Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Beautiful Princess Dress

Remember how I went fabric shopping last month  and Little Man became totally obsessed with a yellow floral print with birds on it?  He would pull it off the table and I would put it back on and steer him off to pick out fabric for himself for summer pjs. Then he would abandon the search for pj fabric and wander back and pull out the bolt of yellow floral again and I would put it back again.  This went on and on and then he finally won me over by telling "Mommy.  You should really buy this to make a pretty dress for yourself.  You will look like a beautiful princess in it." Of course I added it to my pile on the cutting table at that point.  Who wouldn't on that particular recommendation?

I had thought initially I'd just make another Rebecca Shift like my Bluebirds of Happiness dress, but then when I mentioned shift dress to the lady cutting my fabric she said that she envisioned it more in a flouncy circle skirt.  I stuck to my guns and bought 1.6m, which I knew would be just enough for the shift and started home happy with my plan.  As I drove home though I started thinking - it's over an hour, so lots of thinking time - and I started wishing I'd bought more so I could do a flouncier dress.  I considered the fact I already have a shift dress with birds on it.  Did I really want another one so similar? And so the fixating began.  Then I started thinking maybe I should make another Jenny instead.  And maybe, just maybe I could squeak out a quarter circle skirt with my fabric - which I probably could have, but that still didn't seem flouncy enough. I mulled things over and then I gave in completely, measured out how much more fabric I would need and then had to bide my time until I could get back into the city to buy another length of it.  (thankfully they still had lots on the bolt, so I wasn't worried they'd suddenly sell out before I got there again!)

With all the fabric bought, pre-washed and dried, I dug out my Jenny pattern that still had my alterations from last year on it, measured the waist band to find out what number I'd need to calculate a half circle skirt and then had an epiphany!  The Lorelei dress I used for my wedding dress last summer used a circle skirt.  So I dug that pattern out too!  Whoot!  It worked.  No fussing about with making my own pattern and no need to do mathematics! (Bonus!!!) Although I wasn't really going to do math.  I was going to let By Hand London's app do the math instead, but that's not the point.  The point is I had a ready to go skirt pattern instantly in my hot little hands.

The dress went together really quickly.  I was just about to put the zipper in - the second last step in making the dress - when two things occurred to me.  First, I realized I should possibly try it on just to make sure things were fitting right.  Second, in an attempt to add a pop of solid colour I had done a bright red contrast waistband and realized it was quite possibly a very misguided attempt.  So I stopped what I was doing and tried it on at which point I confirmed that the pop of colour at my midsection was a TERRIBLE idea.  It was like a beacon pointing directly at the spot I carry all my excess weight.  I might as well have put a neon sign saying "HEY EVERYONE!!! LOOK HERE!!!!!" I also confirmed that my dress was too big.  Argh.

I briefly thought I could just take the easy way out and take the skirt off, flip the bodice and waistband inside out and just put the zipper on the other side since I had lined them with the main fabric.  Those hopes were dashed when I remembered that I'd accidently cut my bodice lining upside down so all my birdies were perched on their heads, besides which I really did need to take it in anyways. So it languished on my desk for a few days while I worked up the "oomph" to make a date with my trusty sidekick, the seam ripper.  Nothing kills the sewing mojo faster than requiring an epic journey in taking apart an almost finished garment.  But then I reminded myself that I wanted to take part in the Dress Up Party that Sara is hosting over at Sew Sweetness and knew that if I didn't tackle the dress soon I never would.

Motivation restored, off came the skirt, then the waistband, and then I reworked the fit by taking in the side seams 3/4" on each side and continued on my merry way.  I finished off the zipper last night and hemmed it this afternoon.  I did get my pop of solid colour after all too.  I can't remember where I read about it, but recently I saw a circle skirt done with a bias binding hem.  Where has this been all my life??? It was the easiest finish ever! Just sew on the bias binding in line with the hemline, flip it to the inside, press and topstitch it down. Done.  Easy as that with no worrying about trying to ease all that fullness of a circle skirt into the hem and have it still look nice and crisp once it's done.

Hopefully my dress fits Little Man's vision of a "princess dress".  I think now that I have this dress finished, I really need to knit another Andi Satterlund cropped cardi to go with it.  And I think it needs to be red.


  1. wow, I am so impressed with what you got! I am totally awed of people who sew, how they can just go buy some fabric and end up with a beautiful garment. Knitting seems such a slow process compared to that...

    1. Thanks! I do like sewing for the almost instant gratification of it, but you can not beat the portability of knitting, so I think it all balances out! (Plus you can't curl up on the couch with a movie with a sewing machine so although it's slower, there are definite perks! LOL)

    2. It is beautiful! So summery and colorful!

  2. Thanks so much, Ann! Now if only the weather would cooperate. I'm back to wearing ALL THE WOOL today. Brrrr.