It’s hard to believe I’m dancing between so many milestones this May!  Annie enjoyed her senior prom this past weekend. Her goal was to design and sew a dress and have it completed well in advance of the date. Well, we had to tag team it, and we didn’t finish it until a week prior to prom, but it all came together and she was thrilled.
If you want to look back at some of her other dresses, follow these links:

For a girl whose bedroom is the most delightful shade of pink, and whose business is called Pink In Mind, you would expect that she would want pink! She has an inspiration book and had been saving ideas for the past year. She really liked the dresses with beaded bodices and plain skirts. You can see that she envisioned a glitzy top with a jewel neckline, a ruched belt, and a flowy bottom. I suggested a bias cut gown because I thought it would flatter her figure.  That was the plan.

She found a Sequin Mesh Fabric at From there, she selected a stretch satin from Joann’s.

She used old patterns to construct a boned bodice with a sweetheart neckline out of the satin. She carefully adjusted the size and it looked very nice. That was intended as an underlay. In the end, the sequin fabric was so dense, that it barely showed. After the bodice was constructed, she designed the sequin portion in three pieces so that it would stretch for a slightly fitted look.  Up to that point, she was doing really well!

We discussed various options for trimming the sequin bodice, but settled on a bias trim made from the satin. She stitched it to the front with a narrow hem and then turned it and stitched in the ditch. Because of the sequins, it looked very uneven. I stepped in to help and we really struggled. In the end, she unpicked a lot of the sequins along the edges and we accepted a few minor bumps.
Next, she constructed the bias skirt portion of the dress. She experienced a lot of snagging on the stretch satin, which was a real disappointment. We tried new needles, her machine and mine, and still experienced the problem.  She thought the feed dogs caused it, but I am not sure.  In addition to the minor snags, when we basted the dress together, she wasn’t thrilled with the bias cut. Her bony hips stuck out, underwear is an issue, and the color disconnect just didn’t sit right. I suggested that we add organza, which is what she wanted last year but they didn’t make in the color she selected. So when we added the organza, it was just the effect she was looking for.

Meanwhile, she had been searching for shoes but pink is definitely not “in” because she couldn’t find a pink shoe anywhere! At this point it was a week before prom, so she asked if she could paint a shoe. I knew that we could glitterfy the shoes. So we headed out and she found a grey pair that she liked because the heels were not too high.

She use a metallic Plaid fabric paint. It took three coats and she even painted the rhinestones!  We figured if it didn’t work, then we would mod podge glitter onto the shoes.  The shade was perhaps a bit off, but it really picked up the deeper shades of pink in the sequin top.

She also whipped out a clutch.

Meanwhile, the idea we had to have the zipper go to the mid-portion of the back and just a hook at the top did not work. The top needed to be in tension, so we removed the original zipper and put in a longer one to get as close to the top as possible. The zipper woes continued. I have experienced difficulties with invisible zippers at the waistline due to the amount of fabric there. It was a challenge to get the zipper above that point but even more difficult along the sequins. The zipper broke and I had to install a new zipper! The good news is that I’m getting really good at invisible zipper installation! The bad news is Annie had to unpick a lot more sequins to make the zipper perform well.

After that, it was just the hem.  (Thanks to the ladies on the Etsy Sewing Team for their help!)  I’m not a hemming expert and rarely get the overlay just right.This time was no different. When I went to fix it, I was sure I had made it too short – which is what happened last year. Well, I prayed for a miracle (hey, you can always ask) and it was perfect! Annie whipped out the belt and the dress was finally done!

Annie had her hair done at a salon and was inspired by this Kate Middleton updo.

She found the earrings for $4 somewhere.

Her date’s tux colors matched very well!

Her little brother is usually climbing a tree and getting in the photos, but was up at the school finishing baseball practice. Fortunately, it is a tradition for the seniors to take photos up at school.

Girls and boys everywhere, looking dandy!

Many of these kids are involved in band, choir and theater and they are a GREAT bunch of kids!

This last group is the original “Shifty Seven + Luke” – a group of friends that formed in freshman year. They planned so many fun activities over the years, from parties, to ice skating,  It has been a pleasure to see them grow.

Annie had a great time at prom! Her high school days are winding down and she is sad about saying goodbye, in one sense, to her friends.

I fear that my lack of expertise in dressmaking has discouraged her about sewing. There were times during this project – and we put many hours into it – that I wondered why we didn’t just buy a dress. But sewing enables us to express ourselves creatively and to enjoy the process of building something from concept to final product with our hands. I think that is why we sew. Either that, or we are just plain crazy!

Annie said the next time she needs a formal dress will be for her wedding and she is NOT sewing it!  We’ll see…..