Phannie - DRESSES ARRIVED! [pix & long review]

[UPDATE: added "final dress photos" sent by Milly & Tips section]




So they finally arrived today (took 3 days to ship) - a week before my actual wedding date. (It was a week late from the original dummy wedding date, and 5 weeks late from the original due date.)


In photos the dresses look hopeful, so I'll show the photos first and then get to the nitty gritty (Read if you're planning to order from them to learn from my experience.)



The dress isn't wrinkled like that b/c of pkging...it's b/c it's loose and sagging on me - plus no boning to hold the bodice up.



 


The ONLY boning in the gown (red lines) - 4 bones, only 5" long!



 The "lace with beading on top"



The layers of the train of my dress - pleated and non-pleated organza



The short reception dress and beading


 


NITTY GRITTY DETAILS:


Alterations: I immediately brought the dress to the seamstress, and she confirmed my thoughts and pointed out some more details. She explained the reasons behind why areas didn't fit or look right, which was good to know.


WD = wedding dress, RD = (short) reception dress



  • BONING:


    • WD: practically non-existent! It's only in the chest area (above the empire waist--see red lines in photo above). The bodice REALLY needed the boning, but there was absolutely none to hold up the dress

    • RD: present in the bodice of the short reception dress. (But to me, my wedding gown is more important than my dancing dress)



  • BEADING:

    • WD: had to compromise on beading - they did not have time and instead used lace with beading on top. However, VERY sparse beading - apparent spaces in b/t each individual bead. They also forgot to bead a portion of my dress (I reminded them >3x, yet nothing was done.)

    • RD: better, nicer, tighter beading of flower and vines



  • FABRIC:

    • Got satin for both. WD in light champagne and RD in ivory. Nice polyester satin - the usual

    • Dyed fabric: They did a good job dying the organza to match the light champagne satin.

    • Creased organza: Not the most evenly pleated, but it's fine. The material was a bit stiffer than I expected.



  • The FIT: (was measured twice by 2 seamstresses)


    • WD: It was loose all over! (need to alter down a size)


      • Chest: way too large for my boobs. I tried everything... all my padded bras + chicken cutlets still couldn't make em fit.


        • Also, they made the boob area a lil pointy (Not a good look)

        • Material wasn't smooth at the bust - it looked uneven and odd

          • seamstress found the problem by cutting open the fabric to get to the lining - it wasn't sewn together evenly inside, so the satin was pulling in several directions





      • The bodice had extra material (wasn't cut to the correct length) so there were several layers of loose fabric around my tummy so the dress isn't smooth in that crucial area.

      • Hemline was perfect. They added the right amt of length for my crinoine



    • RD: HUGE in the chest area.


      • They made it seem as if I had a 36C chest, when I'm quite petite up top. It was just way too big - even bigger than my WD.

      • Hemline: too long. It was mid-calf, even though I measured the hemline to be at my knees.





  • Bustle: Horrid!!

    • They used one really thick strap to tie it up into an American bustle.

    • Oddly, they kept saying they could only do one type of bustle and showed me a photo of a french bustle. I wanted the french and showed several pix to confirm. In the end, they just did want they wanted to do.



  • Overall:


    • Alterations cost almost as much as the dress b/c there's so much work to do on it. B/c of the short time frame, I can only make minimal adjustments. To make it fit perfectly, she'd have to cut more of the fabric and re-sew a lot more areas. 

    • They neglected so many things and were really bad at time management.


      • ie: they knew the color and fabric needed for my dress a month before their vacation. Yet they had to order it when they got back in March, which further delayed it by 2 weeks because they had to dye it and have it creased at another factory. (Had this all been done beforehand, I would've gotten my dress in March. But keep in mind they promised it'd be done at the end of Jan.)

      • Had to remind them several times of certain details of the dress, yet they repeatedly forgot or in the end didn't even do it.

      • In the end, they were 5 weeks late with my dress from the original promise date.



    • I would not do it again if I had only 6 mo before my wedding date.

    • I would consider doing it if I had ~8 months - to give them enough time to correct all the mistakes they made. 

    • Tips:


      • Order early

      • Emphasize that you want boning in the bodice!

      • Don't do "lace with beading" - unless you want that look. Be sure to say how much beading you want on top. Otherwise, you'll be disappointed in the lack of beads.






