Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ta-Da! Tuesday--Day Twenty (b): Surprise Dress

My second installment for this week's Ta-Da! Tuesday is a dress I made for Blue Eyes.  I made it to do the sew along for The Sew Off over at Nap Time Crafters.  The challenge was kids clothes and the rules allowed starting from a pattern or tutorial but needing to add your own creative spin to it.  I started with Simplicity 2464.  I had wanted to make it a hi-low skirt but the realities of how the pattern is constructed didn't fit in with the vision I had in my head.  Surprise, surprise.

I don't always use out-of-print patterns, I swear.
The pink fabrics came from my own stash, that had once belonged in my mother in law's stash.  I love free fabric.  The green trim fabric was an eyelet remnant I bought a few years ago, hoping to make something cute with the gorgeous embroidery at the bottom.  There was never enough yardage for anything I liked.  So I used it here.  The only difference in cutting out the pattern was adding some extra fabric to the bodice back to make it less open, and cutting the skirt front wider to accommodate what I wanted to do for the surprise part of the dress.
I didn't think about how thin the pink gingham fabric was.  If I were to do it over again I would have lined the yoke on the waist.  I was in a hurry.
Once the dress was all made up I tried it on Blue Eyes and found that the front ended up looking really, really low cut on her.  I added a fabric panel after the fact.  I meant to make the top of the panel go to the bottom of the green stripe rather than the top but didn't remember that as I was prepping it.  Then I was too lazy to make Blue Eyes come try it on before I sewed it in.  And I had her entertaining the baby.  I may or may not go back and change it.
Back view
Originally I wanted the bodice back completely closed.  Had I moved forward with that plan without thinking about it I would have ended up with a dress Blue Eyes couldn't get her head through.  No bueno.

Now comes the surprise part of the dress.  I added an under layer to the skirt with lots of sheer tricot ruffles.  I already had plenty on hand because I've made a few pettiskirts and had quite a bit left over.  I broke out my trusty(ish) ruffle foot and let it do the ruffling work for me.  On the wrong side of the over layer I added some rows of bias tape to make a casing for ribbon drawstrings to bring up bits of the skirt to show off the ruffle layer.  I'm pleased with the result.  It took quite a bit of figuring to get the hem right when you include the pink trim at the bottom and the fact that I wanted that part left separate from the drawstrings.  It was a bit of a headache but it all worked out.  The plaid pattern is busy enough that it hides to stitching lines beautifully.
My great fear was that I would attach all the ruffles and Blue Eyes would not want to show it off.  I needn't have worried.  She likes to wear it with the over layer down but gets a kick out of showing it off to people by saying, "Look under my dress!"  We'll work on a different choice of words.
Surprise!  There's a layer of pink and lavender ruffles.
The only thing I would change about what I did is to follow the pattern and sew the skirt to the bodice before sewing the side seams.  I had stopped paying attention to the directions by then and have never had a problem with attaching a skirt this way before.  The elastic pieces in the back and the trim on the front make that method a bad idea with this pattern.  It took me two hours to fix it when I saw what happened after I triumphantly pulled it off the machine and announced I was finished.  Boo.  But now it's right.  In the future I'm going to add butterflies to the ends of the drawstrings (this will further mask the drawstrings when the over skirt is extended) and to the bodice.  With Q-ball's birthday coming up I simply ran out of time.  Blue Eyes doesn't know the difference and is happy in her ignorance.  And so am I.

UPDATE:  My mother in law (the one who gave me the fabric) saw the dress and recognized the fabric.  When I told her she had given it to me she said she should give me more of her fabric to work with.  It's always a big win when the person who gave the fabric is happy and impressed with the finished product.  Even if it took several years to get around to using it.

1 comment:

  1. Really gorgeous dress! I love pink and green, and I love the ruffles!

    Navy Wifey Peters @ Submarine Sunday Link Party