Friday, November 27, 2009

A Tale of Two Dresses-Part 1

I'm missing some chromosomes. Specifically the ones dealing with girly stuff like making a pleasing hair-do, accessorizing, and matching colors. I'm never sure if I look put together and I'm afraid this extends to dressing my little girls too. So with this in mind I decided to make a different dress for each girl from the same fabric which I pilfered from my Mom's stash. This way, I reasoned, they would be sure to match when they have their picture taken together. What could be easier? Bah!

I don't usually sew from a pattern so I foolishly bought a pattern for each girl in the size they wear when we buy off the rack. I started with Buggy's and even went down a size, because she is such a slim girl, and made a 3. The half-finished dress hung on her like a tater sack, there was so much extra fabric at the sides and the v-neck was positively indecent. I looked around for ideas and Lier fortuitously posted about slopers around the time I was freaking out. (I left a comment and she visited my blog and left me a comment, eeeeee; what a classy lady!) But that's a whole new skill set, which I intend to learn, and this project needed help NOW since I intended to have the girls photographed around the time my baby turned one ( 2 weeks ago, whoops). So I hauled out a set of sewing encyclopedias I found at a garage sale last summer and opened the Sewing for Children book.

It had several good suggestions, like not using interfacing on kids' clothes, so that step was skipped and the dress looks fine to me. They also suggested buying a pattern in the size that fits your child's chest measurement and slashing the pattern to lengthen it where necessary. So for Buggy, I need a 12 mo. size baby pattern (I swear I feed her)! Luckily, I had the pattern for my baby's dress, so I traced a bodice from that and added the details I liked from the girl's pattern, like the shaped v-neck. I used the girl's pattern as a guide for the length of the bodice and made a muslin from this:

It was a little snug across the shoulders so I slashed the armscye and moved it over about a 1/4 inch on the front and back pieces (purple arrows) and lengthened the bodice a little more (blue arrows) as Buggy is quite long waisted:

Here is the (almost) finished dress:

You can see in the pic that it really wouldn't have hurt to make the dress a little smaller in the chest. The underskirt was not part of the pattern but the pilfered material is thin so it needed an extra layer and this was my solution. I used a piece of white sheet (I should do a post on all the places I've used that sheet) to make a flared skirt and attached a strip of eyelet trim to the bottom.

Stay tuned for Part 2, the baby's dress, which I am feverishly working on now.

Have questions or want more detailed info about how I altered the commercial pattern? Leave a comment or, if you're shy about everybody seeing your question, shoot me an e-mail.

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