See followup post She Wore the Dress.
Happy Easter to you all! This is such a joyous season, filled with promise of renewal and new beginnings. Beautiful worship services, inspiring music, egg hunts and family gatherings all make it so special.
I will enjoy all these blessings, but right now I am dealing with major disappointment–the Easter dress I made for 2 yo granddaughter Vivian Rose.
For this enormously significant holiday, every mother and grandmother tries to outfit her little darlings in beautiful garments.For me, “tries” is the operative word here. And believe me I did try.
This post is not meant to be all about moaning and wailing, though this Mary Engelbreit illustration captures my feelings pretty accurately. But I do hope listing the details of my failure will be helpful. Also included are the few (very few!) good things I did.
So, reluctantly, I post this sad photo of the disastrous dress.
MISTAKES: (If you are prone to depression, just skip this and go to the few little success at the end of the post.)
Mistake #1–I did not read or examine the pattern before plunging in. It clearly states that this is a “loose fitting” dress. But did I check out just how loose fitting it was? No. In fact, on the pattern envelope the chest measurement for size 3 is 22″. Okay, that sounds right.
But a 33″circumference around that little chest where where the skirt is joined to the bodice? This did not jive with the look I wanted. The fit is more like a bishop.
Mistake #2–I did not select suitable fabric. I love the ultra sheer Swiss “fairy batiste,” but for this garment it was the wrong choice. In my humble opinion its airy, shifty nature makes cutting out and construction very difficult for anything larger than a daygown.
Additionally, the fabric is not crazy about machine embroidery. And there is a lot on this dress. Even after I abandoned hand embroidery, I had chosen very light embroidery–feather stitching and simple flowers. Stabilizing and hooping (NO!) were a great challenge.
And one more reason this fabric was wrong? It is wrong for Tornado Vivian Rose. When I showed the dress to my dear husband, he commented, “Wouldn’t denim be more appropriate for her?”
She looks like a docile angel. But she is Vivi.
Mistake #3–I made the many pattern markings with #2 pencil, as instructed, because originally, I planned to do the embroidery by hand. But time ran out. After soaking in soapy water for 36 hours, the pencil marks remain. Need I mention that I love water soluble markers? Am I the only one who cannot get these marks out?
Mistake #4–I selected the lace at night. But the wide edging at the waist is ivory not white like the more narrow edging. The patterns match. Why do I have white and ivory? Oh no!
The lace was chosen, put aside, and not picked up again until it was handstitched to the entredeux at the waist, at 3 a.m. When I saw the lace in the daylight, I was shocked! But the shock came too late, as the dress had to be mailed overnight that very afternoon.
Mistake #5–I trusted the directions. Big mistake. Pattern makers are only human and errors happen. I was in such a hurry to get the dress done in time that I neglected to read through the directions carefully and just went on faith, step by step.
The placket, which is only in the bodice, not the skirt, was a single length of lace insertion. I could never figure out how to cover the raw edge, nor did I trust the sheer fabric and a piece of lace to withstand buttons and buttonholes. The designer never mentioned buttons or closure, but she is well known for favoring beauty pins.
I, too, love beauty pins but getting Vivian Rose to stand still long enough to slip a button into a hole is great enough a challenge. She would be off and running with a bloody hole in her back if beauty pins were used.
Ultimately, I lined the placket with white grosgrain ribbon–bulky but sturdy.
Mistake #6–I trusted the pattern pieces. They were mismarked. When I was ready to cut out the slip front, the pattern piece identified as sizes 3, 4, 5, and 6 had cutting lines for newborn, 6, 12, 18 months and 2. Hmmmmmmm…
Ultimately I discovered that the piece for the smaller size was in fact the correct one for the larger sizes. It was mislabeled. The cutting lines indicated NB, 6 months, etc. But they they were larger and the armscyes matched the larger sized back pattern piece. So I cut from that one. It took a long time to sort all this out. (Even longer than for you to read this boring tale of woe!)
But I like the square neck slip.
#1–Feather stitch files from Kathy Harrison’s Custom Keepsakes collections worked very nicely and look so much more like handstitched embroidery than the featherstitches on my machines.
#2–The substitution of a tatted medallion and more featherstitching for the hand embroidery was, I think, a pleasing choice. But the ivory lace–that hurts my eyes.
#3–I must have done at least one more thing right, but nothing comes to mind. Actually, aside from the dress, 6 yo Alastair’s linen, monogrammed bow tie was a satisfying success. It coordinates nicely with the dress which will likely never be worn.
Now that I have vented, I feel better (but I doubt you do!). Mary Engelbreit has written my motto.