Monday, April 6, 2015

Upcycled Easter Dress

Wow. Well, it's been a while. Did you miss me? I had to have surgery a few weeks ago, so I wasn't able to do much of anything for a few weeks, including sewing. It was a bit longer recovery than I had hoped or planned for, but it's been about two and a half weeks now and I feel pretty good. (In case you were wondering, I had a parathyroidectomy. Read about it from wikipedia here.)

Luckily, I was mostly finished with my daughter's Easter dress before the surgery, so I just had to do a few things to finish it up and I was able to finish it in time.

I used the Savannah Pleated Party Dress (affliate link) from Peekaboo Pattern Shop. I loved the pleat details on the bodice of this dress. They worked pretty well in this fabric, but might be even better in a crisper fabric. The bodice is fully lined and buttons at the back. I chose not to line the skirt portion because I didn't think it needed it.
I only made a few minor changes to the dress. My daughter is a skinny mini, so I added the ties at the sides to bring it in a little. Seriously, she is 4 and needs a 4 in the length, but her chest measured at a size 6 months for this pattern! (This is totally normal for her. I think this pattern runs true to size and close to store bought. She is just that tiny!) I just couldn't cut out the dress in that size. I was afraid it wouldn't work and the proportions would be all off if I used that size bodice. So I cut the 3T bodice, but lengthened everything to a size 4. It's still quite roomy on her, but the side ties help a little and I think it works. Also, the skirt is a tiny bit less full that the pattern calls for, but I was able to use the width of fabric to make it. This way it only has one seam, and I used the selvedge edges, so I didn't have to finish any edges. The one thing I wish I had done differently is understitching the lining. It is not called for in the pattern, but I know better. It would make the lining lay nicer at the neck. I knew better but I got lazy/rushed and left it off. If you topstitched around the neck (optional in the pattern instructions), it probably would not have mattered much. And as it is, probably no one but me noticed. But for you seamstresses that are interested in using more advanced techniques, I think this is a good point to mention. (Read more about understitching from Coletterie here.)

The bodice portion of the dress was made from an old bridesmaid dress I cut apart. I love upcycling. Not only is it economical and environmentally friendly, it has some sentimental value. I wore this skirt ten years ago when I was a maid of honor in my good friend's wedding. Now, I am not the same size I was ten years ago and there was no way I was going to fit into that dress again. So why not turn it into something else?! I like the formal fabric and the color was perfect for a spring Easter dress.

The downside of this fabric, I found out, is that it is not washable. Dry clean only. Bummer. It's an acetate fabric that shows water spots. And of course, after she wore it all day, it needs to be washed. She even managed to get a big black marker spot right on the front. Great. See picture below. I am trying to decide how to handle this. Is it worth taking to the dry cleaner? Maybe one of those dry clean at home kits? If anyone has any good ideas for getting it clean, please let me know. Or maybe I will just remove the skirt portion and upcycle it again! At least it made it through Easter!

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