Stitch Merchant


Prom Dresses

May 22, 2015


High school English class was a haven for kids who liked to scribble. Fueled by the boredom and armed with nothing but loose-leaf paper and a pencil I scribbled out the prom dress of my dreams over the course of the semester. I would draw a little, daydream a little and then doodle some more. I kept that drawing for a really long time but I don’t have it anymore. I really wish I did. The sketch on the left is just a quick representation of that beloved original. I can remember that I drew it with a mechanical pencil so the lines were incredibly thin. The sketch itself was positioned lower on the page. I can’t remember what was above it. Maybe a title or maybe some long lost English notes. That’s not the only part that I’m foggy on. I can’t remember what the top looked like. I can’t remember if it had sleeves. I have a feeling that there were. They might have even been puffed sleeves with a lace detail. I just left them out. But the parts that I do remember, I remember really well. I was firm about the pointed waist. That was a must. I was firm about the colour. It was going to be a beautiful dark green teal. And those triangle shapes going down the skirt were going to be lace. White lace. Why white? I have no idea. This dress never went any further than a sketch. My sewing skills at the time would have never been able to pull it off. Looking at this sketch, wincing about those sleeves and recollecting my colour choices, I’m thinking it was probably for the best.

This is Emily’s last year of high school. The year of the prom and she asked me if I would make her dress. I think she worked up her sketch, the one on the right, mostly at home and not in English class. At least that’s what a mother likes to think. Her design is blowing mine to smithereens. The lines are so elegant and balanced. And the colours she picked are so perfectly her that I cannot wait to see her in this dress. She has also assembled some photos to help me understand what she means.


She wants the top to have sleeves and a sweetheart neckline. The only thing she didn’t like from this example is the pleating of the fabric.


She wants to have a cummerbund style waist but is waffling between the criss-cross effect like this one, or one that simply goes straight around.

And she wants a lot of chiffon at the bottom but without a gathered waist. We’ll see what I can come up with.

With the sketch, the photo references and the knowledge that the dress would have at least four layers with the smallest skirt circumference measuring 100 inches we waited for the big sale and then hit the fabric store. We bought a lot of fabric. Probably 20 metres or more. Without an actual pattern I was just guessing. I over guessed. But look at those colours. They’re so beautiful they can distract us from all of the excess fabric that will soon be delegated to the scrap pile.

sewingBetty and Bing