Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Woman Who Could Have Potentially Ruined My Wedding For Me

I feel that this is one of the most important (and longest) posts I have written on my blog. Because it is a very (brutally) honest review of the seamstress I hired to alter my wedding dress (AKA, the most important $899 dress I've ever owned in my life).

So I was referred to Debbie Carlisle by Bridal Expressions, the store I bought my dress from (who I would highly recommend for buying a wedding or prom dress). When I first visited Debbie, I felt uneasy leaving my dress there. I was honestly worried for my dress. I didn't doubt her sewing abilities. I was simply put off by her small and filthy sewing room.

I will say, she is a great seamstress. The work she did on my dress was beautifully done... it just wasn't what I wanted. I specifically didn't want the Standard Mormon Sleeves, but that's what she gave me. I tried to accept the fact that it wasn't exactly what I wanted, but I couldn't take it. So I called her and told her I wanted to meet with her again to show her a picture of what I wanted and we could see if we could change it.

(By the way, I had tried my hardest to tell her what I wanted the first time around. But she kind of put my ideas down and just did her own thing, and I'll return to this later)

Our telephone conversations went a little bit like this:
"Hey Debbie! This is Kaylee. I was thinking about my dress all weekend and it just isn't exactly what I wanted. Can I meet with you Wednesday to show you a picture and we'll see if we can change it?"
"How do you want it changed?"
"Well I'd like to show you a picture because I don't know if I can really explain it over the phone."
"Yeah, but I want to know how you want it."
"Well I wanted it to appear like the fabric is just draped over my shoulder, I didn't necessarily want a whole sleeve attached. And I wanted the fabric kind of gathered vertically."
"I specifically asked you if you wanted it gathered and you said no."
"Yes, I said no to gathering it horizontally, which is what you were saying. But I said I did want the special fabric (sorry, can't give away anything to my fiance) gathered on the sleeve vertically."
"I put the special fabric on the sleeve."
"Yes, you did. but you just laid it flat so it's barely visible..."
This conversation went on a while. Finally I convinced her to let me go in on Wednesday (today) so I could show her the picture. Lesson #1: Debbie did not seem happy to meet with me, her customer, aka, the person paying her.

So today I went in to meet with her. I brought in reinforcements as well. My cousin Desi came with me for two main reasons. 1. Desi knows how to say what's on her mind (in a good way, a very good way). Basically she wouldn't let anyone push her around (unlike me, I'll admit it, I'm a bit of a pushover). 2. Desi knows how to sew herself. She reupholstered her couches all on her own and they look fantastic. And she made her kids the cutest Halloween costumes ever.

So Desi and I met at Debbie's house. The second she came to the door, Debbie was full of attitude. So we go downstairs to her sewing room and I begin to tell her what I had originally told her about the sleeves of my dress (my $899 dress). Debbie was not happy. She complained about how she would have to take apart everything she had already done in order to do what I wanted. Lesson #2: Debbie failed to realize that I'm the bride and this is my wedding dress, I should be able to get what i want.

I tried my best to be understanding and explain to her that I wanted it the way it was in the picture. But Debbie just didn't get it. Desi started to try and explain but then Debbie started to get mad at me, blaming me for not telling her this in the first place, which, I had tried my very best to do, but she just pushed my ideas away. Lesson #3: Debbie didn't listen to my ideas. She did her own cookie-cutter 'Mormon Standard' modest sleeves, regardless of me telling her that I did not want that.

Desi began to realize more of what I wanted, so she began to suggest ways that Debbie could fix it to be the way I wanted. Debbie reflected everything after that. She continued to blame me and to push down all mine (and now Desi's) ideas. She continued to think that her way was the right way and I was wrong. Lesson #4: Debbie felt that she was right. That I (the customer, aka, the person paying her) was incorrect and what I wanted for my wedding dress was not right.

I would again like to talk about Debbie's redeeming qualities. She did do a wonderful job at creating a bodice and cap sleeves for my dress. It was perfectly lined. Her stitches were perfectly done. She is a very talented seamstress. I cannot deny that she is talented. She did a great job... but it wasn't what I wanted, and she blamed me for that mistake.

