Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's My Party and I'll dress like my daughter if I want to!

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Do you remember when 30 seemed OLD?  I do.

But I didn't want my 30th to be sad & depressing.  My life is wonderful and so blessed, and I wanted to celebrate 30 fantastic years.

In fact, I decided to celebrate the BIG 30 with a party.  A huge party.  We rented a gorgeous house in Port Douglas and invited friends & family from all over the world.  

And my daughter's 1st birthday is 2 weeks after mine, so we joined forces and celebrated our births on the same day.

Of course, Cate & I needed something to wear to our party.  A friend gave me this dress that was too small for her:

I saw it and thought, "That's it!  I'll refashion matching dresses for me & Cate!"  I used to think that parents that dressed like their kids was weird (probably around the same time I thought 30 was old), but now that I have a little girl, I thought I'd embrace the weirdness and aim for cuteness.  

And it's my party and I'll do what I want to, right?

This dress had a seam about knee-length.  I simply unpicked the stitches, and put the top piece - my dress - aside while I made Cate's dress.

First for Cate's little dress:

Find a dress that fits and lay it on the material to gauge the shape to cut it.  I used this cute red striped dress as a pattern.  Note there is a frill on the bottom, and I want to use that again.  Here you can see I flared the red dress out so get that cute girly shape.

Turn the fabric inside out, fold it in half (to make symmetrical front & back) and, using chalk, draw a straight line from the shoulder to the bottom of the frill.

 Cut arm holes (again, chalk is great!  I use chalk from my son's chalk board.  I've heard of specific sewing chalk, but I'm not sure what it is...??).  Again, make sure the fabric is folded so your dress is symmetrical.

Turn the arm holes under and stitch.  I love zig zag stitch and use it all the time.  It gives the clothing character, I reckon.

Fold the back over twice towards the inside of the dress.  Leave enough gap for the shoulder ties.
Don't forget your clothing tag...
Repeat for the front.

I need straps to thread through the front & back for the shoulder ties.  I cut off a 2' thick strip from the extra fabric and, using my bias tape maker, I ironed & sewed 2 fabric ties.  Use a safety pin to thread through the holes on the front & back.

Cate's dress is done!

And for mine...
The only thing I had to do was add a matching ruffle on the bottom edge.  I thought about tailoring the dress to make it more fitted, but I don't know how to do that, so I'll just stick with the ruffle.

Using a straight edge & rotary cutter, cut 2 strips of fabric from the extra piece (leftover from the baby dress off-cut).  Sew them right-sides together.
Measure the length of the bottom of the dress.  As you can see, mine was approx 27 inches or 69 cm.  But remember this is only the front!... so I need a ruffle length of at least 54 inches or 138cm.

The standard rule of thumb for a ruffle is 2.5x longer than the main piece, but Cate's ruffle wasn't too ruffled and I wanted them to match.  I went for 1.5x the length of the fabric (54 inches x 1.5 = 81 inches, or 207 cm).
I sewed a looong straight stitch on the 'ruffle' piece and slightly pulled on the bobbin thread, gathering the fabric to form a ruffle.
So now I had a long ruffle piece and my dress.
I first thought I'd pin it all together, but I was afraid it would shift around and I'd get an uneven ruffle.
So, I took the pins out and started sewing at one end, matching the end with the side seam of the dress.
If you can, try to sew below the looooong straight stitch you did earlier because I'm going to remove it.
Sew slowly.

And press with an iron.  An iron is your best friend - it makes everything look neat & tidy.

And that's it.

The party was fantastic and I LOVED that people loved our matching dresses!  "What a great idea!", they exclaimed.  Yes, I know, thank you!

Mother & daughter matching dresses: (that's the real color of the skies - no photoshopping, I promise!)

 Sweet baby girl
 I loved our cakes!  My friend Justine made them: a pink 30 and a teddy bear.  The other kids are drooling  patiently waiting for their slice of cake.
 My family (anyone else have a hard time getting a good shot of ALL the people in the photo at the same time???  No?  Just me?)

The love of my life, Jesse.  He's a wonderful husband, father, and BBQ master:

I love the time of night when the kids are in bed & we can relax...

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