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Heirloom Senior Portrait Dress

Debbie's dress

About the Designer - Debbie Beasley

No matter how many dresses I have made for my daughter over the years, none of them were as special to me as this one, her senior portrait dress.

The school she attends does not require this type dress for graduation. I wanted this for her (and me). I knew it had to be a design that she, at 17, would wear and feel like she was not a child again. I also knew this would be the last heirloom dress I would make for her. So, she and I looked and looked at patterns.

We found a pattern for the bodice that had originally been a longer top. I knew I could modify the length, cut an opening down the back and make it work.

When Toni Jo was younger, I would buy lace everywhere I went. I had collected lace for years knowing that one day this dress I've had in my mind for years would come to fruition. What I didn't realize is just how special it would be to her and to me.

I have not sewn in many years so this was a bit of a challenge to try to remember how to make it all come together. Once a sewer, always a sewer, right?!

Toni Jo is our only daughter and the youngest of five children. She has always been a girly girl which has been a blessing to me. Every dress I've made her has been a reflection of our family. Of course, this dress would be no different. It took quite a while to design the lace exactly like I wanted it to be. It was worth all the effort because she loves her dress.

While it did take quite a bit of time to design and make the dress, it was worth every minute of it. She has a beautiful heirloom to pass on to her children and I have a memory of her to last a lifetime.

I hope this inspires each of you to dust off that machine and make that special dress for your princess.

Debbie Beasley is the designer and seamstress of her daughter's senior portrait dress.

(Click on any of the thumbnail images above to view more photographs.)

We hope you enjoy Debbie's photographs as much as we enjoyed them! You can click on any of the small thumbnail photos for enlarged views.

Be sure to read Debbie's story about the creation of this beautiful dress. Use this About the Designer link or the one above to read her article.

Special thanks to Debbie Beasley for sharing her photos and her inspirational story with us. We also would like to thank Chrietzburg Photography for permission to publish the photographs.

Senior Portrait Dress Details

by Debbie Beasley

The bodice has five vertical lace bands which have seven rows of lace in each - three are in the front and two are in the back. The five bands represent our five children - the seven rows represent our family.

The back of the bodice buttons from the waist to the top. The sleeves have seven rows of lace, the neck band has three rows to represent Toni Jo, her father and me.

I did not have a pattern for the skirt. I made it to fit her measurements. Under each vertical band in the bodice there are two vertical bands in the skirt. These bands have three rows each to represent each of our children with us (the parents) and the spouses, with their parents, they will one day have.

There are 10 vertical bands in the skirt. The horizontal lace band on the bottom of the skirt has nine rows of lace for her graduation year, 2009, with one row of edging which represents my daughter.

The dress is made of satin batiste and lined with lawn. The buttons are mother of pearl.

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Debbie's Heirloom Senior Portrait Dress photographs are by Chrietzberg Photography in Wetumpka, AL.

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