Attire & Accessories Forum

Hollow-to-Hem Effects

Hi everyone,

I need some opinions on a scenario that occurred with my dress when I ordered from the salon. (And, I also want to describe my situation in case other brides are thinking about doing the same with a similar design of dress). It's a mermaid dress and has beading at the neckline (which is a sweetheart neckline, so the beading goes into a "V" shape) AND beading at the waist. On the sample I tried at the salon (below picture) you can see there was a small area of material/space between the two beading designs (the point of the "V" did not touch the beading at the waist).


My consultant recommended I get the hollow to hem measurement done so the length could be altered right away (and because it's a lace dress). Me, having no prior knowledge of how this is done or other options for altering the length, agreed.

Well, I now know that the hollow to hem alteration is done for a lace dress by taking the material out of the bodice. Considering the beading I had on my dress, the "V" of the neckline beading now TOUCHES the beading at the waist (see actual dress received below). On top of that, this makes the dress sit lower on my torso, giving "bustier" look than the sample and most importantly, not feeling as secure up there. (I don't think it looks "bad", just different than what I originally saw and because it affects fit as well, it's even more frustrating). 


My tailor is trying to help adjust - which really just amounts to tightening the bodice area to make it more secure as material can't be added back in - and trying to pull the dress upward on my torso to adjust the waist beading down (which was my original thought) won't work since the mermaid design is so specifically contoured to start.

I guess my prompt to you all is if I have a right to be frustrated with the salon for recommending something like that for a dress that has that type of beading at the bodice (my tailor has said he could hem from the bottom if I needed it). I would have complained about it more before I took the dress out of the store had I known that the tailor couldn't fix/adjust the bodice issues I saw in store (which they repeatedly said he should be able to - this is a tailor they recommend all their brides go to). Now I fear that the tailor won't be able to make it fit correctly, and that I'm screwed in terms of being able to complain to the salon since I already signed the receipt and took it out of the store. But again, I would have never done that if I knew the tailor really couldn't change those things.

I've sent an email to the corporate office of the salon, but haven't received a reply. My wedding is in December, and my dress took 5 months to come the first time - I would LOVE if they would just re-order my dress WITHOUT the hollow to hem and put a rush on it for my trouble. But, not holding my breath. :( Sucks you only have one chance to do this stuff right, so if anything else, I hope other brides find this helpful if they are also considering a dress with bodice detailing.

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Re: Hollow-to-Hem Effects

  • Typically the hallow to hem measurement is used for shorter brides, so that the dress is made proportional to their body.  I feel that the dress manufactureer mess it up a bit (unless the salon measured you wrong).  I can understand being upset with how the beading changed.

    Take the dress back to the salon in person.  Start your complaining there.  Explain how the only reason you took the dress was because they said how the tailor could fix the dress.  Tell them you took the dress to the tailor and he didn't think he could fix some of the things without majorly altering the dress.  You signed teh receipt, but on their promise the tailor could fix the dress.

    Perhaps you can ask the salon to switch your dress with the sample, if you seem to not be moving towards any simple resolution with the salon.  If that still doesn't work, then keep on the corporate office or try calling the dress manufacturer.

  • jenijoykjenijoyk member
    Tenth Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments First Answer
    edited August 2014

    I would be livid. The dress is still lovely, but it's not what you tried on to begin with. I agree that you should go back in person, ASAP. It's easier to ignore you/turn down your request over email than it is when you are standing in front of them, holding your dress in front of them, with these pictures printed out side-by-side. Don't let them talk you out of not reordering the dress with a rush, if that is what you want. Take your most assertive friend with you, if you need backup. You have a lot of tools at your disposal if they say no (yelp, wedding wire reviews, coming back every single day to ask them again until you annoy them so badly they order you a new dress). I'd go in with all your options thought out and ranked in your order of preference:

    - Order me a new dress and rush it, immediately.

    - Take this dress back and let me order a different dress, immediately.

    - Give me a full refund, and I'll take it elsewhere and buy a different dress.

    - Give me a substantial partial refund on this dress in exchange for me not putting you on blast all over the internet.

    - Cover all my alterations costs for me.


    And if they tell you that they can't do anything because you signed the receipt - that's BS. They can help you if they want to, regardless of your signature on the receipt.

  • i have no helpful advice, but that dress is gorgeous!!
  • Thank you all for the advice so far! This is really helpful to hear that you would feel the same way. And I agree - I feel they should and definitely could help me if they really want (or feel the need to, based on the bad reviews I can give).

    The tailor cost was the other issue I had - that even if I do get them to agree to order again, or switch out, etc. I had already spent the money at the tailor (on alterations for the bodice, but also for a few other minor things that wouldn't be something I'd make them pay me back for). But, I'm willing to do a few of the other alterations over again, if I were to get a "fresh" dress and got the money back for the ones related to their mistake.

