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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

DIY - Southern Belle Dress

I am so proud of this project!  It's been a labor of love for my daughter for Halloween.  Initially, she wanted to be a prairie girl like Laura Ingalls Wilder.  When she saw the Simplicity pattern, she saw the southern belle costume and decided it was for her.  Wow - it was one of the most difficult patterns I ever tried.

The tough part was definitely the bodice.  I used a pink crepe for the insert in the front.  Then, I had to use ribbon to make the zig-zags across the front.  The sleeves also have an insert with the same crepe.  This was a first for me using these finer fabrics - satin and crepe.  I learned to use a different thread, needle and a smaller stitch. 

The real challenge came in the back of the bodice.  The pattern called for two darts in the back.  I put them in and then tried it on my belle.  Unfortunately, she's a bit bigger around the torso.  So I cut the fabric up the dart because there was no way I could pull out those small stitches in satin.  After cutting the dart, I was left with triangle spaces.  I cut additional satin and sewed them into the triangle holes, effectively expanding the back of the bodice instead of putting in darts.  Even with the expansion, it wasn't quite enough.  I put in two thin panels where the back bodice pieces were supposed to meet, then I used buttons instead of a zipper.  Remarkably, it worked and she was very comfortable!

The drape was interesting.  Lots of gathers.  The skirt was by far the easiest part!  The whole thing is over a hoop skirt (which we bought a while back).  I couldn't be more pleased with it, but gosh, I'm glad it's done!