Thursday, July 27, 2006

Seamstress from the Russian Mafia

Yesterday, was my last fitting for my bridesmaid's dress. For those of you new to my blog, you can read in earlier blogs about my friend Heather's wedding which is coming up in only two weeks, as well as my horror at the fact that I'm wearing a strapless bridesmaid's dress.

I can honestly say that I had been dreading yesterday all week. I was worried the dress wouldn't fit or that there would be some horrible flaw. My appointment was at 3:00, and after the situation with Georgia during my first fitting, I asked my husband if he could take off work early to come home and watch the kids while I went to the fitting. I showed up with my bra and shoes in hand, and guess who was working? That's right - our friend Helga of Russian Mafia fame.

I started over-explaining like I do with everything. "Hi! I'm here for my fitting. My name's Neila, and I have an appointment at 3:00. (pause) It's for a bridesmaid's dress. (pause). It's purple. And strapless. And there better be a bolero jacket with it."

Finally Helga said, "Pink sheet." I said, "Excuse me."

"I need pink sheet!" she said. Oh! f*%# me! I'm glad I remembered the pink sheet. This is the receipt they tell you to bring back when you leave the dress with them. About three people scream at you not forget it, as if it holds magical powers, and they would be unable to retrieve your dress from the underworld if they did not have the pink sheet. But what did Helga do? She looked at my last name on the sheet, and then went over to the rack and pulled out my dress. That seemed anti-climactic.

She shoved me in a fitting room, and said, "You try on. I help." Oh Lord! So, on went the strapless bra-like boustiere thing, on went the shoes, and then I stepped into the dress. I tried to zip it up myself because I really don't like sucking in while a stranger does it, but I couldn't get it. So, I hollered for Helga, and in she came to zip me up. Now you can't be timid about zipping me up, but Helga took long enough, that I was scared to death the dress was not going to fit. I still have Plan B, which is to cinch that boustiere to the next notch, but finally she got the dress zipped up.

When I turned around and looked in the mirror, two things stood out at me. The first and most horrifying was that you can see the shoes. Oh crap! The dress was supposed to be long enough to where you couldn't see our feet! Well, once it was altered, you could see the tips, or the toe part, of the shoe. Remember, we spent all that time decorating the shoes so cute? Well, you couldn't see enough of the shoes to tell they were decorated. You could only see enough to tell they were tennis shoes. It just looks like you're wearing a dark purple bridesmaid's dress and big blinding white tennis shoes. This is so not the look we were going for.

The second thing I noticed was that it was still too big at the top. It gapped open, and anyone invading my personal space would be able to see my bra. Helga said, "I took in lot. Is still too big." How ironic, considering the zipper in the back is fighting for its life. Apparently they didn't factor in that the woman wearing this dress has breastfed two children. It's so big at the top because my breasts hang more to the waist area.

But at this point, I didn't even care. I told Helga it was fine, and I would safety pin it. She would have non of that. "No. No. I fix," and she started pinning around the boobs again. Double crap. I kept assuring her that a well-placed safety pin would do the trick, but she just ignored me. Then, my two questions were, how long is this going to take, and how much is this going to cost? Helga said, "15 minutes. I fix. You wait. You nice lady." Yes, but she still didn't answer the cost part, so I asked again. She said, "I fix. Is free. You nice lady." Free! I heard that. Although she should have said, it's included in the $135 you already paid for alterations. But at least I wasn't going to have to plunk down anymore more money, so I was happy.

Helga yanked the dress off of me and scurried away into the sweatshop area, while I tooled around the store, trying desperately to get a signal on my cell phone. I wanted to call Amy to say, "You can see the shoes. What are we going to do?!" but I couldn't get a signal to save my life. I went back in the dressing room where another woman had arrived to pick up her dress. She was trying it on - a beautiful strapless chocolate brown dress with a bolero jacket. Now, that was how a dress was supposed to fit. I told her she looked awesome and asked if she picked the dress out. She said she was the mother of the groom, and the bride just told her what color to get. Then her eyes shot to me, and she asked in alarm, "This doesn't look like a bridesmaid's dress, does it?!" I assured her, "Oh no! It's definitely a mother of the groom dress. It's beautiful!" It totally looked like a bridesmaid's dress!

Meanwhile, out comes Helga with my dress. "I ready! You try on!" So off I went to my dressing room again to wiggle into my purple dress. Luckily, it fit this time. That zipper is still praying I don't sneeze, but now there is no gapping in the front. Helga was happy and pointed to the door. "Good! Go!" she said. I had been dismissed.

I quickly changed and grabbed my dress. As soon as I was in the car and I could get a signal on my phone, I called Amy and related the shoe situation. She was going in an hour to pick up her dress, but it was not looking good. We were now trying to decide what color of shoes we could get to go with the dress since it's too late to have shoes died. She said cream, and I said black. So, I hung up and called Heather. I started out by saying, "I got my dress. It looks great. There's only one slight issue, but it's not a big deal AT ALL!" I have learned that you do not want to make the bride hyperventilate two weeks before the wedding.

Again, I explained about the shoes, and she immediately said, "Silver! You need silver sandals. That would look great with the dress." I told her that of course she was absolutely right, and called Amy to relate the news. I added shoe shopping to my to do list, and when I got home, I admired my lovely tennis shoes covered in purple roses. I'm determined to find someplace to wear those.

Meanwhile, I'm off in search of silver sandals!

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