Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dress. Again.

So for about six weeks I’ve been planning TLo’s “Spring Dress” which is what she wears to the Easter Party at the Country Club the day before Easter (since we don’t celebrate Easter per se, this is basically the only time the Evil Monkeys have an opportunity to wear fancy dresses—it’s quite the highlight in their sad, dreary little lives).

You’ll note I said for the day before Easter.  Right?  You heard that part, right?  Because, as most of you are probably aware (owning calendars and all), Easter is not until the TWENTY-FOURTH OF APRIL.

So last week my mother informs me, sort of round-aboutedly, that the Evil Monkeys are invited to a Tea Party.  At some kind of Mini-Junior-Deb thing.  On the next Saturday.  And they MUST. WEAR. FANCY. DRESSES.  Or else.

Son of a--

So I had to quick quick quick make a decision about TLo’s new dress— how to use the fabric… what pattern to choose… how to finish it on the inside… what FLIPPIN’ SIZE TO CUT.


I achieved three out of four.

ONE: How to use the fabric?

Gynormous Poppy Print + Totally Fab Lightweight Turquoise Denim (of the exact shade of one of the blues in the poppies, no less)


TWO: What pattern to choose?

Ottobre 3-2008 #18.  I’ve been eyeing this pattern since it came out.  It’s the SHIZZLE.  ( I figured I’d use a clichéd phrase from 2008 as well.)

Ottobre 3-2008 #18

THREE: How to finish the inside?

Now if there’s one thing I know how to make using five gajillion different methods, it’s a little girl’s sleeveless-bodice-button-or-zip-in-the-back-with-full-gathered-skirt dress.  Seriously.  I might have to slave and struggle to make a polo shirt.  I might have to have a special tutor to make a pair of pants.  But a little girl’s dress?  I can do those in my sleep.  (Which just goes to prove that even the slowest of wits can learn to do something proficiently through sheer volume of repetition.) 

In fact, I know so many ways of doing this type of garment that it actually requires some serious thought to determine which method I want to use and how I’m going to achieve my goals.  This thought process includes picking a level of finishedness for the inside (it’s a word) and then working backwards to figure out what sequence of construction I have to do.  It’s more complicated than it might at first glance seem.

I’m still kickass at this.

In the end, I decided that I wanted the entire dress to be fully finished on the inside.  I’ll admit that this was in part spurred by a closer look at the inside of The Big One’s RTW Easter-Mini-Junior-Deb dress from Strasburg.  It was pretty poorly constructed all things considered and they’d gone to the low depths of not even fully lining the bodice, let alone the entire dress.  Cheeeeap, cheap cheap.  I can so totally do better with my Kick Ass self.  Fully lined with completely finished interior it is.  Nyah!

To do that, you cut a corresponding lining (in this case, from white lawn) to the shell pieces.  You clean finish the bodice (using the method whereby you pull the lining through the shoulders, I’m not doing a tutorial on that there are lots of them out there).  Then attach the skirts to the shell and the lining. 

You then attach the zipper to the shell (an invisible zipper) and sew the center back seam of the shell and then of the lining up to where the zipper would be.


And then you just bag out the lining as you would a jacket.  Only, you know, with a dress.  By sewing the two hems together, right side facing.  The shell gets pulled through the hole of the lining where the zipper is.

Then tack down the lining to the zipper with hand stitches (leaving a gap at the bottom for the zipper to have some breathing room).


Voila!  Fully finished interior.


It also has the added benefit of being nicely weighty and giving you a perfect hem.

interior hem - lining

Piece. O’. Cake.  Easy. Peasy.  A thing of beauty.

FOUR: What flippin’ size to cut?

And this, Gentle Reader, is where it all went horribly, horribly wrong.


I’ve come to the conclusion that TLo expands her chest whenever I try to take her measurements.  You know how sometimes horses blow themselves up with air when they’re being saddled so the saddle will be loose?  Like that.  Stinkin’ little monster.

She wore it to the Mini-Junior-Deb Saturday Tea anyway.  She didn’t have much choice.


Apparently it was like being in The Sound of Music or something.  The hills were, to all intents and purposes, alive with music.


Next week: How to take in the bodice of a perfectly finished dress, without taking it apart or changing the width of the skirt. 

No really.  It will happen.

Or else.


  1. Doh! So that's how you bag a hem! Nice explanation. I thought i was s*&# hot at girly dresses too but i didn't know that. I humble myself at your feet oh great one. And I'm not kidding!

  2. Absolutely adorable. I don't think it looks horribly too big - but it's hard to tell in moving pics. g

  3. Snork! That is my biggest hesitation with that particular method, because you can't fit until it's too late (well, that and I've still never bagged a hem). I am REALLY curious how you will fix this (without undoing a bunch of hand-stitching, anyway... I would've made my offspring wear it anyway, too.


  4. i CANNOT frigging stop laughing.

    but beangirl, or should i say Mrs, Country Club BeanGirl, surley Tlo cannot wear this dress again. the junior deb has already debbed the dress. what magic trick you gonna pull??

    (corgu: the dog that romped around in the musical hills with the little children.)

  5. Fabulous! Beautiful finish - thanks for sharing it with us.

  6. @Oona: Oh sure, yuck it up Ms. I-Can't-Put-Armholes-In-MY-Garments. You'll get yours. (Oh wait. You already DID. Ha!)

    @Tanit: Don't tell, but it involves a not-so-nice-to-the-finish fish-eye dart.

    @Everyone Else: Thanks!

  7. It is an adorable dress and like the others have said you really can't tell it's too big from her moving around in the photos. And seriously, you KNOW she wasn't sitting perfectly still during the tea...great brought a smile to my face!

  8. mini-junior-deb-Saturday-tea-party??? Is this what it takes to get you to sew something?? !!


You know you want to say something....