Another Band Concert, Another Dress

This week as I was hand-stitching lace sleeves, and wondering just a little why I was doing it, Ifinally acknowledged that I have a deeply-rooted belief that every special occasion in Daughter’s life deserves a new dress. Why?

Well, 35 years ago, or so, another little girl’s Mother made her a new dress for every special occasion, particularly band concerts.

And, 55 years ago, another little girl had closets of beautiful clothes, carefully made or made over by my Grandmother, Carmen Rosalee. Carmen had a hard childhood, and in overcoming that she has passed on fairy-tale dreams through three generations.

Which brings us to today. At the thrift store last fall I came across this beautiful blue silk dress for 99-cents. It had a stain on the front (again, no “before” pictures), but I decided to take a chance. I brought it home, applied stain treatment, and threw it in the washer. (Yes, it said Dry Clean Only, but…) After hanging it dry (I have decided that the dryer ruins more clothes than the washer does), the stain was gone.

Remaining was a beautiful special-occasion dress.  Wonderful color. Not a great fit.

Time to remodel! Cut the shoulders (VERY SCARY) to shorten the bodice and widen the straps. This was the hardest part. Scissors make very permanent alterations. (Love those little strap retainers.  I reattached them in the end.)

The lining picked out fairly easily, allowing the strap to be adjusted with less pain than I anticipated.  A lot of pinning made the sewing go easier.

Then it could be re-stitched by hand.  Not perfect, but it is on the inside, and who is going to look there?

Sleeves are the next most difficult, but can be drafted by measuring the existing arm hole and getting shape suggestions from professional patterns.

After that it was all lace and details from my big pile of junk.

Add a hairpiece made from the very last scraps of lace.

And, ta-dah, the princess is ready for the ball, or the concert in this case.

ps–Just so you don’t think she is completely spoiled, this will most likely also function as her Easter dress for the year.

pps–Sorry for no full-length “after” pictures.  The computer “upgrade” of a month ago left me with no picture editing software that I can find.  Darn it!  But, I am working on that.  Trust me, she looks beautiful!

13 thoughts on “Another Band Concert, Another Dress

  1. i know she looks lovely in her beautiful new dress….from where i sit anyway…i think it is great if you want to make her a dress for every occasion or one that will do for 2 times…but she is so lucky to have a mom who can do that who had a mother and grandma and great grandma who could do that..keep on showing us the things you re fashion..i love looking at them and wishing i had done that when my daughter was younger..

  2. you did a fantastic job. And she looks very pretty. Isnt it wonderful to have a creative side that we can pass down?

  3. Oh this is wonderful! What a lovely, terrific makeover! I especially like that sweet lace made into cap sleeves and the matching flower — perfect touch!!! I’m sure it’s enhanced by the sweet girl wearing it. 🙂

  4. Once again a great job well done Mom!! As I’ve been saying for most of my life and will continue to say-I couldn’t function without the wonderful thrift shops of the world! We would be mostly naked and the house would be mostly empty! Bodice/waistline work always has scared me the most even after all these years.I really love the waist sash, very flattering! The color suits her beautifully. I’ve often taken a chance on my thrift treasures and dunked the dry clean only. There have only been a handful of times that I’ve been sorry,and I could not agree more as far as the dryer goes. But it is handy to have when I want to felt something.Kudos on another smashing success-you should be able to make a nice deposit in the imaginary see-what-I-saved-us-honey! account.

  5. Absolutely gorgeous job, Deanna! I loved the way you put the story of your mom and grandmother, too. What a beautiful dress for a very special daughter. The sash is just the touch of perfection. I wish I were there for the concert.

  6. You are so brave to dive in with scissors and an idea! And it all comes out beautiful in the end. And if it doesn’t, oh well, it was a thrift store find, and a bit of this & that from the junk drawer. My mom used to do that all the time for my sister and myself. Not so much for my brothers, except for Halloween costumes – we had the best costumes ever.

  7. That’s such a beautiful job. And she models everything so well.

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