Thursday, January 23, 2014

Christmas Dress

Here I am, finally posting a few pictures of my daughter's Christmas dress. She had seen a doll dress in the American Girl catalog that she really liked, and asked me to make her a dress like that, and one to match her doll. The dress had a square neck and a ruffle. It also had some sort of fancy ruched belt which I left off. I went back and forth with my fabric choice, because hello....this fabric is BOLD! I found it at a yard sale last fall: 6 yards of heavy upholstery fabric for $10. Can't beat that! I knew I had plenty of fabric to play around with pattern matching. I must say, matching the pattern on this dress made me giddy. I found a simple Simplicity pattern from their Project Runway collection and used it as a base. I added a lining so the ruffle would stand properly and so it would cover the fraying edges of the upholstery fabric.

Because of the construction (I added a side zip) I ended up having to hand stitch about 2/3 of the lining. For the ruffle, I lucked out and used the already-hemmed tie from a dress Mom made a while back. I just cut narrow strips and gathered them along the raw edge.

 For the hem, I used horsehair braid which despite being a misnomer is really nifty stuff. Although it used to be made of horsehair long ago, it is now made from nylon/polyester. It is a tape that you can sew into hems to give them a little extra body. I have used it a few times, namely in the 1880's ballgown I made, and in my wedding dress. I wanted this dress to have a flouncy hem without having to bother with a crinoline, because after all, that would be a pain in the arse. I also added a bejeweled zipper pull, which I forgot to photograph. A few months ago I had made my daughter a skirt with a dressy zipper and she thought the zipper pull was so fancy. For this zipper, I used a jewelry pin and a few pretty beads and bent the end into a loop to hang from the zipper pull. She was thrilled!

I also made a coordinating outfit for her doll. Whoever says that sewing doll clothes is fun needs to have their head examined. I hate sewing doll clothes, namely because everything is so small and finicky and bla, bla, bla. This fabric was way too heavy to make anything with detail, so I made a simple circle skirt with elastic waist. I finished the hem with black bias tape. The shirt was from a pattern, but I left off the closures and made it a wrap, since this doll is smaller anyway. The girl is very pleased with her new dress, although I really need to find a black cardigan to go with it since the weather here has been less than tropical.

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