I'm starting with Samantha's first because it was the easiest of the two dresses to make.
First I need to say that it took me a minute to get started making these dresses. I bought the fabric from Chic Fabrics and posted a picture to Instagram...then the fabric sat. I had the same feeling I had when I made their mother's prom dress years ago.
I've made a few more prom dresses since then but the nervousness and importance of these dresses makes me pause...not because I question my abilities but because of the specialness of the ocassion! I really wanted the girls first "important and formal" dresses to be extra special!
I started with McCalls 7858 - a David Tutera special event dress for little girls. I cut out the dresses from the pink silk shantung and basted the shells together - to try on for fit.
During the construction of the dress shells, I realized I was going to need to add several techniques to the dresses for them to be what I wanted. None of those details were included in the pattern instructions. I will detail all of it in the construction section below.
Let's start with the supply list ~
3 yards pink silk shantung from Chic Fabrics
3 yards of pink embroidered mesh from Chic Fabrics
1 12" pink zipper
1/2 yard pink bemberg lining from the collection
1 yard of pink piping from the collection
7 yards pink bias binding
2 yards of twill tape
This is a simple dress to make. I complicated it by the materials I choose and because of that I needed extra steps to insure the fabric worked well with the design. Sammy's dress was first because I needed to make the most alterations/fitting changes to her's.
Fitting Changes ~
- Sammy's dress bodice needed to be given a closer fit after the first fitting.
- I removed 5/8" from the bottom of the bodice
Construction Information ~
- The motifs were added to the front and back bodices
- The pattern instructions tell you to bind the neck with bias binding. Ahhhh no. Not with my fabric choices. So I cut and sewed linings for the bodice from a pink bemberg rayon. Sammy's choice.
- I added a pink piping to the neckline and inserted it between the lining and the bodice. I wanted a better neckline finish than the pattern offered.
- Bias binding was made from the satin blanket binding that I purchased. It was the only thing that I found locally that matched/coordinated the fabric.
- The bias binding was added to the sleeve edge and the skirt hemline.
- The twill tape was added to the crinoline, like suspenders to insure it hung well underneath Samantha's dress. Now while the crinoline had a waist tie, it just wasn't snug enough on her.
I don't consider myself a slow sewist. NOT.AT.ALL! But all of my sewing lately has been that. Slow, careful sewing with quite a bit of seam ripping so I can get things just right. And I've been fine with that...some because I have a wardrobe of garments and don't feel the need to bang out things to wear. Some because I want to take my time and make more sew challenging garments. These dresses fall into the more complicated garments category.
A few pictures of Samantha wearing her dress ~
Samantha was funny. She ate everything that was served. Pasta starter, salad from her plate and her sister's plate especially after she realized the salad dressing was good! The roast chicken breast, mashed potatoes and veggies. She ate her cheesecake and fruit for dessert. Ten minutes into the program, she laid her head in her Mother's lap and slept for the next two hours. LOL! A five year old with a full belly!!!
A few things I learned not from the making but the wearing of the dresses. We never thought about how the crinoline would work with the dresses, when they sat or more importantly when they needed to go to the bathroom. She needed assistance with lifting the dress to clear the toilet - true talk. AND little girls go to the bathroom ALOT so it was several trips between the two of them with my daughter and I splitting the trips.
- I should have made belt loops for the ribbon belts.
- They slipped up and down all evening and by the time we left, they had removed them.
- I bought cheap hooped petticoats to go under the dresses which was okay for this instance.
- But I'm using this pattern again for flower girl dresses for them. I'm going to buy the more expensive layered tulle slips for those dresses.
I'm glad I purchased the expensive fabric to make these special dresses for the girls. Their reactions to having them, the compliments they received and their smiles made it all worth it. Aleena's dress is up next!
...as always more later!