Don't Ask an Engineer to Alter Your Dress - An Engineer's Aspect


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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Don't Ask an Engineer to Alter Your Dress

This weekend my daughter, Erika, will be performing the role of "Cinderella" in Rodgers & Hammerstein's, "Cinderella." We found her a beautiful gold gown for the ball scene, but it was small. So, naturally, she asked me to alter it.

This seems like a reasonable request of a normal mother, but I'm not a normal mother. I don't sew. To me, sewing is equivalent to stubbing my toe--it fills me with rage. I avoid it at all costs. Therefore, I have no traditional sewing tricks up my sleeve.

I suspected that sewing wasn't my forte, but after working with the gown this week I have proven it! I stabbed myself with a needle at least 25,000 times and there are some pretty crazy things happening with the dress. Getting it fastened might require a user's manual (See Figure and Fastening Instructions Below).

Figure: Engineering Detail of Back of Gold Gown.

Gold Gown Fastening Instructions:
  1. Zip up gown to waist. 
  2. Secure sides of zipper at waist using hook and eye. 
  3. Stuff excess gold fabric under zipper at waist and around side of body. 
  4. Secure excess gold fabric with Velcro strips. 
  5. Wrap rope with sewn-on peplum around waist twice, making sure peplum is over back zipper. 
  6. Secure rope in back by tying a bow.
I have now secured my position at the theater as Cinderella's official dress fastener.

Even if Tim Gunn invited me in person to be on Project Runway, after all the broken thread, broken needles, knots (in both the thread and my stomach), I would turn him down...unless he let me fill my dresses with solid rocket propellant and launch them.

At least Cinderella looks fabulous--once she is in the Chinese Puzzle Dress.

Cinderella and her Stepsister Backstage.