First, a study of the graduation dress for my daughter Y.
- Simplicity 2648 (I cut a size 8 with the C-cup and average fit skirt. I stitched 1 1/4” side seams which made it 1” smaller and the fit is good. I added 1/2″ to the center back seam allowance for a 1 1/8” seam allowance, which allows for final fit adjustments when I put the zipper in the actual dress. I curved in the front princess seam under the bust about 1/4″ to get a better fit.)
- I shortened the skirt length 3” (A compromise between mother and daughter. Daughter wanted it shorter. I made her sit down in the muslin so she could see what would happen if I made it as short as she wanted it.)
- I drafted the pockets by making a 9” square. I made marks 4” from the front corner at the top of the pocket and 4” from the bottom corner at the side, and connected the marks with a curve. On the muslin I positioned the pocket at the front princess seam, wrapping it to the back. I will make a dart in the pocket so it fits the curve of the hips better, eliminating a gap at the pocket opening.
- In designing Y’s dress, I made a v-neck in the back and added belt loops, a tie belt and patch pockets. After she tried on the dress, she vetoed the belt loops, so I had to remove them. She wore the dress with the belt tied in the back; cute idea.
- Fabric: dress is white mediumweight linen; underlining is silk organza; lining is white lightweight cotton. Underlining the linen dress with silk organza helps to reduce the wrinkling factor of linen, but doesn’t eliminate it altogether. As well, the underlining gives the dress body as a very lightweight interfacing.
- I finished the neck, armholes and tie belt with purchased wide, double-fold bias binding in white. I used the applique stitch on my embroidery machine to secure the binding, adding a simple decorative element at the same time. I mistakenly left one package of binding in the store, so I cut the binding for the hem from the white cotton used to line the dress, applying it so that it looks like binding on the front and forms the hem facing on the inside of the dress.
- Before cutting the dress, I prewashed all the fabrics in the washing machine in plain hot water, using the hand-wash cycle for a few minutes, a cold water rinse, spin cycle and then into the dryer until dry. This shrunk the fabric so the dress could be washed later without worrying about it shrinking. Tip: I serged all the cut edges of the fabrics before tossing them in the washing machine to prevent them from raveling; you can also zigzag the edges to prevent the edges from raveling.
I love the fit of the dress on Y and will be making her another one in black, probably in crepe with in-seam pockets. She has grown up and is off to college soon and every young woman needs a little black dress in her wardrobe.
Now, toot toot on the horn. As parents we encounter those moments when we look at our children and realize they have leaped to another stage in their lives. Yesterday at Y’s graduation, I had one of those moments. She is the salutatorian of her class, with one-tenth of a grade point separating her and the valedictorian. WOOHOO! At her age, she has a bio. I was stunned while it was being read: volunteer work, leadership roles, tennis, and her trip to China. She walked to the podium in the Comcast Center at the University of Maryland and gave her salutatory address. A couple of thousand people, her face on giant screens, and she was a picture of confidence. Her voice projected, she did not fidget, made eye contact with the audience, paused appropriately, used inflected speech, included appropriate humor, and smiled. She wrote her speech and would not let me read it beforehand. As far as I know, she practiced it two times, once for the assistant principal and once in her room. I was amazed at her performance. Later at the celebration dinner, she and my younger son mentioned how Mrs. Miller at the summer camp at church was always telling them to speak louder when they were doing their presentations. That’s when it dawned on me, my daughter was being groomed. At eighteen, she was already where I was at thirty. I am proud of her and I look forward to her future.