Category Archives: the dress

Dress Up Date! Fauxcinda is coming to life!

Yesterday, I had my second fitting with Brandie Thomas!  This was the second appointment to make sure that the muslin mock-up was correct.  From the last time there were a few changes that needed to happen:  the length needed to be a bit longer (I’m 5’9″.), the sweep train needed to be added, the pockets were going to be moved back, and a few more panels were going to be added to the skirt of the dress to get closer to the umph of the jcrew Lucinda dress.

For starters, here’s the Lucinda dress pictures.  Remember that we were going for a very close replica minus the $2500 price tag:

lucinda collage_0001Here are the pictures from my fitting yesterday…

Yay!  The dress is long enough!

fitting 2a

Yay!  The sweep train has been added!

fitting 2b

Yay!  Brandie cut the sweetheart neckline a couple inches deeper!  (PS I need a new strapless bra with more umph.)

fitting 2c

Yay!  Pockets!

fitting 2d

I think we are getting very close to the real thang!  In these pictures, I am not wearing the crinoline layer which is going to give the skirt a more full pick up all around.  I am also not wearing a proper bra.  I need a new strapless bra.

So at this point, Brandie is ready to start making the actual dress.  She is buying the white silk dupioni and cutting away.

Side note:  I’d like to do a Trash The Dress session down the road.  I could totally rock out my muslin mock up and not feel guilty that I’d be trashing my actual wedding dress… Oh the possibilities!!!

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So sorry that I have been missing in action this last week!  As mentioned in the previous post, we ended up going on a weekend trip to visit family in Minneapolis.  On Monday, my summer classes started, and I’ve been burried ever since.

I did have a pretty exciting wedding-related day on Wednesday.  I’ve talked about before how I am having my wedding dress made to resemble the Lucinda dress from jcrew.  Lucinda, I love you, but you are priiiiiiiiii-cey!  Way outside of my budget.  Just to recap, I had decided to put an etsy alchemy request out, and etsy user, BeyondTheReflection, aka Brandie Thomas,  accepted my proposal at an amazing price!  We worked out a contract with all the dress details, and I sent away my deposit and my measurements.

Until Wednesday, I really had some trepidations about what I had gotten myself in to.  She could have been a con artist.  She could have been unskilled.  I had no idea.  I figured that the worst case scenario would be that I’d lost my deposit and learn a lesson.

On Wednesday, my mom and I had a 1pm meeting with Brandie who lives in Chicago.  As non-Chicago land people, we knew that there were good parts of Chicago and baaaaaaaaaaaad parts of Chicago.  As we entered the city, we talked about escape plans should Brandie’s place be in a questionable area.  As we turned we’d breathe in a sigh of releaf if the street looked nice and sucked in a breath if it looked…rusty.  Turn, turn, turn.  Nice, rusty, nice, rusty.  Ever heard of Cisero?  As in the street mentioned in the Chicago musical?  Yeah we turned on and of Cisero a couple of times.

After about 10,035 turns, we entered a lovely little burrow called Rogers Park nestled against beautiful little Loyola Park which was next to Lake Michigan.  Quaint shops and delicatessens were on every corner, and my mother and I breathed a sigh of releaf.  We were even able to park for free in front of Brandie’s building.

Next I met Brandie in person for the first time.  She is awesome!  Funny and quirky, and the girl knows her shit about sewing.  Her apartment was a virtual who’s who of sewing machines and materials.  As we entered her apartment, she was finishing the last stitches on my muslin mock up, and soon I had tried on the dress for my first fitting.

Here is a picture of Brandie doing some alterations to the muslin mock up.  Why am I holding my arms like that?  Note to self:  work on posture before the wedding.

dress 4

Here’s me holding the dress up while Brandie fixes a panel in the back.  Can you see the inverted box pleats?  They are just like the jcrew dress.  Brandie is an artist!

dress 2

I am really happy here.  I think this was the moment that I realized that Brandie is not a fraud and that I am going to get the dress of my dreams.

dress 5

Things to keep in mind:

1)  This is the muslin mock up.  We still have one more alterations meeting with the muslin mock up before Brandie starts to cut the silk dupioni for the actual dress.  We forgot to get a head to toe shot while we were here this time, so next time I will get some of those.

2)  The skirt is going to have more volume after an extra panel and the crinoline layer are added.

