Apr 19, 2015

Prom Dress Upgarde


I'm not really sure what to call this post.  Here's the deal, it's prom season. I've posted about dresses we've modified before, usually though, it's on how to make a dress more modest - we have pretty high standards of modesty round here.

This time though, we found a beautiful dress that was already modest and Miss M really liked it but she had her heart set on a long dress and this one hit at knee length.  Plus, it was pretty but it was missing something.  I could see potential though and the $30 price tag had me brainstorming all sorts of ideas on how to improve it.

I mean, I took home economics in middle school, I know how to sew a pillow case and when you add that skill plus the fact that I have watched every season of Project Runway, well, I was certain I could turn the dress she liked into something she would absolutely LOVE!  (Did I do it the right way? probably not but I made it up as I went along and it worked so that's groovy)

And, I must say, it wasn't too bad or even too difficult.  Here's what I did.

Here is the dress as purchased.  It's just so-so.  The photo doesn't really help either as the sun was quite bright, but you can see that it ends at the knee but the top is pretty.  It's a classic sweetheart and it was already covering everywhere it needed to cover - love that!

The great thing about the dress is that it was actually all some sort of knit, no zippers or difficult fabric to work with.  Plus it had two layers, the top which was lace and a liner underneath.  You can see the liner peeking out in the photo above.  

I started with the liner and cut about 5 inches off the hem.  This raised the dress to end mid thigh instead of at the knee.

Then I started working on adding an under layer that had both length and volume that would attach to the liner. To do this I purchased some stiffer netting, some fabric for another liner and then some fine shiny tulle for the outer layer.  

Basically I made the bottom portion as another skirt.

My first step was to sew the netting section first.  I measured the diameter needed and then cut a strip of bias tape to the right length and sewed it into a circle.  I then sewed the netting to the tape.  I basically made a tiered skirt out of netting.  It had two layers with each layer being gathered to add volume needed.  

Then, I made a skirt from my lining fabric that went over the netting and then lastly added the softer layer of tulle to the top.  All three layers were then attached to the shortened hem line of the original dress.

The photo above shows all three layers of the skirt next to the lace overlay.

and the last step was to cut the lace top layer of the dress to the right length so that it covered the top of the under skirt and then hemmed it in place.  We liked the detail of the scalloped edge of the lace that was on the dress originally so I had to cut a section of the lace out, about 4 inches and then sew the scalloped part back on. 

Then, all it needed to finish it off was a sash and some dainty jewels! (I made her necklace and his boutonniere but I'll post about those later)

I was really happy with how it all turned out.  But what made it even better was when Miss M put it on after her hair and make-up was done and she gasped!  It was a hands to the mouth in awe gasp and I knew she felt pretty and she loved it.

And because of that, it was worth it!  So glad I could help her make her prom memorable.  

Plus, an added bonus, it didn't break the bank.  Dress, additional fabric, & jewelry all came in under $65!

And now I get to do it all again, she's headed to another formal dance in two weeks, guess I better get started!  Wish me luck!

Apr 17, 2015

Define Yourself!

I'm a ponderer.

Not even sure if that is something that is real but it seems like it should be.  Lately I have been enjoying the company of my own thoughts.  I've traversed a lot of ground in my gray matter and have come to a few conclusions.

We need to let go of the things that people define us as - unless those definitions are positive of course.  Even the people who know us and love us the most can define us wrong and if we hang on to those definitions it can lead to a lot of sadness, confusion and just over-all self doubt.

Let me share a really good example.  It's personal so welcome to my soul.

Years ago, just after I was married, I started to notice a shift in the dynamics of my family I grew up in.  All of us siblings were married, many with children of their own, and it seemed that our family closeness was well, not close.

I think this is normal as families grow and you shuffle in-laws and new traditions and life responsibilities. But I was concerned at the time that our family dynamic was suffering from these changes. Being the youngest, I kind felt like I was missing out on something that my siblings had had with each other.  So, doing what I thought was a good thing, I attempted to try and bring my family together.

I started a family newsletter that everyone could contribute to and my husband and I started to organize events that were non-religious and non-holiday.  It seemed that the majority of our family gatherings were related to church things and holidays - which is good.  However, we did have some family members that weren't religious so Kent and I were looking for ways to get everyone involved.

One event that we planned was a little potluck picnic and kite flying on an island in the middle of the Great Salt Lake.  We bought a whole bunch of kites that the kids could color, decorate, and fly and it was a lot of fun.  Or at least I thought it was.  I was really happy with how it turned out and thought it was a great thing.

Afterwards though, in a conversation with my dad, he mentioned that he thought some of the things we were doing for our family were superficial.  I was really hurt by that.  I truly thought that we were planing things, and doing things, that were building relationships.  Everyone seemed to be having fun.  And so what happened next, because of that one comment, I fully regret.

I stopped trying.

I let that comment define me and I pulled away.  We actually ended up moving really far away from family and still to this day, I'm not as close as I'd like to be with my siblings all because I thought that because my dad said I was superficial, than everyone thought I was too.

In hindsight, and now that I know myself much better than I did back then, I know that my dad was wrong.  I also know he didn't mean it in a mean way.  I wasn't being superficial I was just sharing myself in the way that I was most comfortable with.  The way I shared and served wasn't the same way he would do things so in his mind, he read my actions as superficial when I read them as sincere.

It hurt then but I understand now.

I read the well known book The Five Languages of Love a few years ago and it helped me greatly to understand more about what I do and why I do them.

I bring this all up because the other day I had a similar experience with my husband and all this came back into my mind.  I had made some little gifts for co-workers who were all interviewing for a new position at work.  The gifts were cheesy and I knew they wouldn't help them get the job but I wanted them to know I was supporting and encouraging them.  When I showed the gifts to my husband, he kinda smacked his lips like he had a bad taste in his mouth and rolled his eyes.  It is not his thing.  He's not a gift giver.  His language of love is very different from mine.

I could have very easily read his body language as him saying "that's stupid, you're stupid."  But I didn't.  I recognized our differences and I just laughed at his response and gave those gifts away anyway and I smiled because it was so "me".

And, I was really happy with that - it was "ME!"

Doing things like this makes me happy.  Acts of service and words of affirmation are my languages of love.

If I could go back in time, I would not have let my Dad's statement affect me so much.  I would have still continued with family kite festivals and other things because organizing those things was my way of showing love, through service, to my family, I just didn't realize it at the time and neither did my dad.

Funny how we become wiser as we age.  I'm becoming more and more comfortable with who I am, thick waist and double chin, too.  I've come along way to be able to say, "this is me, this is what I do!" and then not care how people take my actions and interpret them.

I am me.

So, my point.  If you are hanging on to the words that others have used to define you, and they don't settle in a good way in your soul - let them go!  You know yourself better than anyone else so go ahead, define yourself.

And, if you need a little gift of encouragement to give to someone here's an idea:

Extra Gum + a Rootbeer = I'm rooting for you & I wish you Extra good luck..."