Acerule’s debutante ball- Part 2

Acerule’s debutante ball- Part 2

We have been very busy preparing for Acerule’s imminent debutante ball. Ace has been attending dance practices with her friends for 8 weeks. Also, her father had to attend a 2 hour practice with her one evening, for the “special person dance”. Of course I sat up in the stands and took photos. Apparently 95 students are getting presented this year.

Boys and girls split up, boys sat down, Ace and her father lower center:

The dress code for the girls is white formal (usually long) dress, and all white or silver accessories, no colour. The boys all wear matching evening suits, that the school organise to hire. Guests are supposed to wear formal dress.

She has had several dress fittings at the alterations lady, Katja. The dress was purchased “new without tags”, a great bargain for a fashionable dress, from an obscure Aussie Ebay ladies clothes seller. It was too long for dancing and had an unwanted train, so it was taken up.

This is not so much a story of reducing, but it is of reusing and recycling. You know me, by now. Acerules also supports helping the environment.

My outfit

My outfit for the debut is unusual, for me and for anyone!
Katja altered, and embellished my dress with appliqué, straps for modesty, and an ankle frill. I had bought my black and red stretchy long dress a few years ago, new from a Chinese Ebay seller, because it was cheap, I think $5.00 au. Postage was also cheap. I put it in the wardrobe for a future event, which is now here.

When this came up, I tried the dress on, thought it was a bit too Kardashian clingy for me, and decided to go with a late 19th century European bohemian theme, more or less. (Here in Australia, the expression is “as you do.” Meaning, no one else would do that). I searched Google for pictures, which I showed both Katja, and an artisan friend Dee in USA who was commissioned to hand make my jewellery for the deb ball. Her shop details are going to be Dragonjewelz On Etsy, opening May 5 th. The sets she made for me comprise necklaces, earrings and a hair clip:

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These designs are copyright Dee.

Talented, ain’t she. She makes all the loops, hooks and curlicue whatsits, painstakingly by hand.

I sewed a vintage French hair clasp on the back of the crystal hair clip:

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So, last year I bought a beautiful vintage red satin, embroidered, square “piano” shawl, second hand in Australia from Ebay. I thought it would work with my theme and hopefully cover my womanly butt. (Should have done more clenching exercises, or eaten less toast!) Some of the long fringing was damaged, so I asked Katja to cut and hem the good part of the shawl diagonally into a triangle.

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The damaged part, fringe cut off, was upcycled into decorating the dress, as appliqué for the bodice.
Katja also removed some cheap gold plastic sequins from my dress waistline and sewed on shoulder and arm straps.

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My dress was too long so Katja cut it off. The frill below my knees was too wimpy, hanging flat, so she added the red lace fabric cut off from Acerule’s red 2018 Christmas dress, another Australian Ebay purchase:

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Guys don’t get excited, there’s a nude singlet under there!
Katja cut the remnant off when Ace wanted her red dress shortened to day length. Very nice quality lace that, a pity not to upcycle it. Katja also added some stiffening denim material under my frill.

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Are you confused yet? Mixing and matching bits of clothes. The upshot is, there was very little waste.

My handbag

I searched Ebay last year, for something traditional looking, to go with my dress that would still hold the iPad (for photos and parent networking), tissues, headache medication etc and keep my hands free. I eventually found one in brand new condition at an op (thrift ) shop. Popped in it is a black lace fan left over from Acerule’s 16 th Venetian ball, (purchased new in 2017 on Ebay). So if I get a ladylike “attack of the vapours” and faint from my tight kardashian-turned-bohemian dress, some passing boy in a black suit can fan me.

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At this point Acerules would roll her eyes and say “no, just no, Mum” but she is asleep. I made her go to bed. She has an exam with a fancy name tomorrow that she says is not an exam, but I know it is, because she panicked and started studying today. Later this year they also have a camp that is not a camp, I’m told. It’s an “immersion”. Me calling it a camp drives Acerules nuts. (Hehe!)

The crown

I told you in Part 1, that Acerules will be wearing my mother’s 1960s crystal rhinestone wedding crown. I also wore it to my first wedding. It’s particularly special because my mother died before Ace was born. First, my long triple tier wedding veil needed to be removed. I carefully cut it off with sharp scissors:

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and packed the veil away again in its blue tissue paper in its box. It was made for me by the same dressmaker who made my cousin’s veil. I remember sitting in my aunt’s living room with my Mum, looking at photos of my cousin’s wedding. My Aunt decorated the wedding cake, which Mum baked.

