Sunday, September 11, 2011
A Dress for Miss Beans
So I have 2 beautiful girls that I sew for - a lot. But I really like making things for other people, especially little girls. And I have tons of fabric in my stash, so I can do that. A friend of mine has a little girl named Greta who loves twirly dresses. My friend, H., is a busy mom and doesn't really sew, though I think she'd love to learn. Right now she's got a lot on her plate because she's working full time and her husband has cancer. Luckily, her in-laws have moved in to help out around the house and with Greta, whom they call Greta Beans. I've never met Greta but I know she's a special little girl, not least because she's probably the only child H. will ever have and it took them a while to have a successful pregnancy. So when I got the itch to make a cute little dress for someone, I knew exactly who to make it for.
H. told me about Greta's favorite colors and how she likes her dresses to twirl. I emailed her a photo of the Farbenmix Sasha dress I'd made for Maeve and she loved it. When she mentioned that Greta really liked bright colors, I immediately knew that I had the perfect fabric for the dress already in my stash - Millefleur by Alexander Henry.
The rest was also all in my stash - three different colorways of the Busilis poplin by Hilco: hot pink with lime green dots for the shoulder straps, bright grass green with darker green dots for the bodice, and sunshine yellow with tangerine dots for the middle tier of the skirt. I also used a solid cerise-colored poplin for the ruffle between the first and second tiers and at the hem.
Next, it was time to embellish. I have tons of ribbon and other embellishments in my stash and I wanted to make this a really special dress. First, I found a ribbon in hot pink, tangerine and lime that was slightly narrower than the straps and I sewed that on the straps. Then I found a giant magenta daisy and 2 smaller orange daisies, which I applied to the front of the bodice. I decided to use cute mixed-up buttons for the straps - one lime green with hot pink dots and one lime green and hot pink striped. I wanted to put something on the back, too, so I dug around in my drawer of embellishments until I found the floral shape you see on the right. I got it in a group of patches from ebay; all were from the well-known Dutch clothing company, Oilily. This one says Oilily in a smile shape on a pink gingham background with orange felt petals and embroidered eyes. I'd been wanting to use this patch and it seemed to be a perfect fit with this dress, since it's made in sort of the same mix of super-bright colors, patterns and embellishments that the real Oilily clothing is famous for.
In order to balance out the embellishment on top, I found a woven ribbon in a multi-colored squares pattern of yellow, tangerine, pink and aqua and sewed that on the seamline between the second and third tiers. I also added a small "tag" made from Farbenmix ribbon at the side seam to give it a ready-to-wear look. I'd sewn the small ruffle into the seamline between the first and second tiers during construction; it was finished with a rolled hem on the serger, using wooly nylon to get a smooth finish. The bottom ruffle was made the same way.
All in all, I was extremely pleased with the final product and I was on pins and needles waiting to hear if Greta and H. liked the dress. I needn't have worried. She sent me a message on Facebook to tell me that Greta put it on immediately and didn't want to take it off; then she posted a video of Greta twirling around and around in her new dress, saying "Thank you Miss Jen" and blowing kisses. I was truly touched. Just looking at this dress makes me happy and knowing that Greta likes it makes me even happier. I've got plans for another dress for her - this time a Feliz! Stay tuned for that one.