    I will print out the pictures, go to the store with one of my bridesmaids and see what we can do. The dress is still at the tailor as we speak (due to be picked up in another month) and I don't want to wait until then to bring this up, or pick it up from the tailor to show them unfinished with pins etc. So, depending on how it goes when I first meet with the salon again, I guess I'll plan to just call him and ask him to stop altering further if I get agreement from the salon to switch something out.

    Thank you!


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  • Ok everyone - here's an update.

    I called the salon - described the situation almost exactly as above, sent the pictures but got pretty much nowhere.

    The argument I got was that all they can go on is the contract - and since technically speaking, the contract was carried out correctly (e.g. it says hollow-to-hem, they did it, and there weren't any "mistakes" - it just is what it is) they can't do much about it. At the end of the day, it doesn't seem to matter to them that it was not described by the original consultant that way so the expectations - while not written in the contract - were definitely not the same even if the dress came out correct to what they ordered.

    I don't get why they don't understand that if someone thinks something is going to come out a certain way, they will agree to it. And if they didn't do a good job explaining what would happen, it's still their service issue. This is the point I tried to argue with for quite a while on the phone. Maybe they do understand that but are just taking advantage of the fact that that sort of thing isn't written down. The person I talked to kept saying that "aside from the contract, personal preference is kind of tricky". Personal preference...I guess if you mean preferring to get what I thought I was getting the first time.

    Now I'm thinking that maybe there really was a mistake - with the measurements that were taken. I don't think that the way it's fitting could just be a matter of personal preference. In my opinion, it was their responsibility to make sure they measured me in a way that the dress fit better. While the alteration that was done may be "correct", if the measurements were off that would still make it fit incorrectly. Unfortunately, that's another thing that's not in the contract, but I think it's my best argument if I try to take this higher up.

    I asked if there was anyone in management I could talk to, and she said she was the manager. Problem is it's just for that store, I'm pretty sure. So somehow I need to find out how to get someone on the phone at corporate.

    She offered to go over to the alterations place with me to see it on and try to help the tailor understand what we want changed. I doubt that will help. If anything, I'll be glad if she can see how he wasn't able to fix some things. But I'm not feeling confident that I'll be able to get any resolution before the time I need my dress, and will just have to make sure that I am as happy as I can possibly get with the tailor before I take it for good. It's already been $500+ more in alterations.

    I will try to post more updates after I do my next fitting next month.

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  • Hey everyone! Just wanted to post an additional (and probably last) update as promised.

    I did go in for another fitting, but didn't invite the manager. I decided it was a lost cause and I'd only get more frustrated. However, on my last fitting just the other day (after the one where I was supposed to invite the manager) she just happened to walk in (the dress store and alterations store are in the same strip mall and they use that tailor for things they need done, I guess, whatever that would be).

    I thought it was going to be really awkward - of course she said I looked great in the dress, but then I told her this was my 4th time there and started talking about things he had to redo. She asked (nonchalantly) about if he had to hem more, etc. and when we showed her everything, somehow she magically decided she could help pay for the extra alterations that we needed to do. Those included:
    • Hem (dress was too long even with my 5" shoes, again despite the hollow-to-hem),
    • Additional bustle work (the tailor elected for us to do that because he said the one the store put in wasn't sufficient to bring the train up enough).
    • And she also encourages us to try to see what it looks like if he removes just part of the beading at the top to put a little bit of space between the top beading and waist beading, and said she would cover that too.
    I have no idea why it took getting to that point for her to finally agree to cover some of the cost. And honestly, I'm lucky she just happened to walk in because like I said, I wasn't planning on dealing with them anymore. Maybe she saw my tirade on some of the reviews I left around online, and knew if she didn't offer something up in the store I wouldn't give her the time of day! :).

    Of course, the dress is still sitting a bit low on my frame and not totally the original look of the sample up top, since you can't make the dress longer there, but the tailor tightened it there the best he could and the rest has been let out to fit just right to allow me to sit while still keeping the shape of the dress, so I'm feeling better about it overall.

    Better than nothing anyway! Thanks for your opinions and support!

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I'm so glad you're feeling better about it! What an ordeal. I seriously think bridal shops are the worst. But even in the picture you posted above where the top isn't what you were looking for, you look gorgeous in it! 
  • That all sounds really frustrating, I'm glad you were able to get closer to what you want. 

    The whole thing is what scares me about bridal salons. I can't think of a single person whose dress (whether wedding dress or BM dress) came in with the fit and length they expected after being measured. 
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