Monday, May 7, 2012

Gypsy-Girl Dress

On Friday, when I said that I would sew my daughter's dress soon, I really did not mean that it would happen over the weekend.  However, my beautiful, lovely girl was being a real grouch about it, so I got started.  And then I got finished.

The things she seems to like about it:
  • The ruffle at the top of the bodice front.
  • The loose, summery bodice.
  • The lovely Amy Butler 'Gypsy Caravan' print
  • The stretchy waist.  This was shirred with several rows of elastic thread.

The things that required a bit more thought:
  • She wasn't sure how long she wanted the dress to be - I think this length is lovely.  She was undecided, but likes it.
  • Next time, she'll probably want the skirt to be more gathered. 

Overall, a success.  It was especially successful considering the fact that I was mostly making it up as I went.  I was going to draft my own pattern pieces, but I decided to use patterns from 'Sew What you Love' and alter them a bit.  I used the child's bodice and midriff pieces.  For the bodice, I extended the pattern a couple inches - the pattern is really designed to be lengthened depending on what is required for the project. Here are a couple bodice close-ups:

Ruffled top - this is probably the part that Joanna was most excited about.
Elastic waist!
For a better fit, I added shirring at the top of the back.  Kind of a racerback effect.
I used elastic thread to attach the bodice ruffle and shirr the top of the back.  This was so important for a good fit.  All of the children's patterns from 'Sew What you Love' require elastic thread, so the pattern pieces are designed for quite a bit of gathering.  This just happened to be perfect for what Joanna wanted.  If I did it again though, I might use one less row of elastic on the back.  Also, it's probably fairly obvious, but perhaps worth mentioning, that I used handmade bias tape instead of sleeves.  To make the bias tape, I used this method.

The midriff pattern was lengthened considerably.  Even though Joanna would have liked it to be fuller, I actually added quite a bit of width to the pattern piece.  For this dress, I just sewed the bodice to the skirt and shirred with elastic thread.  Next time, I'll cut the skirt even wider and gather with a basting stitch before sewing to the bodice.  Then I'll shirr with elastic thread.

The dress that this was modeled on actually had three ruffles at the hem as well, but Joanna wanted me to omit them.  It might be fun to try next time.  Maybe we can make a similar dress with all of the ruffles in a contrasting fabric!

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