The Ball


I am a closet sewing freak. Any time I fall off the radar and I’m not on vacation you can guess that I’m up to my clavicle bone in a sewing project.

Also I don’t always know what I’m doing.

So my girlfriend told me two months ago about the Military Daddy Daughter Princess Ball scheduled for February. It’s an insanely expensive excuse for little girls to dress up in their finest, and not something Jason would approve on any level whatsoever. But June? June spends at least 10 hours a day in princess attire. How could I not sign her up?

I might or might not have been living vicariously through her as well while making this decision.

Instead of calling Jason for permission I decided to exercise my financial agency, took the bull by the horns, and bought them a ticket. I kind of also got on ebay and ordered Jason a tuxedo (don’t judge, he’s needed one the past few years and it was only $70…okay you can judge a little).

Then I had to decide what to do about the dress.

I got online and found some great little princess dresses (all of June’s are thoroughly loved, not a one is rip and stain free) but the price was up there. Besides, my sewing machine was calling to me.

When I saw this one I knew it had to happen.

So I did what any financially responsible and routinely delusional adult would do and decided I could make it cheaper (HAHAHAHA). I enlisted my amazing sister-in-law who has only boys and loves to sew, gave her a very loose idea of what I needed for the project, and just over a week later the box arrived in the mail. Thank you, Lindsey.

And then I had to do something with it. No pattern, just me and yard after yard of really slippery fabric.

Just about this time Jason saw the charge for the tux on our debit account. I’ll be honest, my whole surprise-him-and-he’ll-be-happy pipe dream wasn’t exactly spot on. He was kind of furious. Yes he loves June, and yes he’s willing to do memory building activities with her, but the bottom line just about sunk my ship and for sure my grocery budget.

Save yourself some money so your husband isn’t furious with you with these great Target coupons available for your arts and crafts projects, including sewing.

I am now going to save you three weeks of arguing and sewing mishaps and jump to the finished result.

The day of the dance I was very possibly the most overworked, under deodorized fairy godmother you’ve ever seen in your life. Why? Because I didn’t just make one Cinderella dress, I made two. My girlfriend’s daughter needed one desperately and they couldn’t find one in time. As luck would have it I found four yards of pink satin stashed in the bottom of one of my bins.

The night before the dance was horrible. Jason’s tux still hadn’t come in the mail, the dresses were unfinished and none of the accessories were made. And then in my eleventh hour June got strep throat and scarlet fever, so we spent the night in the ER hoping they could get her well enough for the Princess Ball (she’d asked every day for three weeks if this was “the day”).

With very little magic the next day dawned bright and June was a modern medical miracle. Thank you penicillin. At one o’clock my not-so-enthusiastic prince charming called from the base.

“My tux just came in the mail,” he said.

“Are you kidding me?” I couldn’t decide if it was Heaven sent or my worst night mare. That meant I had to add hemming his pants to my list.

“Do you have a bow tie for me?” he asked.

“Um…” I so did not have a bow tie ready. I thought he’d just be wearing his regular suit. “Almost..”

“You owe me big time,” he said before hanging up.

Honestly, the moment they were finally out the door I wanted to collapse on my kitchen floor and die a quiet death in my pajama pants.

Here is the finished product. Thanks to my darling Caitlin for coming to the rescue with June’s hair and makeup so I could finish sewing and tacking, plus my almost neighbor Stephanie who provided shoes and a back up sewing machine in my hour of need. And my sewing lifeline, Corinne, who talked me through some of my biggest snags. I made all of June’s accessories, and never ever ask me about the bow tie. I’ve still got PTSD from it. Those were four hours that I’ll never get back.

June added the purple tutu around her waist at the last minute and refused to take it off.

Waiting for the big entrance


See the red carpet and all the swords? Slightly intimidating...


Let’s just say that it was awesome, they had a fantastic time and made a great memory, and it will be three years before I’m willing to go through this kind of ordeal again.


  1. Oh my, you are brave in ways that I can’t even imagine. I’m good for sewing when it involves straight lines. Want me to make a quilt top? I’m your girl. Hem a pair of pants? Absolutely. But you start throwing in sleeves and zippers and tucks and darts and I’m looking for the nearest fork to stab into my eyes. Your results are absolutely impressive though… what a fun experience for June.

  2. Cathy Decker says:

    Those dresses turned out perfect. What a great memory for all of you. Huuum I did not know you sew. I may have a project for you if you are up to it and I need it!!!!!!

  3. Oh the things that mothers will do, ha ha!
    You did a fantastic job and I’m sure it will be a treasured memory for them…and hey, it’s also a great story for you to tell 🙂

  4. Ha! That is so you!! She looks amazing. I miss little June Bug.

  5. I’m loving her sass in the second picture. Seriously, that was a major labor of love from you and what an awesome memory that will be!!

  6. Both dresses (and bow tie) look fabulous. This story sounds eerily familiar to something that would happen in my house. I’m addicted to sewing as well. I’m so impressed that you made those dresses with no pattern!! While I love sewing, I need a pattern. Everything I’ve tried to make without a pattern has been a disaster.

  7. So Cute!! Good job!

  8. I needed this today! Good for you for making dreams. 🙂

  9. yvonne stewart says:

    You have created memories that will never be forgotten, all little girls should have their dreams of being a princess come true. Wonderful job Mom and Dad!

  10. I am awe-struck by your creativity, tenacity, and the plight of your last 24 hrs prior to the ball, my friend! You are remarkable! Turned out beautifully, and handsomely I might add. Way to create happily ever after for your princess. 🙂 ::high-5’s AND hugs::

  11. Seriously? BEST. MOM. EVER!!! You do more than rock, you roll, baby! Yes, you might have wanted to die when all was said & done, but you still did it. The girls looked darling & your husband looks like the big marshmallow all daddy’s are w/ their little girls. Good job & then some!! 🙂

  12. Holy cow girl!! That’s amazing! I like to sew but mostly just blankets. Y’know…stuff that only requires a straight line. Little Junie looks absolutely DARLING!!! Good job, mama!

  13. When I saw the pictures, all i thought was, “boy, your mom must be so proud of you!” I think you busted her tutu’s for Laura, Jenny, and I with those dresses. Very impressive. However, did I read correctly that you also made the accessories? Because I gotta say, that’s what is most impressive to me. I honestly didn’t know you were such a seamstress (sp?). Now, don’t let Jason read this, but maybe you’d better start making all of your kids’ clothes-you know, make Dave Ramsey proud of your amazing resources.

  14. wow…that’s a daddy daughter Princess ball like no other.
    and you made those dresses WITHOUT a pattern.
    I practically can’t fold laundry without a pattern.
    WAY TO GO fairy godmother…nex time, look on ebay for a wand that only requires a “bibbity bobbity boo”

  15. *Deep breath* for any sewing project. I”m currently making a nun costume, and it’s got about 4 seams and doesn’t even need to be hemmed, but I’m growing an ulcer from it anyway. You did good, sista. Real, real good. (As did Jason. What a champ.)

  16. I think I recognize the Ramstein O Club. . . dresses were darling. Your husband is a saint to do it.

  17. Glenna Boerner says:

    Gosh, you know what would have just added to the craziness of that whole story? If we had gone through with the plan to show up at the ball because our husbands “forgot” the girls medication!!! Why didn’t we do it?

  18. You really are AMAZING!! Those dresses you created are awesome. What a wonderful experience you gave to both your girl and your man! I so admire you!