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!  😀