Adventures In Sewing A Prom Dress

Lil' Stinker 'helping' me sew

Lil’ Stinker ‘helping’ me sew

Back in January, my daughter messaged me with a link to a most incredible dress–and said that was the dress she wanted for prom!

We both knew that there wasn’t any way that we’d be able to afford the dress in the store, and there were issues with the design that we agreed needed to be addressed if she was going to wear it. She wanted a different styling to the back and neckline, and she didn’t want quite so very many rhinestones!

AND…we decided to make this dress! Oh, what an adventure we have embarked on!

Four layers of the skirt so far

Four layers of the skirt so far

First, we had difficulty acquiring the fabric we wanted in the width and color we needed. We finally settled on a pale lavender organza and matching satin. We may add in a layer of pink organza too, but only if it looks good when we start assembling the layers…

There are a LOT of layers! At least six or seven just for the skirt, and at least three, possibly four for the bodice! (crazy, right?)

See that panel of styrofoam on the wall behind me in the picture below?

I had to find a space large enough to lay out the pieces, and a way to cut them out without dislocating my S/I joint. So–we secured two panels of styrofoam insulation on the wall using Command Strips.

Me, happy to be sewing

Me, happy to be sewing

And THEN came the real kicker: how to keep Lil’ Stinker from using the styrofoam to sharpen his claws and from chomping on it! (he likes the sound it makes)

We’ve pinned large fabric pieces to it, and piled heavy stuff along the bottom to keep him from pulling them off. We aren’t sure that we’re done cutting fabric…yet, or we’d just throw the styrofoam panels away.

Oh, and see that toilet paper? Organza is impossible to sew without some kind of stabilizer. And with so very much organza to sew, I would have broken my piggy bank on just the stabilizer! On the advice of a good friend who’s great at sewing, I bought a small package of cheap toilet paper instead. It’s working very well!

Organza hem stabilized with toilet paper

Organza hem stabilized with toilet paper

Maria has been very involved with this project too! She’s spent hours ironing the fabric pieces and helping me pin.

Steps left to complete:

  • Sewing the last couple of individual layers for the skirt, plus the layers of the bodice
  • Soaking the layers to remove what’s left of our cheap version of stabilizer (and drying)
  • Adding the rhinestones to the top layer of the bodice
  • Assembling the dress
  • Adding the zipper
  • Soaking one more time to remove any last bits of stabilizer
  • A final pressing

We’ve still got a lot to do, but it sounds like more than it really is at this point. We’ve got a little over a month until she needs to wear it. We’ll get ‘er done!

I had to buy at least twice as much lavender organza (I was bargain shopping) to acquire enough to make the dress. If you’re in the market for fifteen yards, let me know! (We’ve got a lot to spare now)


Comments

Adventures In Sewing A Prom Dress — 2 Comments

  1. Did that end up being enough layers of Organza? It looks a bit thin in the photos (which are not always the best view of a project like that).

    • I think it’s going to be enough. We have two more layers to assemble for the skirt before I can assemble it at the waist. some of the layers will be more gathered than others, which will help to increase the volume.

      Also, right now, all of the layers are pretty much the same length, but by the time I’m done with gathering them, they’ll won’t be, which will also add fullness.

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