First off, this isn't just an average dress. It's Chloe's baptism dress. (I don't know if I have any readers unfamiliar with LDS religion, but at age 8 a child is old enough to make a decision to be baptized. Girls aren't actually baptized in the dress - they wear a
"Mom, you know, what I really love are dogs and puppies. I'd love a dress with dogs and puppies on it."
Frankly, the thought of Chloe sitting next to the tiny prom girls at the church in a dog-covered getup actually intrigued the mischievous side of me. I got many private giggles over the image of it. But of course I said it wasn't going to happen.
"OK. I really like polka dots..."
I could do polka dots. Polka dots are adorable.
"...and stripes together. Pink and blue and yellow!"
Did I say she was a fashionista, or did I mean she thinks she's a clown?
We finally ended up with fabric (just a white-on-white cotton, no brocade to be found), only to discover that there was NO pattern. Anywhere. Not even in Halloween costumes that have Japanese
Kimonos but nothing with a mandarin collar. I had Simplicity 3588, but it doesn't actually open in front; it's a false look-alike. Chloe didn't like that it has a bodice and skirt section and wanted a solid dress, didn't like the puffy sleeve, and didn't want a zipper splitting the collar in the back. I found a rough drawing with instructions IN CHINESE online, and combined it with 3588 + Simplicity 3866 for the shape of the bottom half based on pictures we looked at online, plus the sleeve from Simplicity 4627 - the only fitted sleeve I could find that had no puff to it. At one point in cutting out, I had three pattern pieces and a printed off Chinese pattern all pinned together to get the one dress piece I needed :-O
I barely started tacking it together before I realized it was totally, completely see-through. Put a white slip underneath? Lose the white-on-white pattern! Solution? Line the whole dress in tan. But when it kicks up, the tan looks shocking and bad underneath in contrast. Solution? Line the tan in white. Crazy? - yep, I'm certifiable. Three stupid layers just to get the thing to work. This simple looking dress turned out to be one of the most difficult things I've EVER sewn. Tailored sleeves, that collar that took 7 attempts to get it in correctly, trying to figure it all out with only Chinese instructions! Let's just say that my seam-ripper got LOTS of work with this project ;-)
|I so rarely catch her looking right into the camera! I love those blue eyes!|
But it's all worth it when I see the results and how much she loves it! I'm still surprised that she was so confident in her simple, tailored lines, next to satin & bows, but I love that so much about her. To top it all off, I stopped in to an Asian specialty store and bought the silver blossom hair comb. Since she so rarely has anything in her short hair, it made it super-special to have a sparkly "do".
I have one more daughter left to turn 8. Will I let her design her own dress? Let's just hope time erases trauma by then ;-)