Friday, March 19, 2010

Fairy Dress


flower petal dress


flower petal dress
I had a baby! And now back to our regularly scheduled programing!

If you knew me as a kid, you probably remember the reluctance with which I finally abandoned playing fairy, but this little dress could make a believer of any cynic!
This petal idea would make a great dress-up skirt for a little girl with just a ribbon waist. 

Daniel picked out the dress from an old Oilily catalog, and I drafted a similar dress based on a jumper I found at Goodwill some time ago. When you copy a pattern of someone else’s, the industry rule is that you change it at least 10% out of courtesy. I changed more than that here: I made a crossover top which opens envelope style to accommodate a young child’s proportionally large head. I used the jumper’s underarm button feature because you want infant clothing to open out quite a bit. (Why can they sleep in the oddest cramped positions, but get claustrophobic and panicky when you dress them?) I also added flutter sleeves.

The petal idea would work on most bodice patterns for a baby up to age 3 or so. Be certain that the closure will work with the petals if your try this. Good choices would be tops that slip over the head and button at the shoulder or underarm. There are three layers of petals, six petals to each tier.

  • Measure your bodice front and back to determine how wide the skirt must be. On Thacia’s dress I added one inch per petal. Measure how long you want the skirt to be.
  • Draw a line on paper of the full length of the skirt to visualize it.
  • Determine how long you want the top layer of petals to be. The temptation is to just divide the length in thirds, but that would be a mistake. The first layer probably needs to be about 1/2 to 2/3 of the length depending on the size. Don’t be afraid to eyeball it. Then, mark the halfway point between the first layer and the bottom of the skirt. This will be your second layer measurement.
  • Draft the first layer petal by marking a T shape the length of the first layer measurement, and the width 1/6 of the width of the skirt, plus fullness. I added 1” to every petal. You’ll want to add at least 1/3 of the finished width of the petal for gathering. Draw a line straight down from the outside edges of the T so you have a rectangular shape. With a French Curve, architect’s curve measure, or by hand, draw the shape of one half of the petal starting on the center line, and curving up to meet the side. Fold on the center line, and trace the curve to the other half. Add seam allowances all around.
  • All of your petals will be the same width: Simply add length for the second and third tiers, and trace the curves from the first petal pattern to the bottom of the others.
  • Cut your petals out of fabric, notching the center of each petal as you cut it out.
  • Finish the petal edges: I used the same 1/8” hem I use on chiffon. Other options include 1/4” hem, doubling each petal so the raw edges are inside, employing a fabric that won’t shred so you don’t have to finish the edges at all, or using a raw or pinked edge.
  • Machine baste the tops. You’ll want to make the gathering continuous for each layer, putting the petals in one after another without cutting the thread. Gather the petal layers to the measurement of the bottom of the bodice.
  • Pin the layers together, matching the edges of the second layer to the notches of the first and third layers it is sandwiched between. Pin to the bodice at the same time. Stitch through all layers.
If I had it to do over again I would have doubled the sleeve for a cleaner look. I didn’t, because I ran out of the scraps of Betsey Johnson paisley fabric I’d found on the sewing room floor one day in college. I would also change the wrap so it would not come to a point, thereby making it easier to clean-finish all the seams. All in all I like this edition better than the catalog version.

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...