3)  My roots are really, really, really bad.  I have made an appointment with my hair lady for next week.  I also have really bad Iwaslazyandhadtobeinacarforhours-do on this day.  It looks like I rolled right out of bed in Brandie’s apartment.

4)  If you are in love with a dress but cannot afford it, contact Brandie.  She’s absolutely fantastically talanted!

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check and check. and check. and check…

check i.ehow.comOkay, so I don’t really write checks anymore.  I make almost all my payments online.  In fact, I don’t even have physical checks anymore.  I ran out about 4 months ago and figured that I didn’t want to order a new set until I have my new name after getting married.  Then…THEN my friends, I will have checks again. 

Anyhoo, this post is about getting things checked (off my to-do list) and getting things checked (paid for).  

This is what I got done this morning:

I signed the contract for our band, The Funktastic 5, and mailed it out.  We are very excited about this band.  Everyone loves them, they’ve got variety and energy, and I think it’s really going to help everyone get up and dancing at our wedding.  CHECK.  

I sent in the room block reservation form for our out-of-town guests.  CHECK.  

I signed the contract for our photobooth (Joe’s Photobooth).  Yay!!!!  I still need to write a physical check for this, so I’m going to wait until I get paid on the 1st to send this in.  That way I can up what I pay my FI, and he can write the check.  (ps:  I just ran that by my FI who is sitting 10 feet away from me who laughed when I asked him to write a check.  He thinks it’s HILARIOUS that I’m in check hiatus.)  CHECK.  

I also am being a good girl and making copies of everything and keeping all contracts and what not safe in my wedding expandable folder.  CHECK.  

I scheduled my first dress fitting appointment for June 12th.  At this appointment, I’ll be trying on the muslin mock up.  This will be a VERY interesting appointment as it will be the first time that I’ve actually seen Brandie Thomas‘s handywork.  I’ll take lots of pictures and post about that after the fitting.  CHECK.  

The last check (to-do) that I got done today was that I sent our invitation designer, Lindsey Ryan, all of our wedding info.  This was something that I had put off for some reason.  Gathering information was just something that I did not have time to do this last month until my grad classes were done for the semester.  I finally got all my ducks in a row, and she’s got all the information she needs to start designing our stationery suite.  I also asked her if she’d like to meet in person when I drive to Chicago on the 12th for my dress fitting.  CHECK!  

I’m le tired.

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Taking the plunge…dress update.

dressmeasurefigureSo I wrote a few days ago about my communication with a Chicago etsy seamstress about making my wedding gown by scratch to look like the jcrew Lucinda dress.  I wanted to give you all an update on how that is going. 

The first thing I did after my initial emails with BeyondtheReflection, aka Brandie Thomas, was I called my momma and asked her if she would be broken hearted if we didn’t have that mother/daughter moment in the bridal shop where I’m standing on the circular platform thingie and I’ve tried on a dress and I’m looking in the mirror and she’s crying and I’ m crying and the sales person is crying because we all know that I’ve found THE one.  She said, “Of course not!This will be so much fun”  I love my mom.  Have I told you all that before?  I LOVE my mom.  Both my parents are totally supportive of anything that I want to do, plus my mom has extreme common sense and exemplary taste in all things beauty and fashion related. 

My mom and I both are having so much fun so far in planning this wedding.  She is the one person who never tires of hearing my revolving door set of ideas.  Now we are both looking forward to the fittings and the trips to Chicago to work on this dress with Brandie.  We are starting this weekend by taking my measurements and sending them with the deposit for my dress so that Brandie can start work on the muslin mock up. 

Getting to this point took a little work, though.  Along with being supportive, my parents are protective of their rights and are often leary of businesses and vendors.  Everything has to be in writing.  My mom insisted that I ask for references and for a signed contract from Brandie before I submit my down payment via PayPal.  I was a little uncomfortable asking for this…although…I don’t know why I would be.  If you have prior success in your work, you’d be happy to show it off, right?  Anyhoo, Brandie was great and gave me several references to contact, and they have had nothing but wonderful things to say about their experiences working with her. 

