Let’s just get this out of the way:  I have opinions about prom.  (I know, you are surprised!)  So we might as well start with the date.  We all know that the boys are irrelevant.  They are simply an accessory on this day which is all about the GIRLS!

My tradition of making dresses for my daughters began long before most of these photos.  I loved sewing for the girls (and my boys) when they were young.  Then they hit the tween years and there was less opportunity to sew for them.  Until I hit the time of Confirmation and went shopping for Church-appropriate dresses.  There were none to be found!  So we started collaborating on dress designs.  Furthermore, my daughter played piano for a local youth chorus and needed dresses for the “big stage.”  And so began the tradition of making my daughter’s dresses.

She did not mind wearing dresses multiple times.  As long as she wasn’t paying for it, she was fine with that!  In fact, she never bought a prom or homecoming dress.  She either borrowed it or I made it.  (And if Mom made it, it came from Mom’s sewing budget….smart girl!)

I really loved last year’s dress the best.  It was stunning in person and I loved the bias cut on her.  We scanned the patterns this year and she settled on this McCall’s Create It pattern M5806.

Last year’s bodice was shirred, so I did not want to do that again. My daughter decided she wanted a strapless, plain bodice and waist.  I was concerned about the gathers because I did not want it to be too full as in past dresses I have made.  The fabric had to be lightweight and she was drawn to blue.  We finally settled on this lovely silk crepe de chine from NY Fashion Center.  The fabric was lovely and lightweight and our order shipped very quickly!

I was concerned about the dress being strapless.  I have a pet-peeve about girls (and women) pulling up the dresses.  But for my daughter I was willing to try.  After all, I do see many brides wearing strapless dresses! 

I made a muslin before I cut into the silk.  The fitting went well.  I sewed the dress without too many travails.  I even learned how to add boning.  It was not that difficult.  Every seam on the bodice has boning.  Despite this, when she exhaled, the dress slipped down.  So I pulled and I tightened – to the point that I could not get the zipper up.  So I loosened.  My research showed that to fit a strapless dress well, you need to make it tight in the waist and hip (you don’t want to smash the boobs).  So I focused, next, on the waist.  Unfortunately, there is not much material at the waist and none for the hips, so I could only make it so tight.

Annoying college brother playing jazz.

I turned to my Twitter and Facebook friends for advice and had many lovely suggestions which I shared with my daughter.  In the end, inspired by her silver and rhinestone shoes, we decided that rhinestone straps would be a simple and elegant solution.

We searched stores for belts and/or necklaces that we could repurpose into straps but had to settle on this trim we found at Joann’s. 

What about accessories?  Not being the fashion icon that you all may think I am, I again turned to my friends for help.  My daughter asked her friends and between items she borrowed, bought and her grandmother bought, she decided on earrings, bracelet, and a hair clip.

Speaking of hair.  Remember the days when you did your own hair and make-up?  My daughter and I have had this conversation every dance.  She wins because she pays.  I think this was my favorite “down” “up-do”.  I like the soft curls.  The bump adds a touch of elegance and the entire look is soft.  Too many up-dos look like helmet heads (if you want to know my opinion….).

My very lovely niece has done my daughter’s make-up.  I love the very natural look!

I was still a bit worried that the gathers were too stiff.  The pattern calls for sewing the main fabric to the lining and then gathering.  I wonder how it might be if I used the lining as a “slip” rather than gathering the lining? Has anyone ever tried that?

In the end, the dress had a simple elegance which I love and my daughter loved.

She wore a one-of-a-kind dress and she could dance in safety.  (Her dad was happy about that!)

And the thing about boobs?  You will see a lot of them at prom!  Why?  Why moms and dads do you allow that?  (I know the boys probably aren’t complaining.)


Tradition.  It runs strong in this family.  Now that my daughter will be heading off to college, I probably won’t be making so many formals for her.  But I made the dress, I complained about the excess hype that is prom today, she had her hair and nails done, we took hundreds of photos….and she took her traditional photo with her best friend.

Girls just wanna have fun!

Oh ya, her date?  He’s sweet.  And dapper – he wore tails!  And he was more than just an accessory since he is such a good friend to my daughter.  (That alone is no easy feat with her strong personality!)   I even convinced him to sing before they headed out.

I’m going to miss this….