Sewing

The $1 Dress

The 1 Dress The Prudent Homemaker

Winter just attended her first formal dance, a Winter Ball put on by the local LDS Seminary, which she attends. They have 375 students who attend a religion class early every morning an hour before school starts. 

Because of our dating standards, only those who are 16 and older could bring dates to the dance. Everyone was welcome to bring friends to the dance.  Winter invited a cousin to come with her, which worked out well as Winter’s closest friends are 16 and had dates.

Our plan was to scout thrift stores for a dress, but then a dress came along. Winter told my mom about the dance and my mom mentioned a dress she had bought at a garage sale for $1 several years ago. She had never worn it and she said Winter could have it if she was interested.

Dollar Dress The Prudent Homemaker

Winter really liked the dress, but it was several sizes too large. She removed the sleeves, took it up in the shoulders, and took in the sides. 

The sleeves were unlined. I spent $1.50 for some fabric to line them. She cut the sleeves smaller and sewed them back on.

Adjusting the shoulder seams meant the back was a bit too high. She cut the neckline down in back, and then removed the zipper and put in back in a bit lower for the new neckline.

 Dollar Dress Detail The Prudent Homemaker

Her accessories were simple.  She took a warm scarf that I bought at a garage sale last year for $1, wore a pair of earrings that were a birthday gift from her grandmother a year ago and a necklace that I had given her for that same birthday (I paid $1 for the necklace at a garage sale).

Dollar Dress Necklace Detail The Prudent Homemaker

She had a pair of vintage gloves that were given to her when she was a child. One of the buttons was broken and the buttons were white plastic that looked to have once been pearl covered. She removed them and replaced them with some pearlized shank buttons from my button jar. 

Dollar Dress Gloves Detail The Prudent Homemaker

She decorated a hair comb with a piece of a broken cubic zirconia bracelet that she received at a Church activity a couple of years ago and part of a broken plastic pearl necklace. I gave her a set of plain hair combs for Christmas, and she used one of them as the base. She glued the jewels on with some E-6000 glue.

Dollar Dress Hair Comb The Prudent Homemaker

 

Dollar Dress shoes The Prudent Homemaker

Her shoes were a recent gift. Her friend’s mom had bought a pair of pearlized pale pink shoes for her daughter online. The shoes and the box were both marked “Child size 7”–but the shoes were too large for her daughter. I wondered if they were possibly an adult-sized 7, and I tried them on, but they were still too big. I asked Winter, who wears a women’s size 10, if she wanted to try them on. They fit her perfectly!

Dollar Dress Black and White The Prudent Homemaker

She did her own hair and makeup. She and a few friends got together ahead of time and Winter did hair for a couple of the girls and another girl’s makeup.

Several friends had dinner ahead of the dance at a friend’s house near the dance, and then they all went together to the dance.

Dollar Dress 2 The Prudent Homemaker

 She’ll have other occasions to wear this dress again, so it will get plenty of use in the future, too!

Flourish 2

Linking to: Moonlight and Mason Jars

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83 Comments

  1. She looks very classy and elegant. This is DEFINITELY better than the silly amount of money I spent on prom/homecoming back when I was her age. I hope she had lots of fun!

  2. So beautiful! And what a wonderful opportunity to learn how to be creative and resourceful. I hope she had a wonderful evening!

  3. What a testament to the tender mercies of the Lord–all coming together to make a first formal dance special! Winter is beautiful from the inside out. Thanks for sharing.

  4. The whole outfit/dress/accessories/beautiful girl—-it’s all so nice. In the past, our girls have belonged to a group that did formal dinners, and we needed to be creative as well. I’m sure you feel a real sense of satisfaction knowing she had such a good time, and even better–didn’t break the bank! I’m glad she will be able to wear it again because, even though the dollar cost was low, her time altering the dress is very valuable, too. She is learning good sewing skills, but even so, I’m sure it took some time to do all those alterations. Great job! You did such a good job on the photo shoot, too. Good memories for her to keep!

