She hired a seamstress who had experience creating dresses and felt the ease of knowing her dream was on its way of coming true. But two months later, fate had other plans and through extenuating circumstance the seamstress was not able to finish her dress. This is a stressful thought for any bride four months out from the wedding date. But with help from friends and neighbors, she found a second seamstress that offered promises to complete her dream dress. At this point in time, the newly purchased dress had been deconstructed by the previous seamstress. This is not uncommon, and specifically would have helped the seamstress understand the shape of each pattern piece; to use as a template for cutting a new piece out of the heirloom fabric. It was at this moment that things began to take a turn for worse….
Have you ever built a puzzle? Imagine, that like most people, you are a novice puzzle builder. You receive puzzle pieces with only an image to guide you to the completion of the puzzle. It’s a challenge that will require your time and patience to complete. However, in this case, the deconstructed dress was the puzzle and photographs of the bride-to-be wearing the dress, the only guide. No other reference to which pieces went together, or how they were constructed prior to deconstruction existed.
Flash forward to 2 weeks before the wedding; on a phone call, my friend mentions she hadn’t had a final fitting yet. Internally I was panicked for her, but I did my best to hide my panic and provide actionable advice for next steps. I suggested, she pop-in for a visit with the seamstress to confirm its status. If at that time, she had any concern, I would step in to complete whatever is unfinished of her dress. She agrees, and I anxiously awaited a phone call I had hoped would never come. Eight days before the wedding, I got that dreaded call and it was worse than expected. The dress was still in pieces, and the 70 year old heirloom dress, through trial and error, was diminished into scraps of irregular, (mostly) unsalvageable shapes.
With over 15 years of professional experience in the apparel industry, my fingers have danced on fabric and garments of all kinds. I spent my early career in the back of bridal shops completing alterations. Later, I inspected garments for quality, before landing roles like technical design, pattern making and product development at large brands. From delicate laces to sturdy cottons, my journey has been filled with challenges, innovations and myriad of designs. But this? This was a challenge of another level. Yet, somewhere deep down, my years of experience whispered reassurance.