Monday, October 24, 2011

Sunshine Dress

A few weeks ago I posted progress pics of my niece's dress:

And now, the dress is finished! She wore it to a pageant and sang This Little Light of Mine. Although I call it the "Sunshine Dress" she's decided it's her "Flame Dress".

It started with a concept: she was supposed to sing You Are My Sunshine and I wanted something to go with it. I found this inspiration on a pageant dress website:

I decided I wanted to do something like it, but in the colors of a sunset. I went pattern searching, and rather than bubble layers I found this, Butterick 4967:

I decided I'd do the layers in shades from yellow to a reddy-orange. So I mocked up the base layers (in the pic above) and once I was sure of fit and length (because it would be hard to hem with me halfway across the country and the ruffles all serged) I laid out all the ruffles on separate squares of silk charmeuse. I serged the ends of these, pre-washed them, and then dyed them with Dharma Trading's Fiber-Reactive dyes. I used these shades:

In order to get a smoother transition I dyed from light to dark, and I added the dye for the darker layers to the leftover dye from the lighter so they had a better match in tone. I was super excited with the results!

Then I cut each layer, sewed the ruffles together, and serged the hem with a rolled hem on my serger and decorative Sulky Viscose thread. I made a lining and sewed all the layers down. I had some problem at the center back zipper because the top three ruffles had to hang free in order for the zipper to open but I didn't want the nude lining showing through, so I ended up sewing a facing on top of each ruffle that lined the ruffle above it so that if the ruffle gapped you would see a color match. I also tacked the ruffles together at the bottom so that they would want to stay together. I sewed the bodice, edge-stitched the neck and armholes, and installed an invisible zipper. I left the lining loose at the waist just in case it needed to be shortened, so it could be done from the waist instead of messing with all the layers, but fortunately it didn't so all my mom did was tack down the waist and she was good! Here's the result!

I'm glad she looks so adorable! I debated for a long time whether or not to add a sash, and I'm glad I didn't. I think it looks a bit more informal this way. A sash would probably dress it up too much.

My niece is also coming with me to Costume Con next year (along with my mom, who I'm really excited about!). I've started planning her wardrobe, because of course she needs to dress up! Here are my ideas so far:

A green butterfly princess based on these:

An 18th century girl:

A Victorian girl:

and Alvis from Last Exile:

I'm not 100% on these ideas though. Anyone have any good costume ideas for 5 year old girls? Or for 5 year old boys, since I'll be taking her brother to Costume Con in 2013?

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