  5. What lovely pictures of a pretty, talented and creative young LADY.

    I’m going to ask – how did you arrange for the white pony? Since only those 16 and over could bring dates I’m assuming Prince Charming (who doesn’t exist anyway) didn’t ride him there 😉 The pony is a unique touch for sure.

  6. Lovely! What a beautiful daughter you have, Brandy, and what a beautiful outfit for the dance. I hope she had a wonderful time.

    Our children have their first dance in two weeks and are really excited about the whole thing!

    Thanks so much for sharing,
    Lea

  7. Beautiful girl, beautiful dress. I always had hand-me-downs for the formals I had to attend. I also had to do my own hair and makeup. Those are the times memories are made of. I am so glad you also got great pictures to go with those memories.

  8. She is so pretty. In a few years when it is time for her wedding I am betting she makes her own dress. She has a real talent and an eye for beauty. I love to see girls dressed in beautiful gowns that are not cut to the bare skin and leave ‘nothing’ to imagination.

    Last year my daughter in law and I took my only grand daughter shopping for a prom dress. Sabrina, my grand daughter wanted a dress very similar to Winter’s dress except she wanted it to be in a gold color (school colors) We looked at many dresses and so many were short or strapless or cut up the thigh. Goodness these are teen girls, not ladies getting ready to go on stage someplace….Sabrina is tall, she is full figured (big bust) but not fat by a long shot…she has a difficult time getting modest clothes. Anyway we found a pretty dress that was a ‘mother of the bride’ dress in a bridal shop. After looking at so many prom dresses and not seeing anything at all very modest we were about to give up and I was all set to make something…but Sabrina had her heart set on a store brought dress because it was her first prom and she wanted to share the experience of getting the dress with her mother and I. We found the dress and I did make a few alterations, as I said her bust is big and her hips are small. Her waist is 27. She is so beautiful in her pictures. She wore new gold sandals with the dress, (the prom was in May) and I had taken her to get her hair and nails done (a good friend of mine owns her own salon. I had so much fun doing that with my grand daughter. It was wonderful. (she also wore flat shoes because her “date” (her brother) is not real tall.

  9. Well done and very beautiful! This is how we roll at our house in the thrifting department as well. Lars is continuing to thrive in the costume design program at SUU. We thought of you as he took pictures of his latest transformation of a wedding gown. He did the photo shoot at Lake Las Vegas just before New Years. He took a photography class and took his own photos rather than needing you to take his pictures this year. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post of your own beautiful daughter! You have such talent, Brandy!

  10. Wow, the results of hair, dress and makeup are fabulous! Winter may be creating a career for herself here! I know a man who built his own floral business and owned his own shop for many years, who started out by making homecoming corsages for his friends to give to their dates (and his own date) in high school, just to earn a little money.
    I love all the alterations — she is so much braver than me when sewing! She has a talent for these things, it’s obvious.
    How great that all this cost next to nothing. One of my daughters wore clearance dresses to prom, the other borrowed dresses from friends. This is even better, actually — it costs less than clearance but can be kept and worn again, unlike borrowing.

  11. You have raised a rarity in this world — a true lady. She will certainly go on to bless those around her with her talents, intelligence and beauty.

  12. This post has just blown me away. First of all, the gown is stunning…I can’t believe it was bought for just $1 to start with. It was so kind of your mother to offer it to Winter.

    Second, I don’t think I’m even close to having the skill set to alter a dress to that extent. Needless to say, I am in awe of Winter’s ability to do this. It looks so professional, I honestly would have never know it was even altered! Again, just outright stunning!!!!

    Then there are the accessories…just WOW! I LOVE that necklace!!!! I can’t believe you found it at a yard sale for $1. The earrings are beautiful. The scarf matches the dress so well, I would have thought it came with it. And those vintage gloves are so, so elegant! I love that you fixed them by swapped out buttons from your sewing stash, too.

    Finally, words cannot express how absolutely amazing this photo series is. Brandy, I am in complete awe of your talent in photography. What a precious gift you have. The beautiful horse was such a wonderful touch, too. I hope you will be framing some of these photos for Winter. They are so magical, they deserve a place of honour on the wall!

