28 July, 2010

The flowergirl dress

I made this dress for the daughter of a friend who is getting married on a Queensland beach in a few weeks. My friend that is, not her daughter! I was appalled at the prices being charged for flowergirl dresses in the bridal shop ($250+!) so I figured that this is what sewing is good at - saving money on high-end outfits. Besides, how hard could a flowergirl dress be? Ha! We looked through the pattern books and nothing appealed until we got to Butterick 4967 which was exactly what my friend was after. So we got the organza and the lining for about $70 ($250 bite me!) and I set to work. I finally handed it off yesterday. Phew.

Flowergirl dress

I was really really pleased with it, it turned out pretty much exactly as I'd imagined it. I love the floaty ruffles and they shimmy most delightfully.

Flowergirl dress detail

I'll definitely consider making this up in a heavier fabric as a summer dress for Hazel this year. Though having said that, we're off to Canada mid-December (beginning of summer here) and back end of January just in time for school to start for the year. But I'm sure there will be some summer after that!

I was reading a blog the other day that had a section at the bottom of the posts called "Keeping it Real" and I loved that (though I can't remember which blog it was) Ah, it was Pen 'n Paper Flowers. So this is my version:

"The Honest Truth"
  • I HATE sewing organza. If I never have to again it will be too soon for me. It's just above minky and velvet in the PITA stakes.
  • The ruffles aren't even - I just couldn't keep that darned fabric sitting straight while I was cutting it, despite using a rotary cutter and mat and lots and lots of swearing. Swearing helps keep fabric in place sometimes, honest! Combine that with being cut on the bias (#$&%&!@#!!) and the natural pull up at a seam and the ruffles hoick slightly at the sides and sit a bit unevenly in places.
  • I didn't even try and hem the ruffles as per instructions, I just did a rolled hem on the overlocker with thread that was a little whiter than the fabric. I love my friend but I'm not willing to lose my sanity over hemming organza sheer.
  • The fabric we chose was too sheer and the bottom ruffle sits on its own, and at the last minute I had to add on a bit of lining I managed to squeeze out of the scraps so that modesty was preserved.
  • The sheerness of the organza meant I had to sew the bodice lining into the zipper seam to give it strength instead of slip-stitching it over the top, meaning the zipper tape and fabric edges are exposed and it looks ugly. But hey, I won't be wearing it will I? Plus it's on the inside.
  • I cut one of the extra lining panels backwards so there is an exposed seam on the inside of the dress. Again, on the inside so no-one the wiser (hopefully).
Amazingly though, none of those issues really matter and the little girl literally jumped up and down and clapped when she saw it. And that right there my friends, is why I sew. Though not organza, ever again.


    1. It's gloriously beautiful. What a lucky little girl.

      I'm not showing it to Mishi - she's to be a flower girl (for my brother-in-law + his fiance) next May and she hasn't stopped talking dresses since she found out about it. It'll be pink and purple if she has her way.
      Oh, but a dress like your floaty white one could be worn so many times to different events. So grown up and pretty.

    2. Love the "keep it real", especially as I'd read the whole post thinking "oooh she sewed organza, wow!" because I wouldn't dare to touch the stuff. I made a bridesmaid's dress for one of my girls a couple of years ago and was lucky enough to find a heavy silk on sale which sewed just like cotton.

    3. ha! love your honesty :) But the ruffles and everything look amamzing, the first thing that went through my mind when I saw the photo was 'she made that!? wow!'. it was nice to meet you on Saturday, btw, hope Hazel likes her mirror and that we'll see you at Lucky Penny someday soon :)

    4. I love this dress. It's so soft looking, pretty, fairy-tale-like. Beautiful. And I love the last part you wrote, so funny. I recently made a tunic out of a fabric that acted a lot like organza and I have been swearing a lot too (it really helps indeed some times!).

    5. It's so pretty! :) :)
      I love it!

    6. you are a wonderful friend. and obviously fabulous at your craft. this looks beautiful!

    7. That looks so lovely. No one will ever guess all those little deficencies, because it looks very professional and it is a wedding, not a competiton with sewing judges.

    8. its perfectly amazing despite the minor issues. where are you \going while in canada?

    9. Ha! I love the "Keeping It Real". I may need to borrow that idea...

    10. WE've just spent the day looking for a flower girl dress for my little one to wear to my sister-in-law (to be) wedding next April. we didn't want to buy anything today, as she may grow before then, but wanted to know what's around. a whole day spent in the city and we only found one dress, which had a price tag of $190. there were none in her size, in the correct ivory the bride wanted, so the shop can make one for her, it will only take 5 months. and i'm no searching online for patterns and inspiration, and wondering weather i should take the plunge and make one myself. {if it were my own wedding, then yes i would, but my sister-in-law has quite different expectations and ideals as me, and i wouldn't want to buy all the fabric and spend all the time making it, and then the tiny imperfections annoy her....}.

    11. Thanks! And I totally know what you mean about not showing the kids projects
      online because then it becomes "can you make one for me mum?" "Can I wear it
      tomorrow?" Hazel wanted me to make her one just like it for when she's a
      flowergirl next. I had to break it to her that it was unlikely since she was
      one for my brother and now all members of our family are married and I'm not
      going to be hoping for a second-go-round for any of them just so she can
      wear a floaty dress!

    12. I suppose swearing is better than flinging the item across the room in a fit
      of rage and frustration :P I can't imagine sewing large items made of
      organza or similar though, too much room for the errors to really show!

    13. Yeah, I love the keeping it real idea too and when I came across it I loved
      the way it sort of surprised you at the bottom of the perfect post with the
      perfect photos. There seems to be more of a trend towards it these days too,
      which I applaud!

    14. Thanks :) And no you're right, no judges thank goodness! And Project Runway
      aside, no judge is ever harsher than you are on your own work.



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