I was inspired by Mandy K. Designs’ English Rose dress to create an Alice in Wonderland Halloween costume for Little Miss. I really can’t wait to share it with you, and I apologize sincerely for the delay in getting the pictures and the write-up of it up. I’ve been a bit under the weather lately, Little Miss is refusing to sleep at night, and I still have client work to take care of. All of that makes for a lot of excuses, but suffice it to say, I’ve been beyond exhausted lately.
I’ve been wanting to make an English Rose dress for a while now. I love the big bow and the full skirt, and I think it just looks like everything girl. There are some different options for the dress – you can have a scalloped collar, a Peter Pan collar, or no collar, you can have sleeves or no sleeves, you can have a hem with tulle, a ruffle, or scallopped ruffle, and you can have a simple or pleated sash. The pattern is $8.95, but if you purchase it now through October 11th, you can get 30% off with the code: MKDblogtour2015. (I received the pattern I’m talking about in exchange for participating in this tour; this is not an affiliate link).
I’m also a big fan of Alice In Wonderland, and given Little Miss’s longish blonde hair (I still can’t believe she’s not even 2 yet), I thought that this dress would make a great Alice in Wonderland-style dress for Halloween. I’ve made a pair of stretch lace tights and I will make a black headband to accompany the dress for her costume. I know that I have some blue and white cotton yardages in my sewing stash, but we haven’t quite gotten around to unpacking that yet. So, we wandered to Hancock Fabrics, and I picked up what I needed there, along with some clear pearl-style buttons for the back of the dress.
I decided I wanted to do the dress with the Peter Pan collar, sleeves,l ruffle, and simple sash with the big detatchable bow on the back. I will be honest, I got a late start on the dress due to sleeping patterns, illness, AND waiting to look through the bins and boxes of fabric to avoid purchasing fabric I knew I already had in reserve. I’ve finished the dress, I need to make the sash and bow still. I LOVE how it looks so far. I will post a part 2 talking about the sash and bow, as well as the headband and tights in the next couple of days as soon as I am able to. There’s a costume event at the local botanical gardens, and we must make a requisite trip to a pumpkin patch – so what better place to debut her full costume?
The dress itself is easy to sew, although my fingers are really wishing I’d chosen a fabric with a bit lighter weight. There’s a lot of top-stitching and a lot of gathering. Both of these take a while if you want to do them right – when top stitching, SLOW DOWN! It’s not a race. seriously. I love fast sewing as much as the next person, but if you want straight topstitching that makes your garment look more professional? Don’t put the sewing machine pedal to the metal. Gathering just takes a while if you’re careful not to break the thread – especially when there’s a lot of gathering. If you have a tip on how to gather faster, I’d LOVE to hear it. For the skirt, I wound up gathering it by hand before attaching it to the dress because of how thick the layers of fabric were at that point.
The instructions are easy to follow. There are many steps to this pattern, and Mandy K. Designs does a great job of explaining each of these steps. I also really like the way she does the lining and the plackets – although the seam where the skirt hits the bodice isn’t hidden – unless you first press under 1/4″ of the lining fabric and sew the skirt only to the bodice main fabric, then either catch the lining fabric while topstitching -OR- handstitching the bodice closed at the skirt. The only thing I was unsure of is my collar – it’s a bit stiff. I think because of the thickness of the white cotton shirting fabric I used, I probably could have gotten away with no interfacing on the collar.
I veered away from making a pinafore for the dress in true Alice in Wonderland style – I figure that the blue and white with the collar, ruffle, and (when finished) bow and sash will make the dress perfect as is. I feel like if I tried to add anything else, it would be too much on my little gal.
Now, for the moment you’ve been waiting for: Here’s the dress! In a few days, please come back, and you can see the whole ensemble put together, plus I’ll talk about a great tights pattern and what I used to make the headband to match.
Meanwhile, I encourage you to take a look at the other stop on the Mandy K Designs Knock Offs and Costume Hack’s tour for today: Sibling Rivalry. Here’s a complete list of all of the stops on the tour: