I made this dress for my favorite then-nine-year-old niece (incidentally, my ONLY niece) last July. She needed a dress to wear to a wedding and an exhaustive search for the right one in the right color and in the appropriate style yielded nothing. Melissa is too large for regular kid's sizes and too young for teen styles. They also couldn't find the blue that was the color theme of the wedding. The wedding was days away and her parents were getting worried, so I volunteered to make the dress.
I used something called Italian Taffeta in a beautiful iridescent blue, some cotton lace I had in my stash to edge the neck line and sleeve hems and two packs of white bias tape for the hem. The taffeta was thin so I underlined the bodice with flour sack cotton (I know, it sounds like it's rough and scratchy like burlap. My friends were kinda horrified when I told them, but the cotton was soft and absorbent. I love it and I want to make a blouse out of what's left of my stash someday)
The pattern I used for this dress was the Girl's 1780 Portrait Dress Pattern by Sense and Sensibility Patterns. I thought it was the perfect style for her and really appropriate for the wedding. It's age appropriate, it's modest, it's versatile and most of all, it's historical! I love that e-patterns are now available for people like me who don't have access to paper patterns that seem to be so ubiquitous in the States. Printing them out and putting them together is fun and hardly takes any time (but your mileage may vary. I ENJOY putting e-patterns together. I have a system and everything. Derp.)
|Miss Juliana Willoughby by George Romney 1781-1783|
Melissa had a lot of input while I was making this dress. She approved of the fabric, picked the fabric color and had the idea of putting that particular style of cotton lace on the neckline and sleeves. She asked me a lot of questions about sewing and construction and was as patient as a saint while I was doing her fitting. She also decided to omit the white sash we planned to tie around her waist.
My Melissa looked lovely wearing it.
She's on her way here from Manila as I type. I cannot wait to see her and work on another dress!