Friday, May 21, 2010

"Strawberry Shortcake Princess" dress

AKA the Kindergarten graduation dress

With the big graduation ceremony looming, I'd thought I would try to find a quick pattern and whip up a simple summery dress. My daughter had other ideas. :) This past Monday she informed me that she did not want the one I'd planned, she really wanted a dress with *this* fabric, Sandi Henderson's Pink Strawberry Fields from the Meadowsweet line.

Tuesday morning I headed out for a pattern, found McCalls M5793 and just knew she would love it. I grabbed some light pink Kona cotton for the lining (it's completely lined so the netting/tulle doesn't feel scratchy and the seams are all finished and hidden. It's called an easy pattern, and while it wasn't terribly difficult, I certainly wouldn't hand it to a beginner.  Finishes very nicely though!

The pattern calls for "soft netting" but the store I went to only had a netting with big holes that I didn't even consider and a "tulle" and "sparkle tulle" with smaller holes. So, I picked up the lime green sparkle tulle and headed to the counter. The pattern called for 3-1/4 yards of 72" soft netting but the kind I picked up was about 45" so I just bought 7 yards of it. Eeek! I think that worked out to about the right length, as over the top as it sounds. Instead of piecing end-to-end strips of it as the pattern called for, it ended up being the same finished dimensions to cut the full length of the tulle down the middle and then piece those two giant 21' strips together. Then those fold in half longways and gather up a huge amount. I spent far more time wrangling tulle than anything else.

I had a whopper of a migraine Tuesday, but late at night I managed to cut out the strawberry fabric and the lining (same pieces for both, so quick). Wednesday morning I got the lined bodice done and the skirt and lining pieced and started in on the tulle. I got more than half of it attached to the skirt lining that afternoon and only broke 3 machine needles. (Don't even try to use a ruffler foot on tulle. It's not pretty.) I didn't get back to it until Thursday morning, but got the rest of the tulle attached and the skirt onto the bodice by the time to pick up my girls from half day kinder & preschool. The afternoon was devoted to inserting the zipper (broke another needle) and hemming. Whew!

I'd say the work was well worth it. :)

I didn't have time to do it before the graduation ceremony (I was hand stitching the lining onto the zipper 30 minutes before we had to go) but I intend to add a few tack stitches to attach the ribbon in place on the sides. The dress is still a bit big for her and the ribbon kept riding up from the dress waistline.


  1. What a nice mom you are! The dress is just charming, and I love the effect of the green tulle.