I also asked Brandie if I could draw up a contract for the dress, and she agreed to that as well.  I am no lawyer, so I Googled “seamstress contract” and came up with three different examples that I combined into one to make it work for my situation.  I emailed it to Brandie and asked her to look it over and to make any changes that she saw fit and send it back to me.  It went back and forth a couple of times, but before two days were up, we had a contract.  This weekend, Brandie is signing it, scanning it, and sending it to me to be signed and sent back with my deposit.  Easy peasy!

If any of you are considering going this route and would like to see the contract that I used, feel free to leave me a comment, and I will email the template out to you.

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Lucinda, you little harlot!

lucinda-dress-jpegOh Lucinda dress…How I love Thee…Let me count the ways dollars.  Is anyone else stalking this dress?  It is so lovely and simple and classic, it is the shape that I have always thought of when I heard the word “bride”.  I never thought about what dress I actually wanted for myself, but when we first got engaged and I first started looking for dresses, I found this one almost right away.  I did what any mature, well-rounded adult does when they find mecca…I called my momma.  Then I called my maid of honor, my bridesmaids, my high school swim coach, and the President.  They all had to know that I’d found THE dress.  Somehow when I first started looking, it didn’t matter that the dress cost $2500. 

After starting budgeting negotiations with my parents and my FI, I realized that this dress was beyond my means.  *sigh*  So I started on the hunt for the ever so ellusive other perfect dress.   I felt attraction for several styles of dresses, but time after time, I returned to pictures of Lucinda to day dream.  Even the description that those tricksters at jcrew used to describe her reeled me in:  “A classic ballgown design in softly rippled cloqué fabric with a full-bodied drape and a very festive rustle.”  I WANT A FESTIVE RUSTLE!  Whatever that is. 

A member of posted about how she had put an alchemy bid out for the exact same dress (copier…even though she did it before me…COPIER!  BLASPHEME!) and had had several people bid on the job.  For those of you unfamiliar with and their Alchemy program, you must try it.  Think of something you’ve always wanted and could never find/afford/imagine.  Then go and use the alchemy program at Etsy.  You can write a little diddy about this perfect thing and post it out there in Internet Land.  People will bid on your “thing” if they think they can produce it.  You can interview them, see what they would charge you, etc. etc. and decide if you are going to use their services or not.  It’s brilliant!  (I am currently using Etsy Alchemy for my invitations which I will post about soon.)

So I put in an alchemy bid for the Lucinda dress, and within 12 hours, I had about a dozen bids on my post.  The nice thing about Etsy is that you can go look at the “shops” and see what the bidders have previously made.  This is a good way to weed people out.  I had a couple of very nice ladies who put bids out for my dress, but when I went to their Etsy shop, they only had stuffed animals and other odds and ends.  Sorry ladies, I am looking for an experienced and qualified seamstress.  So you can write them a little “thank you but no thank you” message and decline their bid.  If you find someone who you think is super capable and talanted, then you can accept their bid and discuss payment terms and delivery and what not. 

I am currently in the discussion phase with Etsy user, BeyondtheReflection, who wrote an amazing bid back to me for only $375!!  This includes my initial fitting, a muslin mock up of my dress, additional fittings, materials, crinoline, final fittings, etc, etc. and voila!  Faux-Lucinda will be all mine.  Maybe I can call her “Fauxcinda”.  Or I can lie and tell people that she’s the real deal and watch them pout, quivering in jealosy.

I do have a little worry about whether or not an Etsy seller could totally con someone out of money.  It is important to do research on any potential seller so that those who prey on the indulgent and temporarily-aloof brides-to-be don’t take your precious pennies.  I went to this woman’s website which included examples of previous dresses and costumes that she had created by hand.  I have also asked for references that I can call and for our bid to be drawn up in an official contract.  She is in Chicago, so fittings and meetings will be a cinch, and I get a general good feeling from her.

Could she be a criminal?  Could she take my moneys?  Sure…but the way I figure it is that in worst case scenario, she swindles me out of $375 and I reverse charges on my credit card.  Best case scenario, I have a custom made and fitted beautifulbeautifulbeautiful gown that is made out of lovely perfect fabric for my lovely (perfect?) wedding. 

I will keep you updated as time goes on as to how this goes…who knows…maybe you could have Lucinda too.  At this point since I am calling my dress a she, an unsuspecting reader could stumble on this blog and think that we are bartering over loose women.  Don’t correct them just yet.  Let them ponder over their deluted musings…


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