Welcome to MY STUFF ROOM - a space for my collection of STUFF ... STUFF GALORE ... GALORE-IOUS STUFF! ... INSPIRING STUFF I find online, and maybe even some STUFF I create myself. It's all Stuff that makes for a Creatively Galore-ious Day! ... Thanks to all who share their talents! I love to see it ... it truly inspires.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Prom Dress Story, Part 1

Prom Time!

I want a modest prom dress! 
Even the so-called modest prom dresses don't cover as much as I'd like them too. Why do some women and most designers wanna show off so much of their skin?  And I wonder why do some husbands want other men to see so much of their wives? Okay, I won't go any further with that, but it is frustrating.  Oh Bother!

I have a wonderful and lovely daughter that likes to be modest too.  We went to purchase her first prom dress and found what we expected - almost every dress was without sleeves and most without any kind of strap.  (again) Oh Bother!

We found some that claimed they were modest and they did have a small sleeve, but they were still so low and wide cut in the front and back.  WHY?   We couldn't figure out how to alter those without making them look uglier that sin.

Okay, enough ranting ...,

We did however, find a dress.  But we have to make it modest.  It was strapless , uggh!,  that just wouldn't do - we needed to cover those shoulders!!!!  So, we bought a second dress, exactly like the first one, to cut up and make sleeves with. Oh Wow!

So, Monday we bought the dress(es).

Tuesday (after school I might add) we started making a pattern after debating with myself all day about whether I should attempt this thing on my own or take it to someone who really knows what they are doing.  I decided to let me do it. 

My model (my daughter) put on the dress and we pinned it to size - it was too big and too low.  I stitched up the side seams.  That was easy, so on with the rest of it. 

She put the dress on again and then put on an old white shirt over top of it.

I took a marker and drew exactly where I wanted each seam or edge to be - making a pattern.  I cut out that shirt (outside of the mark I had made, of course, I remembered to leave a enough room for a seam) and sewed my pieces together.
I pinned it to the dress and had my model try it on again.  That was helpful, but didn't work like we hoped, so it ended up in the garbage. 

At this point I was thinking I had made the wrong choice - I should have taken it to someone else who knew what they were doing.

Wednesday we continued making a pattern ...

Having learned a few things from my first attempt, I cut up an old pillow case and tried again. (I didn't have another white shirt to use.) 

This time I thought I had it how we wanted it,so I cut out the dress fabric to make the real thing (or that part of the real thing, the part that goes over the shoulder that you sew the sleeve to).  It was okay, but when we laid it over her shoulder we could see that it needed another layer, so I took out the hems and cut out two more of the same things and sewed them together for a double layer.  Perfect!  Too bad I don't have a photo of it huh!

Here are some of the scraps - ;)

(Okay, I confess, I did have a couple chocolate kisses while I was working on this dress, but I didn't get chocolate anywhere else - nothing on the dress, I promise!)

Pretty color huh!  And so sparkly!

Thursday - yeah! at this point the pattern was working so I started folding and laying the outer layer over the inner layer ..., attempting many times to come up with the look I was seeing in my mind.
It was a bit frustrating ..., I was not working with a  professional pattern, I was only working with my mind's eye ..., and sometimes my vision is a little off.  I do own a sewing machine and have sewn a few items in my lifetime, but I am not a seamstress.  Why didn't I take this to someone else who knew what they were doing?

I did want to take it to someone else, but I've seen some of what others have done to put sleeves on a dress and as nice as they are, I was wanting something a bit different.  And, I thought I could figure it out and make it work, even with all the frustration that I knew would come with it all.  I really wondered if I had made the wrong decision and wondered if I should call someone at this point, but I kept going since I created this mess myself. 

Finally I found what I thought would work - the part that goes over the shoulder (it might be called a yoke but I think I'll call it a strap, but it's a wide strap)  would not have a sleeve sewn to it, because I just couldn't make it work (at least not without a pattern).  We would have to create a seemless sleeve.  The strap was made with the silk part of the dress and then a longer overlay of folded tulle over it, draping down the arm would help create the sleeve. 

I did all that I could up to the point of sewing it to the dress.  It was pinned together (everywhere) and ready to try on, again.  It seemed forever before my model got home from school that day.  I was so anxious.

When she did get home she tried it on and we were so excited that it seemed to be doing exactly what we were wanting.  Well, almost exactly, we still had to work out a couple things, but we were on the right track.  That excitement gave me a bit more energy and enthusiasm about this project I began. 

 I started hand stitching the sleeve to the dress, coming up with some helpful ideas to fix some of the concerns and flaws as we went along, like stitching the folds of the sleeve to a piece of ribbon (placed on the underside of the sleeve) to keep the folds where they should be as they draped over the upper arm. (the ribbon is barely visible in this next photo, just above the hanger.)

There were so many little things I had to figure out as I went along.
I forgot to mention earlier that we folded down part of the front of the dress just in front of the arm so that when we raised the dress (so that it wouldn't be so low) it wouldn't cut up under her arm pit.  There are plastic "sticks" or "wire" type things inside the seams to help the dress stand up.  I had to cut those out to fold it down.  I also had to remove the inside padding over the breasts because it was in the wrong place once we raised it up. It isn't necessary anyway because she will be able to wear her own underwear since we put sleeves on. There were so many details I never realized would come up, and it was quite challenging at times.

 I continued the project - pinning and clipping and repinning, sewing and clipping and sewing, completing it at about 10:20 pm. Thursday night.  My finger tips are very sore.

Well, okay, it wasn't completely complete.  Friday morning I gave it a second stitching to make sure things were secure and then cut off some of the rough edges, like the glittery ruffles seen on the left of this next photo.  There used to be the same thing on the right side, but they have been cut off so they don't irritate the skin - this is the inside of the dress. The lower half of the photo is the inside of the sleeve we added. I guess you know that I have more work to do - gotta cut off that other ruffle now.

(Oh, please don't look at my stitching, I didn't care what it looked like on the inside - I was trying to sew and at the same time talking and loving my children and grandchildren around me, and getting up and down to help make dinner, and my eyes and my fingers  and my neck were all aching ,.., excuses, excuses! I really didn't care!  You get to see it like it is!  I already said I was not a professional.)
I am so happy with our finished project! 

You are probably wishing I would have shown the finished project already, but I just can't do that.   It's painful I know, but I'm gonna wait until my model is wearing it for the prom.   Patience is a virtue!  ;)

 However, here is the dress we cut up to make the sleeve.

I promise to show the before and after photo in another post ..., later.  (here)


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