My Senior Prom dress cost me about 20, maybe 30, dollars.

That’s still kind of a lot, though, considering I generally only buy clothing that’s $10 or less.  I have splurged on a few items in my lifetime, however.  Of note are the following specimens:

This blazer was twice my usual single-item spending limit =/

We’re not going to talk about how much these cost me.

But I’m pretty sure you can’t really get a blazer or boots for under $10.  And I’ve been to many a clearance section, and the cheapest full-out prom dresses (I was aiming for intense my senior year) were at least $80.  So I think $30 was a good deal, especially since it didn’t come off of a cheap clearance rack.

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I’m not exactly sure why I wanted to start sewing.  I guess I’ve always been a fan of DIY, since I was always the girl who hated group projects because I’m anal about everything (writing blog posts is an unnecessarily long, arduous process for me), and no one else ever did things right.  So I started off with simple things like reattaching buttons, sewing up holes, and other such minor repairs. Then I became a vain teenager who could never throw anything anyway, so I started tailoring loose shirts and patching up ripped jeans (these were not the “cool” types of rips).  Patching up jeans is pretty ineffective with just hand-stitching, so I asked my mom to teach me how to use her sewing machine.  I used it rather infrequently, so I’d always forget how to thread it >_<

As you can see, my sewing training is nonexistent.  I didn’t even know how to sew a straight line until I went through a quick quilting crash course halfway through my senior year, about three months before I decided I’m going to make myself a prom dress.  Right before Prom.  So that I would have to scramble to find an affordable dress if the whole making one thing didn’t work out.  But no matter; things always work out perfectly.  Because I’m perfect.  Of course.

But I am kind of a lucky bastard.

A good prom dress needs ribbing, and I still don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t randomly found this:

Please forgive me for the quality/composition of this photo. I took it loooong before I ever thought about making a blog.

a few years prior in a closet no one really used (=full of everyone’s random crap).  (And, apparently, also crap of random people.  But it was a free dress, so I didn’t ask any questions.)  I think I originally thought about just sewing up the sides to make it smaller, as it was MUCH too big and I had found it during my tailoring phase, but that never happened.  I also wasn’t too motivated by the black top + long, not even full!, white skirt combo.   But the top had ribbing!  So I took it all apart (thank god for seam rippers!), cut out the back because I am fond of corset tops, and attached a bra because strapless bras = incessant awkward adjusting, and I was planning to be shaking it at the dance, not tugging.

The last pieces of cloth standing.

I knew I wanted a corset top and a full-bodied skirt, so with those specifications in mind, I Google’d “prom dresses”.  (How things ever work out the way I want them to baffles me.)

I saved a whole bunch of prom dress .jpegs onto my computer (that I still have, HA), but one particular one stood out because it looked less high maintenance, and I didn’t want to buy tons of tulle (which would add to the costs of my budget-but-awesome prom dress) or wear any (I still have memories of horrendously itchy, albeit supercute, dresses from my childhood).  But the more truthful reason for settling on my (more simpler) design was because I knew I had no idea what the hell I was doing, let alone how to make a poofy, full skirt.  And I thought this would be doable.

More doable than Leo in Titanic.

I just didn’t like the extended bodice, so I tried to imagine what it would look like with a shorter one.

This is my extremely crappy piecing-together-in Paint job. I didn’t even bother to use a legitimate photo editing software.

Like I said, I wanted a really full skirt.  And things always work out the way I want.

…But what I want sometimes changes.  Or, more precisely, I adjust my desires to be more adaptable to my environment/reality so that I don’t go insane from so much repeated disappointment.

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I really didn’t know how to make a full skirt (with just one piece of cloth), and I actually still am not quite sure…  I think I just had it in my head that making REALLY large pleats would somehow create the effect so beautifully illustrated above, even though I knew pleats don’t really do much for volume.

So I just decided to wing it.

I magically made an essentially perfectly pleated skirt–large pleats, rested comfortably on my hips once wrapped around–after only the second try.  Then I used my SUPAR TAILORING SKILLZ to make a fitted bodice.

I was pretty happy with the result:

Not the fullest skirt, but I’ll take it!

I especially like the back :3

I tried stuffing this fake tutu thing I once bought from my local high school theatre’s costume sale fundraiser under the skirt to make it fuller, but it just ended up looking like this:

It actually looked worse (=more hilarious) than this.

But in actuality, I was REALLY REALLY REALLY pleased with my dress.  It is a really sloppy sewing job if you look at it closely, but this was my first legitimate sewing project, and I found a really good matching thread, so you’d have to look really closely to see the crappy stitches.  Mostly, people just saw this:

My husband/daughter/grandmother(?)/roommate and I dubbed ourselves Prom King and Queen, with the blessing of essentially our entire school. (Because people didn’t want a real contest because no one wanted to compete with our sexiness: Fact.)

And I most certainly have nothing bad to say about that.

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