    BRAVO to all of the hard work and talent that went into such a special event for your daughter. You and your daughter have all outdone yourselves on this one. Thank you sooo much for sharing with us!!!!:D

  13. Lovely, elegant and refined. This almost brought tears to my eyes. Such a rarity to see a young woman who is beautiful as well as modest. For some reason I was really reminded of the movies of Jane Austen novels. Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. Congratulations to you and your husband for raising such a treasure and to Winter for her many skills (and excellent taste!). Wealthy young woman who are debutants don’t come close to achieving this level of taste and style.

  14. So lovely! Winter has done another amazing job with her sewing. It is a talent to be treasured. I love that she was able to have a vision
    and execute it. She has grown up to be such lovely young lady. So many talents and so beautiful from the inside out. Congratulations to You and your husband. The photos are beautiful thank you for sharing with us.
    Blessings,
    Patti

  15. Oh, I was thinking the very same thing! I spent a whopping $160 (plus tax) on a prom dress….back in 1980. My shoes were $50, my purse was $30. That’s not even counting the hairdo and manicure costs. The manicure was $7 and really my favorite part of it all! That was long before manicures were normal for HS girls. I was a life-long nail biter and made a NY resolution to stop biting them that year. My mom told me that if I kept it, she’d let me have a manicure for prom. Out of that whole expensive night, my favorite part was looking down at my beautifully polished nails!!! I never even really liked the dress. I have no idea why my parents let me spend so much money. I wouldn’t let a daughter spend that much now!!!

  16. Oh, so so beautiful! And I love that she looks like a young lady and not a……I’m sorry to say this!!!!……floozy! I’ve received so many pictures of my nieces and friends’ daughters and the dresses are cut UP to THERE and DOWN to THERE, ya know? I so clearly remember a boss of mine bringing in his daughter’s prom picture. I was surprised they even had a prom because their church/school prohibited dancing. I was stunned to see her dress was hugely absent of any modesty. He asked what I thought and I told him she looked very grown up. He sighed and said, “My baby looks like a hooker.” I thought that was terribly sad. I often wondered why he allowed her to wear it.

    Brandy, thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures. It’s refreshing to see a picture of a lovely and modest young lady!

    I also love the cost!!!

  17. Brandy, what a wonderful post! Thank you. Congratulations to Winter for creating a beautiful and magical dress and looking so beautiful! And congratulations to you both on figuring how to make magic with such ingenuity! Really great photos. This post made my day to see something so wonderful.

  18. Winter looks lovely, & did an amazing job altering her dress. I am glad that her Seminary put on a Winter Ball.

    Our 4 children attended a total of 3 high schools in 2 states, & none of the Seminaries sponsored formal dances. It would have been nice to have an alternative to the school dances, where both the music & the attire left a lot to be desired. For the most part, our kids chose not to go.

  19. Thank you for sharing the photos and the story of how everything came together. It must be so much more rewarding for Winter to know she has not caused extra, unnecessary spending, and yet has put together a fantastic, and appropriate outfit for the occasion. I love the details of the accessories, especially the gloves. My granddaughter took 14 years of dance lessons and had gloves and wigs (and plenty of barely appropriate outfits) but she did put the bits and pieces together with other dresses to make other outfits also. We paid a pretty price for those accessories, but she is an expert now with makeup and accessories. We did formal outfits and Halloween costumes. I am happy I know how to sew, even if she doesn’t—her mother and I still laugh about a “FIX” I did to one of her first maxi-dresses. It was a casual summer sundress, but she loved the plunging neckline (and actually developed her adult figure fairly late, so got away with it for a while.) After a few wearings, she brought it to me for mending–had stepped on the hem and pulled out some of the waist seam. While fixing that, I also sewed the neckline up a good two inches higher, and she never noticed until we told her about it when she was a couple years older! (She’s much more modest now, but does have a good figure–and has learned a little more about looking elegant instead of eye-catching.)

