Thursday, January 26, 2012

from ladies dresses to fairy and princess dress-up clothes

I made my daughter's first princess dress out of a dress that I stopped wearing.  I save a lot more ill-fitting, stained, or damaged clothes than I used to.  If I like the fabric, I try to think of something else that I can make from it.  I don't have a before picture of the dress, but it was a very basic, 3/4 sleeved, knee-length sheath, which made it the perfect length for a long princess dress.  

I took it in a little bit, added elastic at the waist, draped tulle for poofiness, and added a tulle neckline.  I was able to preserve the original's always nice to be able to cut out some steps!

I found this sparkly button in a stash that my mom gave me years ago that is the perfect embellishment for the new neckline. 

I also cut up a very old and worn out Elizabethan costume that I inherited.  I had just enough fabric to make a Tinkerbell costume.  I used one of my daughter's undershirts as the lining and cut the green velvet to fit comfortable over the undershirt.  I made straps to cover the ones on the undershirt as well.  I cut up 6 or 7 leaves out of the velvet with a couple of layers of green tulle on the top of each.  I topstitched leaf veins as well.  It was so easy to use the undershirt as a guide.  I'll share a couple of other dresses I made with undershirts another time.  

from slinky skirt to Rapunzel-inspired dress

I have two daughters under the age of 5.  Disney princesses are big around here.  I love the way my oldest daughter loves to fully embody characters, acting out favorite scenes in movies, and belting out songs.  Naturally, she loves to dress the part.  I don't love the ridiculous prices of princess dresses, especially since the cheap fabric often loses its elasticity and pills up or the way the seams often fall out.  I also am trying to be conscious of how much I allow my kids to be branded.  I would like them to be content with what they have and not get used to having what marketers tell them they need.  I try to repurpose and use up scraps as much as possible.  My daughter got really into Tangled last year, and I knew that she'd love a dress to match the long golden locks she was blessed with.  

I started with a plum skirt that I haven't worn in years.  A skirt that hits below my knees will be a long dress on her.  

I had a remnant of a sheer white fabric with embroidered pink flowers on it that I used as an overlay for the dress.  I laid out the skirt and wrapped the printed fabric around it, folding and draping as needed to achieve the look I was going for.

After I had the fabric laid out how I wanted it, I cut and hemmed it along the two sides in the front and, eventually, on the bottom of the dress.

I pinned the overlay fabric to the skirt in a lot of places so that it stayed right where I wanted it while I did the hemming.

Then I cut out armholes, using the scraps to make capped sleeves.  

I put in an elastic casing so that the dress would have a defined waist and be easy to put on for a 4 year-old and comfortable to wear.  

I sewed little loops to the bodice of the dress and threaded ribbon through them to tie a bow at the top.  The ribbon is functional and helps the dress to fit my 4 year-old and her very petite 2 year-old sister.

I know that she won't believe in fairy tales forever, so I'm happy to help her live inside of them for a little while.