Once I had my basic design idea I started looking for fabric. I originally figured that I’d get some lavender-colored jacquard or satin, possibly a lace or embroidered sheer for a skirt front panel, and call it a day. If I’d had easy access to a decent fabric store this wouldn’t have been a problem; however, my local store is hit-or-miss, so I turned to the internet. In searching online for the best price for jacquard (shipping is so expensive!) I had another idea– cannibalizing an old prom or bridesmaid’s dress.
Pre-worn formal dresses, particularly pastel satin ones that are clearly bridesmaid’s dresses, have a limited shelf life and an even more limited price range, whether at Goodwill or on eBay. With a full enough skirt the price-per-yard can end up being significantly lower than buying it off the bolt– and the dresses often come with beading or embroidery that’s just not practical to do by hand. I started sifting through auctions online, and found the perfect gown.
Look at that! Look at the embroidery and beading on the bodice– just begging to be pieced into a mini version. Extra beaded trim along the bodice hem to be re-positioned wherever I can find room. Teeny covered buttons down the back for– well, not sure what for, but they’re cute! A nice full skirt, providing plenty of fabric for draping. And even an embellished wrap, which I have plans to decorate my dessert table with for the party. Score!
I will admit that this particular dress was a little pricier than I’d wanted– there was another one on eBay that would’ve been about half the price, but it didn’t have the awesome embroidery and details on it– just the plain satin fabric with a few scattered rhinestones in one area. I decided to splurge just a little and go for the fancy one.
Of course, when it comes to embroidered white lace the whole “fabric is cheaper as part of a dress” rule does not apply, particularly because the only thing you can find it on these days is a wedding gown, and unlike bridesmaid dresses, wedding gowns always have the price jacked UP. I scoured the fabric category on eBay and found some well-priced embroidered organza with silver sequin accents– best of all, it’s 52″ wide with a double border, which means that I’ll be able to make do with half the yardage since the skirt will be short enough that I can use both borders for the hem.
Now I just need to buy some matching purple thread and I can get started!