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Bridal Gown Shopping Saga

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This is a true story.

I have a friend who recently got engaged. Since she is paying for her own wedding and on a tight budget, she went shopping for a gown on the Internet after looking at gowns at local bridal salons. She had an idea of what she wanted and was pleased to find a listing for the very gown she was hoping to find on ebay - a Forever Yours gown #47208. Though the listing did not say this was a Forever Yours gown, it did have the picture from the Forever Yours Web site.

The seller was listed as a Power Seller. This is a status on ebay that means that the seller has been on ebay for a certain time period and has proven to be a company that sells many items with good customer satisfaction ratings. This company had 805 ratings that gave it a 99.7% positive feedback.

My friend asked me what I thought about the item and the seller. I was curious as to why the listing did not state that the gown was a Forever Yours since the picture was. Ebay has a strict policy about pictures of items on the listings.

The gown listed for $165.00. A far cry from the Forever Yours suggested price of $1,074.95 for this style.

The listing also stated that the item was "New: Without Tags". That said to me that if it was the Forever Yours gown in the picture, it had to be a second or a close-out sale item of some sort.

The next thing I noticed was that the listing said the gown was "Custom Made" and the seller was in China. That was quite odd. I thought maybe the factory in China that Forever Yours uses to make their gowns is also selling gowns???

I told my friend all these things didn't add up right. I doubted she would be getting a $1074 gown for $165. There had to be a hitch. She wrote to the seller and asked a bunch of questions. They tried to answer them but it was obvious that they didn't speak english and the interpretations through the ebay system were making their answers less than understandable.

My friend decided to order the gown because the price was right and they did have a good return policy. She knew the odds were very high that she wouldn't be getting the Forever Yours gown, but was hopeful that the gown would be to her liking anyway. She ordered the gown with purple train and trim.

In the meantime - - - I went looking at this seller's other items and found a gorgeous red gown that I just had to have. Here's the picture from the listing:

It was priced at $175 and also came "custom made". I put a watch on it and sent the seller a question to see if they would made the gown without a train. The replied quickly that they would.

My friends gown arrived in the mail. We were sure it would not be a Forever Yours gown, but we were pleasantly surprised that it was a nice gown. It did lack many construction elements that these gowns usually have, like the lack of crenolyn in the lining, little boning in the bodice, and the proportions were not consistent with the picture. The color inset of the train was much smaller than the posted picture and the embroidery looked much less lush, but the dress was otherwise acceptable to my friend.

She decided to keep it. I'll post picture after her wedding date.

I decided to take another look at the red gown I was watching. I did not know what designer the picture was from but thought that if the gown was as nice as my friend's gown it might be acceptable to me as that one was to her. I went the seller's listing to see if the gown was still available and noticed there was another listing with the same picture. This gown was not custom made as the original listing said but had 4 sizes to choose from and the price was now $138. I took my measurements and decided to order the size 10.

About a week later the gown arrived. I eagerly opened the package and was greatly disappointed.

At first sight the gown is gorgeous. I had it set out on a dress form in my studio for a couple of days and several customers commented about how lovely it was. BUT - as a bargain that it was advertised to be, it falls far short. I would say it was worth the $138 I paid for it and little more. It had all the defaults of my friend's gown plus a few more that made me decide to return it as soon as I took pictures to share with you.

The embroidery pattern of the bodice is sewn into the side seams. This is not always a bad thing but it is a sign of a lesser value gown. The original picture showed the pattern to be completely outside the seamlines.

In this picture, notice the seamline below the bow. In most corset type dresses the bodice is a separate piece from the skirt and the row of embroidery that is stitched below that seam would be a continuation of the bodice, not a sewn on section of the skirt. The scalloped edge would be the bottom seam of the bodice, which is a difficult design element to make and is a sign of a higher value gown.

This is a close-up of one of the tuff points of the skirt. In the original picture these points are decorated with applique motifs that are nicely beaded. This decoration is an embroidered piece of satin that was cut and the edges burned to sear the threads so they won't fray. Good idea but lousy exicution. They look simply aweful, not at all like the embroidered and beaded motifs you would see on a quality gown.

to be continued . . .


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