Prom Problems

Being a seamstress you have to walk the fine line between moms and daughters and some sense of decency. Really? Or do you just throw in the towel and put your hands up and cry “Uncle”/ just give in?

Last week, a 15 yr old high school Sophomore brought in a very short 27 inch long dress that her mother thought might be too short for the Prom. The girl is at least 5’9 so imagine how little 27  inches covers. Looking at the dress I could actually see her underpants in front and her butt cheeks in back, never mind the fact that when she sat down, there was no fabric under her her behind. That said, the girl loved the Trixxi tutu dress and didn’t want anything changed and announced that she would be wearing 4 inch platform heels to the dance making her 6’1 inches tall. Here is what the dress looks like on a model:spin_prod_961310512 Her dress differed as the top 2 tulle layers were attached to fishing line so they curled up:1 gold-front2 gold-back The lower edge of the sequined knit top is supposed to sit on the waist but it fit her like an empire top. What I suggested was adding 4 inches to the dress with a real lining and 2 more layers of tulle to total 23 inches. The original lining was made from ivory cotton knit like from a t-shirt. I added an A-shaped lining over the old knit one and 2 layers of tulle 3.5 yards long mini pleated on my machine and all layers hand sewn under the original curled tulle:4 gold-front-finished This would now cover her underpants but a day after picking up the dress the girl had other ideas. She tried on the dress and folded under the new lining to the exact level of the original lining and asked for another 2 additional layers of tulle to be added by hand. The only thing she liked was the white ribbon belt held in place by white thread loops. Here is what we will end up with:6  gold-dress-revised Once she wears her high heels you will be able to see everything she owns front and back but she will be happy. The final dress on the dress form:


In contrast with that short ballerina dress, a 17 yr old Senior brought in her dress and it needed lots of hemming. OK, so what’s the big deal, Mrs Mole, get your scissors out and just do it…small problem…the sequins and beads are attached in a horizontal zigzag pattern so they dip down and back up all along the hem edge. This means if you want to cut any off, the entire unstabilized/knotted fishing line that holds them there will release all the beads at once. Great so after hemming the poly lining, the satin and poly underskirt, I had to hand sew every bead on the lower edge before cutting the tulle. Even with anchoring the lowest bead with thread and knots that darn fishing line weaseled it’s way back up the dress and started releasing more beads…Holy Mother! So now we have at least 2 beads secured for every dip down of the zigzag pathway of fishing line. But the girl and her mother have visited me last year with an equally challenging dress and they are very respectful of my time and we have a laugh as she promises to never return with a Prom dress again…of course not, the daughter is graduating…ha ha.217307_1_85_110  2-front-blue3-back-blue Nice dress isn’t it? There was a little surprise inside attached to the lining:1-petticoat  All of this raggedy tulle was half pleated/half not and just barely basted to the skirt lining way up at the waist…so nasty, so I removed it for a smoother line.

Both my sewing rooms have filled up with bridal gowns so I have lots of work ahead of me but it all makes for great photos for all of you. Thanks for dropping by and I wish you stress free sewing this week!

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39 Responses to Prom Problems

  1. You’re amazing! Seriously, I don’t know how you manage. Dealing with crazy tacky client wishes would have me running for a strong cocktail! You tried on that prom dress…but that deluded girl, bless her heart…

    Hope the upcoming wedding season brings more joys than “run for cover” situations! Can’t wait to see you posts 🙂

  2. mrsmole says:

    Oh Cheryl, at least I don’t have my arms in a cast like you do!!!! Poor thing! The weirder this stuff is, the better the blog posts…you know the old saying, “A burden shared is a burden halved”…well it works for me…you all get to carry my loads! ha ha

  3. Alicia says:

    I don’t know where that first girl goes to school, but showing up with your actual underwear hanging out would be a good way to get yourself kicked out of the dance at my school! 🙂

  4. Annette says:

    I’m hoping she is wearing underwear to the prom and not a thong. Perhaps you could suggest leggings? Do they realize that they are throwing off the proportions? I am amazed that you held it together and didn’t tell them to leave! This sounds like one of the Project Runway episodes that had a client from you know where.

    • mrsmole says:

      Well howdy, Mrs Toad, I have given up suggesting anything to this girl and her mother…I just hope I don’t see them in the next 2 years of her high school career and have to go through this charade of making a dress more modest. Project Runway and now “Under the Gunn” make me laugh and cringe too. At least they only get the occasional challenge of bad clients…ha ha…try every week!

  5. mrsmole says:

    The fact that she is only a sophomore and 15, to me means she has no business dressing like that or even going to a dance for older young adults. It takes all kinds, Alicia.

  6. theresa says:

    Wow, I can’t believe her parents aren’t putting their foot down so to speak. Go in something decent or don’t go at all…..I want to say in my HS way back when, you had to be a Junior to even attend the prom as a date. Maybe she’s related to the gal with the tighter than tight and shorter than short wedding dress you did a while back…:)

    • mrsmole says:

      My high school required actual male-female couples and only Juniors OR Seniors…not even both..back in the 60’s they were separate! Hooker styles come in all ages and heights, Theresa!

  7. Colleen says:

    I would suggest using a fabric/sequin glue that dries clear for the sequins near the hemline. I run occasional basting stitches to mark the hem line before cutting. I then can see what beads that will be “at risk” and hit them with glue on a toothpick. Once in a while a sequin drops when you cut the hemline but then you can hand sew or glue one more time or not worry about it depending on the location. Also put a waste fabric under the tulle for protection but I am sure you would think of that.

