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Christmas Dress aka I Made Puffy Sleeves!

11 Nov

I’ve been sewing since home ec in middle school.  When I was 12 or so, I spent the weekend with my grandmother (an avid seamstress and quilter) sewing a dress for myself from a pattern.

In middle school and early high school, I would invite friends over to sew with me and we made nightgowns out of muslin.

When I moved into a house in college, I sewed myself a quilt, stripes on one side and a starry moonlit sky on the other.

After college I sewed trim to the bottom of jeans like it was going out of style, and in fact, it was going out of style.  THANK GOD!

I got my own machine for my 23rd birthday and promptly sewed myself 800 purses and jewelry pouches and the like.

Then life took over and I put the sewing machine away. I got married, I moved, I paid someone to make curtains, I had babies and I moved again. I bought curtains from Target and forgot about my sewing skills.

Pinterest came along and I got the crafting bug and I spray painted some stuff and thought about getting out my machine.  One day my mom said she’s buy my girls American Girl Dolls, and my girls became obsessed with the idea of matching clothes.  So I began scouring the internet for outfits that were nicer than the AGD ones and perhaps more affordable.  I found them  in the form of MakMay Designs, my trusty Christmas/Birthday/Halloween outfit designer.  She’s super talented and equally creative.

But then I wanted clothes for the girls and their dolls that was outside of what Becky creates and I stumbled upon a site that had tunic tops and dresses for girls and their dolls as well as Mom’s.  The catch was that it would cost $60 to dress the girls $20 for the dolls and $80 for me.  Way more money than I was willing to spend.  And then it dawned on me! I could make these tunics and dresses myself!

Thus begun my renewed interest in sewing. I went from an A-line dress, to PJ’s and then got bold and purchased the Precious Dress pattern from the Scientific Seamstress.  I even contacted her to see if she could hold my hand through the process because it seemed a little daunting.  And of course, not only did I want to make the dress, but I wanted to add my own little flair.  She kindly agreed but before I had the chance to visit her, I decided to try it on my own, button holes and puffy sleeves and all.

The pattern isn’t just a pattern, it’s also a full picture laden tutorial with detailed instructions! I started with the skirt, which is where I wanted to add the ruffled faux bustle. I cut out the pattern pieces and freehanded the bustle pieces. I constructed the whole skirt in one night and was super pleased with my efforts.  Last night I set to work on the scary part…..the top with the button holes and puffy sleeves.  I started by watching an automatic buttonholing video on Youtube, that happened to be on a machine similar to mine.  Then I followed each incredibly well written, easy to understand step and before I knew it, I had a gorgeous top. Attaching the skirt to the top was easy and the finished product is better than I had pictured in my head!  The only thing missing is a nice thick grosgrain ribbon sash!

I relate this whole long winded story because I am so glad that I found sewing again and am finding such joy in spending quiet time piecing my patterns together.  It is incredibly gratifying to know that I can do this and I am so happy to be able to give these dresses to my girls.

Without further ado…THE CHRISTMAS DRESS!

Details of the Christmas Dress

Puffy Sleeves and Buttons...yeah I did that!!

 

Christmas Dress

The front and back of the Christmas Dress with the ruffle accent

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6 Responses to “Christmas Dress aka I Made Puffy Sleeves!”

  1. Hannah November 13, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    Ok, Molly!! Those are amazing! I started your aprons today and now see this — you sneaky devil. 😉 I CAN’T sew…

    But, I know as my cousin you will love the crappy seams and funky self-made pattern of the little aprons I’m making for I & L and their dolls.

    As a side note — I LOVE that Aya has Kit (the Depression era doll) cuz all her doll stuff can be old and crappy and it’s all the more authentic.

    P.s. I want to make bows to match their dresses — do you have some left over fabric? Do you want me to show you how to make them??

  2. Kat November 21, 2011 at 4:17 am #

    Molly, your Christmas dress is magnificent! I am very impressed! I have been sewing a lot since being inspired by you and I love it… Such an awesome creative outlet. The dress is beautiful. Love the fabric, the sleeves and the buttonholes too 🙂

    • MsMollyWhite November 21, 2011 at 4:19 am #

      Thank you Katrina!! I’d love to see what you’ve been sewing!!

  3. justjayma March 22, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    I just came across this as I was searching for the Precious Dress pattern! I LOVE the bustle you put in–the link to your inspiration is broken…do you think you could do a tutorial for the bustle part? I just love it and would love to incorporate it on a dress for my daughter!

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