Post # 1
Long time lurker, first time poster here.
My wedding is next May so I started dress shopping last month. After doing some research, I decided to go with a pre-owned dress. I eventually found a lady on a local facebook group that was selling my dream dress (I had tried it on in a boutique – selling price of $5,000CAD – Alvina Valenta) for only $200! It was listed at a bit of a bigger size (I am a size 0-2US and she said it was a size 6US but altered to a size 2-4) plus she was a few inches taller than me so I knew going in that I would need alternations done which I was okay with. I was so elated about the deal that I did not ask about the condition other than whether it had been drycleaned. It was drycleaned but I was not a smart buyer in that I did not ask specicially about the condition. I guess I just assumed that because it was drycleaned that it would be in good condition… my mistake.
I picked up the dress and took it home. I did NOT inspect it closely when I picked it up as it seemed fine at first glance. The dress was in a clear drycleaning bag with the bottom sort of tied up with the plastic if that makes sense… Anyways, I go home and take a closer look and my heart just dropped… There are tears (many smaller but also lots of bigger holes) in the fabric all over (mostly at the bottom and sides), couple missing buttons, the bottom hem is GRAY from dirt and there was lots of leftover glue residue on the belt. The belt was easily removable and I am going go beltless or find another one so problem solved there..There was literally a couple of twigs stuck to the bottom as well… I figured, well ok it is still a good deal and the bottom would be chopped off anyways when I get it hemmed. But then I did some research and apparently when you hem this type of lace, you take off the very bottom, cut off some fabric, and then reattach the very bottom lace again. Obviously that wont work for me since the bottom lace is gray and (assumnig it WAS drycleaned..smells fine…), I do not think it can match the rest of the dress again… The absolutely worse part is that it doesn’t fit me! It fits like a 00 or 000 if there is such a thing… I need a good couple more inches at the very top 5 inches for it to close…
1. Would a seamstress have various types of lace hems that can replace the existing? Can you even fix lace holes if they are gaping 3+cm stretched holes?
2. Should I try to get it drycleaned (again?) to attempt to get the stains to lift? Any secret tips on getting old stains out of lace?
3. Thoughts on changing the back to corset back or is there any other sort of solution of getting the dress to fit? Note: it is only the top that can’t be done up…the tummy and waist area is fine.
I am more mad at myself for not asking the right questions… Lesson learned on buying preowned dresses!!
**I will get pictures up in a couple of hours**
Post # 2
mooglettes : I think all you can do is take it to a seamstress and see what can be done. A professional will have the best sense of whether the dress can be salvaged and what alterations might be possible to make it fit better.
I have to say, a $5k dress for $200 would have raised some red flags for me. 2nd hand gowns in good condition can sell for as much as 75% of their original price. I know it’s too late, but this might end being a costly lesson in “If it seems too good to be true…”
Sorry this happened. Hopefully a pro can help and make the dress workable.
Post # 3
mooglettes : oh wow. Ok. Well firstly, you might be able to get the dress cleaned and restored. Look up dress preservationists – they can properly clean and repair a dress (you don’t want to take it to your local dry cleaners). They can likely get the lace looking white (or close enough) to it again. But they’re $$$ – like, you’re looking at maybe $500 to clean and repair the gown.
Sizing is a whole other story. Before paying to have the dress cleaned, take it to a seamstress and talk to her to see if she can make it fit you (you can also ask her about whether she is concerned about the holes).
Sematresses don’t typically have lace lying around – but your cleaner should be able to clean it, so that’s not your primary worry.
Post # 4
I am skeptical as to wether it was dry cleaned because why would there be twigs stuck to it if it was. Either that or she just found the cheapest place that would dry clean a wedding dress. It might or might not be worth attempting to dry clean it because it is costly. You could take it to a place that specializes in dry cleaning wedding dresses and see what they say. I would attempt to do what I’m going to write below before you dry clean though.
As for the holes and the hem: I would see if you can get your hands on more of this lace from the designer. I don’t think you can do this yourself and it has to be through a bridal salon but it’s worth a shot because if you can, then that’s the solution to the hem and I’m sure a seamstress can patch the holes strategically with matching lace.
If you are not able to get matching lace, then take it to a seamstress that not only alters wedding dresses but custom makes them as well. They may be able to source lace that is close enough to yours and fix the issues.
A corset back may fix your issue of it not fitting at the top. Again this is where a very skilled seamstress comes in. They can work magic! Good luck bee
Post # 5
mooglettes : Cut your losses and start looking for another dress. There are so many issues with this dress, that it’s not worth the time or money you’d have to spend on it to make it at least presentable.
Post # 6
I’d cut my losses too, sounds like there are too many things wrong with the dress! $200 is not too painful to pay for this mistake.