belle of the prom

Right after I finished the gown for the Titanic dinner (thank you bunches for all your lovely comments!!!), I had to turn around and start working on my sister in law’s junior prom dress. It was the sort of project I originally thought I had a bit more time for, but found out a month ago that the prom was the end of April–not in May. That of course meant I had to work on it a bit more furiously than I anticipated! I got a few snapshots before I dropped it off at FedEx to ship it to her, so I thought I’d share those!

04.17.12 | belle of the prom

Firstly, apologies that the dress is a bit wrinkly; I didn’t do a final press since it was about to get shoved in a box to be shipped! She picked out a gorgeous royal blue, heavy weight satin for the gown and Simplicity #2253 (view B), which I think was quite a sophisticated choice for a 17-year-old. In fact, I quite like the dress and would be tempted to make it for myself! We did an initial fitting at the end of March, and I’ve been having to have a lot of faith in my fitting skills (and more than a few prayers!) that this dress would fit her like a glove in the end (which I won’t find out about until later today). I’ve never done a long-distance project like this, although I’ve sewn for others before–I’ve just had them closer by for in-person fittings! Fingers crossed, because I’m a bit like a cat on a hot tin roof right now.

04.17.12 | belle of the prom

The pattern was deceptively easy. It looks fiddly from the envelope–all that piecing on the bodice! But it’s actually quite easy once I got started. What did take the longest was cutting all the pieces out any applying interfacing. I think I spent as much time doing that as I did actively sewing! But no matter, because I think it turned out fantastic for a one-week project! Oh, and that pleated trim on the shoulder is EVIL. I just chucked the pattern markings and directions and I did what I thought made more sense at the end. But aside from that, I was rather surprised how well done the Simplicity instructions were. I think the company must be taking cues from the sewing community online, because I honestly felt like I was reading instructions from Sewaholic or Colette Patterns–not one of the Big Four.

04.17.12 | belle of the prom

Just for a fun touch and to make it “official”, I sewed in one of the tags I had made up a good 4 years ago. (Sorry, the Etsy seller no longer has a shop that I got these from, so I can’t point anyone in the right direction!)

Now that I am finished with both the Deadline Projects for this month, I’m starting to itch to sew something fun that I can actually wear in day-to-day life. I’ve been living in my blue Wearing History Smooth Sailing trousers, and have been thinking I really need to make at least one more. This green twill at Gorgeous Fabrics seems like a possible candidate (or at least offering color inspiration). I’ve been craving more green in my wardrobe of late!

Now to just dig the spare room out after 2 1/2 weeks of marathon sewing!

Pattern: Simplicity #2253 (view B).

Fabric: Synthetic duchess satin, non-static lining, woven (fusible) interfacing.

Alterations: Only minor fitting alterations; she was pretty much a perfect pattern size 10! The only major thing I did was shorten the skirt.

Techniques: Not a whole lot that I felt varied from normal sewing–most of the stitching was done on the machine.

Make Again? Probably not! This was just a one-time project for my sister in law.

April 18, 2012 · 61 lovely thoughts
posted in sewing · tags: , , , ,

Jane April 18, 2012 at 07:23

That’s absolutely beautiful Casey! Your sister-in-law is an extremely lucky woman, a custom fitted and hand made gown like that would cost hundreds of dollars. It’s lovely that you made it for her, I’m sure it made her prom night extra special. I’d love to hear her feedback! x

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meli88a April 18, 2012 at 07:33

Your sister in law is so lucky and has great taste! I hope that she has a memorably fun night in that dress.

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Anna McClurg April 18, 2012 at 07:47

What a fabulous job you did on that dress, Casey! I know how you feel, though, about doing long distance dressmaking! I’ve done it for years and still, every time I’ve sent the finished garment I kind of hold my breath until I actually hear back informing me whether or not it fit! Usually everything works out, though! xo

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Casey April 19, 2012 at 08:23

Good to know even the professionals sweat it out with long-distance fit too! ;) Thankfully, the dress fit from what I’ve been told, so I’m really excited that at least this one time it worked for me. hehe!

