Annie’s school has a junior/senior prom, so this was the first year she could attend. With hopes of entering the Joann’s “Own Your Look” dress contest, she made plans well in advance. (You might remember that a girl from Annie’s school won a $50,000 scholarship for her dress several years ago.) Unfortunately, Joann’s did not sponsor a contest this year.

Annie’s original design incorporated an emerald color and the use of lace. She ended up selecting Casa products from Joann’s in the color Jade. She used satin, lace,  and chiffon. She had hoped to use organza as the overlay but they did not have it in the color Jade. She felt the organza would have added a fullness to the gown. In the end, she liked the flowiness of the chiffon.

She used the bodice from McCall’s M5320. She overlaid the lace on all the individual pieces and constructed the bodice with boning. She was not intending to have a strapless dress. I helped her get a secure fit. A lesson I must learn about fitting is that even though we fit it with the lining, after the lining is  completely sewn in, it is tighter.

She used Simplicity 0276 Rock Your Prom (I can’t find a link!) as a guide for the skirt. When she tried on the dress without the overlay, she looked gorgeous. I love a bias-cut dress! A challenge in adding fullness to a dress is that gathers can make the waistline bulky. So she opted for pleats instead. The actual pattern has a cute, pleated, peplum. But Annie wanted a full length overlay, so she folded and pinned and basted her pleats in place. This took more than weekend, it seemed!  There were mistakes and cutting challenges but always lessons learned. (I think I heard “I hate sewing” a few hundred times…)

There was a time crunch – that was a huge lesson learned. Even though she got an early start with the design, it came down to the wire.

Isn’t the purse adorable? She whipped that up a day before the dance.

The lace sleeve took an entire weekend! She experimented with different construction methods. She tried the lace as an overlay, but you could not really see the lace. Then she tried a muslin backing, which gave the illusion of lace on skin. In the end, she opted for two layers of lace sewn together, which was still strong and showed the beauty of the lace. It was tricky getting them in the right shape and position! But, hey, what’s a weekend?

You have probably heard all my fuddy-duddy rules and thoughts about proms…. In case you haven’t…
I think prom is overdone. When we were kids, your date showed up, your parents snapped a few photos, and you were on your way. Now, it is an event! There is hair, nails, limos, groups, group photos….I assured Annie she would be exhausted by the time she arrived at the prom. She admitted that she was, but she still had fun. I purchased the fabric but everything else was up to her. She bought the necklace and earrings, did her own nails and makeup and had her hair done. She was inspired by the side sweep that Katherine Heigl wore in 27 Dresses and I think the result is fabulous. I’m so glad the “up-do’s” have become softer the past few years. I never cared for the very harsh, piled-high up-do’s. They were almost comical to me – adding inches to girls who were usually towering over the guys and gave me the impression of a helmet head! Any other opinions? Oh yeah, guys – they are merely an accessory….the poor guys. (I can say this as I have sons, too!) Prom is ALL about the girls….

Texting her date giving last-minute parking instructions since she invited a few relatives to stop by. (A few was about 10 people, I think!)

I took her to one of our city parks the day before to take photos. Even though Joann’s isn’t hosting the prom contest I wanted to do a nice photo shoot in case she can enter it into any scholarship contests next year. So I went a little photo-crazy and my amateur abilities shine through.

This photo shoot led to a small dirt spot on the chiffon. I attempted to get it out and ended up creating a huge water spot! We eventually gave up on it but I felt sick about it. So much energy had gone into creating the dress I felt like I ruined it. Annie texted me about 30 minutes after arriving at the prom and told me she got grease spots on the dress already!

Additionally, we were hemming the dress an hour before she had to get ready because she decided it was too long. Another silly prom tradition is to remove the shoes at the dance and wear flip flops or other shoes to dance in.  (At least she didn’t buy new shoes!)

I think the end result is a gorgeous dress and that she looked lovely!

Jane’s other prom rule? I don’t run around the city taking group photos. Annie knew this and asked her sister to take some at the group photo shoot. Because, by the time they left, and the relatives left, it was my time…