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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Sewing (02/22/07)

TITLE: A Prom Dress For Ellen
By Jeanette Oestermyer


A Prom Dress for Ellen

Ellen suddenly realized that the prom was coming up soon, only a month away. She was thinking about and wondering how her Mom could afford a dress. Her father had died earlier in the year, and money was rather tight. With her school work and all, Ellen could never earn enough money to buy a dress.

“Mom,” Ellen called to her mother as she entered the kitchen. “Do you suppose we will be able to buy me a dress for the Junior Prom?”

“No, I don’t think so,” Mom answered. I don’t make much working at my job, and those prom dresses are expensive.”

“Do you suppose you could make me a dress if I help you with the house work? I will do the laundry, clean, cook and anything else that needs to be done.”

“That is an ambitious idea, but I know you will need some help with the cooking. “

“You will be here when I’m fixing dinner, so I can ask questions, and I will probably clean the house on Saturday. I can do most of the laundry in the evenings – please Mom.”

Ellen remembered her Mom making most of her clothes for elementary school. She was an excellent seamstress.

Mom thought for awhile, figuring how much time it might take to make a prom dress.

“Okay Ellen, after school tomorrow, we will go shopping for materials to make your dress.

What fun it was choosing the blue filmy organza material, lace and taffeta for her dress.

“Has anyone asked to take you to the prom?” Mom asked.

“Not exactly,” Ellen answered with a mischievous grin.

“I suppose Mark is the lucky boy,” Mom said.

“Probably,” Ellen said with a big smile

The next day was Saturday, so Ellen was up early and was soon busy cleaning the house. Mom had the materials laid out on the kitchen table and was checking the pattern. They even worked Sunday afternoon after church and dinner. By evening, Mom had most of the dress cut out of fabric and was preparing to start sewing.

The next day when Mom came home from work, she went straight to Ellen’s room.

“I have to talk to you,” she said. “My boss is insisting that I go to a workshop to learn some new techniques for my job. I have to travel across two states to attend the workshop, and will plan on staying there. Our company is paying for everything, and I will also get my usual salary for the two weeks I’ll be gone.”

“How are you going to finish my prom dress?” Ellen said, almost in tears.

“You have sewn a few things for yourself,” Mom said. “You are going to have a challenge now; I will show you all the steps in getting the dress together. I know you can do it. You won’t have to worry about cleaning, laundry and cooking. I plan to have Auntie Margaret come over and check on things in the morning and at night. She will fix you some breakfast and bring you something for dinner so that you can be at home to study and sew. “

The remainder of that week, Ellen did homework and helped Mom ready herself for the trip. In what extra time they had, Mom made a list and explained how to assemble the dress.

The next evening when Auntie Margaret came over, she said, “let’s have a try-on and see how it’s fitting so far. Your seams look real nice.”

Amazingly, the dress, in its unfinished state, fit almost perfect.

“Why don’t I take this home and put the zipper in tomorrow while you’re in school.

“How wonderful,” Ellen said, giving Auntie a big hug.

The next evening, Auntie brought the dress back. “I believe it’s finished except for sewing the lace on the bodice,” she said. “I thought you might want to sew that part by hand.”

“Oh, thank you, thank you,” Ellen said. “But you’ve hemmed the skirt too, how did you know where to put the length?”

“That was easy, I just borrowed one of your other dresses and figured it by that length.”

Mom arrived home the next day. When she saw the finished dress, she said, “How beautiful, I’m so proud of you. Then Ellen changed into the prom dress, and Mom said, “perfect.”

Ellen bowed her head, “thank you, Lord,” she said.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Myrna Noyes03/02/07
Enjoyable story of meeting challenges successfully!I'm curious, though, as to whether Mark did finally ask her to the prom! :) Good job!
Michelle Burkhardt03/02/07
Cute story, I bet her homemade dress was more lovely than any other store purchased. Nice job.
Jacquelyn Horne03/03/07
Good story. A challenge always brings out the best in us. It has brought out the good in Ellen's sewing techniques and in your writing techniques. Good job!
Donna Powers 03/05/07
A wonderful story of a team working together to finish a dearly desired dress. A nice and touching story.