If you have ever raised a daughter, I’m sure you will agree (commiserate, empathize, understand lol) how difficult it is to find a party dress that they like, doesn’t make them look older than they are, and is comfy. One of the things that I love about being able to sew is to be able to create a garment to fulfill a specific need of myself or my family. I made this dress for my 11 year old daughter to wear to her cousin’s graduation party. Formal wear can be very expensive, especially for someone who is still growing by leaps and bounds.
I hunted out a clearance bin at a local fabric store, and found the most amazing navy velvet, along with navy chiffon and some gorgeous coral tulle with ribbon flowers and sequins. Just enough sparkle for my girl! I set about creating a fancy dress for her using a basic pattern but adding in some extras like two layers of chiffon and a pretty tulle overlay.
I started off with this pattern, the Ainsley dress from Made for Mermaids I love how it combines woven and knit fabrics with ease, and there are a few different finishing styles and lots of sizes too.
After I cut all my pieces, I sewed the skirts and finished the edges of the flutter ruffle sleeves, the tulle skirt overlay and the two layers of navy chiffon with a narrow rolled hem. This made finishing the dress so much easier and less fiddly than pressing and straight stitching on the sewing machine.
One of the other tricks I employed was using navy serger thread. You may be wondering why this would be considered a trick or tip. Well, I used the contrast thread on the tulle overlay to make the seams blend in with the fabric underneath. Plus, I didn’t have to change the threads on my machine which saved me some time too.
The bodice for this dress was quite simple. I used bands to finish the edges of the neck and armholes, which made it very comfortable to wear and easy to put on. (And no scratchy size tag either!!). When sewing with crushed velvet, using lots of clips or pins helped keep the fabric from slipping as I was serging. In fact, I used the serger for all of the steps for this dress! This made construction fast and easy.
I also love how this dress has a flat waistband in the front, and has a gathered elastic band at the back. It looks so grown up, but kid-friendly at the same time. In fact, even though my daughter has grown quite a bit lately, the dress still fits which is amazing.
If you have never tried sewing with fancier fabrics, hunt in the clearance bin and give it a try. I bet you will come up with something truly beautiful! I hope you enjoyed show and tell today. We’d love to see what you create too! When you share pictures of your makes on social media, be sure to tag us so that we can see it too.
Until next time,