Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Patience and Perseverance Required a.k.a. The Prom Gown

The first of week of March, I gallantly told my daughter to choose any sewing pattern off the Internet after she told me she wanted me to sew her prom dress.

“So when is the prom?” I ask her.

“Oh, sometime in April?” she replies nonchalantly.

“When in April?”

“I don’t know, I have to check.”

So instead I check at the school’s website. It’s April 16. I thought, “Oh I have more than enough time!”

I also browsed for patterns online and showed her my suggestions. She eventually decided on a Vogue gown pattern by Bellville Sassoon. I checked the reviews of past users and found only three who dared made the
gown. All but one rated the pattern as difficult. Detailed reviews enumerated a lot of mistakes on the pattern itself. With that, I asked my daughter to reconsider and choose an easier Simplicity pattern instead. But no, she was in love with that gown! So I thought I’d give it a try and warned her that if it doesn’t work out, she’ll have to go shopping at Macy’s for her prom dress instead.

I sewed a muslin first and fitted it on her. It was perfect around the waist and hips but a little loose around the chest. Since the pattern did not have typical easily alterable seams, I knew I had to cut out second muslin, this time going a size down but the thought of going through the tedious steps one more time made me decide to do it directly on the fabric which was an “atom red” crepe back satin that I purchased from Jo-Ann’s (armed with ten coupons). All the while, I had my fingers and toes crossed!

The pattern had only a few pieces but it was like completing a complicated jigsaw puzzle. I would never have figured out how to do it without the helpful tips posted by reviewers from Pattern Review.com. Even after I had pieced the parts together, I still had no idea what it was supposed to look like. I was already hemming the gown and I was still filled with doubts. But everything became clear after my daughter tried it on.

This project really required a lot of patience and perseverance. In the end it was all worth it. I learned how to sew on an invisible zipper. I learned how best to cut and sew delicate slippery fabrics. I was able to make my first bustier. After this, every other project felt oh so simple I was breezing through them.

Details on the pattern can be read on this post.


  1. Your daughter looks lovely in her prom dress. The pattern is complicated but you did a wonderful job on this dress.

  2. Thank you Audrey! Coming from you, that's a great compliment! I just discovered your blog and your works are inspiring me.

  3. Just wanted to let you know that we like your version of V2929 so much we posted a link to your blog from our Vogue Patterns facebook page.

  4. Spectacuar! This is stunning! Great color.

  5. @Kathy, that is so cool! I really appreciate your vote of confidence!

    @Anonymous, thank you!

  6. Stunning gown, beautiful daughter!!
    Your attempt to create the dress turned out spectacular.

  7. HI,
    I am just working on the muslin for this dress, and agree it's a wicked pattern! I feel much better, however seeing your comments on errors in the pattern. I thought I was losing my mind until I went back one more time to check the pattern pieces and could see that one Piece was 4" longer than the piece it was to be sewn to. Your dress is gorgeous. It was good to see it in a closer photo so I understand the 'knot' at the waist better. Thanks for sharing.
    Jean Bartos

  8. Hi Jean,
    Glad to help! Good luck with your gown:)