Sunday, September 21, 2014

DIY Flower Girl Dress

Months ago, my cousin, who is getting married next month, asked if I would make her daughter's flower girl dress.  Of course I said yes and was so excited to do it...until she showed me what she wanted.  This is the inspiration dress:
To say that I was intimidated would be an understatement.  I had serious misgivings, but my cousin was confident I could do it.  As the months passed, I looked at several patterns to figure out how I was going to make this in a 2T and I googled how to make cascading ruffles.  My biggest concern was how to enclose the raw edge of the chiffon on the side that would be attached to the skirt.  I finally found this blog that provided the inspiration for the solution to my problem.  I bought several patterns, but finally settled on these three:
Butterick 3350 for the base of the dress (I did view F for a sweetheart neckline)

Simplicity 1507 for the sash


Butterick 4967 for the ruffle (I used a trimmed down pattern piece 10)

I started with making the skirt.  For the the ruffles, I narrow hemmed the ends:

then I used satin bias tape to enclose the outside raw edges.  Next, I made markings about an inch from the back edge of the skirt and I pinned the raw edge of the ruffle to the markings on the skirt, stretching as I pinned:
After sewing the ruffle in place, I folded the ruffle over the stitch, pinned it in place, and sewed it again, making sure the raw edge was now enclosed:
I then measured 2 3/4 inches from the sewn ruffle to make markings for the next ruffle and repeated the process.  I did this until the skirt was covered in ruffles.  26 in total!!  However, not every row was 2 3/4 inches apart.  I varied from 2-3 inches.  

If I were ever going to make this again (which is extremely doubtful), I think I could get away with making them 4 inches apart because the skirt is gathered.  Gathering the skirt was very difficult because of the bulk and because I used a heavy stretch satin.  My gathering stitches kept popping which was extremely annoying!  Anyway, all the hard work paid off as the dress came together rather nicely:

(You can't really see that it's a sweetheart neckline here)

I decided to fully line the skirt.  (I think you can see the sweetheart neckline a little better inside out)

 I seriously underestimated the amount of time it would take me to make this.  Cutting out the dress, not including the lining or the sash, plus making 5 ruffles took me the better part of one day.  Another day, I enlisted the help of another cousin to cut out the lining, sash, and more ruffles and to help me pin the satin binding to the edges.  I worked on this several evenings after work, then one Friday evening from about 8pm until 7am the next day, plus an additional couple of hours the next day to put in the zipper and hem the dress.  If you attempt this, I suggest giving yourself a month (unless you don't work full time).

I mailed the dress to my cousin as soon as I finished so we could see if it fits (given the timing, there is no time for a plan b).  She loves it, but it does need altering.  The flower girl is big for her age so I made a 2T as requested although she's only 15 mos old.  The dress is a little snug in the stomach and a little too big up top.  This should be easy enough to fix and I'll update the photos once it's done...after the wedding.  In the meantime, this is what it looks like now:

My cousins grandmother added pleats under the arms to make the dress more fitted.  Also, my cousin added extra bling from her wedding dress to the sash:

She is just too cute!!!!