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The Fabric Maverick says... Meet Paige Smith, our guest expert on Prom dresses

March 19, 2008

Here I am again, the Fabric Maverick.  Victoria is taking a few days off. Her daughter is expecting her first child today.  Apparently you can make an appointment to have your baby now. That is not how we did it in my day.  You just had to wait for Mother Nature to take her course. Victoria was planning on discussing Prom dresses with you so I am going to carry on.  I am long past knowing what is “in” for teenagers. I contacted a young lady who came in second in the Miss Teen Florida Galaxy contest.  Her name is Paige Smith. Paige is an extremely talented young lady.  Fabric.com donated several yards of garnet duchess satin and matching silk charmeuse to her to make her dress. Within two weeks this young lady whipped up a heavenly creation. This was her first pageant experience. It was quite an achievement to come in second place. If Paige sews this well now, I would not be surprised to see her on Project Runway one of these days.  Paige was nice enough to take time out of her busy schedule for an interview. Here are her thoughts and suggestions.


Fabric Maverick asked “What styles are ‘hot’ now?


Paige said “The Miss Daisy look is hot now. The Cinderella look is also hot.  Size is an important aspect in style.  Not every size can fit into every style.  A person must be conscious of their body size in determining the styles that best outlines and enhances the style and the desirable look according to their body makeup. If you’re not going with the Cinderella look, go with a slim dress and black and white the mixture would be the perfect color for today's style, that's if you go that route."


I asked Paige if there are any trends in colors or fabrics.


She said. “Fabric colors work in conjunction with style.  Body figure size makeup determines the most appropriate colors, and is very important. Small figures & Medium figures stick with spring colors that compliment your skin tone. Large figures & Extra-large figures stick with the darker colors that compliment your skin tone.”


I asked “What advice would you give on fabric selection?”


Paige said, “Again, body size means a lot.  Smaller sizes can consider any type of fabric.  I would recommend stretchy as the most applauding fabrics.  On the other hand, larger sizes should stay away from fabrics that cling to the body that show every ripple but should look for sturdier fabrics that smooth out their figures. The fabric I have experience with, and the most success, is duchess satin. I'm planning to use crepe backed satin for my prom gown. It doesn't stretch as much, and has a great weight that drapes nicely and covers well. Proper undergarments are also important and make a big difference.”


“What skill level should the girls have to consider making their own dress?” asked the Fabric Maverick.


Paige answered “The first gown I ever designed and made was my Miss Teen Florida Galaxy Pageant gown which was a lot of fun, but very difficult to make.  It took about 72 hours to make this gown.  Now, I feel I am capable of making a simple design dress in about 10 hours.  When I say simple design, I mean a gown that is a Cinderella style that does not require asymmetrical seams. That didn't include the time spent for selecting fabrics, trims, patterns, and notions. A first time design should allow more manufacturing time, and it helps to have an experienced adviser available if needed. Most people who sew are happy to give advice.”


“Are there any tips or tricks for working with special occasion dresses?” I asked.


Paige answered “When cutting your pattern, a rotary cutter is your best friend! I blocked my pattern pieces with weights, and only pinned the main corners of each piece. It's important to take your time and double check everything before cutting, and also before putting a seam together. (It's a real pain to rip out a seam of special occasion fabric!) It also depends on what machines you have available for your project, and stitch possibilities.”


I asked “How much time should girls allow themselves to make a prom dress?”


She answered “As mentioned above, hours depend on desired fabric, style and design.  I would say to make a prom gown with silk fabric, plan at least 72 hours.  A prom dress with crepe back satin fabric, I would plan about 45 hours. It depends on the type sewing machines you have available, and the degree of difficulty of your pattern.”


My final question to Paige is “Are there any prom dress styles that you suggest for certain body types?”


Paige answered “Body types determine the style and fabric of the dress.  Be sure your pattern is large enough in all areas. It's easy to make it smaller, but very disappointing if it's too small. It is essential for this to be taken into consideration in designing the gown. The design will assist in the type of fabric. Small figures, I would say go with figure fitting upper half and lower half blossom. Medium figures GO ahead and pull off the head to toe figure fitting. Large figures go small at bust line and Cinderella at the bottom. Extra-large figures go totally Cinderella. “


Paige has given some really great ideas and tips on styles. Take some time planning your creations and have a look at our special occasion fabrics.  We have some great satins and slinky mesh glimmer fabric.


From Paige and Fabric.com- We wish everyone a fun and memorable prom night!



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Hi Paige,
Congratulations on your placing so well in the Miss Teen pageant. My cousin won the Teen pageant in our city many years ago and became a television and movie actress. She also is married to a popular male actor who used to play JAG on the show about lawyers in the navy. You never know where you will end up when you enter a competition like this. It can open so many doors.
My question for you is this: What is a "Miss Daisy" look? I can guess at the Cinderella look but Miss Daisy is not something I've heard before.
Maybe you can post some photos of your gowns that you have made on a website somewhere that we could look at them. I'm sure all the blog readers would be interested to see those.
Grandma C

Simply want to say your article is impressive. The lucidity in your post is simply spectacular and i can assume you are an expert on this field. Well with your permission allow me to grab your rss feed to keep up to date with incoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the strong work.

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