That Was ‘Sew’ Close

We’ve all heard that a stitch in time saves nine (which I’m sure made more sense when the phrase was originally coined), but when it comes to bridal garb, a stitch can save much more than that: It can save your entire wedding day.

Wedding dresses are tricky and immensely personal. You want to feel beautiful, but like yourself, but like the best (svelte-est, prettiest) version of yourself when you walk down the aisle. Places like David’s Bridal and House of Fashion are great places to start, but you’ll want to make sure that a dress that fits off the rack is eventually tailor-made (literally) for your body—not a manufacturer’s fit model.

My wedding dress shopping experience (as relayed in this blog) was completed with as little fanfare as possible. I found a dress I liked in a tiny shop on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, I tried it on, it fit, I bought it. But that’s only the beginning. . . .

I was told by the dress purveyors that the only real way to get a perfect fit was to take it to a tailor (they didn’t provide the service themselves, though many bridal salons do). I went to the first one on the list they provided—another hole-in-the-wall shop that required a steep climb up a dark staircase on a particularly wet and miserable New York summer day. The shop owner communicated that I should stand on the makeshift step in the middle of the cramped room so he could mark the hem and other details of my dress. With very little conversation, I was chalked and pinned in a matter of minutes—with almost no attention paid to the complicated bust, as he seemed loath to get anywhere near it (the dress’s or my own).

Fast-forward past the harried trip home toting the bagged and balled-up dress through the rain, the tense shipment to Sacramento in as much tissue paper as I could muster and the unveiling and reverent hanging process once we were reunited. When I put it on a few days before the wedding, the dress didn’t fit like it should. It gapped, it pulled, it drooped. I was devastated.

Thanks to some quick action by sympathetic family members, I was ferried away to a seamstress who fixed the straps, repaired the bust and transformed me into, well, a bride. Unfortunately, the business card of this savior seamstress has disappeared into the depths an overstuffed closet, but should a clothing crisis come your way, I’ve given many a garment to the immensely capable hands at Old Country Tailor on 51st Street and Folsom Boulevard. Find them at

In the end, I walked down the aisle confident and composed in a dress I was proud to wear with the help of family, friends—and more than a few stiches.

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