Like I said, in photos it looked dandy and I was excited it was coming together. But once I got it in my hands, I was disappointed that I had to alter so much w/in a week of my wedding date.


Hope this helps the other brides. I don't want to discourage those who are excited, but just want to be honest about the dress. You get what you pay for...and in the end, you may have to pay more to make it work. Just order WAY in advance!

Posted on April 2, 2010 at 8:09 pm
phannie
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phannie

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(20) Comments

Snowyflake
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04/10/2010
Snowyflake

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Hi Phannie,


Thanks for your review and point by point evaluation of the dress.  I'm so sorry you needed so many alterations.  My dress was way too big in the bust area too, but in my case I didn't give them the correct measurements.  My dress was 3 inches too short as well.  My fiancé took my measurements and the hollow to hem measurement was incorrect.  Although, after reading your review, I'm not sure correct measurements would have helped!


I spent about $160 on alterations and in the end my seamstress in Switzerland messed up the pleated tulle on the bodice when she took it in.  So I decided not to wear the dress.  My wedding date is 10 April too.  I managed to find a designer dress on ebay, which I had tried on in Paris but could not afford the retail price.  I got it on ebay for $1,200 and the dress retails for $4,000.  


In retrospect, I wouldn't do it if you have a complicated design.  I think they do a very good job when it's a simple design and they are not rushed.  If there is a designer dress you have to have, I would just go on all the used wedding dress websites and try to get a second hand one.  

Posted on April 3, 2010 at 12:51 am
Snowyflake
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Snowyflake

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I should also add that the expensive designer dresses are usually made of luxury fabric Milly does not have, such as English net overlay (in many Vera Wang dresses), silk tulle (very expensive, about $65 per yard) and heavy better quality charmeuse.  More reason to just get a second hand dress if you have fallen in love with a designer dress.  

Posted on April 3, 2010 at 12:57 am
lanolinlover
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10/10/2010
lanolinlover

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lanolinlover

Phannie, I am so sorry, but I do think that your dress looks nice and hopefully the seamstress can take it that extra mile and make it fit you. I have noticed a pattern of poor quality on rushed work from milly. They really need a long time to get a custom dress right. IMO, ideally they need six months for custom work, eight months if they have to use special order fabric, and four for straight from the site orders.  I almost want to go as far as to say prospective brides should "black out" the months of Nov-Feb when giving themselves the 4-6 months to order. My friend got Married in March and we had to order our bridesmaid dresses in SEPT. because of new year. Apparently China doesn't realize Feb-May is peak wedding season in the USA. It is wrong to take someones money and rush their dress, their own site says they use NINE bones in the dresses unlike other shops!

Posted on April 3, 2010 at 4:04 am
Kaytana17
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Kaytana17

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Oh Phannie. I so wished that the dress would work out in the end for you. I'm surprised about your comment about the boning..since Milly Bridal seems to pride themselves on the quality construction of their gowns...and since they use the whole bonding thing as a differentiator b/w themselves and other Chinese bridal companies.


I'm sorry you have to face so much dress related stuff the week before your wedding. I hope your seamstress is able to work wonders w/your dress b/c EVERY girl deserves to feel fabulous on their big day!


I hope you leave this same review on the vendor page for them on PW.


 


And for all the ladies on here who are considering using MB for their custom gown - please read this post carefully..it may be easy to just look at the pictures and assume everything worked out....but there is more to the whole experience than just the final product.



And finally - Phannie - I think you'll be breathtakingly beautiful regardless of what you wear. YOU will be wearing the dress..the dress won't be wearing you...whatever negative feelings/association you have about this dress should just be ignored at this point. I know you are going to take your FI's breath away and everyone will think you look gorgeous - b/c you ARE! *HUGS*

Posted on April 3, 2010 at 6:58 am
phannie
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phannie

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phannie

Oh gosh, I didn't mean to make a post to sound like "poor lil me-whine whine whine"! hehe..just wanted to be straightforward about my dress.


Yes - mine was DEFINITELY rushed. They pretty much made the dress in 1.5 weeks because they were so horribly behind. Hopefully with the other orders, they won't be as rushed to make it. In the end, it just wasn't worth the stress, the headaches, and the zits!


