big skirts. *All photos in this post are personal photos Circa 1995.

Off the shoulder? Check. Heavy Fabrics? Check. Poofy Skirt? Check.

I poured over teen magazines looking at dress styles. Meh… I went shopping with Mama Pretzel a couple of times. Meh… I wasn’t feeling it. Sound familiar?

I seriously doubted that I would find a dress and I was beginning to give up on the idea of going to prom.  Then my Grandma said,  “Miss Pretzel, just find a pattern you like and let’s have a dress made for you.”

Oh Grandma and all of your wisdom!  Within minutes of looking through a pattern book I found my dress. It was timeless, classic, and elegant. It was different and didn’t look like all of the dresses that my classmates were scooping up at the local Jessica McClintock.  No, this Pretzel rocked an off-white silk bias cut sheath dress.  It fit like a glove and felt like a dream.  *Swoon*  In all of my worries about my wedding dress I had forgotten about this strikingly similar dress search until I stumbled across prom photos in my search for my Hair-story.  Imagine my surprise when I also realized that my prom dress from 1995 would make a beautiful wedding dress today.

*Swoon* The back is what sold me on this dress.

Having my dress made then and now was and is the right thing for me. While I wait for my dress to be finished I have a sense of calm because, well, I’ve done this before.

Have you experienced deja vu while planning your wedding?

February 10, 2010 at 10:43 pm Leave a comment

Mr Pretzel picks my dress

It might be nontraditional, but Mr Pretzel did indeed pick out my wedding dress design.  I had three equally amazing versions of my dress in my brain.  No matter how I tried I could not pick one over the others. Lucky for me Mr Pretzel didn’t have the same indecision- he loved one design in particular.

You weighed in and thought that Mr Pretzel chose Option 3.

Were you right?  Without further ado…

Mr Pretzel loved, loved, loved Option 3, dupioni silk with lace overlay.

Whoa – color! You weren’t expecting that were you?  Actually I wasn’t either.  I thought maybe a blush colored lace over the dupioni, maybe a warm gold lace, but as Mr Pretzel pointed out, I have some bold shoes  paired with wedding dress.  Remember these beauties?

His vote was for white lace over brightly colored fabric.  I wasn’t convinced until I went fabric shopping with my FMIL and found some fabric which was a perfect match to my shoes. Score! When I draped a soft off white Chantilly lace over the turquoise fabric I caught my breath. Ummm yeah, Mr Pretzel was right.

Oh wait-there is more!  Turquoise will also make an appearance under my skirt.  Imagine a white petticoat with turquoise ribbon edge.

Source

I cannot wait to see this vision become reality.  I also love that we did this together.  Mr P has never been a “I don’t want to see you in your dress until the wedding day” kind of groom but I never imagine that he would play such a pivotal role in the design of the dress.

Did your FI have any say in your dress?  Did you add color to your dress in an unexpected way?

January 6, 2010 at 6:40 pm Leave a comment

Closing the book on the dress search

The dress journey has been a long one.
First I had foreboding feelings about wedding dresses and dress shopping. Then I looked into custom made simple and modern dresses. Next I fell for Stephanie James Couture Retro styled short dresses.  My pocketbook ached, so I did a little vintage dress hunting.

Never fear, the dress hunt is nearing the end. The important thing is that I had a clear vision of my dress.  I had gotten in touch with my inner 1950’s bride.

1953 cover of Ladies’ Home Journal

After realizing that an authentic vintage dress wasn’t in the cards for me I started to search for the next best thing- a reproduction 1950s dress.  A voice in the back of my head kept telling me I would be happier having someone make my dress, rather than buying off the rack so I searched for custom made dresses. I didn’t have to search much further than my bestest friend.  I like to call her Etsy.

Porsches Place on Etsy is a vintage inspired dress dream. I was instantly captivated by one design in particular.  You might recognize it from my Kodachrome inspiration board.

1950’s reproduction wedding gown with suplice bodice and circle skirt

I.was.sold!  I instantly contacted Femia of Porches Place with a slew of questions.  I also decided to have her make my engagement photo dress as a trial run. I was so happy with her work that there was no question that I would have her make my dress.


My E-photo dress sealed the deal! Photo by Amore Studios

The nice thing about having a dress made is you can control all of the elements including the fabric. Uh-oh- wait more decisions! All of the options sent my Pretzel brain into a tailspin.  Over Christmas I had images of polka-dots, lace, and Dupioni silk dancing in my head.  As January quickly approached, I started to feel the pressure to decide on a final design and order my dress.  I narrowed it down to three options and then I was stalled.

Option 1: Solid Dupioni Silk with a shirred midriff


Option 2: White on White Polka-Dot Overlay

Option 3: Dupioni silk with lace overlay on midriff.

i.could.not.decide

I consulted the Pretzel bridesmaids, Mama Pretzel, FMIL Pretzel, and Mr Pretzel.  Everyone said they all looked great.  Mr. Pretzel was the only one who singled out a clear winner. Which one do you think he picked?

POLL

Which one do you think he picked?
Option 1: Solid Dupioni Silk with a shirred midriff
Option 2: White on White Polka-Dot Overlay
Option 3: Dupioni silk with Lace midriff.

Would you entrust your dress decision to your FI?

January 5, 2010 at 4:00 pm Leave a comment

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