Sunday, 8 February 2015

As she wished

When we were at The Fabric Store and rummaging through the remnants I showed a piece of fabric to A and she was instantly smitten. This was to be the birthday dress.

Kid's Clothes Week crept up on me, and while it wasn't on theme with the upcycling idea, I decided to take most of a week to sew a dress...


 
The pattern, of course, is the Fairy Tale dress by Oliver + S. It really is the perfect special occasion dress. I had envisaged a simple collarless, sleeveless version, but the birthday girl wasn't going to let me off that lightly.
 


She wanted the curved, Peter Pan collar and the tulip sleeves (view A). Just like her previous Cinderella dress which she had adored. (happily that dress has been handed down as it was getting indecently short and rather tight). Her previous Fairy Tale dresses were size 2. This one is a straight 4. What happened to my 3 year old? It seems I lost a year of sewing there.

I had recently received this beautiful Fairy Tale hand me down dress from the other side of the world and I was very impressed with the piping. I figured if I had to sew the collar and sleeves I needed something to break up all those abstract flowers.


At the back of the neck it was a tight corner to pipe around and I went back and had a look at Melanie's version to assure myself it could be done. The fuchsia satin (which is a better colour match in real life than it looks in these pictures) was relatively thick and perhaps not the best choice for piping, but with lots of snipping I got there and I'm delighted with how it worked.

While the accent fabric was sturdy, the main fabric was as slippery as a wet, buttered fish. I didn't keep the cardstock that the fabric came with but I'm pretty sure it's a silk and it wanted to bend and stretch in every conceivable direction.

I used my new invisible zipper foot, and that, along with the brilliant Oliver + S instructions meant I nailed that zipper first time. And then I nailed it again the second time when I realised I'd pressed the bodice/skirt seam allowances up instead of down and had to unpick a bit and redo it. :)


The cute little bias strip belt and bow is perfect for breaking up the pattern and covering the skirt attachment. Given the satin was thicker than ideal, turning that sucker was not easy!


And because a birthday party dress has to have "poof" I used two layers of tulle. The pattern suggestions the super wide American stuff which is ever so soft, and I think a single layer would be a bit of a non event. For the record, it would be perfectly OK to get the narrower width cheaper stuff because you don't use so much that the extra width matters, and the skirt is lined such that even scratchy tulle wouldn't touch bare legs.

Other than the piping at the collar and sleeves, the only modification I made was to cut the skirt (and lining and tulle) as one big rectangle to avoid any side seams. Saves time too and I think I'd always do this from now on.


It's just gone through the wash to get the pencil marks off and then I'll wrap it and give it to her for her birthday. Modelled photos on a big 4 year old to come soon!

23 comments:

  1. Four years old? Wow.
    It is a lovely dress, I love the fabric and all the details. Super girly but not in the least bit prissy.
    I hope she has a great day.
    xx N

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    1. Thanks Nicole, it's amazing how they grow, right?!
      I've had other fabrics that I thought would be birthday dress fabrics, but now they all seem a bit babyish and plain. I love the charcoal and yellow in this as it makes it a bit more grown up. You would go nuts at The Fabric Store. You must time a holiday with one of their sales!

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  2. So pretty! And beautifully stitched.

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  3. Truly stunning. All that beautiful piping. As they say at school, give yourself a pat on the back and say '1,2,3, well done me'! Oh, and I do like A's taste in fabric - very, very pretty.

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    1. Thanks Marisa. There are other pink-y fabrics that I try not to let her see but the patterns and the colours in this one appealed to me too.

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  4. The dress is stunning. The fabric, piping and extra tulle make it a work of art!!

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    1. Thanks Deb. It's rare that a fabric that could be described as pink and floral would appeal to me, but I couldn't pass this one up.

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  5. What a fabulous dress! I love the sleeves. I think I might want to tackle the pattern now.

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    1. Oh you really should. As i was making this one I was already starting to plan another. It's a pattern that does that to you!

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  6. Beautifully executed, Shelley! The details are all perfect. And you make me want to learn how to make one of those bows. I love it! That piping is perfection!

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    1. Thanks Rachel. The bow is sweet isn't it.
      I was quite pleased with how well the piping went, but it's driving me nuts that it's hanging slightly askew in the pictures and looks like the sleeves aren't even (they are). How's that for perfectionism.... ;) Must remember to check images for straightness!

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  7. What a gorgeous dress; I love the piping. Happy Birthday A!

    The thought of you examining the dress I made makes me cringe just a little. I remember struggling to get it even and not succeeding! And then there was the debacle with the collar -- I had dropped the neckline of the bodice by an inch or so but neglected to adjust the collar to match. I realized that after I added piping to the collar but didn't have the heart to re-do it!

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    1. Wow, well I would never have guessed you'd changed the neckline. I had thought my piping might have to end at the back collar point, but yours gave me the confidence to try and "take the corner". I think you did a lovely job! If you can wait two years I look forward to sending you a photo of it being worn!

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  8. All the details on this dress are stunning. So lovely! And happy birthday to your little one!

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    1. Thanks! It really is impossible to go wrong with this pattern. It will always be pretty!

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  10. Perfect!!! I just love that contrast piping. And the fabric sounds horrific to sew, but you'd never guess by looking at this, it's lovely. Well done! Just beautifully executed!

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    1. Thanks Inder. It was more pesky to cut than to sew. The cut pieces seemed to cease resembling the pattern pieces the moment I unpinned them! I am just so very, very grateful it wasn't a stripe or a plaid!

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  11. Gorgeous birthday dress, such a pretty style and the colours are lovely.

    Please don't shoot me, I'm doing it again, but have you heard about the Fast Turners, makes turning a 1/2" strip into a tube a dream.

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    1. No fear Sharon, I love it when people have ideas for tools that will make my life easier! It's said that mountain biking is 1% fitness, 4% technique and 95% expensive titanium bits. I'm sure there's a similar analogy for sewing!
      I have two loop turning tools. One I that long skinny metal thing with a hook on one end and a finger ting on the other. It's good for little thin tubes that nothing else gets down. Is that what you mean? I'll search for the name you mentioned...
      The other tool I have I a pair of surgical Allus forceps and they work very well too!

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  12. Gorgeous Shelly. There is really nothing else to say!

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