After negotiations with Ace, for the deb ball, she had decided to also embellish her lovely long hair with white leaf ribbons. So I spent an all-nighter sewing onto the crown, two clear combs to hold it securely on and four ribbons. I also “bedazzled” the ribbon:

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Even with all the economies, and buying most things well ahead last year, plus me volunteering to do her hair and makeup, money was getting tight. We would have accommodation and travel costs, in addition to the charges for the event. I sent up a prayer, which was answered as usual. Right in the nick of time, this week my brother and his wife unexpectedly sent us both a generous gift voucher each, as a belated birthday present. Mine went on groceries and Ace was able to add to her makeup, skincare and hair products stash. God also threw in a store sale on those items! I had already bought her a French eyeshadow palette, and she had a few things but you have to throw out used makeup on a regular basis, which we had.

Lancôme eyeshadow and blush palette.


The shoes have been worn only once, by me, in the early 1990s. They were my expensive Italian wedding shoes, from my first time up the aisle. I bought them in Melbourne’s central city, with my earnings from working with intellectually disabled people, (some of whom attended the wedding.) The shoes are white leather with diaméntés down the heels. I can’t show a picture yet, because Ace took them for dance practice.


We are currently in disagreement on this point. I want her to wear white tights, because of the formality of the occasion, and the girls’ requirement to wear white. I bought some, from a ballet shop. Ace then said this week that she doesn’t want anything on her legs. Say what?? So I bought some nude nylon footlet sockette thingies with gel heel grips. I hope they stay on.

What is it with teens? She did years of dance classes and concerts in tights, without complaint, sigh. (I’m taking the tights along in case the etiquette teacher lady requires them worn!)

Handbag and wrap.

Now, Ace agreed to a white Mimco handbag, which she chose secondhand on Ebay (none anywhere in the brick and mortar stores),

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but refused a wrap.

Everyone knows that mother knows best about wearing your wrap to and from the venue. One could catch cold! (Especially with bare legs!) It is Autumn here. So I ignored her on the wrap. I bought a new white imitation “pashmina” light shawl on Ebay, (I doubt a real pashmina animal even came within miles of it). Then I had an idea… of course! Using the off cuts of white fabric shortened from the hem of Ace’s deb dress (so she can dance), Katja appliquéd onto the wrap. It looks more “high end”. She is a clever lady. Difficult to see here:

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I hope it is a little chilly so Ace wears it! I popped a white lace fan to play with, into the handbag, and the Irish linen and lace handkerchief, from my second wedding.


Costume jewellery and white watch for Acerules to choose from, cheap from Ebay last year, except the diaménte choker which was cheap at a chain store or op (thrift) shop, I forget where. Can you spot a theme in the jewellery? She has had the silver jewel box since a baby, in her “Mary Queen of Scots” theme bedroom. (The room also went through years with the Disney Princesses. Man was I happy when they moved on!) This week I gave the jewellery box a good clean and polish.

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Hair on her head, hair on her eyes. Bun nets, clips and hair elastics. We will be sharing some things.

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I have no confidence applying the false eyelashes, that are all the rage, so she’s taking them to school on the day to find a proficient girl.

Here’s something the boys won’t know. This is a bun donut. It makes her hair bun bigger, to fit in the crown. We also have a brown one. Shown with my red bangle, bought at an op (thrift) shop.

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That’s it for today, tune in again soon for the actual debutante ball pictures with Ace in her white dress!


  1. Wow! Nice job. I think a deb ball is a nice idea in terms of announcing adulthood. Our city has a tiny one linked to a symphony fund-raiser. School proms lean more toward debauchery than symbolism I’m sad to say. Hope the event is lovely for you all!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. WOW what an amazing mum,,,, I hope all your hard work pays off an she appreciates what you have done for her,,, I might not be there in person, but believe me I will be there in sprit and will be thinking of you all,,, such a proud moment for you,,,, and yes I did know what a “bun donut was” cos I had a daughter too.
    All my best wishes for the day,,,oh and the Irish linin will bring her luck too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You certainly are organized! It all looks so lovely and I’m sure you will both look beautiful!! What a special event this will be for the whole family! I love your your wedding crown! I’m a little confused though, why would you need a bun? If you have those beautiful trailing leaves wouldn’t her hair be down?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cath, I am amazed at all of your work to make this a beautiful experience for your lovely daughter! You have been planning for a long time. I can’t wait to see her in the dress!


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