Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Semi-Formal Tradition

My two oldest step daughters
It's that time of year again when high school girls go gaga over the sparkle and splendor of dresses at department stores,  hoping that certain high school boy asks them the age old question they are dying to hear,  "Will you go to the dance with me?"

We are in the midst of stepdaughter #2's junior year of high school and like all her friends,  she can't wait to show off her latest look in tulle and sparkles. She wants a truly unique dress that encompasses who she is at the moment. While her taste is continually changing she has always been a girly girl. In the past, we've browsed stores to see what's available but this year she didn't even bother with that. She knows the tradition at our house.

I have three step daughters.  The oldest is in her first year of college,  the middle one is in high school,  and the youngest is finishing up her last year of the torture we call middle school. In short, this is the 5th time we've done the Semi-Formal dance hoopla. Of the previous 4 years only once did each of them wear a RTW dress from the store.

Freshman Year
My oldest step daughter wore a pink satin number trimmed in gold rickrack her freshman year. She loved it and even now that she's gone off to college, it still hangs in her closet here at home. 

Her sophomore year she bought a dress. Not much I can say about that.

Junior Year
Her junior year she wore a retro orange and black fit and flare style with elbow length sleeves and a giant bow that tied the back together. For her, this was the moment she learned the value of custom made clothing. Everyone complimented her dress and told her that only she could have pulled it off. And for the first time, she was really proud to tell everyone that I'd made her dress. And it had pockets. Bonus. 

The following year, the theme for the dance was "The Great Gatsby". Both of my older girls loved the movie and they were so excited.  For the oldest, we revamped a hot pink bridesmaid dress into something a little more steampunk by adding a bustle and some black lace. With a pair of elbow length gloves and a feather boa, she was thrilled with her new vixen look. The middle daughter went straight for the costume patterns. She wanted total flapper glitz and glory. She got the shapeless shift of the 1920's with sequins and fringe.

Senior Year for #1
Sophomore for #2
This year, she wants something even more sparkly. She came to me with a picture of a dress she found on Pinterest that had a fitted bodice and a full gathered skirt...but she wanted it in a print instead of a solid, a sweetheart neckline, no, strapless, shiny, with a contrasting underskirt that shows a bit at the bottom...yeah, that's my girl.

At this point, we pretty much have every pattern under the sun as far as dresses go, so after browsing through the drawer of patterns, we once again ended up with a costume pattern because it most fit what she was looking for. We paraded off to the fabric store expecting the trip to cost us more than any RTW dress ever had, but she surprised me. She picked out a blue, pink, and gold brocade fabric that was on sale. then when picking out the tulle for her underskirt, we went with the bottom layers in a flat off-white, and the top layers in an off-white with gold glitter. After picking up the remaining notions and using a few coupons, we escaped the fabric store for just under $45. Once again, that's my girl!

I'm excited to keep this tradition of our going this year, and hopefully it will continue next year with my third and youngest step daughter. I'll do a separate post on #2's new dress in the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for that.

I am curious though, does anyone else have any sewing traditions like this?

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