(Well, at least MY 14 year old girl. I can’t vouch for yours.)

1. Encourage her to begin living out her “I want to be a fashion designer when I grow up” dream a little early by designing her own junior high grad dress.

2. Offer to sew it with her.

3. Don’t change your mind, even when she shows you a sketch of a dress with about a thousand individual petals on the skirt.

4. Encourage her to make bigger petals that will have less chance of leaving your hands irreversibly crippled and your shoulders permanently hunched.

5. Take her shopping for fabric and STILL don’t change your mind even when she picks satin (every sewer’s worst nightmare).

6. Spend endless hours cutting, stitching, ironing, cutting, stitching, ironing… about a hundred petals.

7. Take her shopping again for the accent around the waist and STILL don’t change your mind even when she chooses glitter that you have to stitch in place.

 8. Spend a few more endless hours stitching, seam-ripping, cursing, stitching, seam-ripping, cursing the blasted zipper that just won’t go in properly, especially by the sequined waistband.

9. Rue the day you thought an invisible zipper was a wise choice.

10. Finally emerge victorious having conquered the myriad of enemies that took the seemingly innocuous shapes of pink satin, flower petals, silver sequins, “boning” (to keep the top rigid), and an invisible zipper.

11. Dance around the living room with her when she puts it on and both she and the dress look stunning!

12. Take her shopping again and let her pick her shoes.

13. Cringe a little, but smile and pay the bill when she picks the most impossibly high-heeled shoes this side of Sex and the City. Brace yourself (and her) for her father’s less-than-pleased reaction. Justify the purchase by saying “at least it’s only shoes she’s obsessed with and not drugs!”

14. Buy her some fancy jewellery as a surprise, just because you can’t resist helping her complete the picture. (And admit to yourself that this has been more fun for you than you expected.)

15. Keep your promise not to share any photos of The Dress online until after she’s had the Big Reveal to her friends at grad, even though you’re bursting with pride and desperately want to show off all over Twitter, Facebook, and maybe even some random street corner.

16. Consider googling “fashion design competitions for teenagers” because you’re convinced your daughter would SMOKE the competition.

17. Beam with pride all evening at the grad dinner and then the next morning at the school ceremony as you watch her postively glowing when her friends, teachers, friends’ parents, and maybe a few random people on the street ooh and aah over her dress.

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