    You and Winter both must be very proud of providing a stunning look with a minimum of money. The lesson will serve her well throughout her life. And I’d guess she got some advice during the alteration phase from her clever and artistic mother! The sleeves look very nice and you would never guess they had originally looked any different. Great job, both of you!

  20. A lovely look for a lovely young lady. Great job, Winter! Brandi, the pictures and the resourceful nature of you all are amazing. I hope they had a wonderful time.

  21. That’s really wonderful, Brandy and Winter! Winter, your dress-altering skills are superb. You will be able to clothe yourself, beautifully, for life,at little cost, with those skills. And Brandy, you have taught your daughter such great resourcefulness. Well done! To both of you!

  22. Just lovely.

    Being able to make alterations is a skill that will come in handy many times, I’m sure. (I wish I could just sew well enough to make things that could be worn in public.)

  23. She is turning out to be quite a beautiful young lady! It seems as though her talents are just as beautiful. You are to be commended, Brandy.

  24. She looks great, and she must be a fantastic seamstress, accessories designer and hair/makeup artist to have done everything as beautifully as she did. The photos are wonderful; hope she had a terrific evening at the dance!

  25. I’m very taken with Winter’s ability to produce that lovely hairdo on her own!! Did the mustang have a bath, he is so clean and white in the photos!! beautifully done Winter. Ann Lee S Vancouver Island, BC Canada

  26. The girls discussed it and they don’t give the horse a bath in winter to keep her from getting sick. They did discuss giving her a good brushing before the photos, but I don’t know if the other girls did or not.

    Winter does her hair up all the time; if you look at my previous post she is wearing her hair the same way (including the hair comb), but wearing a sweater and jeans. She follows tutorials on Pinterest and You Tube, and if she sees a style without a tutorial she always tells me she knows how to do it. She says Pinterest is better than any magazine!

  27. Beautiful work, Winter! I’m so impressed at everyone’s resroucefulness. She looks elegant, timeless, and so classy. No trends to regret later! 😉

  28. What a stunning post – I love everything about it! Your beautiful daughter looks lovely and happy. Her obvious enjoyment and pride in the outcome is so sweet, especially in these times when so many people spend so much on an occasion like this. The photos are gorgeous. Winter’s sewing skills are amazing – the photo of the back of the dress especially shows how well-done the alterations are. If you had not said the sleeves and zipper had been re-done, no one would ever know. What a treasure these skills will be to her throughout her life. Thank you for sharing and best wishes to your family!

  29. Winter looks beautiful! Great job done by all. She will have the sweet memory of her mother and grandmother helping her for this day.

  30. Well done! We have a formal banquet every five years or so for New Year’s Eve. This year’s will be formal and I will be so excited to share this with the girls of my church. They have often spent two and three hundred dollars on a formal gown that then must be altered to meet our modesty standards, so this post just proves that you can do it much more frugally! Winter looks wonderful and I am astounded at how well her alterations turned out! Thank you for sharing!

  31. Lovely! How proud you must be of your daughter. Not only does she look stunning, but she did a great job altering the dress.

  32. Brandy and Winter, everything is beautiful and resourcefully done. You have much to be happy and content about.

    Dances and proms are something we did not attend due to our church rules. But our youth have plenty of opportunities to socialize, including a dress up banquet once a year.

    I thought the link you provided was very informative as regards the dating standards, modesty, etc.

  33. WOW.. !!! i MEAN WOW !!!!!!! that is such a great thing that she can sooo and beautifully.. I would love to learn.. ah.. one day..
    sue in NJ

  34. wow she looks great in that dress and all the accessories she is wearing…I’m astonished that it is possible to make something so wonderful from a old dress…and I want to try it to…I think it’s great to now how to remake clothes!!!

  35. The dress is amazing! Very elegant! And your daughter looks absolutely gorgeous in it. I am amazed that she could sew to make the sleeves fit herself. This is really a difficult job. Congratulation on being so skilled!

  36. this dress is so beautiful that it could be a wedding dress! Congratulations to your beautiful daughter for transforming everything into magic for a magical evening!

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