Jun 28, 2009

Two dollar Princess Dress

I know most of the stuff we do here at Filth Wizardry is pretty unisex, because even though I have two little girls, they love rockets, outer space, super heros, dinosaurs, trains and all the stuff the boys like too. For this post however, it's gonna get super girly. Hold tight!


Here's the back story...


Twice a year Goodwill near us has a sale where every item of clothing is $2. It's fab! This time round on my list were a couple of leather jackets to make a slip cover to rescue our computer chair that looks like it's been mauled by a tiger and any cashmere sweaters I could find to felt and make soft toys with. Well, they openned at 8 and I didn't get there until 9.30, so there were no leather jackets left, but I did manage to get three cashmere sweaters and three humungous ball gowns that I guess were bridesmaid dresses (I know nothing of this aspect of the universe. I was married in denim and red sneakers). For everything I spent a total of $12. Yay!


Here are the dresses...




The green one is going to be several teeny tinkerbell outfits. The turquoise one is going to be something like the dress that Giselle wears in Disney's Enchanted (hopefully I'll be able to squeese two dresses out of that), and the lilac one in the middle I decided to try and alter with minimal sewing to fit the girls and have a long long bridal train after reading this lovely post from "Making Do With The Not So New", where MJ makes several dress up dresses for her daughter from her old formal wear. Brilliant!


I've shared this info nugget with LiEr from Ikatbag before now, commenting on her post about sewing machines and sergers. I own the universe's cheapest nastiest sewing machine and as a result I only use it when I absolutely have to and only when the kids are asleep, for fear of inadvertantly teaching them curse words. I've learnt my lesson. I should never have bought machinery constructed by underfed third graders in the first place. One day I will own a machine that wants to help me, but until then I mostly hand sew things, and occasionally swear at an inanimate object late at night.


Because the bodice of the lilac dress was panelled and boned, it was quite easy just to fold either side of the front back on itself to reduce the size of the chest measurement. I had to take the beading off first.


Here's a close up of one side of the alteration. I tied the adult length straps in a knot and sewed them down out of the way to make them fit the kids.

On the back was a laced section that I pulled the laces out of and replaced with some elastic strips, then I unzipped the zipper and overlapped the back bit to take it in even more. This dress started out at a size 4 and fitted me, and just those alterations, which took about 30 minutes took it down to a size that fitted my three and four year old girls.



I sewed the beading back on (had half spare to make a crown) and then made some little bows from the lacing that I'd taken out and reduced the length of the front of the dress without cutting it, just drawing it up.

Here are the girlies being rather pleased with it. Yep, my four year old is getting over fifth disease, poor blotchy faced lass


Not bad for $2! It only took a couple of hours in the evening to do and I didn't have to cut any of the dress, so in reality, when they grow out of it I could resize it for them if they still want to wear it. I suspect I'm going to have to turn the air blue shouting at my sewing machine to get the other dresses made, because I want to get more than one kid dress out of each of the two adult dresses. We shall see.

13 comments:

MJ said...

Beautiful! I love the drawing up/gathering aspect of shortening the dress.

MaryAnne said...

This is brilliant, and your daughters look very pleased with their new dress!

Good luck with your sewing machine for the other dresses...

Karin said...

How fun and timely. I just pulled out two of my own old bridesmaid dresses from the closet, amidst pleas for princess dresses. The one I already knotted the straps like yours but hadn't determined how best to tie up the length. I shall follow your example now.

Wish I had some advice for the other dresses...

Check ikatbag. I think she made some nice, easy skirts using FOE (fold over elastic); might work well for tinkerbell skirts. And for tink tops, perhaps a rectangle with a T-shape cut out of the center for the neck hole, then folded in half and the two sides sewed partially up to leave room for armholes, and then some sort of belt to cinch it at the waist. Does that make sense? ...And does the person who made dresses out of drywall shims even need advice on tink dresses? More than likely, not! : )

MJ said...

ok, I'm intrigued, where's the link to a dress made from shims? Didn't see it in the archive.

MJ said...

Ah! found it. Cardboard streamer dress. Cute.

Kitten Muffin said...

Hey Karin! Thanks for the brainstorm on the tink dresses. I've been absent mindedly mulling it over tonight and I think I'm going to try and do the skirt part like you suggest, but for the top sew some elastic just in the top of the back panel, so they can stretch it on and off easily themselves.

I don't want to make them strapless like the real tink, but have a halter scrunchy like elasticated band out of that material that is sewn to the center of the front by one end and then you put the other end around your neck and velcro it ontop of the first end, again so they can dress themselves without getting in a frustrating knot.

I'm looking forward to making big poofy sleeves for the Giselle dress though!

beryl said...

Wow, that's so great! Lucky girls to have such a crafty sewing mom! Very cool.

LiEr said...

Finally catching up on backlogged Filthwizardry posts! That is a fabulous dress, ma'am! Your daughters are so cute! They are going to rock NASA when they grow up and work there, I'm betting. And why should girls not be engineers and walk around with digital multimeters in the same beaded-satin purses as their lipstick and pearly-shelled combs, eh? Eh?
I don't think those FOE skirts can help much with tinkerbell, sadly, much as I am very touched by Karin's faith in them. They might need to be more pouffy for a fairy, I think. Try a regular gathered/elasticized waist skirt and on top of that sew 4 or 5 leaf-shaped petal type things on top of the waistband. Make them like a bishop's hat but upside down, and sew them in a row like a banner of flags. Then elasticize them along with the skirt and you get these petal-thingies that fairies seem to all have on their waists. Satin will probably puff up nicely when all bunched up with the elastic.

I love your idea of the halter loop thingy (wish I knew the proper names for all these technical sewing things) - do it! It will turn out great! And did you see that awesome post for fairy wings from wire hangers and nylons? I forgot where it is already, but if you go to my blog and look on my to-do-projects list, it's almost at the top of the list.

SkylarKD said...

WOW!!!

Jules said...

You are a genius! I hope when I have kids I can be as resourceful and crafty as you.

Jimmie said...

Too beautiful! Thrifty and classy. Nice job!

Seher Ozturk said...

how beautiful she is (also they are.. really princess

Eco-Friendly Freckles said...

This is a wonderful idea! I love going to the Good Will...it is a great place to go when coming up with a Masquerade/Halloween costume. Awesome job on this dress...beautiful little girl too! :-D