Spring Equals Birthdays & Proms

May has been such a busy month! School is winding down – senior year is coming to a close for Julia. Plus we have celebrated her 18th birthday and she went to her Senior Prom. Crazy to see this girl finishing up high school because it was only a few weeks ago that I felt like such an awful mother as I left her crying on the first day of Kindergarten. Such is life, right?

A few weeks ago, I posted this desperate plea on Instagram and Facebook. Julia’s prom dress didn’t really fit well and she asked if I could fix it. This was the week before prom. Being the confident sewist, I immediately suggested we return it and quickly find another dress. But she #1 – threw away the receipt and tags and #2 – said she loved this dress and wanted to wear it. OK, I promised to do what I could. The main issue was the lining was too snug around her waist. I looked at letting it out and adding some width to the side seams. But I suspected I would end up with something bulky that wouldn’t lay flat. My brilliant daughter, who doesn’t sew, asked if I couldn’t just lift the lining up, folding it right sides together, sewing all the way around, which would make it a little wider at her ribs. Does this make sense to you? It worked like a charm and was super easy. Sort of hard to explain though.

Photo credit to Natalie Webster.

The next issue was the hem. It was really long and she didn’t want to be tripping over it at the dance. I was a bit leary of this task because the outer fabric was a slippery chiffon. But with the help of YouTube, it was not hard at all. The video I watched instructed me to pin it about 1/4″ longer than I wanted it to be. Press it and stitch all the way around. Then trim the excess as close as possible to the seam line. Finally, roll that stitched line to the inside, pin and press and stitch again. I was amazed by how wonky the original hem was. There was no way to straighten it so Julia and I figured if we hadn’t noticed how wavy it was before, no one else would either and I just stitched it – crooked as can be.

Photo credit to Natalie Webster.

Hiding under that pretty dress are black sneakers because my daughter won’t wear much else!

Following the prom, we celebrated Julia’s 18th birthday. Not sure if you remember but last year I made a cake for her 17th birthday and was not entirely successful!

This was one ugly cake!

This year Julia asked for the same yellow cake with strawberry filling and chocolate frosting. I wanted to use a cake mix again but with better results. My trusty internet sources advised adding an extra egg yolk and replacing the required water with milk. I did both of these, though I used almond milk to keep it dairy free for my husband. Also, another site suggested adding a couple of tablespoons of any pudding mix that would match the flavor of the cake. I had an old box of butterscotch pudding that likely expired in 2010 or so. I opened it and added two tablespoons and tossed the rest. Guess what? It worked wonderfully.

Such an improved version!

Julia was happy and we are hoping her wishes come true for this year!

With all of this, plus two different awards nights at school, I haven’t done tons of sewing. One thing I am working on though is quilting a top given to me by a family friend. She actually donated three finished quilts to Mercyful Quilts. Then she sent me four tops she had, asking if I would finish them and donate those as well. I don’t normally do this because it takes a bit of time which I am sorely lacking, but she was so sweet to donate the other quilts and I agreed. I know they all won’t be finished terribly soon but I am working on the first one.

This string quilt was probably made a while back. There are many fabrics that look to be circa 1980’s and it is very pretty. Unfortunately, it doesn’t lie anywhere close to flat. I don’t think these string blocks were pieced with any sort of foundation paper or fabric, making them quite stretchy. I pressed it and starched it before pin basting. While pin basting, I took little tucks all over the place and hand stitched them which really helped. When I get to those bits, I quilt heavily over them so they won’t come apart. I am just using a loopy meander which is quite forgiving when I come to a section that is wavy. After binding and washing this it will, hopefully, crinkle up and be very cozy.

The backing is from the sale section in my shop. It is an Oval Elements piece from Art Gallery Fabric. Fabric for the binding has yet to be selected though. I am just about out of thread (which is silly since I am quilting it with white thread) so I won’t get too much farther on this today. I am counting this as my one project for Hands 2 Help and it should be finished early next week.

The quilts continue to arrive for Mercy Hospital and the Mercyful Quilts drive. The Hands 2 Help event at Confessions of a Fabric Addict has been amazing. I cannot even believe the number of quilts made for all of these deserving organizations . Just so inspiring. Some quilters have made 4 or 5 quilts – some even more than that. I have this stack and another box full ready for pick up. Judging by the emails I have received and blog posts I am reading, there are many more on the way. Thank you to all of you generous quilters!!

I hope everyone has a lovely long weekend. In the US, Monday is Memorial Day which many mark as the beginning of summer. We have had rainy, gloomy weather all week so it sure doesn’t feel summery here!

