Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

Prom Dress

kerrycindy | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Hi my daughter is making a prom dress for 4-H and to wear to a prom.  Her pattern is butterick 4918.  Her material is crepe-backed satin bodice and sparkle satin full skirt.  It calls for a lining and boning.  I’ve been trying to find information on underlining.  I’ve heard you should underline with silk organza.  I was wondering if you also underline the skirt as well as the bodice?  I like the idea of hiding the hem stitches in the underlining but didn’t know if it would make the fullness of the skirt too heavy and pull it down if you underlined the whose skirt and, if it would make it too thick at the waste with three layers of fabric?  Also would you do some kind of hong kong seam finish with the organza instead of serging in case the serging thread might show through?  I’ve never done this but have been trying to read more about it.  If you underline the skirt would you still add the lining and if so do a french seam in the lining?  What kind of hem would be best so it doesn’t show through or would you just do a small machine stitched hem?  Any other advice you can think of would be great.  My daughter wants to show it in 4-H and they are somewhat picky on the construction.  Thanks for all of your help.  Cindy


  1. scrubble4 | | #1

    kerrycindy: "It calls for a lining and boning.  I've been trying to find information on underlining. "

    kerrycindy I have never used boning but there will be lots who can guide you along here on Gatherings.  However, I do know there are some helpful articles that Taunton makes available on this site.  I did a search under the Tips and Tricks category and found the following three articles that will assist you. 

    I almost always underline my garments.  I usually use silk organza for wool and silk, although there are times other underlining give a nice effect.  

    Is the skirt a circle skirt full (extra fabric starts just below the waistline and increase fullness to the hem) or is it more gored (fitted at the waist and then flares out from the hips to the hem).  I ask because the extra weight might give a nice drape effect in a gored skirt but I don't think I would use it in a skirt closer to a circle skirt. 

    Other more knowledgeable sewers can advise you better on the skirt.  Using the underlining in the skirt will decrease wrinkling, but change the fluidity of the skirt. 

    Below are the pathways for the three articles.  The first is on boning, the second is on underlining and the third is a hodge podge of lots of sewing techniques including underlining.  Good luck to your daughter and to you in your role of supporter, encourager, mentor and cheerleader.  Scrubble4


    Taunton Press article on boning.


    Understanding Underlining


    some more info on underlining and other sewing techniques


    1. kerrycindy | | #5

      Thank you for all of your help.  I printed off these articles and will give them to my daughter to read.  I really appreciate the advice.  Thanks.

    2. designsbysue | | #10

      Hi!  How did you know underlining is what I had been trying to understand.  The web pages you cited were just what I needed - I'm making a wedding dress for someone - I only needed 6 1/2 of lace - but then the Vogue pattern called for 18 1/2 yards of lining and underlining (something I had never run into before).  Now it all makes sense thanks to you.  I am also making a silk jacket and pants for a client and will use silk organza to line it.

      I love you - thanks!  Sue

      1. scrubble4 | | #11

        Sue:  You are very kind, and I love the enthusiasm I feel in your notes.  When I discovered this site one of the things I did was spend some time wandering around the Tips and Tricks.  There are a bunch of videos in there as well as articles.  Some of the information I knew and had handily forgotten, but much of it was new to me and made so much sense. 

        The other thing I heartily recommend is the following blog.  It is Kathleen Fasanella's site.  Kathleen is a pattern designer who has a site and has written a book for Design Entrepreneurs.  She untangles so many myths about how body shapes and fabric come together.  For me it was like trudging up a hill for a very long time and then reaching the crest and seeing the beauty of the valley below.  That is how her explanations have struck me.  Ah Ha now I get it. 

        I understand so much more about fitting now.  In a sense I am seeing the whole process of sewing from pattern choice, pattern fitting, fabric choice, sewing sequences and skills altogether in one picture instead of the hodge podge I think they were in my mind before.  Her blog is


        I particularly recommend two items on it, one on sleeve fitting and the other on fitting the pant crotch line.  I think if you do a search in the site you will get both of them.  If not come back and ask and I should be able to find them for you and post the pathway. 

        Kathleen posts on her blog 3 - 4 times a week.  She is quite a character and will make you laugh in how she presents her ideas.  They are always presented crystal clear at least for my thinking processes. 

        Take care and have fun  Scrubble4 

  2. scrubble4 | | #2

    kerrycindy:  I just found this neat video on YouTube by Sandra Betzinger on sewing silk.  She talks about the silk organza underlining, what thread and needle to use and lots of stuff your daughter might enjoy viewing. 



