She wants to look like a princess. And princesses wear long dresses.
I looked around the house for some princess-worthy fabric, and the best I could do was some silky blue fabric with dragons on it. (Grace didn't mind. It seems like she said something about it looking like what the Little Mermaid would wear...)
I knew Grace loves "spinning dresses," so I made a pattern using newspaper to create three panels that would flare out at the hemline. (Three panels were as much as I could easily make with the bits of material I had on hand. I sew by hand, so this needs to be kept simple--no piecing together lots of pieces, thankyouverymuch.)
I pinned my pattern onto the fabric
and cut the fabric a little wider than the pattern because (1) I wanted to allow for the seams and (2) the pattern was a little shorter than Grace would like the finished dress to be anyway.
Shhh! Don't tell anyone, but I marked on the "wrong side" of the fabric with an ink pen. This is for dress-up clothes, remember...
I pinned the sides of the three panels together and sewed all the sides. Next, I wanted to run elastic across the top of the dress so I folded over and pinned the fabric for this. After I sewed this, I ran the elastic through. The safety pin is your friend with this step. It gives you something to hold onto while you pull the elastic through quite easily. I used baby elastic because that's what I had on hand.
Next, it's time for the first fitting! I had Grace try on the dress at this point to see how long the elastic needed to be around her to keep the dress up. She immediately accessorized. And twirled.
Then...my least favorite part of sewing projects: pinning the hemline. Ugh. But I managed to get the hemline pinned properly, all the while reminding myself that this dress was dress-up clothes (and therefore doesn't have to be perfect). That didn't stop me from repinning several times, but it made me feel better when I started hemming.
I wanted to add a simple strap to hold the dress up properly, knowing that with all of the spinning and flitting around that was sure to happen, Grace needed a little help to remain modest. :) I used one of the scraps of fabric and made a strap that would be a kind of halter-top style.
Again, the safety pin is your friend, both in turning the strap right-side out and in running elastic through.
The finished project (not ironed, because...did I mention this is only for dress-up?)
and the happy girl!
The dress was an immediate hit with Grace, and she typically wears it from the time she wakes up until I make her put on clothes every day. ;) Grace says she likes the colors of her new dress, and loves the "necklace" part. So far, she hasn't tried to wear it out of the house...so far...
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