I can hardly believe it, but yes, that is my dress, all put together and hanging in my house. After spending much of the fall and early winter stitching the 8 panels, I was calm about the final product, but since this dress didn't actually exist until it was put together, there was a small degree of uncertainty.
Would it fit like I remembered the sample fitting? Would the decision to use a lower back neckline from a different dress work out? Would the length be okay? Would my knots, which will lay against my skin, be irritating? Would I love it as much when I put it on as when I was helping to make it?
By some miracle, the answer to all of those questions is yes. It fits nearly perfectly and is extremely flattering. I don't need to wear any special undergarments because the dress is so well made that it has just enough structure to give it a lovely shape. The back is very flattering and the overall effect of the beading is sparkles. Which I of course love.
The thing that's been so fascinating about this experience, in a strictly wedding context, is that I somehow (and not on purpose) skirted all of the dress fitting drama that comes attached to going to a bridal salon. The samples at Alabama Chanin come in XS, S, M, L and XL, but they are stretchy jersey cotton which means that probably two of those sizes could fit any one person. And that means that I never felt badly about myself due to a number on the dress. I just loved the dress. And it means that I don't really have anxiety about "fitting into" the dress come July 1 because I'm pretty confident that it will fit regardless. Which I have to say is downright awesome.
And, I will also tell you that as a person who in normal life has a great amount of clothing anxiety—I have been known to return many of the clothing that I've purchased because I tend to feel differently about it at home than I do when I'm in the store—the fact that I have no doubts or concerns about this dress is one of the best feelings. Maybe I subconsciously know that I put so much work into it that to question or doubt it would just be insulting. Or maybe the universe has gifted me with a break with a dress that will carry the most emotional weight of any I will ever wear. Either way, I am totally in love with it and am really happy to get to see it every day.
P.S. For any of you who are concerned that my fiance see my dress, he has seen it—I had to share my excitement of opening the box with someone and he was with me when I did much of the work so I thought it was only fair that he see what they became—but he won't see me in it until the big day, which I think is an important distinction.