The Perfect Prom Dress

Daughter no2 is doing a Diploma in Catering and Hospitality at Gloucester College alongside her normal school GCSE’s, and part of that course is an Extended Project.  The students can choose anything for their topic, then they research and report.  This is a big project.  So, doing a catering diploma, you’d have thought she’d go for something food related.  Nope.   The title of her project is:

” What is the perfect prom dress for my body shape?”

So to answer that question she has researched body types, we have drawn round her and joined dots so she can recognise her shape.  She has looked up all the do’s and dont’s and on top of that, looked into the colours that suit her, all to make sure she comes up with the perfect dress.  She designed 10 dresses and then whittled them down to one, using the criteria she’d researched.

These two sketches had the main things she liked, the fishtail, the floaty draped fabric and the one shoulder.

One of the designs, this with the draping fabric from the shoulder and the fishtail.
Off the shoulder, waist defined, long skirt.

Here is the final sketch, not the one for the project, this was done quickly by her at the fabric shop, because in our wisdom we’d left the “real” one at home that day…  The proper one is in her sketch book, safe and sound!

A quick sketch done in the shop, with some fabric samples and peacock feathers to show the colour influences.
Front view of first toile, it’s not as fitted as it could be

Once she was happy with her design, I set about making the pattern.  Using the one piece dress block I adapted it to the lingerie block to get rid of excess ease.  We went for a panelled dress so we could add as much volume to the hemline as possible.  The fullness comes from the knee.  After the first toile there were only minor alterations to do, one was for a sway-back.  Also the dress needed to be tighter from the hip to the knee.  There was a certain amount of excess in the top edge which needed to be removed too.

first toile back view, too loose over hips
All the fluffy things are my tailor’s tacks. There was some excess in the armhole on this side.











This is the final toile.  I made it up in a navy and black shot polyester taffeta so she’d get a real sense of how the final dress would look.  I put her in some proper shoes and got her to prance around the garden in her pinned-together dress!

Finished toile, more fitted.
Looks almost good enough to be the real thing!
And lastly, a side view

The final dress will be in a crepe backed satin, in a teal or blue/green sort of colour, possibly with a purple chiffon or georgette drape from the shoulder to waist, caught in a belt and flowing to the floor.  The crepe backed satin will have some body so it will hold the shape of the skirt well, and I might need to re-inforce it with some horse-hair braid.  You’ll have to look again next June to see the final outcome!  😀

Author: Anne W

I love fabric, and sewing. And I could do nothing else but sew, all day, every day, if I could!

19 thoughts on “The Perfect Prom Dress”

  1. I hope that she will have an opportunity it wear the final product. The design is beautiful. I wouldn’t waste the toile either. When you’ve cut the gown, I’d turn this one into a mini party dress.

  2. Lovely sketches! I love to see the final dress with the feathers. Will it really take a year to see this?

    1. Unfortunately, yes! With the way she is still growing I really don’t want to put loads of time and effort into making the final one this year. With my luck she’ll have shot up another 5-6cm and filled out a little more too! So we may even have to make the pattern again.. :s So for now, and to fulfill the requirements of the project, this is as far as I dare go!

  3. Thanks for stopping by my blog – I came to see what you have been doing and have stayed while I drank TWO mugs of tea! And I am supposed to be sewing.

    Your daughters dress is lovely – as is your daughter. I look forward to seeing the ‘real thing’ next year.

    1. Wow, 2 whole mugs! And I haven’t been all that busy on here lately at all! I must get busy with pattern cutting again, there have been too many things taking me away lately. I’m glad you found enough to keep you engaged for 2 mugs worth of tea, and hope you still have enough time in your day to do your sewing!

  4. Oh wow! What an amazing project. Your daughter’s drawings are gorgeous. As is she. What an amazing figure. The perfect model too! So looking forward to seeing this one…. I can wait!!! 😉

    1. Thank you! She actually presented this project at school today, a proper presentation – powerpoint, dress on a mannequin and a full A3 sketchbook. The tutors were rather impressed and said the quality and quantity of the work was what they’d expect from a Level 3 Project! Fair to say Daughter no2 was glowing when I picked her up this afternoon!

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