Sunday, February 8, 2015

Navy Snowflake Secret Garden Dress

This is the dress I made Gaiw for Christmas in 2014. =)

  I used the Secret Garden Dress pattern, because that bow flounce in the back is just gorgeous. Actually, I was originally considering using this pattern for all 3 girls, but in the end decided to make them all different.

  I started out with a size 3, but as I was looking at the pattern pieces, I realized how short everything looked, so I lengthened just the underskirt to a size 4. I'm glad I did... it's still shorter than I expected.

  I added elbow-length puff sleeves to make it a bit more wintry... they are scrunched up a bit in these photos. I didn't realize just how low the V in the back was until the dress was almost finished though... if I were to make another winter version I would either fill that in or raise it up.

  I was a bit disappointed in how plain the front of the dress was, since I used solids only there. I ended up adding a little fluffy thing with a bit of tulle and ric-rac to add a bit of interest, but I think an embroidered silver snowflake would have been better. I just didn't have time for that!

  I made a mistake while I was sewing things together and sewed the wrong sides of the skirt together... meaning the opening for the side zip was on one side of the bodice and the other side of the skirt. I un-picked it halfway, but I'd already graded the seam allowances, and it definitely made it harder to sew that zipper in! I've got an unpleasant pucker going on, and things don't quite line up... and having sleeves in the dress made zipper insertion even more difficult.

  The pattern has the bodice fully lined, except the area around the zipper. I chose to further complicate things by hand-stitching the bodice lining to the zipper after sewing it in. It's a bit messy, but I still prefer it to serged edges there. The outer skirt is tucked inside the flounce and sewn, but the underskirt sides are just serged.

  The pattern suggested slip-stitching the bodice lining down, but I stitched in the ditch instead... due in part to time constraints, but also because I need the practice. =)

  The sleeves were inserted using my usual method, but I left the zipper side of the bodice open beneath the sleeve almost to the top. That zipper insertion... ergh. The sleeves are gathered with elastic thread near the hems.

    As for the pattern itself? I'll probably use it again, but I can't fully recommend it. The instructions are good, but the front skirt was wider than the bodice and had to be eased in. There are no notches, and although the pivot points for sewing the flounces were marked, the position to tack them to the bodice was not. It's a decent pattern, and if you are an experienced seamstress it will probably turn out great for you, but it could use a bit more work.

  That said, the results are beautiful, and the flounce is nicely drafted. Gaiw loves how it twirls! She says 'I want to wear my beautiful dress, mama!' just about every other day. =)

  And I have to admit, the dress fits her personality beautifully... quiet at first, with a lot of depth as you look closer.

  One dress left, then I'm finally done with Christmas 2014! =)

Thanks for stopping by,


  1. Such a pretty dress! I've seen that pattern and love the back. Your sleeves are a great addition! That's so odd that the lining isn't supposed to be sewn to the zipper.

    1. Thank you! I love the sleeves in spite of them causing extra difficulty with the zipper. In the pattern, the bodice lining and outer are sewn as one layer to the zipper... it's just the underskirt that isn't sewn to the zipper at all. It is a bit unusual, but I can see how it would be easier. =)

  2. I say more than GRR! when I am sewing. Ha ha. I am a novice at it. But your little girls look adorable in those dresses, what a beautiful job you did!

    1. Sometimes it's hard not to! ;-) Luckily you don't have to stay a novice long with sewing. =)
      Thank you! I'm very happy with how they turned out. =)