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Plus size prom dresses
kimdkus
kimdkus
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Member since 7/31/12
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Date: 7/31/12 9:45 PM

Hi All, I'm new here and I"ve been sewing for maybe about a good year. My church has a started a program in which we collect prom dresses and then give them free to underprivileged girls who may not have dresses. I love it. Problem? No plus size dresses!!!!!! Last year, our first year, we had 300 dresses and maybe 20 of them were sizes 18-24. Very sad to turn away our more voluptuous girls. So this year, I've scoured Goodwill, SA, etc looking for sexy and cute prom dresses. Guess what?? Nothings there!!!! I've found plain dresses and blinged them up, but I want REAL prommies. (of course I found hundreds of smaller sizes.) I decided to try my hand at making something simple, Butterick B5461 strapless but mine is sequined dress and a sheer overlay skirt (stole idea from Macy's). so I'd love some advice on plus size dresses. (I'm size 8). someone had suggested I enlarge a regular pattern. Has anyone enlarged patterns? Any advice would be great. thanks all.

tinflutterby
tinflutterby  Friend of PR
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California USA
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Date: 8/3/12 12:27 PM

Speaking as a parent this is such a kind idea. I love it. I would also warn you to include straps with every dress. Our high school vigorously enforces no strapless dress rule at all dances. They can always be removed.

61sew4fun
61sew4fun
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Washington USA
Member since 4/13/12
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Date: 8/4/12 10:26 AM

Teen plus sized formal wear is very different than women's. They are still firm with most body parts where they should be, lol. On princess line seams especially directly under the bust I usually bring it in 1/4 to 1/2 inch or more to get the fit the girls are looking for these days and they seem to prefer almost no wearing ease. I have made lots of dresses for teen girls over the years and this has been the trend over the past 10 years or so.

------
61sew4fun

kimdkus
kimdkus
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In reply to tinflutterby <<


Date: 8/7/12 7:43 PM

Thanks!! I never thought about a no strapless rule. I'm so glad you said something. I've seen the one strap that starts in the center of the dress and goes over one shoulder. I will make sure I put in the straps and even removable ones. :))

kimdkus
kimdkus
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In reply to 61sew4fun <<


Date: 8/7/12 7:45 PM

Thanks, 61. I'll be sure to bring in the seams.

mastdenman
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Date: 8/7/12 7:53 PM

Jessica McClintock outlet stores have great deals on formal gowns of all types. Youngest DD got her prom dress for $15. Of course that was about ten years ago, but still it's worth checking out if there is one in your area.

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Marilyn

January 2009 to January 2010 81 yards out and 71yards in January 2010 to the present 106.7 yards out and 146.5 yards in. January 2011 to the present: 47 yards out and 69 yards in.

katlew03
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Date: 8/7/12 11:09 PM

Our church started a Cinderella's Closet about 6-7 years ago. The first year we had the same problem. We probably had less than 200 dresses and very, very few plus sizes. I was going to make some but never found the time (after purchasing fabric). We had to turn away a few in the size 26-30 range. One girl fell in love with a dress about 3 sizes too small and i constructed a lace-up back from a sash that left a lot of back uncovered, but it took a lot of time. We had the local newspaper run articles with pictures and requested dresses from the community the following year. I think we doubled the number of dresses and have slowly added to our plus sizes. We receive lots of dresses from a bridal shop on the other side of the county that are in top condition but just did not sell. This past year we had one girl who just could not fit into the largest size. The shop owner said if we had that situation, to send the girl to her. The girl was in tears because there was no way to alter the dress she chose so we gave her the shop's card. I did not hear back how it turned out but from past experience, I would be pretty sure the girl received a dress at no cost.

We now have over 800 dresses and the number grows each year. We encourage girls to return the dresses but don't require it. A local dry cleaner used to clean the dresses for free until we got so many and now does it for $20 which we cover by donations from the church and community. Most dresses have been cleaned, if not we give the girl a ticket to have it done and we cover the cost at that cleaner's. Since so many dresses don't get chosen, it is much less expensive to give the cleaning ticket instead of cleaning every one that comes in. We also collect jewelry, shoes, and purses that are free with the dress as long as the supply lasts. We also try to do hair and make-up the day of the prom and one of our members takes a picture for free.

It is a big undertaking but well worth the effort. Last year we gave away 200 dresses. Every girl, except the one, left with a dress and a big smile. I was in charge of alterations, which are done on site and limited to minor repairs and fitting issues. We made the decision regarding shortening the dresses and do not alter from one size to the next. Last year we closed at 6 PM and the alterations team was there until after 10.

This is a lot more information than you requested, but you may find it helpful. As for making dresses, you might try some simple, styles without boning--no strapless--with straps or halter top. You never know what will be required and can spend an awful lot of time making a beautiful dress that doesn't fit anyone's needs. I would also consider lacing down the back and/or stretchy fabrics that will work for more than one size.

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Sewn in 2012: 176.212 yds.
Total sewn in 2013 -- 225.848 yds.
Total yards in inventory 1/1/14 -- 1752.5
Goal for 2014 -- 400 yards

Machines: Designer Diamond, #1+, H Class 100Q, and Viking 400 Serger: 936 Singer Coverstitch

kimdkus
kimdkus
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Member since 7/31/12
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In reply to katlew03 <<


Date: 8/8/12 10:21 PM

Kat, that is SO awesome!!!!! Our program is called PROMise of Hope. (the store is called the Hope Store, thus the name.) We've pretty much sent the word out to the community and my director was on the news. But still, the flow is pretty slim. It's mostly hit and miss. We have around 600 dresses so far, but I so much want and pray for those big size dresses. (We're pushing for 1000 dresses, all sizes). I know I can't make them all, but I'm looking forward to at least trying to make a few. I want to make Steampunk dresses, rocker dresses, etc. my poor director just gives me that, what?? look. LOL!!! I'm only going to make maybe one or two of them, see what happens. (a girl actually asked for a Camouflage dress, which we didn't have.) I'm really excited to try my hand at it.

I'm kinda the alter dress gal in that I have a sewing machine (that's why I was elected. The sewing machine.), so I've been altering and fixing the rips, inserting zippers, even put a new top on an ugly dress and made it purty. :)) But I don't know how to do alternations, so I would LOVE to have an alternations' team instead of just me. Hopefully others will come on board.

But I do appreciate the support and advice. I'll keep you all in the loop. And I'll be sure to post pictures. Who knows? Maybe I'll start my own Plus size Prom dress line? And be on the runway one day. :)) Maybe Fashion Star? LOL!! :)))

kimdkus
kimdkus
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Member since 7/31/12
Posts: 34
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In reply to mastdenman <<


Date: 8/8/12 10:22 PM

Thanks!!

S Alvarez
S Alvarez
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New York USA
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In reply to kimdkus <<


Date: 8/15/12 5:21 PM

I have a nice plus size dress that I'd like to donate. Please write to me at: isla7891@aol.com

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