♥ Casey

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Jessica April 18, 2012 at 08:22

What a thoroughly terrific job, Casey! There’s such a sense of elegance and sophistication to this dress, and I can definitely see your sister-in-law opting to wear it later on for other events throughout her life.

♥ Jessica

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Brenda April 18, 2012 at 08:40

The dress is beautiful. My aunt made my prom dress long distance also. All she had was a picture of the dress I loved and my measurments. Fortunately my mom also sews so she was able to know that minor adjustments could be done once I got the dress. We did have to tighten up the lining of the bodice as it was strapless and was just a bit to loose for comfort. I loved the dress and wore it several other times to collage formals.
She is a very lucky girl to have you and her one of a kind dress.

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Marmielu April 18, 2012 at 08:45

That looks beautiful! I hope there will be pictures from the prom.
Mom

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Gina April 18, 2012 at 08:50

You are a doll to do this dress for her, what a sweetie. I am sure she will enjoy this dress for years to come, love the bodice, wonderful work as always.

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Jenni April 18, 2012 at 09:08

What a stunning dress! Would love to see pictures of your sister-in-law wearing it!

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lisa April 18, 2012 at 09:13

that is fantastic!! She’s going knock all those girls who got their dresses at the mall out of the water.

I was going to the prom again, I’d go with Simplicity 3878. :)

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oonaballoona April 18, 2012 at 09:24

i wish i’d had that level of taste at 17. my prom dress had a wee cape and hamster sized satin roses.

i hope you make one for yourself! i see you in fuchsia…

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Casey April 19, 2012 at 08:24

At first I read your comment as “hamster roses”.

haha!!! ;) Now that would be an interesting prom dress… ;)

♥ Casey

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oonaballoona April 20, 2012 at 09:29

oh, HA. i just pictured that. and i wouldn’t put it past my 17 year old self.

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didyoumakethat April 18, 2012 at 09:48

That’s truly beautiful. Whenever I see a make in royal blue, I think how classy it is. Why do I never use this colour? I’ve never worked with duchess satin, either and would love to one day. You’re a heroine, Casey!

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Lauren April 18, 2012 at 09:49

Lucky girl! That is a lovely dress & I have faith that the fit is going to be spot-on :) And YAY for being done with all your marathon sewing! Hehe you should definitely make the Smooth Sailing Trousers – the name alone is perfect, amirite? :)

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Casey April 19, 2012 at 08:26

YES!!! :D Although I don’t have fabric yet, so I cut out a dress instead yesterday. lol. But a little birdie told me that for my birthday I’ll be getting a gift certificate to a fabric store. So hopefully the problem of green twill for the Smooth Sailing trousers will be taken care of soon (because I really, really want green pants for some reason!). ;) lol.

♥ Casey

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Pam April 18, 2012 at 09:50

Great job on the dress! I love it! Can’t wait to see the pictures!

I actually bought this pattern when the Simplicitys went on sale – I thought it might make a fun summer dress (in cotton, lined, shorter)!

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Casey April 19, 2012 at 08:26

I LOVE the idea of making this up in a casual fabric for a kicky summer dress!!! :)

♥ Casey

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Eileen April 18, 2012 at 10:29

Love it! After seeing a recent flyer for some of the prom dresses that are on offer from big chain stores, I’m pleased to see that there is still some level of modesty in young ladies. It’s beautiful in both cut and color and she’s going to look great. Hopefully we’ll see a picture of her in it and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the fit though I doubt that’s necessary!

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Casey April 19, 2012 at 08:28

You don’t know how delighted I was to make a dress that wasn’t showing everything and had a certain level of sophistication. She’s a bit of a tomboy, but has been developing a very grown-up aesthetic when it comes to evening wear. Should have some pictures up on my personal FB at some point, so you’ll get to see those. ;)

♥ Casey

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Qui Pardue April 18, 2012 at 11:19

oh wow, so pretty and elegant. Nice job Casey, what a lucky sister-in-law!!

