Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Irish Dancing Dress - the final dress!

She doesn't look thrilled here, but I should
have know better than to try to take
photos of her while the TV was on!
Deep exhale. I did it, I finished the dress! Now the little miss and I just have to wait another couple of months before she gets a chance to wear it... it looks like St Patrick's Day will be the first time she'll be dancing in it. I'm not sure if the waiting will be harder for her or for me!
If you want to see the beginning of my Irish dancing dress adventure, check out part 1 and part 2.

Once I finally got the little miss to try on the dress to determine the arm length and to make sure the skirt length would be ok, I got straight back into it. First job was to attach the tulle underskirt - lots of gathering and lots of pinning!

I waited until the little miss could try on the dress before attaching the tulle because I wanted the tulle to hang down lower than the over skirt, but just how much longer was the problem without the model. Then came the zipper (nobody needs to see pictures of me fumbling about with a zipper), and then it was time to decorate! The little miss wanted the sash to be like the one on her practice dress (which was made out of tulle) so I happily obliged as it was pretty simple to make. And it would tuck quite nicely under the trim at the shoulder as well as the hip. Now onto the decorations that really make a solo dress... Since I don't have an embroidery machine, and I'm not very skilled in that area anyway, I purchased this sparkly trim instead.
Trim pinned on waiting for hand stitching.

The little miss and I had a little play around with how to lay it out... I had planned to do a diagonal line across the front of the bodice and a belt around the waist, but the little miss insisted it needed a 'necklace' to go with the 'belt' so I went with that, but I also added the extra down to the hip because it just seemed to be lacking something without it. She also really wanted to make 'bracelets' with the trim around the the arms, but I didn't have enough of it to make it around both arms. I'm sure the bracelets would have looked quite good, but I'm kind of glad there wasn't enough trim left as it would have been a nightmare trying to piece the diamonds together at the seam.

Trim pinned & waiting to be stitched.
(and my fancy wall hooks)

Here's a slightly blurry photo the little miss took of me
working on the hand stitching.

The trim was deceivingly difficult. I had been looking forward to this part the whole time I was sewing, but in reality it was really just a pain. I had figured that I would sit on the couch one evening hand stitching it on while watching TV, but in reality I had to sew it while it was hanging or else the fabric would bunch and twist (even though it was thoroughly pinned on). So I spent a good majority of the day standing up stitching it while it hung off a hook on the wall. Hanging it from a hook on the wall was one of the best things I came up with in the whole process of making the dress... We still had those removable contact hooks up on the wall from where we hung our Christmas stockings, and they were at the perfect height for the dress to hang from while I hand stitched it. It was also handy in that the dress was hanging in the lounge where the kids spend most of their time, so I could still be present & interact with them while they played and I could leave it hanging there mid stitch while I tended to other things as needed - and it was high enough that the kids weren't going to get at it and mess it all up!

And then it was done... The little miss was jumping up and down with excitement when she was able to try on the final product. In her highest, squeakiest voice she said it was the 'Best. Dress. Ever.', so I'm pretty confident that she's happy with how it turned out.

This is a bit of a terrible photo of the little miss, but it's a pretty good photo of how
the skirt moves.
The sash still needs a little trim at the bottom, but other than that - it's done!
Believe it or not, I've already started brainstorming for the next one... A cupcake ruffle skirt is on the cards, so I'd better get working on my ruffling skills.

UPDATE as of 19 July, 2013: This dress has now been embellished with crystals. You can see the new updated version of the dress here!

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