@Snowy: holy cow - that's stressful! It's too bad that it didn't work out in the end for you! I'm glad you got a dress that you love though - great price too :) Unfortunately, the designer dresses that I did like were from the new season, so I couldn't find any used ones. Good luck with the wedding & congrats, date-twin! :)


@Lanolin: I agree, the quality has really gone downhill because they just can't keep up and are sewing so fast and rushed. They're definitely cutting corners (like my lace/beading). As for the boning - definitely not NINE. There were FOUR and they were each only 5 inches long!!


@kaytana: thanks hun. I think it'll work out. I ended up purchasing a real mermaid crinoline, so hopefully that'll make the dress look a bit better. I have faith in my seamstress :) I'll post a formal review after my wedding ^_^

Posted on April 3, 2010 at 9:01 am
twoyearengagement
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twoyearengagement

Hi phannie (and others). Thank you so much for your detailed post. I'm sorry to hear that the dress caused you so much hassle, especially this close to the date but Im sure the seamstress will do a fab job and it'll look so mch better. 


I too was surprised re: the comments on boning. I think it might be worth bringing this thread up to Milly given that they do pride themselves on having lots of boning in their dresses!


With the spate of issues recently, I'm reconsidering getting a dress from Milly. The issue for me was never about money, but more about my inability to get certain dresses/labels here in Australia. I have been quoted reasonable prices from local dressmakers (about 1-1.5k each) and think I might just head down that path since it will be fitted to me, plus i'll be able to watch over the quality and fabric selections. 


It's such a shame that their fab reputation seems to have lead to their downfall (ie. getting so popular and busy that they can't keep up with it). I really hope that Milly read these forums and recognise that they need to put on more staff, and be more realistic about dressmaking times otherwise they will lose a lot of customers through word of mouth.

Posted on April 3, 2010 at 6:50 pm
phannie
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phannie

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@twoyr: I took that pleat pic for you! :) hope that's detailed enough. If you need a larger size to examine it I can email it to you.


I think b/c you still have 18 months, it's definitely doable for you to do it through Milly. But if $ is not an issue, then I would definitely use a local seamstress - who would be able to alter the gown to fit you perfectly as they're making it. For 1k, that's great!! I highly recommend going that route if you can afford it. It was difficult to communicate b/c we were not talking directly to the actual dress makers. (For my gown, that's where many of the problems arose.) I would've LOVED to have been able to speak face to face and show which parts of my dress needed to be changed.

Posted on April 3, 2010 at 8:21 pm
Kaytana17
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Kaytana17

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twoyear - I agree w/Phannie too. If money isn't an issue I would use a local seamstress/dress maker. Not to say that may not be difficult - but working with a middle person (Annie) to communicate with the dress makers was nearly impossible. Not sure if you read my experience - but every time I brought up a concern with the dress (which was pretty much two times - once over the length and another time over the completion time frame) I was just pushed aside. They do what they want to do in the end b/c they think it will be alright.


phannie - I'm so glad you left this honest review. I truly hope that some potential customers read this thread and see the potential outcome for their dress. And on a side note - CONGRATULATIONS on being down to your FINAL week before your big day :D

Posted on April 4, 2010 at 4:10 am
twoyearengagement
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twoyearengagement

Phannie: hehe did notice that! Thanks a bunch for the photos. I think the pleated organza would work well with the dress I had in mind. Wanted a bit of structure , with a bit of movement so it would be perfect. 


Kaytana - I have been following your experience as well! I've admired how well you've managed the whole thing. I'm not sure i could've bitten my tongue or let it go without kicking up a huge fuss!

Posted on April 5, 2010 at 1:36 am
bows
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bows

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bows

The dress looks great on you in the pix. The pleat organza pattern looks nice. Hope the seamstress can make it a better fit. You already look great in the pics here, so I'm sure you will look gorgeous on your day after alterations.

Phannie and Kaytana, I admire you guys for all the stress you managed through the whole process. I've been on the fence for ordering from Milly, but your posts made my choice clear. I don't have enough patience, time or ability to handle that much hassle to go through Milly route.

I can be easily sidetracked and hopeful again whenever I see a beautiful turnout from Milly (e.g: Cryssie's dress recently), but my case might turn out to be like yours or SnowyFlake's, where I might end up buying another dress at the end. Thanks for your reviews.

Btw, the dress package reminds me of thanksgiving turkey. LOL!
Posted on April 5, 2010 at 11:49 am
phannie
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phannie

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@ bows: thanks for the kind words. I'm going for my fitting tomorrow, so I'm excited!