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Amy April 18, 2012 at 11:32

She is so lucky! The color is amazing, I hope she has fun at prom. :)

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Nan April 18, 2012 at 12:15

The dress is just gorgeous I love everything about it and I’m sure it will be treasured as a family heirloom! I do this long distance fitting myself all the time for my daughter. I’m right now making a blouse with couture touches I can’t seem to resist adding. It seemed to match up with her pattern I have that fits her perfect but you never know. If it doesn’t fit she can mail it back to me if I think I can alter it if not I say give it to a friend or keep it until you loose weight lol.. when sewing like this I feel an area of the unknown without the model here. Nan

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Casey April 19, 2012 at 08:29

Isn’t it always fun to add those little elements of fine sewing to a project you’re making for others? I do it so often with my own sewing that I forget how special they truly make a garment for someone else! :)

♥ Casey

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Helen's Sewing Adventures April 18, 2012 at 12:20

Gorgeous dress. I love the colour. She’s a very lucky girl to have a dress like that for her prom! I haven’t yet plucked up the courage to sew any clothes for other people so I think you’re very brave.

Love the green twill for the trousers too BTW!

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Casey April 19, 2012 at 08:31

Sewing for others, I’ve found, is in some ways easier than for myself! Oddly enough, I find that fitting isn’t so hard on others as it is on me! ;)

♥ Casey

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Seraphinalina April 18, 2012 at 13:03

Now there is a prom dress that will age gracefully. She will look back at that dress and smile proudly every time. It’s beautiful and so classic.

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jessie heninger April 18, 2012 at 13:10

That is gorgeous! Absolutely beautiful and your right that is very sophisticated. Maybe we can get a picture of her in it? I would love to see it with the prom hair etc. Makes me sort of miss those high school days.

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Casey April 19, 2012 at 08:33

I’ll have to see about a picture of her wearing it (not sure how my in laws feel about posting her picture online), but if I do get one I’ll be sure to post it! :)

♥ Casey

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Hotsy Malone April 18, 2012 at 17:52

That dress is stunning! You are amazing and I envy your sewing talents. My mom was a custom designer but none of it rubbed off on me in the execution department!

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Cassie Stephens April 18, 2012 at 17:54

Amazing. I love her fabric choice, that color is beautiful! I do hope you are able to share a photo of her in the dress…what a lucky girl to have a sis-in-law like you! Beautiful work, Casey!

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Vera April 18, 2012 at 18:07

Well done, you have some amazing skill! I also like the new look of your blog its very nice.

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Casey April 19, 2012 at 08:34

Thanks for noticing! I’m just tweaking things a bit to freshen it up! ;)

♥ Casey

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Rochelle New April 18, 2012 at 19:28

Stunning dress!!! Very well done :)

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Rachel April 18, 2012 at 19:28

That dress is gorgeous!!

I understand your nervousness – i’m currently working on a dress for someone the other side of the world. I had to do the fitting by posting a muslin and then using skype. I’m really really really hoping that what I make ends up fitting :/

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Casey April 19, 2012 at 08:36

Oh wow! I think having to fit via Skype (though brilliant!) would make me even more nervous. With this dress at least my sister in law was able to come down over a weekend to get fitted–but that was just the preliminary stuff. Kudos to you for being so brave and I’m sure your garment will turn out to fit perfectly!!! :)

♥ Casey

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Meg April 18, 2012 at 21:34

What a lucky girl! That was very sweet of you, I’m sure she’ll look lovely & have a great time. :)

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Melody April 18, 2012 at 21:41

What a hoot! I just today finished the muslin for that very same dress. I am making it in robin’s egg blue for my daughter’s prom. I found it easy to make, too, although the cutting about drove me nuts! I didn’t make the shoulder thing for the muslin, though…Can you e-mail me to tell you how you did that?

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Casey April 19, 2012 at 08:37

Oh wow! That is too, too funny! ;) The cutting part does take forever on this dress… I was ready to be done with it about halfway through laying out all the pieces. lol. But well worth the effort!

