Monday, November 22, 2010

I always wanted to be a Von Trap.

Query: Does using curtians to make your child a dress, make you an Austrian almost nun?

So, on Friday, I found this:

Isn't that a beautiful dress? I have yet to find a Christmas dress for Girly-lou, and thought this would be just perfect! In my last post, this was the project I mentioned was supposed to be super easy, but was TOTALLY NOT! Ok, that's a lie. Actually, it went reasonably well, until I tried the silly thing on my daughter. And found it was way. WAY too short.


So here's how I made this my own.

First: I totally planned on running out to pick up some fabric. But Lil was sleeping, and I was also babysitting some extra kids. So being the amazingly patient person I am, I scoured my small fabric stash instead. And found this adorable pink stuff that Happy Mom had given me when she was de-junking her stuff (thanks sis!). For the accent, I honestly and truly used the valence portion to the curtains in the girls room. I was never super crazy about the cut on these (three very VERY long triangles), but kept the stuff because I love the fabric. And off I went!

First snag: the pattern is not super easy to follow. I am no stranger with my sewing machine, but there were some steps that just were not listed! So I punted (I'm pretty sure punted wrong on some places, hence the major hiccup later).

Second snag: making the button loops. The instructions say that it's easy to turn this microscopic tube. Well, I sure couldn't do it! I needed some back up help for that part. So after a 20 minute struggle, I gave up, made some double fold bias tape, and decided I could live with seeing some stitching.

Third snag: After sewing the entire bodice - WITH top stitching, AND attaching it to the skirt, THEN I decided it needed sleeves. Phooey. I made my sleeves by cutting out a piece, 6 inches by 25 inches (for each sleeve), doing a double fold hem along one long side, and sewing up the underarm seam on with the two short sides. Then I ran a gathering stitch along the other long side, adjusted it to fit inside the arm hole, and just sewed again along the previous top stitching. Not the most ideal or perfect look, but I'm happy with it.

not going to win any ribbons, but if you're close enough to notice, you're going to be family anyway!

Fourth snag: There are really no instructions for making the sash. Seriously. So I just assumed how it was supposed to go, and think it was ok.

MAJOR HICCUP: This dress is supposed to hit mid to lower calf. When I tried it on Girly-Lou, it was hitting smack dab in the middle of her knee cap. Which first of all, looked goofy, and second of all, if she grows at all in the next month, it will be too short for her.

Triple sigh.

At first, I thought I would just make another skirt. Annoying, yes, but not too bad. But then I found out there was not even close enough fabric left over for a whole skirt. Grumble grumble. I also felt that the band was too small (that really bad punt at the first) and the sash was too big. So, I unpicked the entire band (with top stitching), and then the entire sash.

I made band into the sash, and the sash into the band, and then added a SECOND band made out of the skirt material.

that bow makes me happy.

This involved a full HOUR of unpicking. SOOO not my favorite activity. But eventually, I made it through.

back view

So, the moral of the story. If a pattern is confusing, take the extra day to email the author back and forth so you can actually understand the instructions!

I promise, it will help. And curtians really are some great sources for fabric!


  1. Way to sew! Though I do have one question.... HOW does you post say that you posted this on Mon Nov 22, when right now it surely is Sun Nov 21st? You've got some mad time machine skills!

  2. When I have to unpick, I'm tempted to simply throw the whole thing away!

    Glad you persevered! She'll look adorable in it!

  3. So cute! But I think using the curtains for the dress makes you Scarlet O'hara. Whoever you are you did a wonderful job!

  4. It is adorable!! I think Girley-Who( or how ever you spell it) will love it! You better post pictures!! Love you all!

  5. Hey..found your blog on someone's giveaway...and as I've just got out The Sound of Music to watch (haven't seen it since I was a girl...MANY MANY moons ago!)...and my 16 year old thinks I'm nuts!...anyway, so when I saw your title about the Von Trap family I had to read! I just want to say WELL DONE YOU for persevering with the dress! wow...what a labour of love! Hope your daughter loves it! looks fab!
    Christmas blessings from downunder :)
    jessie xx


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