So Desi spoke up and said:
"I think we'd like to take the dress, think things over, get a better idea of what we want and then we'll let you know."
To which Debbie replied:
"I can't let you take this dress until I get paid for what I've done."
Now I understood that completely. I understand needed to be paid for the work she put into the dress. However, the total cost of alterations would have been $230 ish, and she had not yet put on the buttons and the shoulders still needed to be re-sized to fit me. When I first visited her she told me the price and I was pleased, but today when she told me how much I would owe her to take the dress, I was very disappointed.

I'm sorry, but especially where I'm leaving with my dress, unfinished and unhappy, I should not owe you $200, cash or check only (which I didn't have at the time, so Desi (my amazing wonderful cousin (more on that later)) wrote a check for (that I owe her back for)).

$200 to leave unhappy? I don't think that's right. Lesson #5: Debbie overcharged me when she didn't finish the dress and I left unhappy. I didn't seem fair. My mom and I know she did not put $200 worth of work into those sleeves in the week she spent on it. Nope.

So Desi wrote a check and we grabbed my dress and left. We then drove to Desi's house to chat. Desi was upset. She began to draw a picture.
"Is this what you wanted?" Yep. Exactly. "I can do that. And if I can't, I know someone who makes wedding dresses and she would help you out." 
So Desi and I went to Joann's, grabbed some fabric, went back to her house and Desi began to do a mock version of the sleeves I wanted. In an hour and a half Desi finished one of the sleeves. She pinned it on and it was exactly what I had wanted. EXACTLY.


In that hour, I sat there, wearing my gorgeous wedding dress and doing this:

The above picture are all the strings and pieces of fabric that were found stuck in the bottom of my dress, due to the messy floor of Debbie's sewing room. This picture isn't even half of what's down at the bottom of my dress. There are so many strings that are nearly impossible to get out of the (practically) ten layers of my dress. Not only that, I found a safety pin. I found a hole that I'm nearly positive is from when I had to change in her teeny-tiny bathroom. Lesson #6: Debbie has a very dirty floor in her sewing room. it was not a safe environment for my dress and I am extremely upset about it.

Again, in the Orem/Provo area where Debbie lives and works, the Mormon-standard sleeves which she put on my dress were great and are probably very popular. She could do that to any dress, I'm sure of it. But the fact is, I have a very different dress and I wanted something very different. Debbie couldn't not give me different, she could only give me the standard. 

The truth is, I do not, and will not recommend Debbie Carlisle as a seamstress. The title of this post is very much true. If I would have continued to let her push my ideas down, I would have ended up with the sleeves/dress I didn't want, and it would have made me very unhappy and ruined my wedding. I think almost everyone would agree: The bride deserves to get exactly what she wants on her wedding day. 

My family has given me everything I wanted for my wedding. My venue is perfect, the flowers are perfect, the food will be perfect, the cake will be perfect, the invitations are perfect, my fiance is more than perfect and my dress is so incredibly perfect that everyone who knows me who sees me in it says, "Yes! That is so you! That is exactly the dress I would have pictured you in! It's perfect!" ...but Debbie almost ruined the dress for me. And it honestly would have ruined my wedding. 

So, my advice to newly engaged brides-to-be in the Orem/Provo area, don't visit Debbie Carlisle for alterations. I had a bad feeling the first time I left my dress with her. I should have acted upon that feeling and just left. I honestly wish I had never left my dress with her. 

[Hey readers!! Only 23 days and you can see a picture of my wedding dress!!]


  1. I know this is old but this is how I feel about the seamstress I chose. I decided to do a small local shop rather than David's bridal seamstress and I regret it. She could careless about what I want and doesn't take directions. Im the bride not her, but I'm also like you and it's not easy for me to say what I want. My seamstress also has a messy small place with not enough room for me to change. Worst decision ever. Glad your dress IS okay. Hopefully I can find someone to fix mine.

    1. A wedding dress is such an important part too!! I hope you can get things worked out!


Link Within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...