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From Curtains to Formal Dress

on May 27, 2014 in Blog, fashion, recycle | 6 comments


Ever move 7 times in 14 years and keep all the curtains because they might look right in your next house? There’s a chance you will repaint, yet another house, the exact same color as your last one. You may luck out and get a “standard” window size so these curtain panels will totally still be relevant? No? It’s just me?

Well, I’ve recently decided that is absurd and I need to purge these dang panels. I put them in a pile. The pile sat and sat. There are embroidered sheers, white sheers, shantung that came with the newest house, etc.

But they are all nice fabrics…. and curtains/houses aside… I have a thing for fabric. HA- that “thing” may have its own 12 step program, but still.

I also have an 8th grader who breaks the mold. She had an 8th grade formal coming up and I pitched the idea to her. What if we went all Project Runway and made a dress? Lets start simple, stitch something easy, and work up to the unconventional?or avant garde challenge for another time. She went for it.

Together we went through a the patterns tub I have in my sewing room. Decided to go with this super basic dress. The pattern is dated 1995, so I’m not so sure you can still get it. But maybe.

New Look Pattern 6364


I wanted to make the dress, only, on the right hand side. She wanted sleeves because she feared getting kicked out of the dance for dress code violations. So we added the jacket sleeves to the tank dress. Laid the embroidered sheer curtain, over the maroon curtain, kept it short and left the sleeves sheer. The sleeve hems even have a little maroon binding around the edges. Cute little detail.

Formal Dress

Turns out most girls at the dance were wearing minty green, spaghetti straps and lots of sheer long skirts over solid mini-skirts. (Soooo not in dress code, btw.) She was so happy to have something different. She told me that she even told her friends “Yeah, my mom made this out of curtains.” Um. Ok. Kinda thought we were keeping that on the down-low, but ok. She tells me, “Nah, its cool because people don’t just make things anymore.”

Recycle, repurpose right? This dance was going green… er… maroon.

<<<Now, are you picturing the scene in the Sound of Music when Maria makes all the children new clothes from the draperies? Are you singing My Favorite Things in your head while you read?>>>

Since it is a cute little short dress, I still have LOADS of curtains left. I don’t think I have the will power to actually purge them. What if there’s a Winter Formal in 9th grade??

Curtains to Formal



  1. Great way to ‘recycle’! My G-daughter had me make her prom dresses. She said she likes wearing something no one else will have.

    Katie M

    May 27, 2014

  2. The short formal dress turned out PERFECTLY. I *LOVE* the embroidered bodice and sheer sleeves. That is simply a classic dress and your daughter will never feel out of place wearing it. She may be understated as compared to some of the more flamboyant (and possibly inappropriate) dress that others wear … but hers is ELEGANT. Think Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly.

    How *fantastic* that your daughter wears things that you make! She will absolutely NEVER have anyone else show up wearing the same thing because it was bought at the same store.

    Kudos to your daughter for having a wonderfully adventuresome spirit! No one needed to know the dress was made from curtains .. but really, when you think about it curtains are just a really basic use of flat yardage. LOTS of yardage! 🙂 Just think how fantastic the dress turned out and how unbelievably gorgeous she looked when Scarlett O’Hara used those drapes! 🙂

    Well done, both of you!

    Shelley Rodgers

    May 27, 2014

  3. I couldn’t say it any better than Shelley did! What a wonderful daughter you’re raising!


    May 27, 2014

  4. I begin to wonder, based on the description of the other dresses in attendance, if dress codes do not count at formal events. Which is crazy, but whatever. The sleeves are a great addition no matter what!

    I love that your daughter not only clearly marches to her own beat, but does it proudly and beautifully. Way to go, Mom and Dad.

    Quilting Hottie

    May 28, 2014

  5. Thanks! She definitely has the adventuresome spirit.

    Jen Eskridge

    June 2, 2014

  6. She’s has her own whole drumming section for her beat. =)

    Jen Eskridge

    June 2, 2014

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