The shoulder piece should be included on the pattern, but I honestly just pleated and pinned it according to how I liked it (rather than follow the pattern markings). Let me know if I can be of any further help! :)

♥ Casey

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Melody April 19, 2012 at 16:55

Oh, I do have the pattern piece. I just noticed that you said you didn’t use the directions, and wanted clarification of what you did. But “pleat(ing) and pinn(ing) according to how I liked it” works!

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Casey April 19, 2012 at 17:27

It was much easier to just sort of fiddle with the pleating myself than follow the convoluted pattern instructions (really the only tricky part of the entire thing!). I put the dress on the dressform and just started folding, pinning and creating pleats. Once I had everything pinned in place, I took the dress off and tacked the pleats down as best I could with handstitches. It was time consuming for sure!

♥ Casey

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Melody April 19, 2012 at 20:03

Well, THERE’S something to look forward to! ;)

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Juliet April 18, 2012 at 23:19

Oh stunning! I hope it fits her, it looks like you put hours of attention, love and care into it. What a wonderful sister-in-law you are!

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Bethany April 19, 2012 at 00:26

I recently bought this pattern in hopes to using it for a special occasion. But, I need both shoulders covered and was thinking of drafting up the same shoulder cover for the other side. Since you have already worked on this pattern, would you think it would be easy or too difficult to make it cover both shoulders?

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Casey April 19, 2012 at 08:39

I don’t think it would be too fiddly to make a mirrored shoulder piece. I’d definitely make a muslin to work out any fit issues, but I think it would be a snap! :)

♥ Casey

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Loredana April 19, 2012 at 01:36

Wow! You did this in a week????????So beautiful and neatly stitched. Lucky sister-in-law I must say. Congratulations on a job well done:)

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Katie April 19, 2012 at 02:08

I wish I’d had such good taste at 17! It’s really lovely.

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Uta April 19, 2012 at 04:10

This is stunning, the cut, the color, everything… What a lucky girl! I also admired (who couldn’t?) your “Titanic” gown. You make me wish for a life with more formal occasions!

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Casey April 19, 2012 at 08:39

Thank you ever so much, Uta! :)

♥ Casey

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MrsM April 19, 2012 at 04:11

What a great dress! I recently got given this pattern but hadn’t even opened it. Having seen it made so beautifully, I will give it a go. What a lucky girl she is!

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Renee April 19, 2012 at 11:16

Beautiful. Hope it fits well and she loves it. Hope she has a great time.

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Kristy L April 19, 2012 at 14:00

I don’t know if anyone mentioned it to you or not, but you can find some similar labels for your handmade goods in the Vermont Country Store catalog or online.

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zilredloh April 19, 2012 at 14:11

This dress is gorgeous! You did an amazing job on it (like always). That deep, royal blue is just stunning.

I’ve been commissioned by my sister for a pencil skirt and she lives several states away from me. I fear I’m going to have to snail mail a muslin back and forth…

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Casey April 20, 2012 at 10:53

Oh wow–you are a brave woman for doing the muslin-fitting long distance! I think this is why whenever anyone has asked me to sew something for them, who I can’t fit in person, I’ve begged off. It just intimidates me! But judging by your mad sewing skills, I think it’ll be a success!!! :)

♥ Casey

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Nancy April 20, 2012 at 07:09

Lovely!!!!!!! you did a beautiful job

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Jenny April 20, 2012 at 08:32

Beautiful! She’s gonna look amazing!

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Emily April 20, 2012 at 16:19

Stunning dress! Love the color and the piecework on the bodice.

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Solanah April 20, 2012 at 19:53

I can’t even begin to figure out that bodice. Amazing.

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tambry April 23, 2012 at 20:03

I have that pattern in my stash already. Beautiful color! Was it fairly easy to dd the botice?
I only hope mine turns out half as beautiful.

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dell April 28, 2012 at 23:09

Prom dress of such chic & in a great colour too. Hope your SIL has a great time at the prom.

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