I'm glad that my experience helped you - I wish I could be more positive about Milly, but I really wouldn't wish my experience upon anyone else.


As for pictures that they send (like Cryssie's dress)...when I received my photos I was SUPER excited b/c it looked great! It wasn't until I tried it on and had it in my hands that I noticed ALL the stuff you can't see when they send you the final photos.


lol @ the turkey comment! I didn't realize that, but you're right - it's totally foster farms style! :)

Posted on April 5, 2010 at 9:45 pm
Cryssie
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Cryssie

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Hey phannie,  I'm sorry your milly dress wasn't what you had hoped it would be :( Hopefully your seamstress can fix enough of it for you for you to wear in time for wedding.  I think that you'll be a gorgeous bride!  


Good luck and hope you have an awesome wedding day!

Posted on April 6, 2010 at 5:32 pm
twoyearengagement
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twoyearengagement

... Can't wait to see pictures of your wedding day!!!

Posted on April 11, 2010 at 9:29 am
phannie
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phannie

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Whew - so the wedding is over! I have to say that I'm so glad it's all done.


The dresses came out beautifully after my seamstress got her hands on it. The wedding gown still didn't fit perfectly - you can see the extra material bunching around the empire waist. I'm disappointed in that b/c it shows in the photos, but the seamstress didn't have time to take apart the dress to fix that portion of it. (With only a few days to alter it, I couldn't ask for too much.)


Anyhow, good luck to all who decided to go with Milly! I'll post up photos from the wedding when I get it :)

Posted on April 19, 2010 at 7:37 am
Kaytana17
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pictures NOW please phannie!! hehehe

Posted on April 19, 2010 at 7:54 am
2010bride2bee
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2010bride2bee

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YES, photos of everything please! I was looking at your bio earlier hoping to see some photos of what a beautiful bride you were, but didn't find anything yet!

Posted on April 21, 2010 at 11:23 am
RobertJunior
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02/01/2011
RobertJunior

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I'd like to know more dress makers at overseas like Milly Bridal (I also heard about Little Coral), because I'm in tight budget, can anyone provide me some information as to how to find these makers? i don't wanna risk my big day. Is there a website where lists many dress makers for us to choose from? Any help will be much appreciated. Thanks

Posted on May 31, 2010 at 6:35 pm
phannie
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phannie

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Hi Robert,


You may want to try Dressilyme.com. They also have a Dressily Me group on Project Wedding (similar to this forum.) They've received pretty positive reviews lately.


I had looked into Little Coral actually before deciding on Milly. I couldn't find a lot of information on Little Coral, but I know they are less $$ than Milly. It seems that Dressily Me may have a better reputation. I haven't found a website that lists dressmakers like that - it's more of an underground type of thing. 


Are you looking for dresses or tuxes?

Posted on June 1, 2010 at 7:10 am
srszee
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srszee

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My daughter is desperately trying to find a Maggie Sottero "Artia" gown and it was discontinued in October. After reading so many of these sites and complaints about Milly and other Chinese dress makers--it is simply not worth it. I know you can save hundreds of dollars, but is the aggravation worth it? I know a friend who ordered 3 dresses from China--they were only $25 each. She figured if she didn't like them, it would be ok to be out $75. All 3 were very plain and she did like one and ended up wearing it. But if you want anything with lace, beading, sequins, rouching--you are taking a huge risk. Suck it up and buy from a retailer in the U.S. Many of them online discount dresses and it's worth it to pay a bit more and not have the headaches of dealing with the Chinese companies. Oh--and don't trust their "feedback"...most of it is faked. Supposed satisfied customers in New York were traced through their ISP #s and they were indeed from China, not New York. So you can't rely on the glowing reports from these sites. Many sites are made to look like US sites, but they are not--Top Bridal Dress.com, LightIntheBox.com, etc. There was one US bridal site that ordered 2 dresses from China to use as a comparison. The dresses used different lace (cheap and heavy looking), sequins were glued on instead of sewn, details missing (like there were supposed to be 3 material roses on the back and there were only 2), uneven hems, etc, etc. Please beware...

Posted on November 27, 2010 at 7:56 am
YSQueen
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YSQueen

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@srszee: Not quite sure you updated an older thread just to say beware. Not much of a point, especially since the OP gave HER experience already and it was just OKAY.

Posted on November 29, 2010 at 3:21 pm

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