I know I've been mostly MIA on the forum since the end of July. I attended the writing conference in California and it was great! I felt very stylish and appropriate thanks to all your help in this thread. But when I got home I knew I had to get straight to work on writing, so I haven't been able to post as much as I'd like.
I picked this gingham dress up on super sale from J. Crew right before conference and I really wanted to take it with me. I knew from online reviews that it might need some alteration because the bottom would probably be too big for me (I'm bigger on top than on bottom). I received the dress about a week before I was supposed to leave and sure enough, it was too big on bottom and around the waist. I rushed it to my tailor, who was recommended to me by Ironkurtin. They have been wonderful and always do a great job, but it takes them about 10 days to do an alteration for me because they also do wedding dresses and are very busy. Anyway, I took it in Tuesday and asked if they could have it done by Saturday (I left Sunday). They said yes, to come back Friday after 4PM. Hooray!
So I went back on Friday and the dress looked MUCH better, but in the back around the zipper, the fabric was kind of warbley and wrinkled, like there was too much fabric. You can see on the front of the dress there are two panels around the hips. There are two similar panels in the back and no darts. One of the assistant seamstresses was helping me and the owner was working on a wedding dress nearby and looked up and said she didn't like the wrinkling. So we talked about maybe taking some of the extra fabric out around the panels in the back to fix it. They repinned it and told me to come back around noon the next day. Next day, I tried it on and it was too tight around the hips and it rode up as I walked. So they let it out while I waited, but then it still wrinkled around the back. So more pinning, more sewing. I came back a couple of times. By then it was Saturday at 4:00PM and the shop closed at 5:00PM. We talked about how to get it to nip in enough in the waist and the owner/seamstress said the only way to really fix it was to put darts in, even though the dress wasn't really designed with them. I was totally fine with that. So the owner ended up staying an hour after the shop closed to fix my dress! And it turned out beautifully. She lined up the gingham and the panels so you can barely tell there are even darts back there. She said there still might be a little too much room around the hips, but she didn't want to risk taking it in more because then it might be too tight and I was leaving the next day. But if it bothered me (which it doesn't at all), then I can bring the dress back and she'll work on it again for free. And then she only charged me half the alteration price, which I thought was really reasonable to start with. I know alterations can be kind of a pain, so it didn't bother me that I had to go back a few times. I'd rather it turn out right and look good than give up after a couple of tries. I'll definitely be taking more to them. If anyone in Austin needs a good tailor, let me know! :)
I was so happy I was able to take my dress to conference and I wore it with the red shoes and white wrap sweater in picture #1 and the necklace in picture #2. The other pictures are how I plan to dress it down and wear it more casually (stolen, I mean inspired by the J. Crew catalog). I'm not sure how I feel about it with the denim jacket, so opinions on that would be appreciated.
Thanks for reading this far! Comments and suggestions for other casual styling options welcome!