And then I altered a formal gown

Original Photo
Less than 24 hours before my sister left for school, she informed me that her formal dress needed altering. Not even a five days notice. I'm not talking about a quick hem or taking in the sides - but, like, adding sleeves to a sleeveless dress.

I wish I could've told you that I responded graciously like any adoring little sister, despite the time crunch. But the brutal truth was that I had a headache, I was awake on three hours of sleep (me + three hours of sleep is a very bad combination), and I just wanted a long nap and some pepperoni pizza. Actually, I was being an grouchy introvert who didn't want to be bothered.

But, because I am the gracious sister that I am (to a degree), I stupidly agreed (though I grumbled loud enough to knock a building down.) I'd seen those pinterest DIYs of adding sleeves to sleeveless dresses...and I just assumed that it couldn't be that hard! Come on...this is Bethany - apparently intrusted with chopping up formal dresses.


The first thing that went wrong: the dress was two sizes too big. The second thing that went wrong: I took in too much on the sides and made it one size too small. I don't normally scream, but when I do...well...never-mind.

 Because I was a grump and in no mood to rip out stitches, I told my sister to hold her breath and we spent about two minutes trying to zip up that wretched dress. I think I lost my fingers in the process.  Zipping dresses truly is a lost art that I never discovered.

 The third thing that went wrong was the fact that we had no fabric. Wal Mart was not an option...because our Wal Mart is so lame, and there's never anyone to cut the fabric (unless the guy in the sporting goods is nearby...and guys don't really know how to cut fabric...especially if their specialty is selling knives and guns.)

However, the dress itself had a humungously long sash. My mental gears started working - and without thinking too hard (lest I change my mind) that sash was chopped in two.

The fourth thing that went wrong, was that I was tired. And when I get tired - I go hysterical. I'm not even kidding. It's only happened about three times in my life....but when I go hysterical - I go hysterical.

It's just awkward fitting people for dresses. You have no idea how I sacrificed myself. Bailey was dying of laughter as I repinned the sleeves for the zillionth time. I don't even remember what happened, but Bailey lost her cool and busted out laughing - and I was so frustrated and tired I started screaming from laughter and tears and ended up on the floor crying and laughing at the same time.

Besides killing myself with countless sewing pins, and almost breaking the sewing machine for the millionth time in my life - I finally gave up in despair. It looked horrible.

Well, I never pretended to be a dressmaker. I threw the dress in my sister's lap and told her I quit.

What a horribly disloyal sister.

Even though I think it's disgusting - apparently it suits everyone else. They think its lovely. Whether it is or isn't - I really don't care. I've just learned that sewing sleeves on sleeveless dresses isn't worth it. Ugh. Thinking about it just makes me cringe.


  1. You are an amazing seamstress, and EVERYONE has said it's gorgeous.

    Also, I hate to tell you this, but Erich's mom gave me two beautiful dresses to keep...and neither of them have sleeves.

  2. I saw the completed project, and it turned out lovely! (What, no picture of it?) Bailey's happy, and I'm happy because traipsing through 3 resale shops produced absolutely no suitable dress. Most prom/evening/ball dresses that we saw consist of precious little fabric these days. And what's with everything being sleeveless and strapless?

    For everyone reading, the formerly strapless dress now has wide, gathered straps, fits well, and looks very feminine, pretty, and modest. You're a good sister, Bethany!

    I love all the Disney gown transformation pictures--that seems to be a common theme, doesn't it? I was also thinking you should have included a "Gone with the Wind"/ Scarlett O'Hara- inspired "cinching up the corset" photo! :)

  3. @ Bailey - well, you do know that I jacked up my prices since that last project. Btw, tell me when the zipper falls off. I'll have a proper fit of crying until my lacrimal glands shut off permanently.

    @ Mama - I don't know about Scarlett O'Hara...it would've ruined the entire blog post, seeing I can't stand "Gone with the Wind" (you've participated in our conversations of the tortuous ONE time we watched it, right?) But compared to all the screeching you heard upstairs...I'd say that's a very fit picture of the "cinching up the too-small formal dress".

  4. Ahhhh, so funny! :) I do wish you included a pictures, though.... :)



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Maira Gall