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People tell me that one of their favorite blog posts of mine is this one, where I discuss how I often slam together an outfit at the last minute for major events in my life. I don’t know why it always comes to this, but, despite my best efforts, I did it again for my Hunting Hope launch party last month.

This time I had planned ahead, really I had!

As soon as Worthy Inspired showed me the official cover of the book, I went on the lookout for something to wear that would reasonably match it. I was thinking gold, copper, blush, peach … anything in that category. Oh, and I wanted something with TWO LAYERS because the design on the cover is a maze layered on top of a rose.

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One day I discovered exactly what I was looking for! Gold lace on top of a blush lining! Perfecto! Do you see it in all its darling-ness in the photo above? Scalloped hem, smart belt, and box pleats. Just stop. And this was the kicker: It was originally priced at $258, which I would NEVER pay for an ordinary dress that I could sew just as easily myself, but it was on sale for $50.

It said so right there on that red sticker.

Red stickers. They make me delirious.

This is how delirious I was: The dress was TWO SIZES TOO SMALL, and I bought it anyway.

You can forgive me this oversight because you have done this too. But at some point you might have grown up and stopped doing it, and I haven’t. It was early August at the time of purchase, and the launch party wasn’t until late April. Who can’t drop two sizes in nine months? I thought. I had all this TIME!

So my spectacular dress hung in the back of my closet until two days before the launch party, at which point it suddenly occurred to me that I probably should have considered exercising before that moment.

Tiny Dress Emergency.

But a hope hunter like me doesn’t just go out and buy a new dress, oh no. I would rather use what I have and make the best of it. I got my Singer out of storage and got busy.

I’ll walk you through my method step by step, so you can fix your own dress nightmare when it happens.

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Step one: take the dress apart and figure out how many useable pieces you have. Try to ignore the sickening feeling in your stomach when you hear that expensive gold lace rip.

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Step two: Cut strips from the skirt to extend the bodice on the sides so that it will actually fit around your chest. 

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Step three: After the bodice fits around you, cut more strips from the skirt to make the bodice longer so that it at least goes past your sternum.

We must pause here.

See, that was the other thing. This dress was not only two sizes too small. It was also PETITE.

Pe-ti-te.

I am 5’9″, in case you don’t know. That means the wrists of a long-sleeved petite dress end at my elbows. The waist stops at the top of my rib cage. The hem barely meets my thigh. Oh, and the shoulders on a petite dress! I don’t even know how to describe to you the difference between my real-live-healthy-woman shoulders and the tiny-baby-Barbie shoulders of a petite person. Are petite people even real? Are they a myth? Who can wear this stuff? I have actually tried on a petite dress in a dressing room before, and I got stuck in it. Picture Frankenstein in a 2T. I had sausage arms. I couldn’t put my them down at my sides. I couldn’t bend them to reach for the zipper, either. I had to ask a stranger for help to get out of that dumb dress. Yes, I peeked out of the dressing room door and stage-whispered, “Help! Heeeeelp!” in a Dillard’s. A very nice older lady almost had to put her fancy foot on my shoulder so she could push me back and simultaneously yank that finger-puppet dress forward over my head.

Back to the Hunting Hope dress. Losing weight was one thing, but I don’t know how I thought I was going to lose height.

Or a collar bone.

These were all minor details in light of the red sticker. You’ve been there, I know.

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Step four: Now that the bodice is longer and is suitable for someone other than a Polly Pocket, all that is left of your precious scalloped skirt is enough to make a peplum. Which you must do, of course. Never waste a scallop, if you can avoid it.

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Step five: Use what is left over to make a Peter Pan collar. This is always a good choice. And pray that no one notices that your new Peter Pan collar is crooked because you are tired and starting to get angry and have punctured your finger with the machine needle again and you keep bleeding through the BandAid.

(I have a love/hate relationship with sewing. That’s just the way it is.)

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Tah-dah! I was very happy with it. Except that when I tried it on, the blush fabric was the exact color of my skin, and from far away I looked naked. This was not the look I was going for since I would be onstage, giving a speech. So I added a black satin ribbon and wore it with black pants and a black cardigan. Then I was REALLY happy with it. And I must say, I liked it even better than if I had been able to wear the original dress. I was so comfortable in it, which is the number one factor in fashion.

That’s COMFORT.

Not the red sticker.

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Here are a few pictures from my launch party. Stay tuned. I’m sure there will be some other sewing fiasco on the horizon.

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Do you see how I would have looked naked without the cardigan? Do you see? I had to have that black ribbon so that it was clear to everyone that I had worn a shirt to the party.

Watch this video to see what was happening outside in the atrium as I was speaking inside the chapel. I wanted to illustrate how God works on our behalf as we pray, staying busy in ways we cannot see. So an army of my friends transformed the space after all of the audience went in and closed the doors of the chapel.

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In the end, I was delighted that I had worn pants and not the original dress. Can you imagine if I had been sitting on that stool for an hour, constantly shifting so that people could not see up my skirt? No, thank you. And can you BELIEVE that paper flower backdrop that my precious friends made?
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This backdrop! I loved it so much. We just used that cheap party fringe and cut it at a slant and hot glued it to a large canvas.
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There were so many beautiful tables of food. Again, those amazing paper flowers make all the difference in transforming that boring church atrium. Oh, the joys of living in the day and age of 3M Command Strips.
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Booka, booka, booka.
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I still don’t get how they hung this backdrop across a second story atrium. This is made with that super-thick Italian crepe paper, and we just cut it into strips and fringed it. It didn’t take that long, but it did hurt my hand after doing it so much. Worth it.
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My mom was happy, too!
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My friend Stanton played the piano all night. It made the whole thing magical.
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If you have read Hunting Hope, this is my freshman roommate. She survived the Spaghettios (and much, much more) and still calls me a friend, although I am not sure why.
There were about 300 people there. I was amazed at the warm and supportive turn-out!
There were about 300 people there. I was amazed at the warm and supportive turn-out!
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These hollow books stuffed with fresh flowers were everywhere. I just want to sit there and smell them forever.
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We also sold these sets of encouragement notes based on the chapter titles of the book.
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I absolutely love this picture of my brother and me. He looks so jolly!
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Let’s end on the BEST note. This perfectly angelic face belongs to my niece. It was taken right before I got up to speak. Sometimes I just open this picture and stare at it for a while. It is so sweet and pure and reflective of her heart. I sure love this little girl. If you ever get to meet her, right away you’ll know you’ve met a treasure.

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