When I purchased the fabric and supplies to make the kids’ Easter clothes, I had intended to create a dress for the princess based on this scribble.
When she helped me design it, her primary objective was the spaghetti strap shoulders and some bare back showing. And a zipper closure. With Bambi front and center.
But then, I discovered http://www.projectrunplay.com/. And I was captivated by the idea of a blog based sewing design competition. So I made the boys’ outfits… little mister’s pants (https://ropporiginals.wordpress.com/2015/03/02/sailor-inspired-pants/) and big mister’s vest (https://ropporiginals.wordpress.com/2015/03/02/sailor-inspired-vest/) and put together my first blog just for the chance to play along.
I was hoping for something I could use for the dress, and I was not disappointed! This dress (http://www.mesewcrazy.com/2015/02/knot-dress-free-pattern.html) by Jessica from Me Sew Crazy was the perfect starting off point!
So, it was back to the drawing board. Literally.
First I used Jess’s pattern to cut out the pieces. I knew I was going to leave out the shoulder knots, so they looked like this.
I gathered up some patterns that I had cut and I knew fit princess.
Together with graph paper and my trusty ruler, this was the new design.
Okay, so it wasn’t as put together as the first design, but I knew what I was doing. I combined another self drafted skirt pattern that I intended to cut from the same piece of seersucker and made myself a complicated cutting diagram.
Is your head spinning yet? Don’t worry. It comes down to ending up with these two shapes. One cut on the fold and the other two pieces.
The things that I changed from the original pattern were shortening the shoulders a LOT. Basically, I was eliminating them and replacing them with straps. Second, I tapered the back piece in an effort to decrease the inevitable lower back gap that these sorts of dresses create.
I then cut the strap piece out of the seersucker twice, for a total of four pieces, and I cut the two bodice pieces from my lining fabric. I sewed them together using the original instructions and ended up with this.
I also had the matching seersucker bodice. I then created my straps by stitching pre-made bias tape closed.
And then sewed them to the wrong side of the back shoulders of the lining piece.
This way when you assemble the bodice, the ends will be invisible. At this point, I assembled the bodice following the original instructions,but I made one major error. I forgot to tuck my straps to the inside. Oops! Take two… I ripped out the seam, tucked them in, and resewed.
This is when I remembered I had forgotten to iron on the applique before assembling the bodice. I always get so excited I get ahead of myself. Oops again.
I then pressed the bodice according to the instructions and set it aside to work on the skirt.
My daughter decided that she wanted pleats instead of gathers, so I put in 1 inch straight pleats spaced 2 inches apart. That way my skirt piece cut selvedge to selvedge fit perfectly around her waist with no seams. Here’s how to do them without marking because I am time efficient (read lazy).
In order to space the pleats evenly, I used one ruler width. I measured it by lining up the ruler with the end of my fabric or the previously completed pleat, and then flipping the ruler over before starting the pleat process.
Then fold the fabric over with the ruler sandwiched between to get sharp ruler wide (1 inch) pleats.
Then press down on the fabric to hold the pleat in place while you pull the ruler out. (Pardon my lovely thumb brace… sprained the dang thing, which is making sewing infinitely harder, but i was determined to complete this Project Run and Play project!)
Then press and pin. This pleating process will cut your fabric length exactly in half, so measure twice as much fabric as your waist needs.
Then baste to hold the pleats. Or, you could leave it on the ironing board and go to bed and baste it the next morning. That’s what I did.
Then I flipped the skirt inside out and slid it over the right side of the bodice. I pinned it all around, making sure the lining was tucked up and out of the way.
I lined up the seam with the back seam of the bodice, and double checked that the pleats in the front were centered and evenly spaced. Then I sewed them together.
I flipped it right-side out, pulled the lining down over the seam, and sewed in the trough on the outside, careful to catch the lining.
Lastly, I sewed the shoulder straps together and added a button, as well as adding buttonholes to the front of the bodice.
Because of how wide the back opens due to the tie, the straps could have been permanent instead of buttons with a button hole. I might change that later just to make it more secure since Princess is such a mover.
And there is the finished dress. Front-
And with the boys’ pieces.
Coming soon- the kids wearing them! Until then, here are some photos of the princess freezing to death in the studio.
(Quick photo tips- white bed sheet and room divider for the first pair, blanket the same color as the carpet for the last ones.)
ETA- the photo post can be found here- https://ropporiginals.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/easter-sewing-photo-shoot/