Saturday, April 03, 2010

Prom Dress 2010-
Maura, my daughter, has all the makings of a VERY creative person. Last year's Prom dress was all about the cutting edge of a fashion movement (Goth Lolita) that just didn't exist as a shopping option here. With the help of my sister, we pulled it off by putting a couple different patterns together and two days of Marathon sewing.
This year's dress began with the announcement, "I'm going to make a dress from Dorito bags". Our response? "hmmm.. ok. How are you going to do that?" Her answer was "Don't worry. I've got this". (her typical response to most of our questions actually. Truthfully, she usually DOES have it, so I wasn't too worried.) As time got shorter, however, I did begin to worry and consider how I would go about doing it. Finally, Maura asked for some help and we discussed ideas. This is what we came up with.
Dorito bags are rather thin so we used a fused plastic technique and sandwiched the bags between a bottom layer of black garbage bag and a top layer of thin painter's drop cloth plastic. The benefit of this was that she could "collage" the bags rather than sew them to each other and that she could make smaller sections (that fit each pattern piece) rather than make one large piece of "fabric". We purchased a pattern that allowed us to do smaller sections rather than large pieces and one that allowed for the stiffness of the plastic fabric. (She'll have no need of a tulle underskirt this year!)
At first, we thought the gathered layers would have to be made as "pintucks" instead of gathering, but we were able to gather it using a technique of zigzagging over a cotton yarn, which makes the whole gathering process much easier when you are using thicker fabrics. (and in this case, plastic) The bodice is lined with black cotton fabric and the under skirt is also of fabric. I believe this makes it more comfortable and breathable.
There can be no mistakes making this dress. There is no ripping out stitches. I think the zipper could have looked better, but given that it was the first time we'd put in a zipper and the plastic is a slippery thing, it's not too bad.

I would be remiss if I didn't also document that we had some opposition to this dress from the school administration.
Basically, the Principal heard of the dress and said "well, that's not going to happen." and that statement was relayed to Maura via a teacher. She was very upset and so were we on a couple points. One point was that he was condemning the dress without ever asking about it or seeing it. The second point was that they use Maura's photo at the school to celebrate the (desired) character quality of "uniqueness" and then were condemning her for it.
My husband went to the school and talked to the Principal for quite some time. The final upshot was that she would be allowed to try to enter the Prom with the dress, but if it did not withstand the dress code, she would not be allowed to enter. He also apologized to her for dismissing it out of hand.
We are completely satisfied with how things stand. We are happy that she is allowed to try to bring her vision to reality and that she is not singled out by having to conform to a higher standard that the other students.
We are rather pleased that she has this kind of creativity and aren't about to squash it.
This dress will not be the most elegant and probably will be considered a bit garish to some but it is certainly GREEN and forward thinking and creative, so I think it's ok it's not elegant. I also think it will catch a lot of attention everywhere she goes.
We plan on documenting the dress in stages and as a finished dress prior to Prom. Thank goodness her date is fine with the whole thing! He's a good friend to do this.


At 1:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barb, call me or email.
I'm interested to see the progress of Maura's prom dress. I'm pleased, but not surprised, that you and Steve support her creative independence.

Katherine likes U. of Ark. in Fayetteville.
She'll start work at Kanakuk May 21.
We're driving to Charleston May 9-19. Mother had a stroke in Jan., and she's recovering very very slowly in a subacute rehab facility in Charleston, SC.

My brother Sam & sister Rebecca visit every day.I'm still working at Titanic & have already arranged time off. Stone Cty Council on Aging will be OK too.

I'm thinking about signing on for a demonstrating craftsman space at Branson Mill. No rent, 25% of sales, be there 30 hours/wk.
Would you consider doing this with me OR filling in while I'm away?

Do you think you might be interested in doing some work with clay (tiles, sculpture,handbuilt )?
I could fire your work.

Do you know of anyone else who might ?

It's 136 square ft in a corner with a lower wooden ceiling (last occupant sold light fixtures -makes natural vs florescent light possible.)

Margaret Barnett

At 9:30 AM, Anonymous alison schwabe said...

Very interesting and thanks for letting us know the ins and outs of this whole project, including how the dress was received by the powers that be at the school. The shoes and little black bag set it all off really well!

At 8:40 PM, Blogger Chica and Jo said...

That is the coolest prom dress ever! What a creative reuse and kudos to your daughter for being so unique. It's a fantastic pattern as well and fits her perfectly!

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