    I have altered around 50 prom dresses this month alone…April will be worse. I work for a local bridal and formal shop. Good Luck…this is a crazy time! I love seeing your blog. Thank you for
    taking the time to share! Colleen

    • mrsmole says:

      Fantastic idea, Colleen…some days I get stuck in having to do things the old fashioned/hard way and glue would be perfect…and I even have a fresh tube of Tacki-glue handy…Tomorrow all the lower beads get a dab!!!! Thank you sooo much!

  8. Lynda says:

    OMG! I can’t believe a lovely young lady of 6′ +/- would want a dress that would make her look like she has a 12″ body that is super fluffy! She could have gotten something that made her look regal, instead she looks like a joke. So sad.
    Have gingham, new pattern, hopefully will rock and roll tomorrow! THANKS!

  9. ceci says:

    thank goodness, I have been unable to find Fit for a Queen for the last several weeks and thought maybe you had STOPPED! No idea what happened but I am delighted to be back enjoying the adventures….


  10. prttynpnk says:

    Wow. My little religious school got really liberal the year of my senior prom- we got to wear off the shoulder! Do you think you could find a partner to make matching formal trench coats for these gals?
    Maybe you can get Mr Mole to escort them to the car for a trial ‘get in the car without going Lohan’ practice before they decide on that microskirt!

    • mrsmole says:

      Poor Mr Mole gets his fill of the dresses on my mannequins…he surely doesn’t need to see the dress on a real body…ha ha.From his office window he sees them walking up the path and back down the path and he has a pretty good imagination as to how all this works or doesn’t. So, did you wear an off the shoulder style you rebel you? Was it leopard print, Anne?

  11. June says:

    This dates me, but for my high school prom (early 90s), all the trashy girls wore floor length gowns. Of course, the bodices were “tighter than tight,” skirt were slit to the crotch, breasts were were spilling out of the top, etc so it still left nothing to the imagination. Some things change, other things stay the same. So good to hear that some clients still are respectful of your time and impressive skill.

  12. mrsmole says:

    At my high Catholic high school in the 60’s wearing pants was forbidden even to football games…you could be suspended and expelled…same punishment for being seen smoking within one mile of the campus. Strapless and sexy dresses were not even in fashion. All mothers wore full skirt dresses, never pants except if the were in a bowling league or did gardening…different times for sure. All girls had to wear full slips under their dresses, were checked daily and we were made to kneel on the floor to make sure the skirt hem touched. Funny to think this was OK back then, June.

  13. I’m 5’ll, and I remember being beyond frustrated that a lot of the cute styles were made for shorter girls. I do feel for her, but I think I was a little less delusional about proportions and modesty…I bet she’ll cringe at her pictures later.

    • mrsmole says:

      She might even cringe before the photos once her date realizes the message she is sending…she may get more attention that she wants under all that tulle.

  14. Yowsa! In that dress she could be back for a wedding dress really soon (after her parents get out the shotgun!) So far I have been pretty lucky with the dress choices the girls coming to me have made. Smile and keep sewing Mrs Mole 🙂

  15. mrsmole says:

    Yes, Kim, it is always the joke that the price of a short prom dress might be a wedding or unexpected delivery by the stork 9 months later. The seniors seem to go with more suitable styles and want to elegant, the 15 year olds think tacky is terrific…but then again they are following idols like Miley Cyrus….God help us!

  16. Linda Craig says:

    You have the patience of Job

  17. poppykettle says:

    Oh gosh. There’s one positive I can take away from that prom dress and that’s that she’s got the guts to pull something like that off. I would never have been comfortable revealing so much at that age! Or my current age! haha.
    In contrast, that blue tulle with the sequins and beads is really gorgeous. I don’t know how you do it! 🙂

    • mrsmole says:

      Mr Mole says it is all free entertainment although he has to endure my moaning later. Poppy, maybe pulling off a racy dress like this doesn’t involve guts…maybe she is using her naive 15 year old nature and the parents and step parents are just letting her have her way to keep the peace…that happens.

  18. Carolyn says:

    All I can say is wow to the tunic top prom dress!

  19. mrsmole says:

    Ha ha…Oh Carolyn, I think when a dress is labelled “TUTU” you should steer your daughter clear of it! The only ones wearing tutus should be your darling granddaughter!

  20. Sharon N. says:

    The way the tutu girl has her hands folded makes me think she is practicing being pregnant. Goodness. What a tragedy. If that was my daughter I would have cut the top from the tutu and added about a yard of fabric between the two. Lol

  21. sewruth says:

    The 15 yr old’s prom dress appears to be as wide as it is long – doesn’t anyone ever listen to your styling advice?

  22. mrsmole says:

    Ha ha…some days I’m just the woman in the floor with the pins. Half my job is being a psychologist and mediator between mother’s/stepmothers and daughters…this project would be rated an “F” for fail…you win some, you lose some. As Mary Chapin Carpenter sings,” sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug”. Fingers crossed for your white with rainbow buttons fitted blouse competition in PR!

  23. Andrea says:

    Quite the study in contrasts, Mrs. Mole. It kills me to see young girls showing it all…

  24. mrsmole says:

    The difference between 15 and 17 is amazing and also it highlights the mother-daughter relationship.

  25. symondezyn says:

    I always love your posts, Mrs. M – you are entertaining and informative all at once! (always a great combo!) Part of me is horrified when I read about the 15-year old in her tutu, but part of me remembers being 15 and not really understanding how to dress for my height and the fact that clothes look way different on models. Poor thing – let’s pray they all learn dress sense before it’s too late! LOL

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