No, not the little girl (although I sort of made her too!), the dress she is wearing! I initially planned on making something like the Oliver+S Garden Party dress, but with different sleeves, in satin and chiffon, and longer.... but I changed my mind. =)
I decided on a simple bodice with a scalloped neckline:
a layered circle skirt:
A wide sash with ruched sides:
And sheer sleeves with circular flounces:
I drafted the pattern myself, using Illustrator for the first time to do it, thanks to Pattern Workshop (affiliate link) and all I learned there. There were some parts where I was going, "Seriously, Illustrator?" but they were all due to little things that I'd messed up without realizing it.
It went a LOT faster than my pattern drafting normally does! I made a muslin, altered a few things in the program, and made a second muslin before I was satisfied, and it still took less time than normal.
I used satin and chiffon from the Casa Collection at Joann's (online) in Calypso color, which is a dark coral (the photos with it laid out flat are closest to the actual color), for this dress.
I bought a couple different zippers at Joann's too, but neither really matched- one was too red, the other too pink. I ended up with an invisible zipper from zipperstop.com that was perfect. (Color was 517, 12" length.) The zipper tape on each side of a YKK invisible zipper is about 3/8" wide instead of the usual 1/2" that I'm used to from Coat's and Clark, but it wasn't a big deal.
I sewed the bodice and sleeves using my tutorial, but left the back completely open for the zipper... then I tried in on Booper. It fit perfectly!
Next I added the sleeve flounces, which was an absolute pain and I'm never doing it that way again on that small of a sleeve with that kind of fabric. I also spent several hours figuring out how to finish the flounce hems, since chiffon frays like crazy but I wanted something light. I tried a two-seam rolled hem... it was awful. I tried a narrow rolled hem with my sewing machine foot... I could get it to roll right on the straight areas. I tried just rolling the hem and sewing it as I rolled... awful. Finally I just took out my woodburning tool and burned the outer edge so it wouldn't fray. It was really difficult to get a smooth curve without beading or blackness, but I did it.
Then I hemmed the skirt with a machine narrow rolled hem and added it to the bodice. The chiffon layer is another thing I would change... chiffon has a lot of stretch on the bias, and I should have hung the dress up with the skirt attached and trimmed the chiffon to match the satin before hemming it. It's a little longer in spots, although when I finished this dress I just thought it was because the chiffon squirrels around when you try to cut it... I found out about the stretch later. Since the back was open, I sewed the skirt to the front layer only, then folded the lining around the hem of the skirt and sewed it to the outer and skirt, leaving 3-4 inches unsewn near the back seam.
The next step was trying it on Booper again, just to see how it looked. Only there was a problem... I couldn't get her arm in the sleeves! I still don't know what happened... if I cut them wrong, sewed them wrong, or if she just grew. It was about 3 days after the first fitting, where they had been fine. So I cut the beautifully-finished sleeves out of the seam and drafted some wider ones with a shorter cap. They do pull a little toward the shoulder, but I think the only way to fix that without adding gathering would have been to lower the armscye a little. This time I left a seam allowance in the sleeve flounces and sewed them on flat, then seamed them and the underarm seam together. I still had to go with the burning method of finishing them though... this time on the sleeve cap too.
Since the bodice was already finished, I didn't want to pull it all apart to put new sleeves in, so I carefully hand-stitched them to just the lining, then did a tiny whip-stitch over the edge and to the lining to keep the seam allowance from peeking out.
From there on things were easier... I sewed a sash and attached it at one of the back sides of the bodice, added the invisible zipper, French seamed the two layers of skirt, and sewed the final few inches of narrow rolled hems. Then I finished the sash, tacked it down under the bow at the other side of the back bodice, and tacked/ruched the sides of it to the dress.
It's not a true bow... I didn't want it coming undone during the ceremony, so I halfway followed this tutorial for adding a child-proof bow. I put the tail piece in front of the bow loops, but I wish I'd put it in the back like she did, it's much cuter that way. And finally it was finished!
I also made the sunflower crown Booper is wearing in these photos, out of paper with my Silhouette! =)
I used plain yellow, brown, and dark green cardstock, this cut file, some tacky glue, and floral wire and tape. Oh, and I sprayed it with Rustoleum clear crystal enamel in case Booper got it wet... which is always likely with a little girl of 4.
I love how it turned out. =)
The petals did get a little damaged after she dropped it about 8 times, but for the most part it's still in good shape. I pinned it to her hair during the wedding but it didn't really stay put.
I planned on making dresses for the littler girls too, in yellow and blue to match the other wedding colors, but I ran out of time and just made skirts, which I will show you in another post.
Thanks for stopping by!
P.S. Please excuse the grainy/blurry/dark photos in this post... my camera doesn't love dark rooms.