my graduation dress

three days before my drive-thru graduation, i realized i didn’t have any graduation appropriate dresses and started panicking. would there be enough time for me to make one? would the stores be open for me to buy fabric? what pattern would i use? so many questions and now that i look back on it, i never asked myself if i actually needed a white dress for graduation; i just assumed that i would because that’s what everyone else wore during our middle school graduations. common sense aside, i decided to self-draft my own linen dress, inspired by a dress designed by @georgiasportfolio and the wattlebird dress from @commonstitch. here’s what went down:


first things first, i went for a good 10 mile run, during which i had lots of time to think about my dress design and plan the process. high off the post-run endorphins, i returned home and sketched the basis of my design. then i spent the rest of the day finishing off the last of my assignments for the year! crazy that i was done with high school!!


i got out my medical paper-turned-pattern paper and an old sheet to start experimenting. i loosely traced the shape of the ogden cami pattern onto the paper, but added my own neckline and armholes. i marked where my bust would be, and cut a curve there. i also went full-send and added a bust dart, trying my best to imitate what i’ve seen on other patterns because i didn’t really know what i was doing. i sewed a test dress out of an old sheet, and the front came together surprisingly easily without many goofs. i realized i would need to sew a facing as well, so i repeated what i did with the front. for the back of the dress, i once again used the basic shape of the ogden cami pattern but cut a shallower v-shape. this made the dress much too wide, and i then spent a good hour unpicking stitches, taking the side seams in, and putting on the dress again, trying to find a good fit. eventually, i got close enough and called it good because i was pressed for time. the back gapes a little, but in linen, it looks like part of the style so it’s not terrible. i added some straps and ordered some white linen from the fabric store.


while i was waiting for the fabric store to email me that my fabric was ready for pick-up, LS came over and we decorated our graduation caps together with the names of the colleges we’re attending in the fall. it took a surprising amount of time for such a simple design, but it was fun to get out my hot glue and glitter paper and decorate away. in perfect timing, my fabric was ready right as LS wrapped up her design and had to leave, so we said our good-byes and off i went to the store (mask on of course). i got home, popped the fabric in the wash, and took a much needed break.


after dinner, i took my freshly washed linen and began sewing. now that i had already made a muslin and had established my pattern pieces, the process went a lot faster. i knocked out the entire outer dress and the facing and sewed the straps. all that was left was to understitch the facing, but i was pretty exhausted at this point so i went to bed. finished with some hours to spare! i pranced around in my dress the rest of the evening because i was so! proud! of! my! self-drafted! dress! especially because i’m a newbie who doesn’t really know what i’m doing. despite my inexperience, this turned out really well if i do say so myself, and i’m excited to keep designing and sewing clothing 🙂


ah, drive-thru graduation. more anticlimactic than i had anticipated and i didn’t even get a chance to show-off my dress because they made us zip up our gowns. at least it peaked out a little in the photos i took with my family. my friends graduated the next day, so i had planned to take photos in my dress then, but thursday morning, i crashed on my bike and got scraped and bruised up pretty badly (still healing a week later) and physically could not put on a dress and the hat and the cords and take pictures without a lot of pain. and… that’s how i spent my last days in high school! there’s more to it, but this is the dress-centred version of the story. this was definitely not how i pictured the end of high school and beginning of high school to look like, but i’m sure there’s an upside to all this chaos!

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