Two dresses

These two dresses have been on my mind all month, ever since my sister-in-law announced her (not very distant) wedding date, and the fact that she wants us to wear light purple.

I am so happy that these are done, and with almost two weeks to spare.

The big dress

I am not sure I have ever stressed as much over a sewing project as I did over this dress. It is by far the most challenging thing I have ever sewn. I was not very confident that it would work out well enough to wear, and my contingency plan was to cut off the skirt of the dress and make it into a skirt if it came to that.

The pattern is Simplicity 4055 (view B), and it was made by the same person who also makes these patterns. My mother-in-law picked up the pattern for me a few years ago at a sale. I think it was a dollar.

I had to make a few adjustments. First, the skirt is made to drag on the ground, and that's not very practical, so I shortened it. Second, there was not enough fastening up the back! It ties at neck and waist with drawstrings, and that's it. I'm not willing to have six-inch gaps in the back of the dress, so I added some hooks above the waist and some velcro below.

I had to buy a drawstring and hooks and thread; everything else was on hand. The purple fabric for the dress was a sheet set from my sister (thanks!) and the white lining fabric was from my mother-in-law. I'd estimate my total cost at about $7.

I'm not sure this is something I'd be comfortable wearing a lot of places. I'm afraid it's a bit eccentric. But I like it, and I figure I can at least wear it for the wedding. It looks a lot more normal if I wear a cardigan with it. After the wedding, we'll see. The other problem is that I can't put on the dress by myself—I need someone to help me tie the drawstrings and do up the hooks. I think the pattern could be altered to use elastic in the drawstring casings and a zipper in the back, but I'm not that comfortable sewing yet.

The worst part of sewing this dress was when I was cutting off the many inches of extra fabric at the hem, and I accidentally sliced into the dress itself. Luckily I was able to mend the tear, and it's so close to the hem that it's not too noticeable. But grrr! It just made me feel stupid.

The little dress

After sewing my dress, I was feeling pretty burned out, so I looked for something simple and quick to make for Tiger Lily. I finally settled on this Shabby Apple Knock-Off Dress. The tutorial is quite simple and clear, but I had never done a zipper before, and I didn't feel like tackling one just then, after finishing my monolithic dress project.

So I took it one step easier and used a t-shirt for the bodice. It doesn't look quite as polished, but it was a lot easier! I also used a gathered A-line skirt instead of the circle skirt, using the hem of the sheet for the hem of the dress. I added pockets, just because I'm so proud of myself for knowing how to do that, and because I think all dresses should have pockets.

You can't see it very well in the picture, but there is a giant flower on the bodice. I made a headband from matching fabric using this tutorial, and made a little flower for it. I actually made the little flower before the big one, as practice.

Tiger Lily loves this dress, and sometimes it pays off to have such a dramatic daughter: the look on her face when I woke her up from her nap with the completed dress was priceless.

The only thing I bought for this project was the t-shirt, about five dollars. All the other cloth was from the stash, as were the elastic and button for the headband, and I had the right colors of thread on hand.

I hope we can get a nice picture of us in our dresses at the wedding. And maybe we can wear them on Easter, too.


  1. So awesome! You two are gonna look adorable.

  2. You are really growing in your sewing skills and creativity. You don't give youreself enough credit. The regency look is great and I'm sure you'll both look wonderful for the wedding.

  3. With two weeks to spare? That's amazing...I would have been sewing up until the night before about 2 am...haha.