Prom Gown Sew Along l Easy Lace Applique

Hey Everyone!  My plan was to have this up right after breakfast… but the upload time on the YouTube was ridiculous… Over 263 minutes of upload time :(  …Even as I type this at 4:22 pm, the video is still “processing” with 7 minutes to go.

Today I want to show you how I appliqued the lace motifs onto the lace overlay.   Before getting started with this technique, I wanted to back up and talk about supporting the lace with a silk organza underling. Between you and me, I didn’t take the time to do that when I was making Abby’s dress because I was only adding the 5 tear drop shaped lace motifs to the bodice.  If I had decided to get a little more detailed with the applique, adding more elements, I think the tulle (that was the foundation of the beaded lace) would have needed some support.  Silk organza is an excellent underlying for this purpose because it’s very sheer and super strong.    If you’re working on a dress that has a lot of applique work, I recommend underlining the lace overlay.

If you have any questions about creating lace appliques, creating the overall lace design, or anything else… please let me know!


Prom Gown Sew Along l Tour of the Dress


…After Abby wore it to the prom :)  Hey Everyone.   So excited to show you the dress and how it held up during all that dancing.    Today I’m going to take you on a tour inside and out.  …What worked well and what didn’t work so well.    Then I’ll give you the schedule of upcoming tutorials to finish this sew along up.  I decided that I would break them up into single techniques instead of uploading everything into one long video.

Here’s a full length photo of Abby and her best friend before she left for the Prom.

TouroftheDress1In the end, I felt so happy as I watched her get ready, take photos and climb into the party bus that took her and 29 of her closest friends to the prom.  And, I’m also so happy that I’ve been able to share the process with you!   If you have questions that I did not answer, please feel free to post a comment and I can add your question into the mix.



Prom Gown Sew Along l How to Cut and Sew Beaded Lace

Hey Everyone,    Abby’s Prom is on Friday… (where did this month go?)   The good news is that the dress is almost finished.  I’ve been posted behind the scenes photos on my Instagram.    Today I want to show you how to cut out and sew beaded lace.  This technique would be the same from sequin fabric (except you would carefully take off the sequins that are in the seam allowances instead of smashing beads).    Thursday, I’m going to show you how to use individual lace motifs to create a flattering design on the bodice.

Next week… After Prom, I will give you a tour of the inside of the dress, with some construction and finishing techniques.   I’m super excited about the extra heavy-duty invisible zipper that I used for the closure and the waist stay to keep the bodice from pulling down.  I think Abby will be able to dance her butt off without having to hold her dress up!

If you have questions, please let me know.  If anyone is working on a dress,  I’d love to see how it’s coming along… send pictures please!!


Prom Gown Sew Along l Boning

Hey Everyone,   Kicking the Prom Gown into high gear!   I worked on the strapless foundation, lining and silk bodice yesterday.  I want to show you how to add boning to the strapless foundation.  When I was in Haberman Fabrics this past weekend, I found the boning I needed (thanks goodness, because I forgot to order it before I left for Michigan).   I also purchased 4 yards of 3/4″ casing for the boning.

Today I’ll show you what spiral and solid steal boning looks like.  How to measure the bodice to determine what lengths of boning you need, and how to sew the casing.

Then in the next few days, I’ll show you how to work with beaded lace.   Plus, I’ll show you how the bodice fits Abby.  Very exciting!

Sewcial Sewing Retreat Round Up!

Hi Everyone,  I’m back from the Sewcial Sewing Retreat.  It was held at the Suburban Showcase in Novi MI.  Gail Yellen and I drove out there together (through the rain and snow) on Thursday last week.  During our road trip I tried to work on my knitting.  Happy Dance, I can knit in the car without getting car sick!  We were excited to get there because the first event was a fabric shopping trip to Haberman Fabric on Friday morning.  Haberman’s is a fabric lover’s paradise.  They have so many specialty fabrics that there is a separate department for bridal and prom gowns.  I found some really nice Ponte Knit and Denim that is backed with French Terry (Stay tuned for more about that!) …Of course, all the fabrics I picked out are in my exciting color scheme or black, dark blue and khaki  (but you can see that they had an amazing selection of fabrics in every color and print imaginable!)


I also got two kinds of steel boning for Abby’s Prom Gown.  I’ll share all the details about that in the Sew Along tomorrow.


Saturday and Sunday were dedicated classes and special events. I was teaching with Janet Pray, Gail Yellen and Andrea Schewe.  (I felt so honored to be teaching with a very talented group of ladies!)  One of my favorites things was the gift exchange.  All the participants received a piece of fabric in the mail with instructions to make something out of it and bring it to Sewcial for a gift exchange.  I made a little zippered bag… which I thought was a cute little gift… until I saw all the other gifts.   So creative…check it out.


At lunch on Saturday, Rhonda Pierce from Schmetz Needles talked about the history and how a needle was manufactured.   I didn’t realize that those little needles were so labor intensive!  One of the new features of these needles is that they are now color coded with size and type… just in case you can’t read the label stamped on the shank : )


Part of what made it such as success was all of the sponsors.   Thank you so much…  Baby Lock, Reliable, Coats and Clark, Free Spirit Fabrics and The American Sewing ExpoLeabu Sewing Center generously provided the sewing machines and sergers (yes the wonderful Ovation) for the class rooms, and one of the door prizes was a Baby Lock Sofia 2 Sewing and Embroidery machine!   Among the prizes, there were an Iron from Reliable, Sarah Veblen’s Master Skirt DVDs from Threads’ Magazine, Islander Sewing, Applique Scissors, Gail’s new book, Serger Essentials, and my Ponte Knit Jean Pattern and Workbook.  We had such an amazing time.  Some of the ladies were life long sewers and others were just learning, it was really great!

If you didn’t have the opportunity to attend this special sewing event this year… I’m really keeping my fingers crossed that they have it again next year so you can join in!



Prom Gown Sew Along l How to Sew Tricky Fabrics

Hey Everyone,   Thank you for the well wishes…I am almost back to normal (It takes longer to bounce back now that I’m almost 50!)   In this video, I’ll show you why I’m not going to use French Seams to sew my silk charmuse… But I am going to show you how to do a French Seam on Silk Organza.

I may upload something short next week… but I’m leaving for the Sewcial Sewing Retreat on Thursday, and I have a lot of things to do before I leave.  One thing I’m working on is a Preview video for my first every 4-Day Jean Fit and Sew Workshop.  I’m super excited because students will have time to fit and then start working on their jeans, and I’ll be there to help them through the more challenging construction, like the front pockets and fly zipper!  It’s going to be held at the Hallowood Retreat and Convention Center in Frederick County, Maryland over the Memorial Day Weekend.  Blondell Howard (from the Sassy Sewer) and I have planned an amazing weekend…  I’ll have more details for you soon!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this Episode of the Prom Gown Sew Along… If you have questions, please let me know!

Prom Gown Sew Along l How to Cut Out Tricky Fabrics

Hey Everyone… I almost made it!  Unfortunately, I can’t sit long enough to edit the entire video for today.  After my love of sewing, design and watching my daughter play volleyball is my love of playing volleyball myself.   In the last five minutes of play, I managed to pull something pretty bad in my butt/hip.  I’ve never hurt that part of me before, so I was a little concerned that it might be serious.   A few days later, I’m happy to report that it’s not, and I’m getting better really fast.  But, it has slowed me down.  The worst thing is sitting upright in a chair.  So, I’ve made good progress (standing up) on Abby’s prom gown… but I had to call it a day on editing when I finished the “How to Cut Out” portion.

After a good night sleep, I’m going to wake up tomorrow and finish this weeks Episode of the Prom Gown Sew Along.   I got a great question about interfacing vs. underlining silk charmuse… Plus I want to show you how to sew a French Seam.   So enjoy the cutting portion… and stay tuned for the rest tomorrow!   xoxo Jen


Prom Gown Sew Along l Fabric and Design Update

Hey Everyone… Quick Post today.  Here’s a peek at the fabric Abby picked out for her dress.  We went to Fabric Place Basement in Natick MA yesterday (Happy Easter Monday :)   We also tried on the strapless foundation and overlay.  Abby decided that she liked the strapless foundation by itself…so no overlay.  Let me show you how I adjusted the top edge of the bodice to fix the shape of it, plus my new design page, boning placement and interfacing selection.   I am ordering metal boning and boning casing from from   Please let me know if you have questions. …Thursday we’re cutting out pieces, interfacing, and stitching sample seams!!

Prom Gown Sew Along l How to Fit a Bodice

Hey Everyone,   Here’s Part 2 of the Prom Gown Sew Along.  Besides showing how I adjusted both a bodice with a bust dart and a princess seam, I’m also revealing the gold beaded lace that arrived in the mail to day…Very Pretty!

If you’re working on a dress and you need to do a full bust adjustment, there are step-by-step instructions.  If  you have questions about how to rotate a dart… let me know, and I’ll do it as a quick tip!   Also, if you have specific fitting questions that I did not cover, let me know.

Prom Gown Sew-Along l How to Read a Pattern Envelope

Hey Everyone, I’m kicking off the Prom Gown Sew Along today :)  Super excited because I have the opportunity to make a dress for my daughter…and share the details along the way!  Today I want to show you all the important information on a pattern envelope, how to pick a good size to start with, and share some thoughts about picking out a pattern that reflects the style of the dress you are going to make.

I haven’t working with a commercial pattern in a LONG time…  I was very pleasantly surprised when I pulled out the instructions to McCall’s Pattern No.  6893      There is a lot of great stuff included.  For example, there is a “paper doll” section where you can trace the pieces of the dress and put them together to create your own unique design.

…I’ve also started to adjust the pattern pieces, and they seem to be more realistic when compared to a women’s figure than I remember.  Stay tuned, on Thursday I’ll show you how to adjust the pieces and create a fit muslin.

If you have specific questions about fabric, picking a pattern, sizing or anything else, please let me know. I look forward to working on this project with you :)