Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Several, perhaps even "many" years ago.... in a musty, dark, and questionably scented corner of a tiny Opportunity Shop, run by sweet old Nanna's, in a town or place that has long since skipped my mind...... I came across (and bought), a sewing pattern for an extremely pretty dress (which I since then have Googled and is called an "colonial - style" dress). I brought the pattern home from the Op shop and stuck it away in another musty dark corner where it remained.... until about 3 weeks ago!I have learned... on more than one occasion now, (and why I keep forgetting is beyond me...), that "getting in touch with one's inner child" is a sure - fire way to feel true to oneself and have a hell of a lot of fun doing it!When I came across that same Op Shop - bought pattern the other week while searching for some fabric or other, I decided it was time to make myself a lovely dress purely for enjoyment and pleasure purposes only! I would really enjoy making it, and I would and will love wearing it.

Enough of life's pressures, and so on!
Time to feel like a pretty little girl with no more cares than which flower smells the sweetest and which leaf is the greenest....Unbeknownst to me until that day a couple of weeks ago, the pattern did not contain an instruction sheet, but thankfully DID have enough of the pattern pieces that I would be able to (hopefully) relatively easily make the dress, by just working it out as I went.
As I was rummaging up the fabric for my dress, I found a little extra pretty fabric....
and unbeknownst to ELISE, cut one out for her at the same time I cut mine out!
When Elise came to visit me last Friday eve, I had both dresses partially cut out, but showed her only mine. As I knew she would, Elise adored the pattern and went straight into imaginings of tea parties wearing glorious dresses!
The pattern included most pieces for a "colonial style", floor length, waisted dress, similar to that which Anne of Green Gables dreamed of and eventually got to wear to her recitals at the White Sands Hotel.....
For my recent birthday Elise loaned me the Anne of Green Gables book which I haven't had the pleasure of reading for an awfully long time. She (Elise) is such a darling that she tried to buy the book/s for me for my birthday but with little success. Loaning the book to me was just as good - I started and finished reading it in the same week that I started and finished both dresses!Reading Anne reminds me of how much I love being me and how much I love pretty dresses!
And flowers.
And daydreaming.

And kindred spirits.
I started sewing the dresses on Sunday, and messaged progress reports on both the book and MY dress to Elise throughout the week. I finished my dress and the book on Sunday, and finished Elise's dress today (Tuesday).

I can imagine Elise and I dressed in our finery sitting on a blanket by the river daydreaming.... or picking flowers in the council park by the pond......... or even just picking flowers out in the back yard at her ma's house.... haha

The sewing pattern pictured two variations of the dress, and I decided that Elise should have one, and I the other.
Recently I heard that "crop tops" (midriff tops) can make a tall person look shorter - which is a real bummer because I have been a huge fan of crop - tops for all of my life!
Anyway, going on that theory I decided my dress should have the extra layer of ruffles, as this may shorten my height somewhat, and Elise should have the dress with the straight, undivided skirt, which theoretically, should increase her height.

I really have no idea what effect hugely puffed sleeves have on one's height.... but oh! The sleeve puffs are wonderful!
Anne Shirley would be proud!
As well as puffed sleeves, both variations of the dress have a ruffled hem and neckline, low back, and bow details.
The dresses are fully lined, and I have made both Elise and I a petticoat to puff out the ruffles at the bottom.
Elise's hair and skin colouring is darker than mine,so I also chose different colours for her dress. I know she wears brown well, and have no idea what she thinks of pink......
BUT i have combined a gorgeous fawny - brown with a striped satiny shell pink and the palest of blush pink, with lots of white fabrics for Elise's dress, also in the hope of adding the illusion of height.
(and, Elise, I just hope you either LIKE pink.... or just like the combinations together of the pink and fawn.... or something)

I have used a fine organza - like fabric, which makes a lovely swooshy sound when I move it, for parts of the outer dress, and the lining of Elise's dress.
The lining is hemmed with white lace, the same lace hems Elise's petticoat.
Elise's petticoat is actually a brighter shell pink crushed sateen, which MAY ever so slightly shimmer underneath the layers of shell pink organza stuff only (this being the finest of the fabrics).

I used the stripey satin for the bodice only, stripes running vertically
- you guessed it -
....to add height or continue the height theme thing or however I say it now I've said it a dozen times. Haha.
As always possum had ideas on whom should be getting pretty dresses and lacy petticoats....... (for some reason I can't get these words to go with the picture of possum on the lining - lacey bit... but I am sure you understand ...) For the sleeves and two of the overskirt panels I used the fawn brown fabric, which has a lovely vague shine to it. To break up the hemline a little, and to be resourseful and waste as little as possible, I used left over pieces of both the fawn and the pink fabric at intervals in the hem ruffle.Parts of the hemline ruffle, and also the neck ruffle are made of curtaining lace, giving the dress a kind of antiquated look.

Using (28 METRES...!!!!) of the sweetest triple - scalloped, machine - embroidered, braid - type lace, of a shiny fairy pink; the ruffles at the hem and the neckline, as well as the sleeve hems look stunning, and very feminine.
Gathering the ruffles was one lonnnnnnnggggggg job........
But SO worth it!

I counted how much lace it took - for Elise's dress...I forgot to count how much for my dress - and I forgot to count how LONG it took to gather 20-something metres of ruffle!!
Ahh well, the dresses just wouldn't be the same without them, and oh! how lovely they feel when you spin around in a ruffled dress or skirt.....!!!

I swear that has to be one of the most lovely girly feelings ever, feeling your skirt fly up around your legs as you spin around like a little girl in love with the world!

Not to mention SEEING the wonder of your gorgeous, remarkably beribboned and beruffled flying skirt shiny flaces of lace; flying about you like as if you were in a carnival ride...... or a parade with colours and flowing banners and flags and pretty things all around......

Ok, so where was I?

The back is a little low - cut, with the ruffle going all the way from back to front, and has a long zipper closure.

Inside the sleeves there is a layer of tulle to create puff, and so that there is no rubbing of little tulle edges on underarm skin, I have sewn ribbon over the hems of the underarm and the tulle end of the sleeve.

Just about the time I cut out the pattern pieces for these two dresses, my LABELS came in the mail.....
Ooooh and how unbeleivably gorgeous they look! I am so pleased with them!

OF COURSE,my dress had to be the first, but Elise's is the second, garments EVER to have real, true, genuine
-J-i-g-g-l-e- labels on them!
Elise's dress has bows made out of stunning white bridal satin (it was just so nice and shiny against the sort - of - shiny pinks and fawn colours, I thought it was an adorable contrast). Each sleeve has a small bow on the outer elastic gather; and a small bow adorns the centre front v of the bodice.

At the back of the dress covering the lower end of the zipper, is a large bow, also made with the bridal satin on Elise's dress.

One top corner of the large bow at the back is sewn down and the other has a press stud to allow movement of the bow whilst dressing.

I love the ruffled hems.......

...and I also hope that YOU like the ruffled hems and puffed sleeves on your new dress, Elise!
Let me know when you're available to come and try it on, (I can do alterations if needed...) and we can have picnics and picks flowers together.........

Thanks for being my friend!