Friday, August 19, 2011

Beauty and the brocade

Taking a little girl to a fabric store is a lot like taking her to a candy shop.
Last month, I took Liz out to Jo-anns to buy fabric for Simplicity 3588 (PR review here), and let her pick out a fabric herself. I took her to the brocade section where she oohed and ahhed over practically all of it, but immediately liked the turquoise with lavender flowers best.
We shopped around for a bit, just to make sure, but she was very set on that brocade, and it was a very flattering color for her, so I went with it. I was very lucky to get the amount I needed for the dress for only $6.50! Heck, the invisible zipper cost almost half that much....

After nearly a month of working on it (and oodles of hand sewing!), I finally finished. Sewing with brocade for the first time was quite an adventure!

So here she is, my little beauty, wearing her new brocade outfit. :D

While at Jo-anns, we also got the matching piping, buttons, and some silky cording to make my own frog closure. Making that was an adventure!
I've only used piping once before, and so I was pretty happy with the outcome of the collar, cross bodice, and home-made frog-closure.

There is also piping around the sleeve bands, but I found it fairly easy to put in if I basted it in place first. Actually, I found this fabric so slippery to work with, I hand basted the majority of the seams together before machine sewing.

This fabric really was a nightmare, but also a good learning experience. It was very difficult to cut (I do plan on getting special scissors for this type of fabric sometime in the future), and also hard to sew, or even to handle! I think I should have gotten a manicure before starting on this, because I felt like I caused little snags in the fabric almost every time I handled it.
I was very nervous about how the hem would look, so I did a very careful catch stitch. I am pretty proud of the finished result! There is almost no sign of the stitching from the right side.
I added about 1" or so to the skirt length and to the bodice, so Liz could have some growing room, since she is in an upward growth spurt.

I hope that this dress will serve her as her very nicest dress, for holidays and birthday parties for the next year. I really do think the color is perfect for her hair and complexion, and it also really brings out her eyes.

I took some of the small dress scraps and made 2 matching Kanzashi blooms, which I attached to some simple hair clips. I also used the remaining buttons for the Kanzashi centers, which is a little bit Matchy-matchy I know, but also really cute I think.
The hair clips are so pretty, I think she will get quite a lot of use out of them with other outfits as well.

I think the pigtails with the hair clips, along with the Asian style dress, gives her a little anime look. Since she is so fond of Ponyo, The Last Airbender, and other kid's anime, I think it's a great look for her. Here she is showing off a little Wushu that her dad has been teaching her, she looks so serious! But she had a lot of fun modeling her new outfit, and I had a lot of fun making it and photographing her. :)


  1. Beautiful and adorable!
    And she has great taste too. That color is just perfect, and looks wonderful on her!
    She has that princess look, especially in that third picture, where she's looking off into the distance. Very regal.

  2. She is absolutely adorable in her new dress! And your sewing precision continues to be inspirational - great job, both of you!

  3. Your daughter is beautiful in this dress, and the dress is sensational. She has a good sense of what color looks good on her. That looks like difficult fabric to work with, and you did a lovely job matching the seams and putting on the piping. I love the matching hair clips--so pretty.

  4. oh my the details are exquisite! everything is sooo adorable! and that is a nice color for her! n great job on the frog, it looks very professional

  5. Beautiful dress, beautiful model.

  6. Wow, I really love this dress!! Your efforts are well worth it! Your cute daughter looks cute in this dress

  7. This is gorgeous!! I would never have thought to put my daughter in brocade, but it is stunning and I can see she loves it. My kids are this way at the fabric store, too. I love that they want to pick things for me to make, and that they have that vision of this fabric could be this dress. It's so fun!