Once the basic black and white dress was done, it was time for embellishment. To make the hearts down the front I cut out some heart-shaped templates from paper and pinned them to the dress to get an idea of the correct sizes. Then I tweaked them until I had the correct size and shape.
To conserve fabric I cut all of my hearts out of the bodice fabric, leaving the larger shawl for other uses. After opening up the seams in the bodice I managed to fit all of them in, with a generous seam allowance.
I backed them with red cotton (right sides together) to finish the edges, cutting the heart-shaped hole in the back after sewing to ensure that the backing didn’t get pulled out of shape. I clipped the curves, turned the hearts right-side out, topstitched them to keep them flat, then appliquéd them down the front of the dress by hand.
Once I’d cut the skirt off the prom dress and opened up the back seam, I was able to drape the skirt around the hips to see how it would hang. I decided to fold the front edges under by a wide margin in order to make the skirt puffier and to more clearly delineate the overskirt and underskirt. The built-in netting underskirt also helped with this.
Since I’d been able to get my hearts out of the bodice, I had the entire shawl to make the skirt waistband and embellishment. First, I cut off the short ends of the shawl to use for the waistband– I left the stitching intact to make the finished top edge of the waistband, and just attached the short ends together. I pleated the entire cut-off skirt onto a waistband that left about an 8″ gap in the front, then made a separate section to go across the front. This allowed me to make the waistband adjustable in size without sacrificing symmetry. I used a skirt hook to close it on one side.
Once I had the structure of the skirt finished and could tell how it would hang on my body, it was time to add the hem. I ripped out the seams on the remainder of the shawl to detach the embellished side from the satin side, and cut the embellished side in half lengthwise to make a single long strip of trim. It wasn’t a perfect match, since the skirt hem was curved and the shawl wasn’t, but there was so much fullness in the skirt that I was able to just sew the straight trim around the inside of the curve and let it hang down flat. Then I turned the bottom edge of the trim under, so it sandwiched the original hem of the dress, and hand-stitched it in place.
Getting close to the finish line!