    1. kerrycindy | | #6

      Thank you for the information.  I just watched the video and will show it to my daughter after school.  It was very helpful.  Thanks again.

      1. Bionerd | | #8

        The summer 2007 issue of Sew Stylish has some nice articles on couture sewing and a little article on boning.   I've only used boning a couple times and it is usually inserted into a casing in the underlining.   I made my prom gowns too and felt beautiful in my couture gowns while those around me were in pastel Gunne Sax !!! -so cudos to your daughter for undertaking this special and rewarding project.

    2. designsbysue | | #9

      Thank you so much for the tip about YouTube.  I just began a sewing business - I have sewn for 55 years for everyone but never charged anyone - now I'm retired and need extra money - plus this was always my dream to do.

      I have learned so much since discovering the site and appreciate it so much.

      Thanks again!  Sue

  3. Ocrafty1 | | #3


    I'm an OLD 4-H'r myself, and so were my daughters. I've also judged, and been supt. at local fairs. I'm new to this site, after trying to find an old issue of Threads. I was looking for better info on constructing strapless garments. The issue was out of print, so I emailed Threads to see if there was any way to get the article. I got an email within a couple of hrs. telling me to email her my home address and she would send me a photocopy of the article. I got it 2 days later and devoured it! I'll bet they'd do the same for you. I can't wait to make my next gown so I can try this stuff out! 

    The article is "A Strapless that Stays Put", by Kenneth D. King. It was from issue #46, pp. 52-56. Even if the gown your daughter is making isn't strapless, I'd get this info for her. There are lots of tips/pictures/illistrations on underlining, interlining, and lining; as well as boning and finishing tips. The tips in this article would go a long way in the finished look of the garment. 

    You may need to check out an intenet source or try to find a high end fabric shop in your area for the better boning. I've used that flimsy plastic stuff for years, but didn't know where to get the metal ones.  Do some searching (check with your extension office...they may know a seamstress/leader who knows where there is a good shop not too far from you).  It will be worth it for her project. I just found one 70 miles away.  The old one I'd gone to when I was younger closed 12 yrs ago, and they'd been open for over 50 yrs....I was heartbroken.

    Good luck!  Let us know how she does....send pix, please.




    Edited 3/12/2008 11:08 pm ET by Ocrafty1

    1. kerrycindy | | #4

      Thank you for the information.  I will trying getting this article.  Her dress has a strapless bodice so it sounds very beneficial.  Thanks again. 

    2. sewchris703 | | #7

      Here is a good starting point to finding good boning on the internet.

      http://www.costumes.org/  The Costumer's Manifesto.  There is a wealth of information about historical clothing including corsets and steal boning supplies.


  4. Ocrafty1 | | #12

    I have another suggestion for when your daughter does her hem. I just was at the BeSewStyish site and was reminded of it.  When I worked at the bridal shop we had a hook, like you hang flower pots on, hanging from the ceiling, about a foot left of the sewing machine needle.  We hooked a legnth of chain (like they use on hanging lamps) from the hook. We hung all of our gowns on that chain in order to keep the gowns off of the floor. I've had that set up in my sewing room for so long I'd forgotten about it, til I saw it on the other site.  I also have one hanging above my pressing area. Just be sure you use a toggle in the ceiling to attach the hook to, or it will all fall on your head at an inopportune moment.  Yep, I had that happen...didn't want to wait for DH to put it in, and I didn't have the power tools to drill the correct size hole in the plaster...LOL, Live and learn!


    1. sewchris703 | | #13

      We have those at my bridal shop (well, the one I work at--I don't own it).  They're on pulleys so we can pull the gowns up to the ceiling to get the train off the ground.  I don't use them when I'm sewing but I do use them to check the hems and bustles.  They're used mostly for steaming and hanging the steamed gowns up for pick up.


      1. Ocrafty1 | | #14

        I love having one in my sewing room. It keeps the gowns from dropping onto the floor and helps with the weight of the heavier gowns when I'm using the machine....same at the ironing board. I used to have to keep a white sheet on the floor to protect the gowns. This is so much easier....makes the gowns easier to manipulate when sewing and pressing, too.


        1. sewchris703 | | #15

          I sew on a banquet table with the ironing board at one end.  The gown stays on the table for both sewing and ironing.  My boss can sew when the gown is vertical but I work better when it's horizontal.


This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All