Flower Girl Dress, Part 2: Getting Started

The first step was pattern hunting, but I couldn't seem to find a bodice with princess seams designed for little people. No problem, right? I've made plenty of my own patterns, and little girls with their neatly cylindrical bodies are usually pretty easy to make dresses for. It didn't take long to realize it wasn't going to be as simple as I'd assumed it would be.

For one thing, it turns out 3 year olds are not particularly inclined to stand still for muslin fittings, especially of bodices that do not as yet cover the tummy and therefore need to be relentless tugged down in the front by insistent little fingers. I didn't want her to develop an unreasonable grudge against the dress before it was even made by pushing too hard and sticking her full of pins, so instead I resolved to empty out my stash making a trial dress or two based on measurements only. Then I would just watch her run around the house and base my modifications on that. Which was a great plan except I ended up making 3 dresses and another 2 or 3 partial bodices before I was happy with the proportions and arm-hole size.

The arm-hole size was particularly tricky, because every change required so many fiddly adjustments to the main bodice pieces and insets, and it was so hard to tell what size it would actually be once the seam allowances were taken into account.

My first try was a bit big, but it did serve to reassure me that the pattern would work just as well with a standard A-line skirt as a big poofy dramatic thing. Always nice to know you have the option to reuse a pattern later on down the road.

I spent a good month fiddling with the pattern, searching for buttons on-line, collecting fabric at Jo-ann's, reading books,etc. I also visited the model at the store a couple of times and examined its details closely as well as searched the net for photos of girls wearing it. Finally it was time to get started with the actual dress.

Continue: Part 3, Lining Skirt.

- Victoria, 2012-04-21

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