For me, I had/have a wonderful mother who taught me how to sew first by hand, then by machine. It started with sewing clothes and blankets for my American Girl doll, and progressed into sewing my prom dresses. Before we go any further, laugh if you must, but please understand that I graduated in 2001, and the styles of my dresses reflect that time period.
This first dress, my mom was mostly responsible for sewing. I helped her, and watched to learn. My mom should have been a pro because the dress came out beautifully! I felt like a princess at the prom that year. You can laugh at Adam's bleached 90's hair--I often do.
The second dress I wanted to make myself. My mom helped me find the fabric I wanted, and the pattern. Being the difficult person that I am, I wanted the top of one dress, and the bottom of another. I was between sizes, so after I made the bodice (top) out of muslin as a test, I used a smaller seam allowance to make the pattern slightly bigger.
My world came crashing down after I sewed the skirt and was ready to attach it to the bodice. It was the week of prom. I had forgotten to use a smaller seam allowance on the skirt, which was a real tragedy. The skirt pattern consisted of three layers: a liner, a base satin layer, and a top sheer layer. Each layer was seven panels. When I realized all the time it took me to cut and sew those twenty one pieces together, had been wasted I burst into tears. Luckily, my mother was calm enough to talk me "off the ledge" and told me that if I would use the seam ripper to remove the stitches, she would sew the pieces back together for me with the adjusted seam allowance. My mother was a much faster and more accurate seamstress than I was, so her help made all the difference. We were able to finish the dress in time for "Cinderella to attend the ball."
This last prom dress, I made myself. For those of you who didn't attend high school at the turn of the millennium, this dress was inspired by Bianca's prom dress in 10 Thing I Hate About You. Look it up--I think I made a pretty good likeness. My mom was still there to answer any questions I had along the way, but she had already taught me so much that I was ready to construct this dress almost completely on my own.
Yes, if you were wondering, I did wear rhinestone tattoo jewelry on my neck, arm, and face for this prom. You are right--I was totally hip!
My sewing now rarely consists of making anything this fancy and intricate, but the skills required to make a prom dress are many of the same skills required to sew much more simple projects. Next week, I will cover some basic background information necessary for the beginning sewer. Over the next few weeks, I will share 10 sewing projects for beginners. The skills you learn making these projects will give you a basis for the more complicated projects I share on this blog.
So get ready for some sewing fun!