Oops! Apparently I've accidentally deleted all of my images. I'll see about fixing that soon.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dress of Many Circles

One of the most fun sewing projects I did this year was a dress I made for my niece's birthday.  When I was playing around with the leftover fabric from those horrid jackets earlier this year I was suddenly inspired to make this dress. But I knew I didn't have time just then. So I made a little skirt just to try out the technique and loved the result.

I had just enough of the dark silver and the white left over to create an ombre effect, something really elegant. And being the goof that I am I had to pretend to try it on.

But let's back up a little bit. 

Since you've seen most of the gist of the process already on the skirt, here's what I did differently. After cutting all of those circles I needed to finish the edges. Instead of just a skirt for play, I wanted the circles to last and not to fray so easily.  Fortunately since this is polyester there is an easy solution: FIRE. :)

This setup was my first solution: 

But after doing about a dozen I found it difficult to keep the edge at just the right point relative to the heated air coming off of the candle to create a nice even edge.  I needed something faster, more consistent.  

So I pulled out this tealight candle holder from my family heirlooms.  

It was an improvement for sure, but the tealight in it burned out after about half an hour (there were a LOT of circles to melt) and I couldn't remember where I put the bag with the rest of them. So, I ended up with this setup which worked perfectly.

Well, until the end, that is, when the waxed paper that was wrapped around the candle to make it fit snugly in the candle holder caught fire. The sudden whoosh of flames was a little surprising but I'm happy to say I didn't freak out. Fortunately I am well aware of the fact that fire needs oxygen to continue burning and was able to smother it rather quickly. 

In the end I had several piles of nicely finished 'petals.'

And then I found this pretty ribbon in my stash that I thought would add a nice little touch of bright cheeriness to it.

From here it was just a matter of figuring out how many rows and how many white or silver in each row and stitching them down.

But this was a dress, not just a skirt. And since my niece is at that age where no matter how often I see her she looks bigger every time, I wanted something a little stretchy.  I had such good results with the elastic thread when I made the shirt for my Dr. Who costume this summer that I decided to make the whole bodice using that method.  

Because I ended up with three layers (sparkly organza, polyester shantung, lining fabric) it took a lot of steam to get the elastic to relax, but when it did... wow. 

I love the result it gave.  I think it would have moved better with just two layers but the shantung was too scratchy by itself and the lining was too (visually) thin by itself under the organza.

I finished the armscyes, neckline and back closure by hand and added a small button closure to the back. I also tacked the ribbon down in a couple of places with french tacks so it would stay in at least close proximity to where it was supposed to be.

As much as I loved the dress it didn't compare to the joy I got when my niece opened her gift, squealed with delight and wrapped herself up in it (ok, mostly her head, it was really cute!). 

Will I make something with this technique again? I don't know; it was a lot of work. I totally love the result but wow did it take forever. I guess only time will tell...

Have a great week and hug someone you love today. 

1 comment:

  1. This is really fun! I usually reserve unproven techniques like this for Halloween costumes. But party dresses don't get as much wear and tear either. And I've melted the edges of countless things over the years. Best tip ever!


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