WIW: A Tailoring Story With a Happy Ending

Hi Everyone!

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!

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Mamapicklejuice replied 11 years ago

    I adore this dress on you! I absolutely love the "Wizard of Oz" nod of the first styling. Not sure if I have a favorite look though - they are all fab.

  • calmwave replied 11 years ago

    so cute and so polished. love all iterations.

  • Transcona Shannon replied 11 years ago

    Let's hear it for fantastic seamstresses!!! This looks AMAZING on you Ana! So glad you were able to take it to your conference.

  • harmonica replied 11 years ago

    Amazing dress! Fun and fab story I enjoyed reading :-) I like all stylings, including denim jacket. Hard to pick one favorite

  • jayne replied 11 years ago

    3-4 are so adorable and fun I just want to jump up and hug you! and 1 is polished a sooo lovely.

  • April replied 11 years ago

    A good tailor is worth his/her weight in gold, Ana! Sounds like you and IK hit the jackpot. Love these outfits. (I have to admit I was somewhat skeptical when I read the phrase "gingham dress," but I shouldn't have been.)

  • Claudia replied 11 years ago

    You look so pretty!

  • Ana replied 11 years ago

    Thanks so much, ladies! I really appreciate all your comments! You guys are wonderful. :)

    MMPJ, I felt like Dorothy at the conference. It was amazing meeting so many authors I've read and admire. There were many fangirl moments (I hope I didn't embarrass myself too much). :)

    Jayne, thank you! I'm always up for hugs! :D

  • sarah replied 11 years ago

    Wow, wow, wow, you are AMAZING in that dress. My goodness. Cuter than cute. Way for you and your tailor to persevere!

  • replied 11 years ago

    You look so pretty, Ana! I love a story with a happy ending, too. Yay!

  • Joy replied 11 years ago

    Ana, you look adorable in the dress. How wonderful that the tailor perservered to get it right. About the denim jacket, I think a white denim jacket might be better than the blue, although it does a fine job of dressing the dress down.

  • Midwest Girl replied 11 years ago

    You look fantastic in this dress--your perseverance certainly paid off! I love it with the red shoes!

  • Gaylene replied 11 years ago

    That dress is beyond cute. It fits you to perfection now and I love all your styling variations. And your story is a good reminder that it sometimes takes time and effort to get something exactly right, but it's important to keep going because the pay off is huge. Killer!

  • JulieJohn replied 11 years ago

    The fit is dreamy and you look really pretty. Love the hat, and all the variations from saucy to sublime. Thanks for sharing the interesting story too.

  • Suz replied 11 years ago

    Ana, first of all, I've missed you! And second, what a fantastic story! And what a gorgeous dress - worth every minute and every penny spent on it. You look sensational, and I'm so glad you have found a tailor you can trust.

  • Jaime replied 11 years ago

    Fantastic ending and the dress looks perfect. Your hat is fabulous!

  • Ana replied 11 years ago

    Thank you so much everyone! :)

    Joy, great suggestion for a white denim jacket. I had one, but I never wore it, so I just gave it away a few months ago. Oh well. I do have a white cardigan I could use instead.

    Suz, thank you! I've missed you as well and missed being around here. :)

  • Angie replied 11 years ago

    Your persistence and patience paid off! You look beautiful in this perfectly altered sun dress! I love all the looks but the no nonsense combination of #5 is my favourite :)

    Loving the new short do too.

    Ana, you have lost a lot of weight over the last few years. I have been wanting to mention that you look amazing! But I also don't want you to think that you didn't look amazing before - because you did :)

  • Jem replied 11 years ago

    Your dress looks adorable Ana! I'm glad you had such an amazing experience with your tailor! They sound amazing!

  • ironkurtin replied 11 years ago

    You look so so so adorable! So happy Triana worked out for you!

  • greenglove replied 11 years ago

    Ana, the yellow shoes and lilac dress is gorgeous- so unexpected! That outfit is just adorable on beautiful you!!!

  • Ana replied 11 years ago

    Thank you so much!

    Angie, I know what you mean about complimenting weight loss, because I think the same thing. I don't want people to think they looked good before. Thank you for noticing, though! :) I've lost about 10-12 pounds. I always felt really good about my body, even when I weighed a little more, and I think it was because of everything I learned on the forum and how supportive it is. I knew how to dress what I have (so to speak) so I always felt like I looked good, and I still feel that way (if that makes sense). So thank you. :)

    IK, what a great tailor! And really reasonably priced, too. Thank you so much for recommending them to me!

    Thanks again, everyone!

  • CocoLion replied 11 years ago

    I admire your persistence and your tailor's work ethic.

    The dress looks fantastic! Surely you will get a lot of mileage out of it in your climate.

  • Parsley replied 11 years ago

    Well, I think it was worth the trouble: that dress fits you perfectly now, and you look like a million bucks in it!

  • Reneeb replied 11 years ago

    The fit is perfect and you look so pretty. Love the hair cut.

  • rae replied 11 years ago

    Wow, amazing story with amazing results! Love it! Your tailor is a gem, and your poses are so cute.

  • Ariadne replied 11 years ago

    Such a great dress, Ana! I noticed your weight loss right away but wasn't sure what to say ;) You look stunning--not that you didn't before.

  • Kiwichik replied 11 years ago

    Great dress, really suits you & well worth the effort of alterations.

  • anne replied 11 years ago

    Gorgeous dress Ana, and a wonderful tailor.

  • ramya replied 11 years ago

    awwwww.... sigh..... drooool......

  • replied 11 years ago

    What a beautiful dress on you. I love it with the little hat on #3.

  • rute replied 11 years ago

    Gorgeous! Lovely dress! It suits your style so perfectly!

  • Ana replied 11 years ago

    Thank you! : )

  • Vix replied 11 years ago

    I can see why you label the ending happy -- you look terrific in the dress (and I love the hat with it). You'll enjoy it much more knowing that it's now "just right" vs "good enough!"

  • nicoleb replied 11 years ago

    Good for you for speaking up until the dress was just the way your wanted it! It really looks amazing and perfectly tailored on you!

  • catgirl replied 11 years ago

    WOW, fantastic! The power of a good tailoring experience... I like all of them without covering up the dress because it fits you so well.

  • Ana replied 11 years ago

    Thanks, everyone! I really love this dress, and it was nice that the tailor could see and point out the problems in fit before I really even had to say anything. I have to give her credit for wanting the dress to turn out perfectly, too. I have a whole pile of alterations that I plan on taking very soon. : )

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