3902 E. Indian School Rd, Phoenix, Arizona, 85018; 602-955-1313; Fax 602-955-9101
Hours: Mon-Fri 8:01 to 7:59, Sat 8:01 to 2:59, Closed Main holidays and Main holiday eves
This HAS to be a World Record
It was Holy Saturday, the day before Easter, 1985. I had worked very hard that week, some days even overnight, in order that we would finish everything for the Easter holiday.
Since we always close on the day before a holiday the only reason I was at my shop on that Saturday morning at 10 o’clock was to meet two customers that had not been able to pick up their orders the day before, and they needed them for Easter.
That was not what I wanted to hear. All I wanted was to go back home and go to sleep as I hadn’t slept all week. Then I remembered, Dear Lord, It’s Holy Week, I’m supposed to do good deeds, so I told the girl, “Ok, bring in the dress—but I’m not promising anything.”
When the girl arrived I looked at the dress and I said put it on. OH MY GOD! It was so awful, and this is an understatement. Let me explain.
In those days there weren’t large size patterns at the fabric stores, there was however, maybe one Size 16 shirt-dress pattern available and I recognized that that's what this was, some awful attempt to use that Size 16 shirt-dress pattern to make a wedding dress. The girl told me that she had asked her seamstress to make her a dropped waist, sweetheart neckline, puffy sleeve, full length wedding gown.
To this sleeve she added fabric to the top of the sleeve but didn’t add any to the sides. This gave the bride a fitted sleeve with the most ridiculous pouf of fabric sticking straight up at the shoulder.
I asked “Didn’t you try this dress on”? She said that the seamstress had her try on the top with no sleeves and the skirt was not yet attached to the top—that’s how the seamstress fooled this girl into thinking everything was ok.
I told this poor bride I couldn’t fix her dress—and I can fix anything&mdash but there was simply no way I could fix this thing.
She started crying and said “My family came in from Ohio and I’m going to have to cancel my wedding”. She proceeded to cry and tell me that her maid of honor was a little thing and looks good in anything she puts on, but that she would have nothing to wear.
The thing is I had NEVER done a wedding dress in that short period of time, but I knew I was fast and I obviously believed I could do it and so did she.
After I measured her, she said she had to go and get her hair done. I told her that even if her hair was mid-way done when I called, she would have to leave and come back and try on the dress. She said ok and gave me the phone # to the hair salon. (Remember that in 1985, cell phones weren’t as common as they are now).
Luckily I always keep fabric in the shop, so I had enough white taffeta to make the gown.
I was in such a rush to get this dress done that I didn’t even take time to lock the front door. The “closed” sign was on but the door was unlocked and my usual Saturday customers never looked at the sign, so they started coming in.
As I was waiting for her to pick it up I saw a string of pearls, the kind you buy by the yard, and I sewed them to the neckline to embellish it. She loved it and made it to the wedding with time to spare.
I was never so thankful for my mother! Her name is Maria, oh! that woman is fast. When I was young and we worked together, my mother and I would be sitting at our sewing machines at the same time, each one of us with a dress that we had cut and had started to sew, and she would say to me “I’ll race you”.
And there would be times that I would beat her, but then she’d look at my sewing, and if it wasn't done right, she'd say, "No, mija, no, you can’t just be fast, you have to do it perfect."
Little did I know that all those races with my Mom were preparing me for the day that the Good Lord would send me the biggest challenge of my life on the day before we would celebrate his Resurrection.
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Copyright ©2007 Sylvia Danese DiCola