Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Great Easter Dress Saga Part Two

I'm sure you are all lined up with popcorn and lawn chairs to hear the second chapter of the Easter Dress saga, or at least that's how I picture you in my mind so I won't make you wait. When we left off, I was chopping cute dresses into skirts and searching for The Perfect Pattern

After a rather disastrous second sample dress which will not appear here because it is in the garbage, I found the Circle Flounce Dress by Etsy designer Jocole. I loved everything about this pattern, from its sweet and simple design to the sweet and simple construction. Having never made a circle skirt before, I was a tad nervous making the sample but her clear directions and easy to assemble pattern pieces made the process painless. She'll actually be featured here soon so you'll get to learn all about this creative and talented designer. But for now, it's onto sample making!

I did manage to source stretch chiffon (aka nylon tricot for the less romantic of you) at a local fabric store but the colors were very limited. I chose some hot pink chiffon and your basic pink broadcloth for the sample fabric. A few hours later, I had this done...

If it looks wrinkly and unfinished that's because it is. This was strictly a test copy.

I decided to overlay the bodice as well as the skirt with the chiffon, and it came out very nice. The fit on my daughter was perfect though it was a bit short for Easter. There wasn't anything inappropriate about the length for regular church wear but on Easter I wanted something a bit more formal.

Flush with success, I started to cut my chiffon.
And I cut. And I cut. And I cut. Don't let this fabric fool you. When it arrived in the mail and sat on my cutting table, batting its eyelashes at me, I couldn't think of anything but how beautiful it was, how frothy, how perfect for a little girl on Easter. It couldn't have been any more perfect if it were made out of Peeps. Only when I started the tedious process of cutting six overskirts (three for each dress) of very slippery, stretchy, fang-toothed fabric did I realize the truth. Chiffon is like a carnivorous bubble bath. Sure, it looks sweet and ethereal but sink your hands into it and you're in for a fight. I wish I'd thought to take pictures of my scrap pile but you'll just have to take my word that I finally wrangled it into submisison. I did come up a bit short, which caused a few panicked trips to the fabric store but other than that both the fabric and I survived. Relatively intact.

I discarded the overlaid bodice for a simple white embroidered cotton, which turned out to be a lovely accompaniment to the pink. My favorite part of the project was the subtle changes in color as I layered the chiffon. I ended up with something completely unique to my particular dress. Though I thought I would lose my sanity before I sewed one more layer, the end result was lovely.

I used dyed-to-match lace in a candy pink for the straps and the sash, which gave the pastel theme a bit of a kick.

The girls began twirling as soon as I tried it on them the first time. Spontaneous twirl is always a good sign for a dress. Everything held up well for Easter Sunday....

Little One models the front view

Loved One shows off her sash

And looks generally cute

The dresses even survived some hard-core Easter egg hunting, which of course was the point. It's not fun to look fabulous on Easter if you can't score some candy in the process.

We came. We sewed. We conquered. Five practice dresses and eight yards of chiffon later, it was worth every stitch. Even the ones I had to rip out.

Tomorrow I'll post a quick and dirty guide to stealing this dress design for your own purposes. Keep the popcorn and lawn chairs handy.


Ed of Chesapeake said...

Great dresses! And your girls are beautiful. Bring some pictures next month.

karen_m said...

I will try to remember to bring pictures. It was great meeting your lovely granddaughter last month.