Friday 28 July 2017

Refashion Friday: Bridesmaid's Dress to Princess Dress

Err, for some reason it's taken me over nine months to blog about this creation. I'm not sure why: it took a freaking lot of work and it's seen lots of use, so it's definitely a success that I'm proud of. Maybe it's because it took me a while to get any half-decent 'modelled' shots, and then it kept getting bumped down the ' to blog about' list in favour of more recent projects. Anyway, today I'm going to do a bit of house-keeping and get this crazy project 'out there'. 

Like many a mistaken mother before me, I thought I could prevent my daughter from developing a princess obsession just by avoiding certain books and banning Disney our my home. FAIL. Like so many other little girls, Dolores fell in love with the idea of princesses at some point before her third birthday and desperately wanted to dress up like one. I didn't see the point in trying to ignore or avoid this desire, and instead of sourcing some mass-produced piece of tat that will look shonky after a few wears and washes, I though at least I could rustle up a dress that's unique and well-made. 

'Before' garment:

Rather than fork out a small fortune in the shimmery/frou-frou section of a fabric shop, I decided to find a pre-loved garment from which I could harvest the materials I would need. This bridesmaid's dress, found in a charity shop for £9.99, seemed to fit the bill nicely. After its dissection, the full skirt of this size 16 dress provided a lot of shot taffeta fabric, plus I thought the netting in the underskirt might come in handy. I chose a taffeta dress because I hoped the fabric would hold its shape without the need for extra layers of underskirt, which would be a pain to sew, and possibly annoying to wear. I also liked that there were lots of tiny bugle beads and two fabric roses around the waist that I also thought I might be able to reuse (I didn't end up using the beads in the remake). Oh, and its final plus-point was that it was on the pink spectrum, without being too pink.


Ironically, in a bid to avoid Disney merchandise, I turned to a Disney sewing pattern: Simplicity 2563. It was generously sent to me by the lovely Adey from The Sew Convert, along with some other patterns, when her daughter became older than the largest size. (You can see a whole load of sewing stuff I was generously donated when my little girl was tiny here.) I picked the pattern's design elements that were most suitable for my fabric, including those poofy side things from the 'Cinderella' dress that I figured would make the most of that double layered under-netting.

I know I was making this dress for Dolores's third birthday, but I can't remember if I chose the size 3 or 4 (and I'm NOT prepared to wake Frankie up by going into my bedroom to hunt out the pattern to check!). Either way, I don't think the neckline should have resulted in such a deep scoop. It ended up looking totally different to the dresses on the front of the pattern envelope, like those samples were made from a different pattern entirely. As you can see in the picture above, Dolores often wore it with a vest on underneath, which kind of spoilt the effect, but she didn't seem to notice or mind. Now that she's almost four, the scoop thankfully doesn't look so inappropriately 'scoopy'.


I decided not to bore you with interior shots, but you're going to have to trust me that this dress was A LOT of work. Well, it certainly felt a lot of work to this then-third-trimester preggers lady. Since its completion, I've gone back and shortened it to make it less of a trip hazard, plus I mended the hand-picked zip which came away during some particularly vigorous princessing. Aside from that, it's withstood a lot of wears, and of course a lot of washes. Over nine months later, Dolores still likes to wear it regularly, including to the library (see pic at top of post!).


Thrifted bridesmaid's dress: £9.99
Pattern: £0 (gift)
Zip: £0 (from my stash)
Total: £9.99


Helen said...

This is lovely, and it looks like Dolores adores it! I'm so impressed you made this while pregnant no less! Best Mummy in the world!

Anonymous said...

"Particularly vigorous princessing" made me snort with laughter!
I bet this is one of D's favourite Mum makes!

Fabric Tragic said...

Love the library shot - 'a princess relaxes'....

Veronik said...

I think I made the same dress back in 2001:

Like you, I tried to limit exposure to princesses but she wanted to dress up like one nonetheless. It didn't last: she's now 20 and is studying 3D animation and computer generated imagery, and plans a career in special effects.

Unknown said...

I have made 2 dresses like this one from different patterns, they both ended up with low necklines. I just made one using the Oliver and S fairytale dress pattern, leaving off the collar and lengthening the skirt, this turned out much better fit wise - something to bear in mind if you find yourself needing another in the future.

Michelle Carlson said...

I love it! I especially love the idea of making her a quality dress for her princessing instead of mass-produced garbage.

MrsC (Maryanne) said...

Genius level idea!!! SO many sad bridesmaid dresses in op shops, so many little girls wanting to wear costumes. Clever You x

Unknown said...

good mummy! I made Imogen an Elsa dress, which was a t-shirt with skirt attached and scary as the cape. She has worn in to death. I started a "beauty" one but its languishing in my wip box. Dolores looks fabulous in her princess dress.

Mother of Reinvention said...

What a brilliant idea to turn an unloved bridesmaid dress into a dress fit for a princess. No wonder Dolores loves it. It looks like a whole load of fun. Like Veronica mentioned above don't be too worried. Sprogzilla went through a prolonged "princess" phase. Now she is a turquoise-haired, DM-wearing teen who strangely enough will also be looking to do animation and computer imagery at Uni when she is old enough to go. Maybe dressing up is the sign of a creative and imaginative mind even if it is in chronic pink?? Xx

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Heather said...

That Library photo is perfect!

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