Tuesday, 20 August 2013

DIY I Do : The Flower Girls Dresses!

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I am so excited to finally be able to blog about my flower girl dresses! I've written a couple of previous posts about my inspiration and showed you a muslin, but today I get to reveal the finished dresses. I have to admit that I was so so SO pleased with how they turned out - in fact their dresses were perhaps one of my favourite things about the day!!
I used New Look 6309, view D, which is a basic sleeveless girls dress with gathered skirt. It was hard to pick a suitable pattern that would essentially suit both girls because one is 8 and one is 11 (going on 15!) so they are sort of in that in-between age that isn't really catered for in sewing patterns it seems. So I thought that by picking such a basic pattern it should be easy enough to alter. New Look 6309 is for ages 3-8 so I had to cut the largest size for the younger girl and sort of 'wing' it for the elder. Luckily the size 8 was a pretty good fit for the 8 yr old so I didn't have to do much altering on her at all - a little bit of pinning and such and it was good to go (phew!).
Fitting the 11 year old was another matter. She is quite mature for her age and last year went through a major growth spurt (she's almost the same size as me already!!). I ended up having to make about 4 muslins for her to get the fit right. I decided to use swedish tracing paper (or similar - minus the grid markings) to make my muslins and I have to say I'm a bit of a convert - it is just so convenient!!! Thankfully because the skirt is essentially just a large rectangle gathered I only had to worry about getting the bodice fit. But it was tricky because I have never had to fit someone else other than myself, and she has started to develop a bit of a womanly shape so darts were required. 
Oh - and to make things even more awkward - the 8 year old lives in England (I live in Northern Ireland btw) and the 11 yr old lives a 2 hr drive away!! Not so convenient for fitting. I ended up having only one opportunity to fit the 8yr old and a couple of goes for the 11yr old. But thankfully it all worked out really well! 
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 I just wanted to share the photo above to show my very happy coincidence when sewing up one of the dresses - look how well I matched the stripes on the shoulder seams….total fluke! Don't you just love it when that happens?! I have to admit that, apart from the shoulder seams (which aren't usually a place I bother with pattern matching), I worked very hard an ensuring my sewing was as neat as I could make it as I was really conscious that people would know I had made the dresses and therefore would be inspecting the sewing very closely. Do you ever find that? As soon as someone knows that an outfit is handmade they start inspecting it in great detail? Talk about putting the pressure on!! But thankfully I didn't really have any dramas with the dresses - the invisible zips were some of the best I have sewn, the stripes on the bottom matched up and the lining went in smoothly - I was very lucky!
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 In a previous post I mentioned that I was planning on making a striped sash for the dresses. I had planned this all along but one day my mum put the idea of a coral silk sash into my head. I had the muslin of the dress over at her house at the time and she had some suitable silk to hand, and once I saw them paired together I thought it would be a really lovely touch. My bouquet was to have some coral peonies in it, and the cake would have coral flowers on it as well, so we thought it would be the perfect way to tie everything together.  
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Now here is confession time - I didn't make the sashes! They are homemade though. Evidently I may have bitten off more than I could chew, and I was really feeling the pressure of so much DIY and sewing that needed to be done for the wedding. My mum kept asking if there was anything she could help with - so I decided to ask her to make the sashes. She was more than happy to help. No pattern was used, she just winged it (that's how us Wilsons sew most things apparently!), but they turned out beautifully. She made the 8yr olds a bit wider than the 11yr olds as we thought a narrower sash would be more age appropriate for the elder girl, and both were lined with quite stiff interlining which meant they kept their shape really well all day.
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 Both dresses were fully lined with lovely soft white cotton. On the skirt linings I sewed two rows of gathered tulle to give the skirts some 'flooffiness' as I call it (aka body and shape!) - the girls loved it and enjoyed twirling and dancing all day!
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Although at times I was in major stress mode and cursing taking on so much, I honestly am now so please and proud to have made the girls dresses. They turned out exactly how I wanted them and added such a quirky, unique and personal touch to the day.
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