"Meet Me at the Alter|ations" will be a series dedicated to bridal alterations commissions completed by Syreeta C.
Today's bride is Dee!
Let me disclaim this post by saying: I am NOT a salesperson.
But I do listen.
To the verbal language and the body language. (I think I can chalk part of this up to my hearing impairment. I've lived much of my life listening beyond words.)
Anywho... I say I'm not a salesperson because I never thought I was great at sales. Sometimes the artist in me couldn't care less. I care about stories. I care about self-efficacy and esteem. Those who are drawn to such ideals generally find their way to me... or me to them. However you wish to put it, we connect; the spirits are kindred.
“Your words about doing what’s most comfortable for you and staying true to yourself really resonated with me.“ — Dee
Dee was one of those. We actually have to shout her out really quick because she came to her first appointment and told me that she read this blog.
Me, taken aback: "people read this?" And... you know... people who I didn't already know are reading it??
It was a period of time I'd hit a lull in posting (frequent, I know. ha!) and I admitted that I needed to be more consistent. I still don't think that I am but I will say that the blog is still here and that's something! And there's no way this story would pass by without being featured here. Because she reads it... and because the story is so worth telling!
So why does the story preface with my lack of salesmanship?
Well, tl;dr -- I talked Dee out of her original alteration services on a store bought gown and into a creative alterations + custom package on a whole new garment.
Yes, that's correct -- I talked Dee out of her original wedding gown. By accident. (I promise!)
She first arrived with what was a lovely albeit expected modern wedding gown. Lace accents, mermaid, train, etc. When she tried it on, I noticed she was objective about the service needs yet didn't seem excited about the gown itself. I often watch people regard themselves in the mirror and, with all of the years under my belt, I can tell when clients are excited. A glow, a twirl, the way they run their hands across fabric, a twinkle, a twerk... there's usually a sign!
As I maneuvered around her and the alterations consult, I asked about her dress selection process and wedding planning -- very common questions for me as I try to understand the end game and bigger picture. It's not surprising for me to hear brides express interest in having a second reception look, often for a transition into more comfort for the party portion. These interests were articulated by Dee and somewhere along the line I made mention of a jumpsuit. Somewhere further along the line came a very Syreeta-like spiel about letting go of some standards imposed on you by others, especially on a day that's almost exclusively yours. Others are there to share with and celebrate you, but those memories are for you... for a lifetime.
I'm a believer that clothing influences confidence and comfort. There can be a compromise, but too much fuss can damper a day. (And weddings are stressful enough!) Any chance to feel like your best self is one to assess. And additionally-- the pictures! Not only do you want to capture a glow, but you want to look back on them and know that you looked and felt your best!
Dee did leave her original gown with me with the expectation of bustle & hemming services. However, a few hours later, my email pinged. I didn't expect it but... I accidentally changed her mind. She'd already researched jumpsuits, found one, and compiled a few inspiration photos for an overskirt for her ceremony look. Jumpsuit/skirt combos have been super popular in my studio lately and I understand why: the best of both worlds!
Needless to say, I was happy to start this endeavor. Nothing excites me more than authenticity! Our next appointment included an alterations fitting for the jumpsuit itself + a skirt sample fitting.
The jumpsuit itself was a solid foundational fit. We decided to hem it, perform a bust adjustment and switch the straps out. The original straight back spaghetti straps were color matched in a new fabric and drafted into a cross back for a more flattering neckline and additional security. (Because it was a jumpsuit and she had to step into it, we added hooks to the back bodice edge. This would allow the cross straps to open enough to get in and out without making them adjustable -- that can sometimes be too slippery.)
The skirt toile was mocked up in muslin as a full, gathered waist A-line skirt set on a wider enough waistband to cover the jumpsuit waistband. This would create a seamless look. After swatch review, we chose a double georgette for fluidity. I did line it for opacity. We really wanted the jumpsuit reveal to be a surprise! I was hype for the challenge of having the overskirt really read as a gown bottom until she was ready to remove it.
Fitting number 2 involved final skirt fabric and checking the engineering. Yards of georgette + lining were a bit heavy so I ideated on how to keep everything anchored around the waist without sliding to reveal the jumpsuit underneath. We also marked a hem for her mobility while walking down the aisle.
Fittings with Dee were a JOY. Her excitement and emotion was what she deserved. Those were the signs absent in the first meeting with the original dress and I'm honored I could help bring them out. The final try-on was no different. She fell speechless at one point but the body language said it a
Another one of my favorite parts of this story: Dee telling her now-husband that she wasn't wearing the gown she purchased anymore. LOL! He didn't get upset but there was a "but... what are you going to wear then?" Dee: "Don't worry. Syreeta is going to make me something!" She kept all of the details of the new look a secret from everyone else in the wedding.
And make something we did. We made a little magic if you ask me! Here are more photos for proof. You be the judge!
A note to Dee:
Thank you for reaffirming my 'why.' My passion for this work is exemplified so purely in commissions like this. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to work with clients like you!