You see, last week, DD2 purchased a dress for Prom. She bought it from a friend who had worn the dress a few years ago, was not planning to wear it again, and offered it to DD2 for a very good price. DD2, being very confident in my sewing abilities, didn't blink an eye when the dress was about 2 sizes larger than what she normally wears.
"My mom can fix that," she confidently told the friend. "She's really good at sewing stuff. She altered my sister's prom dresses."
I, however, blinked both eyes when DD2 put the dress on for me to see where and how much it needed altering. In fact, I think maybe my eyes started to tear, and then to glaze over in fear. For you see, this is a strapless dress, with a sequined bodice, and boning. I have never had to deal with boning before. The alterations I made on DD1's prom dresses were much simpler. They were of the type where you just pinch a half inch or so under the arms and fold it over to meet the seam. No disassembly necessary.
That kind of stuff wasn't going to work on this dress DD2 was so excited about. Partly because it wasn't the sides that needed to be taken in. This was more along the lines of bust-shaping work and repositioning a few seams. And we weren't talking about 1/2 an inch here or there. No, when I started pinching and pinning to see how much tighter I needed to make the bodice so it would stay up at prom no matter how vigorously DD2 danced or if she raised her arms, it got a little scary. In fact, I asked the height of her date and then suggested that DD2 needed to wear only 2.5" heels to make her as tall as her date, so no arm raising while slow dancing would be necessary (DH suggested just no slow dancing at all, and problem would be solved)!
Anyway, I estimated about 5" of changes needed to be made overall.
Did I mention that boning? Yeah, that was in the way, which meant I would have to remove it, make the changes, and then replace it.
Did I mention the sequins? I wasn't even sure what to do with the sequins; if my machine could sew through them or if I would be breaking needles left and right.
Did I mention 5"? I needed to resew each bust seam so that the top of the dress came in about 2.5" on each side to be tight enough. The lower rib cage was fine; it was just from mid-boob up that was loose.
Did I mention it looked like I was going to have to take the top half of the dress apart to accomplish these things? My eyes definitely glazed over.
So I set the dress aside for about five days. I was worried. I didn't want to ruin a gorgeous dress, even if it did only cost $25. (Yep, you read that right, $25 for a floor length dress with sequined bodice and tons of tulle overlay on the skirt.)
Then I gritted my teeth, looked at the calendar (at that point, Prom was just six days away!), and did some searching of the internet for tutorials on how to alter the bodice of a strapless dress with boning and sequins. It didn't look too bad. Very time consuming, but at least not out of the realm of possibility.
Pretty much I needed to take the dress apart, from the top, down to the point where the bodice needed to come in. Out came my seam ripper. In went a deep breath and a "I can do this" pep talk. Then I began to rip out stitches.
Off came the piping at the top of the bodice. Now I had two parts to work with: the front fabric, and the lining. Each had it's own seam that needed to be altered.
pin marking how far down to rip the seam
commence seam ripping on sequined front fabric
Then those seams had to go, from the top down almost six inches. Each layer had to be adjusted, pinned, and a new seam sewn.
sewing the new bust seam on front fabric
After getting all that done, I began to wonder if it would have been faster to just make a prom dress from scratch! Truthfully, it only took about two and a half hours start to finish, including a few places that had to be handsewn.
looks just like before I ripped it apart
Now I am Coolest Mom in the World. At least until the next time DD2 gets upset with me. There's a pretty good chance that will happen between now and Prom this Saturday. Afterall, we still have to figure out how she wants her hair styled and DH and I need to name her curfew time for that evening. Most definitely going to lose my title then. But I'll get a new one: Strictest Mom in the World. Won't be the first time I've swapped one for the other. Or the last.