25 thoughts on “Spring Equals Birthdays & Proms

  1. Roseanne

    Hi Bernie! Before I read a thing you typed I saw the picture of Julia in her dress and thought to myself, Wow she looks beautiful and that dress fits her perfectly. Seriously. Really nice job Bernie! I would have been too paralyzed to give altering that gorgeous dress a try. Holy moly. Kudos to you – let’s make that BIG kudos to you. Ahh, Julia – the whole world is at your fingertips. So many choices, so many possibilities, so many dreams to come true. I wish her ALL the best, and can’t wait to hear about all of her triumphs. {{Hugs}} ~smile~ Roseanne

    Reply
  2. Mari

    Looks like both the dress and the cake worked out great! Julia looks amazing in both photos. What a great time for her, and for you, too. The quilt top looks great and I’m sure it will be just fine after a wash. I’m sorry you’re not having summery weather! We have sunshine today, but the storms are coming! Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thank you Mari. It is a fun time. This has been such a strange spring as far as weather goes. Today it is pouring rain – no Memorial Day bbq at this house! Really odd. Hang in there. Are you almost packed???

      Reply
  3. Tish

    You did an amazing job on the dress! Tell Julia congrats and late happy birthday! Our senior year wraps up tonight with graduation. Where did the time go????

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Congrats to you Tish! I hope graduation was great fun. Such an emotional time, right? What will your daughter be doing in the fall. Is she going off to college or staying home a bit more? Julia is off to college but it is only 60 miles from here so I an deal with that!!

      Reply
  4. Louise Hornor

    Your daughter looks so happy in her lovely dress, and with that yummy cake! Best wishes for her at this big transitional moment in her life ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thank you Louise. These are fun times for her – so many changes happening. We are really proud of her. Take care, B.

      Reply
  5. Beth Stanfield

    You did a super job on both projects!!! Great use of IT too. Might as well.
    Beth

    Reply
  6. Wendy Tuma

    Look at that beautiful smile on Julia’s face — so fun to see! What a year she has had, and what a great way to end her year and celebrate. Good job on the dress, Bernie; I’m not sure I would’ve tackled that. Okay, I know I wouldn’t have! Haha. The cake picture cracks me up — glad you nailed it this year. I have two H2H quilts in my sewing room that need binding, big ones — so I need to clear space and get them done – dragging my feet . . .

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thanks Wendy. It all worked out for the best, cake and dress both.
      I haven’t yet finished my one H2H project yet. I am in awe of the quilters who made many quilts for donation this year. Some made 4, 5 or more. How on earth can they get so much sewing done??? I must not have their secret to being organized. Hope your binding is done soon. But whenever it does get done, the quilts will be much appreciated! Happy Sunday!

      Reply
  7. Preeti Harris

    Such a lovely post – a gorgeous dress, a lovely young woman and a very yummy cake. What more can one ask for? Yes, blessings. Sending lots of love and blessings to Julia!!!
    Love the cake pictures. It reminds me of the show – “Nailed it”, except in reverse order ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thank you Preeti. Lots of celebrating going on here for the next little while. We are certainly enjoying the season. Hope all is well with you too. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  8. Shirley Totos

    Bernie, Beautiful job on the dress, great looking cake…what more could you ask for? You are a wonderful MOM and that’s what counts. Have a blessed holiday with your family.

    Reply
  9. JanineMarie

    You are one brave sewist, Bernie!! The dress is lovely, and fits Julia perfectly. Good thing she took the tags off so you couldnโ€™t bring it back. I like your cakes a lotโ€”even the ugly one. I had read about those additions to the cake mix. Good to know they work. The stack of quilts is amazing. I canโ€™t wait to hear your final count.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      I think we got lucky with her dress. The idea of basically ‘lifting’ the lining was genius. She is a smarty pants for sure. Mercyful quilts has received over 80 quilts from H2H at this point and more keep coming. It is heartwarming for sure. The team at Mercy is over the top grateful.

      Reply
  10. Kirsty @ Bonjour Quilts

    Well done on the prom dress – you are very brave! She looked beautiful, ah to be that young again ๐Ÿ™‚
    I have to say that I laughed heartily at your cake, having had similar disasters in the past. The first one kind of looks like a Big Mac that someone sat on! The second one though, that could go in a shop window, it’s gorgeous. Thanks for such an enjoyable post. x x

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Haha – Julia and I both laugh at the cake even still. We were just hysterical trying to glue those crumbs together with icing. So, I was happy with the results this year. This is such a fun time – all of the celebrating with proms, birthdays and commencement. I know you aren’t quite there with your littles yet but you will be – faster than you can imagine.

      Reply
  11. Linda (txquiltgal on IG)

    That dress fits Julia like a dream! I totally get what you meant by lifting the lining, and what a great idea. She looks just beautiful.
    Nice cake! I’m going to bake myself my traditional yellow cake with chocolate frosting for my birthday in June, and I’ll keep your hints in mind. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Good luck finishing all those quilts. If I lived close I’d help you out. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  12. Anja @ Anja Quilts

    Congratulations. She looked beautiful in the dress. I hope the cake tasted as well as it looked.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Anja, she did look so pretty. Amazing she is so grown up these days. (and – yes – the cake tasted great. We ate it up in a hurry!)

      Reply

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