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Monday, May 14, 2012

Killing Myself for Dying

This year my oldest baby is a senior. She graduates in a couple of weeks and soon after starts college.

Just typing that up there, I had to pause. Too much, too fast and too soon.

Okay, on with the post.

A couple of years ago while shopping at Ross, I saw this dress.  Pink and sparkly and froofy.  A girl's dream dress.  But nothing that my own daughters would want to wear.  They don't 'do' pink, or sparkly or froofy or girly.  But it was such a good deal (marked down, down, down to $20.00) I had to get it just to have.  I thought if anyone needed a dress. Who knows.  Anyway...Here's the dress.


Big, obnoxious, sparkly and pink.  Since I purchased it, it's been hanging up and put away.  Then about a month before prom, my 18 year old said she'd wanted to wear it from prom. I was shocked, to say the least.  She said she wanted a poofy dress and liked this one.

Okay. Sure. Wear it. Awesome! *exhale*

Then came the 'buts'.  "But I don't like the pink." "But it needs some straps."

The exhale I made quickly became a way of making room for the deep breath I was about to hold until prom.  Now, anyone who knows me, knows I love to make things harder on myself. Always. I love to do it myself, to prove that I can and to show my kids anything's possible.  But this time, it was very serious.  This was prom. The ONLY prom my daughter will ever have. Senior Prom.

So now the plan had an outline. No pink. Straps. Sure. I can do this.

The first thing I did was go buy some RIT dye.


I took the dress off the hanger.  Then took a deep breath as I lowered it in a tub filled with HOT water and RIT dye according to the instructions and stirred with a wooden spoon.  I kind of felt like an old crotchety witch. There I was, in the middle of my kitchen hunched over the steaming  tub of black water drowning a dress.

I did this for over an hour.  Then came the time to take it out and figure out how to rinse it.  Hmm.  My idea was to wrap it in the heavy old comforter and rush it to the bathtub to rinse in cold water.  What happened was wrapping it in the old heavy comforter and rushing it to the bathtub...then realizing I left a trail and black drippies all along the way.  So, I threw the dress in the tub and ran and got my carpet steamer and steam cleaned the trail.

Then rinsed the dress in cold water until it all ran clear.  This is what I ended up with.


Not exactly what I was aiming for. Too much polyester in this dress for a good dying.  The next step was a spray dye. There are several to choose from.  But as usual, I'm me, so I chose a pump spray. In black.



I take another breath, hang the dress up in the garage and start spraying.



One coat and I was very impressed.  Now, I'll stop a moment to say this, I have rheumatoid arthritis.  Pumping a small bottle over and over again became a huge pain. Literally. I wasn't sure how long I could do this.  But I bought four bottles and I used them all.



After I finished a bottle, I hung the dress outside to dry a little more quickly.


After I used the four bottles I knew I needed more.  So back to Michaels I went. It seems that I bought my local Michaels out of the Tulip pump spray.  So I went to another one, they were out as well. Then I saw this.


I gave it a whirl. And it worked wonderfully, and saved my hands from pain.  So, two more bottles of this were applied to the dress.

Finally. It was all black.  Now, the dress is tulle and sequins mostly.  The tulle is easy to dye. The sequins will stay shiny. The shiny under 'slip' only got dyed through the tulle. I didn't want to completely dye it black because they more I looked at it, the more I liked a little of the pink showing through. it gave it depth. Done. Dress is dyed,.

The next thing to do was to figure out 'straps'.  My first idea was to make a halter type top like this :

This was my original thought because the more my daughter talked about the dress and how she wanted her hair, the more it sounded like she wanted a 50s style theme. She agreed. When I went to pin everything in place as a test run, it was evident she needed something from front to back with support. With the halter, the back of the dress was puckering out.

The second attempt was a criss cross type style.  Easy enough, I thought.  I went and bought some black tulle. I knew I needed layers to hide the straps of her razor back bra, but to just pin and get the measurements, I used one layer of tulle.  Start at the outter bust, like the photo above, and cross to the back to the opposite shoulder blade. Then did the same for the other side.  Took them off after marking the dress and cut five layers of tulle. Off to the sewing machine!


I had my work cut out for me.  Sewing tulle is a nightmare, for me. It's very slippery.


Sew, sew, sew, sew. Front, back, front, back. Done. Put it on her, and it looked so very cute. I was very pleased with myself.

The next step was cutting a bottom tier off the dress.  It's a 'to the floor' dress, but she was some super heels she wants to wear. I thought, going with the 50s theme, let's take one tier off and make it a tea-length dress.


Perfect length now. And yes, I did cut the slip as well. LOL

After I got the straps right, the length right...the next step was a shawl of some sort. My daughter wanted something from shoulder to shoulder. You've seen the 50s dresses with tulle sewn in shawl type things. Right?


I took four widths of tulle and sewed them together.

I'll stop for a second to brag about my sewing machine. I love it.  It's a 1958 Singer sewing machine with table.  It works like a dream. I just love it.



Ok, now back to the dress.  I sewed four widths of tulle together for a shawl. However, I didn't sew it on. When she was dressed, made up and hair done and we arrived for photos before prom, I took one end, pinched and bunched up and slid it under the strap I sewed on. Then loosely brought it around and tucked in the other side.

The End.

I say that, because I failed to get a single shot of my daughter in detail with the dress.  I was a crazy person putting the dress together for two weeks then when prom was here, I turned into a blubbering mess of a mommie.  So this is what you get....



The redhead is my daughter. Here you can see the shawl
and the straps.  The one of the right is my
choirdaughter, Asia. 



Here is most of the dress, as she adjusts the shawl.



Another view of the length...




And here is a close up of my beautiful daughter. 




Prom was a blast, then mama rested.  Next up....high school graduation.  I'm not ready.

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